Older, Whole, New Testament Commentaries

See also:

Modern New Testament Commentaries




Exegetical Dictionaries on the NT
Latin, Whole NT Commentaries
NT Background, Survey & Introduction
NT Theology
Bibliographies of Commentaries on Biblical Books



Order of Contents

Order of Commentaries

Good  5
Word Studies  3
Light & Practical  7
Useful  14
Technical  10+
NT Use of OT  3
Early Church on the NT  2



About this Collection

This collection of 32 commentaries includes: (1) every reformed, whole New Testament commentary in English online since the Reformation, (2) every commentary that received a positive recommendation from Charles Spurgeon (1876), and  (3) most of the significant N.T. commentaries in English and online, up through the early 1900’s, that Bible-believers would be interested in.

Spurgeon’s comments are included where possible.  His rating scale is as follows:

*** – ‘Heartily recommended’
** – ‘Good, but more ordinary’
* – ‘Least desirable’

Do note that many of the ‘Light and Practical’ commentaries, while they may not be as helpful to the student, are really good, especially for personal reading and devotional use.  Just about all the ‘Technical’ commentaries are liberal (be warned), but most of them are still very valuable in their own right.

In addition to the commentaries below, you may also find Whole Bible Commentaries and Commentaries on Individual Books of the N.T. helpful.  Where the New Testament has been commented on in a whole Bible commentary, we have not duplicated it here.



Order of Commentaries    ** – Reformed

Good Commentaries  5

.       Leigh, Edward  **

.       Doddridge, Phillip  **
.       Guyse, John

.        Lenski, Richard
.        Hendriksen, William  **

Word Studies on the Greek  3

.        Vincent, Marvin

.        Robertson, A.T.  **
.        Wuest, Kenneth

Light & Practical  7+

Early Church
.         Chrysostom

.         Erasmus, Desiderius

.         Boys, John  **
.         Baxter, Richard
.         Knatchbull, Norton

.         Burkitt, William

.         Girdlestone, Charles
.         Cumming, John

Useful Commentaries  14

.        Aquinas, Thomas

.        Beza, Theodore  **

.        a Lapide, Cornelius
.         Ainsworth, William  **
.        Hammond, Henry
.        Gell, Robert

.        Whitby, Daniel
.        Lindsay, John
.        Dodd, William
.        Marchant, John

.         Townsend, George
.         ed. Schaff, Philip
.         Abbott, John & Jacob

.         IVP N.T. Commentary

Technical Commentaries  10+

.         Alford, Henry
.         Bengel, Johann
.         Blackley, Critical English Testament
.         Bloomfield, Samuel
.         Bowyer, William
.         Critical English Testament
.         Farrar, Frederick
.         Meyer, Heinrich
.         Trollope, William
.         Valpy, Edward

.     Expositor’s Greek Testament
.     Grammatical Analysis

The New Testament Use of the Old Testament  3

ed. Carson & Beale

The Early Church on the New Testament  2

Early Christian Fathers on the N.T.
Wilson, William



Good Commentaries  6


Leigh, Edward – Annotations upon All the New Testament, Philological & Theological  **  1650

A major reformed commentary from the mid-1600’s.

***  ‘Good, brief notes.  Antique, but still prized.’ – Spurgeon



Doddridge, Philip – The Family Expositor: or, a Paraphrase and Version of the New Testament with Critical Notes and a Practical Improvement of each section  **  d. 1751

**  ‘Upon the New Testament Doddridge’s Expositor is worthy of a far more extensive reading than is nowadays accorded to it.  It is all in the form of a paraphrase, with the text in italics; a mode of treatment far from satisfactory as a rule, but exceedingly well carried out in this instance.

The notes are very good, and reveal the thorough scholar.  Our authorized version is placed in the margin, and a new translation in the paraphrase.  The four evangelists are thrown into a harmony, a plan which has its advantages but is not without its evils.  The practical improvements at the end of each chapter generally consist of pressing exhortations and devout meditations, suggested by the matter under discussion.  It is sadly indicative of the Socinianism of the age in which this good man lived, that he feels called upon to apologize for the evangelical strain in which he has written.

He appears to have barely finished this work in shorthand at the time of his death, and the later books were transcribed under the care of Job Orton.  No Life Insurance Society should accept the proposals of a commentator on the whole of either Testament, for it seems to be the rule that such students of the Word should be taken up to their reward before their task is quite completed.’

‘The late Dr. Barrington, Bishop of Durham, in addressing his clergy on the choice of books, characterizes this masterly work in the following terms:

‘I know no expositor who unites so many advantages as Doddridge; whether you regard the fidelity of his version, the fullness and perspicuity of his composition, the utility of his general and historical information, the impartiality of his doctrinal comments, or lastly, the piety and pastoral earnestness of his moral and religious applications.’

