Commentaries: An Introduction

Commentaries: An Introduction

Commentaries: An Introduction 150 150 Andrew Hicks

This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive. It is more of an on-going project than a finished product, but I publish it while it is still en route hoping that maybe it will benefit someone along the way. If nothing else, it forces me to begin. Otherwise I may put it off forever. Mistakes will happen! And that’s ok! (I’m an Enneagram 1… can you tell?)

The purpose of this introduction is to give a general overview of commentaries and their usage as well as point toward resources that are often used in conjunction with commentaries and Biblical Studies The primary audience I have in mind is academic students of the Bible. Specifically, I am attempting to create an annotated list of what is out there and what is standard in the field of Biblical Studies for the purposes of research. I am attempting to create the kind of resource that I wish I had when I was beginning my journey in the academic study of scripture. I hope to be able to point friends and others to this page as it is completed over time. It will be a while before I am able to annotate every item on this list. Until then, the list itself will have to serve as a resource helping to show what is out there. Students who find this list before it is completed will have to do research on each resource for themselves to determine if it fits their needs.


To begin, it is helpful to familiarize oneself with the commentary series that are most prominent and renowned. There are certain commentaries, you will find in your research, that are simply “musts” in the crafting of a research project of any kind. Not all of the volumes in any series are created equal, but the prestige of certain given series of commentaries are such that any standard theological library will carry the volumes of that series. All of the series that will be included in this list are of the highly technical, historical, and critical nature. We will begin with the series that contain volumes for every book of the Bible and move toward items that are either not necessarily commentaries, but still worth consulting alongside commentaries or items that comment on only one of the testaments. 

  • The Yale Anchor Bible:
  • Hermeneia: 
  • Word Biblical Commentary: 
  • The International Critical Commentary: 
  • Old/New Testament Library: 
  • Contental Commentaries:
  • New Collegeville Bible Commentary: 
  • Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old/New Testament: 
  • Baker Exegetical Commentary on the Old/New Testament:
  • New Cambridge Bible Commentary:
  • New International Commentary on the Old/New Testament: 
  • Wisdom Commentary: 
  • Baylor Handbooks: 
  • Exegetical Guides to the Greek New Testament: 
  • Black’s New Testament Commentaries: 
  • Paideia New Testament Commentaries:
  • Pillar New Testament Commentaries: 
  • Reading the New Testament in Context:
  • Reading the New Testament: 
  • Sacra Pagina
  • New International Greek Testament Commentaries:
  • The Jewish Publication Society Commentary:
  • Berit Olam: 

Other commentaries series are useful and volumes from them should be referenced in research if the information is pertinent to the research project at hand. The items in this list are a blend of technical, historical, pastoral, and popular. As with the previous list all the more with this one: not all volumes are created equal. Many of these series have a volume on one book of the Bible that is more technical while maintaining pastoral and popular application while also containing volumes that are not at all technical and primarily popular. Use these series with due caution in research.

  • NIV Application Commentary:
  • Tyndale Old/New Testament Commentary:
  • Understanding the Bible Commentary: 
  • New Covenant Commentary: 
  • Through Old Testament Eyes: 
  • The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 
  • The Bible Speaks Today:
  • Feasting on the Word: 
  • Westminster Bible Companion: 
  • Fortress Commentary on the Bible: 
  • Abingdon Old/New Testament Commentary: 
  • Interpretation:
  • Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible: 
  • Brazos Theological Commentary on Scripture: 
  • Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: 

Typically, one should not consult one-volume commentaries in research, but there are a few notable exceptions. Notice that the items in this list are volumes containing multiple contributors. This is a key distinction when deciding whether or not to use a one-volume commentary.

  • Women’s Bible Commentary: 
  • Queer Bible Commentary: 
  • The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora
  • True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary
  • Global Bible Commentary: 
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary: 
  • Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament:

This final list of commentaries are in the pastoral and popular categories, but may be helpful fo ra research project depending on the nature of the project. This list would also be helpful for pastors and other ministers who are seeking commentary to help in their preparation. Excluded from this list are commentary series by only one person with two notable exceptions (see details below).

  • Two Horizons Bible Commentary
  • Story of God Bible Commentary: 
  • Teach the Text Commentary: 
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary:
  • The New Testament for Everyone: 
  • The Old Testament for Everyone: 

Commentary Usage

Other Things

This is a catch-all cateogory for things that are not commentaries, but are frequently used in close conjunction with them. This list contains mostly things like monograph series, handbook series, and similar items. This list excludes introductions, surveys, and bible studies.

  • Discovering Biblical Texts: 
  • T & T Clark Study Guides to the New Testament
  • Cascade Companions: 
  • Princeton Theological Monograph Series: 
  • Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in Church:
  • The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library: 
  • Society for New Testament Studies Monograph: 
  • Interpreting Biblical Texts: 
  • Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis: 
  • Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series: 
  • New Testament Theology: 
  • Old Testament Theology: 
  • The Lost World Series: 
  • Word Biblical Themes: 
  • Encountering Biblical Studies: 
  • The Library of New Testament Studies: 
  • The Bible for Normal People: 
  • The Cascade Companion to Pauline Studies: 
  • Essential Studies in Biblical Theology: 
  • Gender, Theory, and Religion: 
  • Oxford Handbooks: 
  • T & T Clark Handbooks: 


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