Later interpreters have somewhat diminished the value of this work.’ – Spurgeon

See also Thomas Hartwell Horne’s comments on p. 302 of A Manuel of Biblical Bibliography.

Guyse, John – The Practical Expositor: or an Exposition of the New Testament, in the Form of a Paraphrase, with Occasional Notes… for the Use of the Family and the Closet, vol. 1 (Mt-Mk), 2 (Luk-Jn), 3 (Acts-Rom), 4 (Cor-Eph), 5 (Phi-Heb), 6 (Jam-Rev)  d. 1761

Guyse (1680-1761) was an English Independent minister.

 Spurgeon said regarding John Brown of Haddington’s Self-Interpreting Bible:

**  ‘Useful in its day, and still popular.  Notes on the New Testament an undisguised plagiarism from Guyse.  Not a student’s book.”

“Dr. Guyse was an eminent dissenting divine of the eighteenth century, and his religious principles Calvinistic.  His paraphrase has never been very popular, though it ‘is said to display sound judgment, intimate acquaintance with the original, and considerable critical powers.” ([Alexander] Chalmers’s Biographical Dictionary, vol. xvi. p. 490.)” – Thomas Hartwell Horne



Lenski, Richard C.H. – Commentary on the New Testament, vol. 1 (Mt), 2 (Mk), 3 (Lk), 4 (Jn), 5 (Acts), 6 (Rom), 7 (1-2 Cor), 8 (Gal-Phil), 9 (Col-Phile), 10 (Heb-Jm), 11 (Pet-Jd), 12 (Rev)  (OH: Wartburg Press, 1935-1966)

Lenski (1864-1936) was an American, conservative Lutheran.  His commentary majors on Greek grammar, but can be read by an English-only reader who knows a bit of grammar.

“A conservative, very extensive and generally helpful exposition based upon an exegesis of the Greek text.  Arminian [actually Lutheran] in doctrine, maintains a rigid approach to Greek grammar, and follows an amillennial interpretation of eschatology.  Exceedingly helpful background material and abounds in good preaching values.” – Cyril Barber

Hendriksen, William & Simon Kistemaker – New Testament Commentary: Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn 1-6, 7-21, Acts, Rom, 1 & 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1-2 Thess, 1-2 Tim & Titus, Phile, Heb, 1-2 Pet, 1-3 Jn, Jd, Rev  **  Buy

Dr. Hendriksen (1900-1982) was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church and a professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Smeinary.   Hendriksen commented on about half of the New Testament and Kistemaker finished it after his death.  The commentary is out of print and is presently hard to find.



Word Studies on the Greek of the New Testament

All of these works are comprehensible to those not familiar to Greek.  These works also include much exegesis of the text and are virtually commentaries on the whole New Testament themselves.



Vincent, Marvin – Word Studies, 4 vols.  1887

A standard work respected by all evangelicals; it makes the Greek accessible to an English-only reader.  Vincent (1834-1922) was a presbyterian minister (though he does not appear to be strongly reformed in some of his interpretations) and professor of New Testament exegesis and criticism at Union Theological Seminary in New York City .  He also translated Bengel’s ‘Gnomon’ into English.

‘Vincent’s Word Studies falls half-way between an exegetical commentary and a Greek lexicon.  It is actually a study, in commentary form, of the vocabulary of the New Testament.  This format gives Vincent the opportunity to not only discuss the subtle distinctions in meaning between different Greek words, but also to comment on the history contained in a word that might get lost in a translation.

He reveals the characteristics in writing style and word usage of a particular Bible writer, pointing out the marvelous interplay of the different Greek tenses and the nicely-calculated force of the Greek article.  Vincent explains in detail the proper usage and meaning of Greek idioms and the connection between different English words that are translated from the same Greek word.’ – StudyLight.org



Robertson, A.T. – Word Pictures of the New Testament  **

Robertson (1863-1934) was reformed baptist professor professor of New Testament at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  Robertson comments on and fills out the word-pictures used in the N.T.

While he does not comment on all the verses of the N.T., he does comment on most of them and gives a lot of exegesis.   The work is helpful on Greek grammar, but can be read by the English-only reader.

“A work of thorough scholarship which stresses the meaningful and pictorial suggestions which are often implicit in the original text but lost in translation.  Of particular help whenever one undertakes the study of a NT book for the first time, or translates the text.” – Cyril Barber

Wuest, Kenneth – Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, 3 or 4 vols.  Buy

Wuest (1893–1962) was a dispensationalist, Greek scholar.

The work is very well done in bringing out the nuances of the Greek in a easy to use format and a way that a person who only knows English can easily use and understand.

Read with discretion: such works often make too much of supposed emphases and nuances in the Greek (think in English: a word in a sentence does not bear every possible shade of meaning it may in the language generally).  The work is original and is sufficiently different from Vincent’s Word Studies (above), and often more detailed, so as to be complementary to it.



Light & Practical Commentaries  7

Early Church

Chrysostom – Homilies on Matthew, vols. 1 (1-7), 2 (8-17), 3 (18-28), John, vols. 1, 2 , Acts, vols. 1 (1-12), 2 (13-28), Romans, 1 &2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians & Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews

Chrysostom (c. 349-407)

**  ‘Enough of solid truth and brilliant utterance will be found here to justify this father’s title of ‘Golden Mouth’; but still all is not gold which fell from his lips, and to modern readers Chrysostom is not so instructive as he was to his own age [A.D. 349-407].’ – Spurgeon



Erasmus, Desiderius – Paraphrase on the New Testament, vols. 1 (Mt-Acts), 2 (Rom-Rev)  d. 1536

Erasmus was the Roman Catholic humanist Bible scholar that argued for free-will against Martin Luther.  While a bit off on his doctrine of salvation, his writings, which exude his piety, are very much worth reading.  Erasmus was one of the preeminent Bible scholars of his day and compiled the Greek text that underlies the KJV Bible.

**  ‘This paraphrase was appointed by public authority to be placed in all churches in England, and the clergy were also ordered to read it.  The volumes are very rare, and expensive because of their rarity.’ – Spurgeon



Boys, John – Exposition of the Dominical [Lordly] Epistles & Gospels used in our English Liturgy throughout the Whole Year  **  Buy  (1638)

Boys is rich, deep and profound, but it has been categorized in this section as the work does not have a table of contents, so it is not very easy to use unless one is very familiar with the yearly Anglican liturgy.  Great for daily (or weekly) devotional reading.

***  ‘Racy, rich, and running over.  We marvel that it has not been reprinted [in Spurgeon’s day].  English churchmen ought not to leave such a book in its present scarcity, for it is specially adapted for their use.  Boys is all essence [substance].  What a difference between the John Boys of 1638 and the Thomas Boys [also an Anglican] of 1827 [when he published, ‘A Plain Exposition of the New Testament’]!  Note well the name.’ – Spurgeon

Baxter, Richard – A Paraphrase on the New Testament with Notes, Doctrinal & Practical, by Plainness & Brevity fitted to the use of religious families in their daily reading of the Scriptures & of the younger and poorer sort of scholars and ministers, who want fuller helps, with an advertisement of difficulties in the Revelations  (1685)

Baxter had a number of errors on Justification, universal atonement, covenant theology, etc., but by and large he is helpful and was regarded as a puritan.

**  ‘The notes are in Baxter’s intensely practical and personal style, and show the hortatory use of Scripture; but they are not very explanatory.’ – Spurgeon

“The paraphrase is inserted between the verses of the text, and in a smaller type.  The annotations are at the end of the chapters.  They are for the most part very short, and contain much sound sense and piety.” – Thomas Hartwell Horne

Knatchbull, Norton – Annotations upon some Difficult Texts in all the Books of the New Testament  (1693)

Knatchbul (1602–1685) was a scholar and may have been reformed as Peter du Moulin the younger in 1680 dedicated to him his ‘Short View of the Chief Points in Controversy between the Reformed Churches and the Church of Rome’.

Knatchbul “In the year before the Restoration [in 1660]…  published his ‘Animadversiones in Libros Novi Testamenti. Paradoxæ Orthodoxæ…  The work consists of a large number of critical emendations, based upon a fair knowledge of Hebrew, and showing considerable intrepidity for a critic of that period…  a fourth edition, in English, appeared in 1692, entitled ‘Annotations upon some difficult Texts in all the Books of the New Testament,’ Cambridge, 1693.  The translation is, according to Darling (Cyclop. Bibl. 1738), the author’s own…  The work was held in great estimation for a century after its publication, and figures in a list of books annotated by the learned Ambrose Bonwicke (1652–1722) [q. v.] (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 141). Kitto, however, says that Knatchbull’s remarks ‘are entirely wanting in depth, and we cannot read them without wonder at the small amount of knowledge which procured for their author such a widespread reputation’ (Cyclop. Bibl. ii. s.v.) ” – Dictionary of National Biography



Burkitt, William – Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, wherein the Sacred Text is at Large Recited, the Sense Explained, & the Instructive Example of the Blessed Jesus, & his Holy Apostles, to our Imitation Recommended, vols. 1, 2  (d. 1703)

Burkitt (1650-1703) was an Anglican.

**  ‘I must not omit upon the New Testament the goodly volume of Burkitt.  If you can get him cheap, buy him.  He is the celebrated ‘Rector’ whom [Benjamin] Keach [a reformed baptist] ‘rectified’ in the matter of infant baptism.  Burkitt is somewhat pithy, and for a modern rather rich and racy, but he is far from deep, and is frequently common-place.  I liked him well enough till I had read abler works and grown older.  Some books grow upon us as we read and re-read them, but Burkitt does not.  Yet so far from depreciating the good man, I should be sorry to have missed his acquaintance, and would bespeak for him your attentive perusal.’  ‘We liked Burkitt better when we were younger.  He is, however, a homely and spiritual writer, and his work is good reading for the many.’ – Spurgeon

“The first edition of this deservedly popular work was printed early in the last century; and its practical utility has caused it to be several times reprinted in folio, besides the above noticed editions in 4to. and 8vo.  It does not profess to discuss critical questions, but is very useful for the inferences it deduces from the sacred text.  Burkitt (says Dr. Doddridge) ‘has many schemes of old sermons; his sentiments vary in different parts of the work, as the authors from whom he took his materials were orthodox or not.’…” – Thomas Hartwell Horne



Girdlestone, Charles – The New Testament, with a Commentary consisting of Short Lectures for the Daily use of Families, vols. 1 (Mt-Jn), 2 (Acts-Rev)  (1835)

**  ‘Profitable household reading.’ – Spurgeon

Cumming, John – Sabbath Evening Readings, Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Acts, Rom, 1 &2 Cor, Gal-Phi, Col-Thess, Tim-Phi, Heb, Jam-Jd, Rev  (†1881)

Cumming (1807–1881) was a Scot who served as minister to a Church of Scotland congregation in London.

**  ‘Dr. Cumming is always evangelical, and his style is very attractive.  These works are rather for popular reading than for students; but they are good as a whole, and their spirit is excellent.  The doctor has written too fast, and borrowed too much; but he interests and edifies.’ – Spurgeon



Useful Commentaries  8+


Aquinas, Thomas

A Golden Chain on Mt, Mk, Lk & Jn

1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians (mis-titled)

1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy



Beza, Theodore – The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, translated out of Greek by Beza, with Brief Summaries & Expositions upon the Hard Places  **  (1599)

The margin notes are very brief and sometimes sparse; hence the reason for this not being rated higher.  Various Latin editions of this work have a much fuller commentary.

***  ‘The compact marginal notes are still most useful.  The possessor of this old black letter Testament may think himself happy.’ – Spurgeon



a Lapide, Cornelius – The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide, vol. 1 (Mt 1-9), 2 (Mt 10-21), 3 (Mt 22-28, Mk), 4 (Lk), 5 (Jn 1-11), 6 (Jn 12-21, 1-3 Jn), 7 (1 Cor), 8 (2 Cor-Gal)  (1908)

a Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish, Catholic, Jesuit priest.  “The commentaries of Cornelius a Lapide are held in great esteem by learned men, especially the commentaries on the Pentateuch and on the Epistles of St. Paul, which have been considered the chef d’oeuvres of erudition.” – James Darling

Ainsworth, William – Medulla Bibliorum, the Marrow of the Bible, or a Logical-Theological Analysis of Every Several Book of the Holy Scripture, together with so many English Poems, Containing the Heads or Contents of Every Several Chapter in Every such Book  (London, 1652)

Ainsworth (fl. 1652) was a reformed, Anglican, to be distinguished from Henry Ainsworth (1569-1622).

Hammond, Henry – A Paraphrase & Annotations upon All the Books of the New Testament, Briefly Explaining All the Difficult Places Thereof, vols. 1 (Mt- Acts), 2 (Rom-Rev), 3 (Mt-Acts), 4 (Rom-Rev)  (1659)  Vols. 1-2 are the paraphrase of the N.T., vols. 3-4 are the annotations, or commentary on the N.T.

Hammond was an Arminian Anglican, though Matthew Henry found him profitable enough to refer to him 96 times in his commentary.

**  ‘Though Hammond gives a great deal of dry criticism, and is Arminian, churchy, and peculiar, we greatly value his addition to our stores of biblical information.  Use the sieve and reject the chaff.’ – Spurgeon

“The first edition of this valuable work appeared in 1653: it is in great and growing reputation.  There are many good criticisms, but many that are much mistaken.  Dr. Hammond ‘finds the Gnostics everywhere, which is his principal fault: many of [Jean] Le Clerc’s animadversions upon those places are very good; and his [Le Clerc’s] edition of his book in Latin I think much preferable to the original.’ (Dr. Doddridge.)” – Thomas Hartwell Horne

Gell, Robert – Gell’s Remains, or, Several Select Scriptures of the New Testament Opened & Explained, wherein Jesus Christ, as yesterday, today, & the same for ever, is illustrated, in sundry pious & learned notes & observations thereupon, in Two Volumes  (1676)

Gell (1595-1665) was reformed and was English.



Whitby, Daniel – A Paraphrase & Commentary on the New Testament, vols. 1 (Mt-Acts), 2 (Rom-Rev)  (1703)

Though Whitby (1637-1726) was an Arminian Anglican, Matthew Henry found him profitable enough to refer to him in his commentary 52 times.

“Divines of every denomination concur in pronouncing Dr. Whitby’s commentary to be, upon the whole, the best upon the New Testament that is extant in the English language.  It is inserted in almost every list of books that we have seen recommended to students.” – Thomas Hartwell Horne

Lindsay, John – New Testament with Notes Selected from Grotius, Hammond, etc.  (1736)

‘A condensation of other writers.  Very well done.’ – Spurgeon

Dodd, William – A Commentary on the New Testament  Dodd commented on the whole Bible, but only the N.T. is online.

Dodd (1729–1777) was an Anglican of not always good repute.

‘A valuable commentary, founded on the manuscript collections of Cudworth, Waterland and Clarendon, to which Dodd has judiciously added considerably from Calmet and others.’ – James Darling

*  ‘An almost forgotten production of the unhappy Dodd.  It is founded on the manuscript collections of Cudworth, Waterland, Clarendon, and others.  Not very likely to quicken piety, or inspire spiritual thought; yet, as Adam Clarke thought very highly of it, and Dr. Coke appropriated it, it must have some value.’ – Spurgeon

Marchant, John – An Exposition on the Books of the New Testament: Extracted from the Writings of the Best Authors, Antient & Modern; in which Difficult Texts are Explained, many Mis-Translations rectify’d, & seeming Contradictions reconciled. The Whole render’d of singular Advantage to Persons of every Religion & Capacity; & designed to Promote the Knowledge of the Scriptures & the Practice of Sincere Piety & Virtue  (London, 1743)



Townsend, George – The New Testament Arranged in Chronological & Historical Order with Copious Notes on the Principal Subjects in Theology, vols. 1 (to the Ascension), 2 (from the Ascension)  (1827)

**  ‘This harmony has always been in repute; but we confess we like the New Testament best as we find it.’ – Spurgeon

ed. Schaff, Philip – A Popular Commentary on the New Testament, vols. 1 (Mt–Lk), 2 (Jn–Acts), 3 (Rom–Phile), 4 (Heb–Rev)  (1879)

The commentary is good enough, but could be better: it lacks spiritual profundity and fervor.  Schaff, the famed Church historian and N.T. scholar, came from a German-Reformed background, though was also the lead proponent of the High-Church Mercersburg Theology.  In this work Schaff provides the Introduction to the N.T. and comments on Matthew, Romans and Galatians.  David Brown, the solidly reformed Free Church of Scotland scholar,  comments on 1 &2 Corinthians.  Some of the big name quasi-liberal scholars that also contributed include: William Milligan, William Moulton, Paton Gloag and S.D.F. Salmond.

Abbott, John & Jacob – The Illustrated New Testament  (1881)  being a commentary via footnotes on the New Testament.  The original version was entitled the Pictorial New Testament, as it had numerous interspersed pictures.

John Abbott was a Congregationalist minister (educated at Andover Theological Seminary) in Massachusetts, a historian and wrote on a wide variety of subjects.  His brother, Jacob, was an American writer of children’s books.



IVP New Testament Commentary

A contemporary, evangelical commentary by Inter-Varsity Press.  Very brief notes.



Technical Commentaries  10+


Alford, Henry

The Greek Testament: Critical Exegetical Commentary, all 4 vols. in one.  Originally published in four parts from 1849-1861, revised from 1863-1878

***  “Alford’s Greek Testament, ‘for the use of Theological Students and Ministers’ is an invaluable aid to the critical study of the text of the New Testament.  You will find in it the ripened results of a matured scholarship, the harvesting of a judgment, generally highly impartial, always worthy of respect, which has gleaned from the most important fields of Biblical research, both modern and ancient, at home and abroad.

You will not look here for any spirituality of thought or tenderness of feeling; you will find the learned Dean does not forget to do full justice to his own views, and is quite able to express himself vigorously against his opponents; but for what it professes to be, it is an exceedingly able and successful work.  The latter issues are by far the most desirable, as the author has considerably revised the work in the fourth edition.  What I have said of his Greek Testament applies equally to Alford’s New Testament for English Readers, which is also a standard work.” – Spurgeon

“Not spectacular, but provides considerable help in areas where there are few capable commentaries.  Premillennial.  Anglican.” – Cyril Barber

The New Testament for English Readers, with a Critical & Explanatory Commentary, vols. 1 (Mt-Lk), 2 (Jn-Acts), 3 (Rom-Phile), 4 (Heb-Rev)  (1868)

*** – Spurgeon

How to Study the New Testament, vols 1 (Mt-Acts), 2 (Epistles, 1st section), 3 (Epistles, 2 section-Rev)  (1867)

***  ‘All critics speak of Alford with respect…  He is, for the present at any rate, indispensable to the student of the original.  With some faults, he has surpassing excellencies.  We specially commend ‘How to Study the New Testament’ to the careful reading of young ministers.’ – Spurgeon

Bengel, Johann – Gnomon of the New Testament

***  “The Gnomon of the New Testament, by John Albert Bengel, is the scholar’s delight.  He selected the title as modest and appropriate, intending it in the sense of a pointer or indicator, like the sun-dial; his aim being to point out or indicate the full force and meaning of the words and sentences of the New Testament.  He endeavors to let the text itself cast its shadow on his page, believing with Luther that ‘the science of theology is nothing else but grammar exercised on the words of the Holy Spirit.’

The editor of the translation published by Messrs. Clarke, says in his preface:

“It is quite superfluous to write in praise of the Gnomon of Bengel.  Ever since the year in which it was first published, A.D. 1742, up to the present time, it has been more and more widely circulated among the scholars of all countries.  Though modern criticism has furnished many valuable additions to our materials for New Testament exegesis, yet, in some respects, Bengel stands out still ‘facile princeps’ among all who have labored, or who as yet labor in that important field.

He is unrivalled in felicitous brevity, combined with what seldom accompanies that excellence, namely, perspicuity.  Terse, weighty, and suggestive, he often, as a modern writer observes, ‘condenses more matter into a line, than can be extracted from pages of other writers.’”

“In the passages which form the subject of controversy between Calvinists and Arminians, Bengel takes the view adopted by the latter, and in this respect I do not concur with him.  But whilst he thus gives an undue prominence, as it would seem to me, to the responsibility and freedom of man in these passages, yet, in the general tenor of his work, there breathe[s] such a holy reverence for God’s sovereignty, and such spiritual unction, that the most extreme Calvinist would, for the most part, be unable to discover to what sections of opinions he attached himself, and as to the controverted passages, would feel inclined to say, ‘Quum talis sis, utinam noster esses.’”

Men with a dislike for thinking had better not purchase the five precious volumes, for they will be of little use to them; but men who love brain-work will find fine exercise in spelling out the deep meaning of Bengel’s excessively terse sentences.  His principles of interpretation stated in his ‘Essay on the Right Way of Handling Divine Subjects,’ are such as will make the lover of God’s word feel safe in his hands:

‘Put nothing into the Scriptures, but draw everything from them, and suffer nothing to remain hidden, that is really in them.’

‘Though each inspired writer has his own manner and style, one and the same Spirit breathes through all, one grand idea pervades all.’

‘Every divine communication carries (like the diamond) its own light with it, thus showing whence it comes; no touchstone is required to discriminate it.’

‘The true commentator will fasten his primary attention on the letter (literal meaning), but never forget that the Spirit must equally accompany him; at the same time we must never devise a more spiritual meaning for Scripture passages than the Holy Spirit intended.’

‘The historical matters of Scripture, both narrative and prophecy, constitute as it were the bones of the its system, whereas the spiritual matters are as its muscles, blood-vessels, and nerves.  As the bones are necessary to the human system, so Scripture must have its historical matters.  The expositor who nullifies the historical ground-work of Scripture for the sake of finding only spiritual truths everywhere, brings death on all correct interpretations.  Those expositions are the safest which keep closest to the text.’

His idea of the true mode of dying touched me much when I first saw it.  He declared that he would make no spiritual parade of his last hours, but if possible continue at his usual works, and depart this life as a person in the midst of business leaves the room to attend to a knock at the door.  Accordingly he was occupied with the correction of his proof-sheets as at other times, and the last messenger summoned him to his rest while his hands were full.

This reveals a calm, well-balanced mind, and unveils many of those singular characteristics which enabled him to become the laborious recensor of the various MSS., and the pioneer of true Biblical criticism.” – Spurgeon

“An old work which contains valuable insights into the Greek of the NT and is still sought after today.” – Cyril Barber

ed. Blackley, W.L. & James Hawes – The Critical English Testament: an Adaption of Bengel’s Gnomon, with Notes, showing the Results of Modern Criticism & Exegesis, vols. 1 (Gospels), 2 (Acts- 2 Thess), 3 (1 Tim-Rev)  (1869)

‘The editors of this valuable work have put before the English reader the results of the labors of more than twenty eminent commentators.  He who uses the book will find that he is reading Bengel’s suggestive ‘Gnomon,’ modifying it by the critical investigations of Tischendorf and Alford, and comparing it with the exegetical works of De Wette, Meyer, Olshausen, and others, and adding to it also profound remarks and glowing sayings from [R.C.] Trench and [Rudolph] Stier.’ – Evangelical Magazine  [Note that all the persons mentioned but the last two were liberals.]

***  ‘We have heard this opinion [above] questioned; but with all discounts the book is a good one.’  – Spurgeon

‘A critical new testament, so compiled as to enable a reader, unacquainted with Greek, to ascertain the exact English force and meaning of the language of the New Testament, and to appreciate the latest results of modern criticism.’ – from the work

‘Such is the professed aim of this commentary, and the compilers have very fairly carried out their intentions.  The whole of Bengel’s ‘Gnomon’ is bodily transferred into the work, and as one hundred and twenty years have elapsed since the first issue of that book, it may be supposed that much has since been added to the wealth of Scripture exposition; the substance of this has been incorporated in brackets, so as to bring it down to the present advanced state of knowledge.  We strongly advise the purchase of this book, as it is multum in parvo [much in a little], and will well repay an attentive perusal.  Tischendorf and Alford have contributed largely, with other German and English critics, to make this one of the most lucid and concise commentaries on the text and teachings of the New Testament.’ – Spurgeon

Bloomfield, Samuel T.

The Greek Testament, with English Notes Chiefly Original, Critical, Philological & Exegetical, vols. 1 (Mt-Acts), 2 (Rom-Rev)  1836

The English commentary is by way of footnotes on the Greek text, so it may be a bit difficult for non-Greek readers to use.

***  ‘I must confess also a very tender side towards Bloomfield’s Greek Testament, and I am singular enough to prefer it in some respects to Alford; at least, I have got more out of it on some passages, and I think it does not deserve to be regarded as superseded.’  ‘We frequently get more from Bloomfield than from Alford, though he is not so fashionable.  His notes are full of teaching.’ – Spurgeon

A Synoptic Recension of Sacred Annotations, being a Critical Digest & Synoptical Arrangement of the most important Annotations on the New Testament, exegetical, philological & doctrinal, collected from commentators both ancient and modern, the whole accompanied with a copious body of original annotations, vols. 1 (Mt), 2 (Mk-Lk), 3 (Jn), 4 (Acts 1-19), 5 (Acts 20-Rom 9), 6 (Rom 10-1 Cor), 7 (2 Cor-Phi), 8 (Col-Jude)  1826  Revelation is not commented on.

The verses of the New Testament commented on are in Greek without an English translation.

*** – Spurgeon

‘It would be impossible to convey to our readers an adequate idea of the mass of information which the learned author has brought to bear upon the numerous passages which he has undertaken to illustrate, and we can safely say, that the enquirer will find very few of which Mr. Bloomfield has not given a complete and satisfactory exposition.’ – Quarterly Theological Review

See the comments of Thomas Hartwell Horne on p. 305 of A Manual of Biblical Bibliography.

Bowyer, William – Critical Conjectures & Observations on the New Testament : Collected from Various Authors…  4th ed.  (London, 1812)

Farrar, Frederic W.

The Life of Christ  (1874)

***  ‘THE work upon the subject.  Fresh and full.  The price is very high, and yet the sale has been enormous.’ – Spurgeon

The Life & Work of St. Paul  (1879)

The Early Days of Christianity  (1882)

These volumes amount to a commentary on the whole New Testament.

Meyer, Heinrich – Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament  (1832-1859)

Liberal, but an irreplaceable, nearly-exhaustive resource.  Focused especially on the grammatical-historical method of interpretation.

**  ‘A very learned Commentary, of which Bishop Ellicott speaks in the highest terms.  Meyer must be placed in the first class of scholars, though somewhat lower down in the class than his admirers have held.

Apart from scholarship we do not commend him.  Alford was certainly no very rigid adherent of orthodoxy, yet he says of Meyer that he is not to be trusted where there is any room for the introduction of rationalistic opinions.  Whatever credit may be due to him for accurate interpretation, this is a terribly serious drawback.  It is well to be warned.’ – Spurgeon

“Marked by the finest scholarship.  Close attention is paid to critical details, and theology is blended with exegesis in expounding the text.” – Cyril Barber

Trollope, William – Analecta Theologica: A Critical, Philological & Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Adapted to the Greek Text, Compiled & Digested from the Most Approved Sources, British & Foreign, vols. 1 (Mt-Lk), 2 (Jn-Jude)  2nd. ed.  (1830; 1842)

Greek phrases are commented on from each verse.  Sometimes they are translated into English, sometimes not.

**  ‘A condensation of the opinions of eminent expositors, very well executed, and useful except so far as superseded by more modern works.’ – Spurgeon

See the comments of Thomas Hartwell Horne on p. 305 of A Manual of Biblical Bibliography.

Valpy, Edward – The New Testament with English Notes, Critical, Philological & Explanatory, vol. 1 (Mt-Mk), 2 (Jn-Cor), 3 (Gal-Rev)  (London, 1826)  This contains the Greek NT with commentary by way of footnotes in English and some Greek and Latin.

Valpy (1764–1832) was an English cleric, classical scholar and schoolteacher.  See also Catalogue of the Library of the Rev. Dr. Valpy.

See the commendatory remarks of Thomas Hartwell Horne upon this volume on p. 300-1 of A Manual of Biblical Bibliography.



Nicoll, W. Robertson – The Expositor’s Greek Testament, vols. 1 (Mt-Jn), 2 (Acts-1 Cor), 3 (2 Cor-Col), 4 (Thess-Jm), 5 (Pet-Rev)  (1910)

Very technical and liberal.  The Biblical text is in Greek.  Some of the big name liberals include: A.B. Bruce, Marcus Dods, James Denney, G. Findlay, S. Salmond, A.S. Peake, James Moffatt, and J.B. Mayor.

“Weak in theology, and somewhat dated, but provides some good exegetical insights on each of the epistles of the NT.” – Cyril Barber

Zerwick, S.J., Max & Mary Grosvenor – A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament  (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1988)  825 pp.  no ToC  Abbr  Glossary

This is an in-text commentary through the New Testament concisely commenting on significant Greek words and constructions.



The New Testament Use of the Old Testament


Junius, Francis – Book of Sacred Parallels  (d. 1602; 1607)  in vol. 2 of Douglas Judisch, A Translation & Edition of the Sacrorum Parallelorum Liber Primus of Franciscus Junius: a Study in Sixteenth Century Hermeneutics  PhD Diss. St. Andrews  (1979)  Junius’s work covers Matt-Acts.  His Preface to the work is in vol. 3.  Vol. 1 is Judisch’s analysis of Junius’s work.

Abstract:  “The earlier scouts in this region often remind us that they are travelling in the pioneering footsteps of Franciscus Junius.  Thus, Andreas Kesler in the seventeenth century makes use of the Sacri Paralleli, as does the great Surenhusius of Amsterdam in the eighteenth century…  Yet, more recent surveys of past literature on the bi-testamental passages omit any mention of the original spade-work in the field.  Ellis, for example, begins his summary of “the more direct study of NT quotations” with the notes which Drusius wrote around 1594.  No account of such research, however, can justly pass over the thorough work of Franciscus Junius.  Some have considered it, with good reason, the most important book of one of the most influential exegetes in the Age of Orthodoxy.  As Cuno observes, the Sacri Paralleli were truly epoch-making in the history of exegesis.

The present study of the Sacrorum Parallelorum Liber Primus begins with a rather full account of the life of Junius…  There follow discussions of this rationale, the history of the Sacri Paralleli and the various editions, and the hermeneutical principles employed by Junius in the Liber Primus.”

ed. Carson, D.A. & G.K. Beale – Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament  Buy  (2007)  1,275 pp.  ToC

Only the portions of the N.T. that refer to the O.T. are treated.  Each passage treated is an academic essay (quoting lots of journal articles) covering:

(A) the N.T. context,
(B) the O.T. context,
(C) Its use in Jewish Sources,
(D) Textual Background,
(E) the Hermeneutic employed, and
(F) the Theological Use made of the text.

The work will be of interest to the specialist and there is none other like it, but it is as dry as sawdust and of little use to the layman or preacher other than for interpretive purposes (and even then the work is far from infallible).



Hofmann, Immanuel – A Gospel Demonstration, Declaring by themselves the Consent of the Scriptures from the Oracles of the Old Testament Cited in the New, edited & Illustrated with Observations, vol. 1, 2  (Tubingen, 1773?)

Hofmann (1710-1772).  T. G. Hegelmaier, who edited this work after the decease of the author, prefixed to it a life of Hoffmann, and an excursus on the right method of interpreting the quotations made from the O.T. in the New.

Orme: “full of learning, and in general very judicious.” — Kitto, Bib. Cyclop. 2.318



The Early Church on the New Testament

See also our pages of commentaries on each of the individual books of the New Testament.  Most of them have sections on the Early Church for each book of the New Testament.


Wilson, William – An Illustration of the Method of Explaining the New Testament by the Early Opinions of Jews & Christians Concerning Christ  (1797)

**  ‘Follows a deeply interesting line of investigation.  It is not a commentary, but is too good to be omitted.’ – Spurgeon

Early Christian Writings on the New Testament: Compiled Allusions to the NT from the Ante-Nicene Fathers HTML, this is a compilation of referenced to N.T. verses from the early church fathers, organized as a commentary on the Biblical books




Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible Commentaries

Commentaries on Individual New Testament Books

Old Testament Commentaries