Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

How to Find the Best Commentaries

The best commentaries might be easier to find than you think.

I absolutely love reading biblical commentaries. We should be thankful that some are called to Ph.D. studies and dedicate their lives to serious study to bless the church with such resources. But since there are a host of commentaries to choose from, how do you know which ones to buy?

Best commentaries

When it comes to the best commentaries, you can find a few options below that will provide some helpful gudiance.

How to Find the Best Commentaries

1. A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works: 10th Edition by John Evans

This book is one I recently discovered. I was in the library looking for a good commentary on Numbers when the librarian showed me this resource. I was excited to learn about it and frustrated that I didn’t already know about it (bloggers take these things personally). What does this book do?

In this book, “John F. Evans, summarizes and briefly analyzes all recent and many older commentaries on each book of the Bible, giving insightful comments on the approach of each commentary and its interpretive usefulness especially for evangelical interpreters of the Bible.”

The book is in its 10th edition and is updated every 3-4 years. This edition was published in 2016. Evans has an affinity for commentaries and is able to point pastors and church leaders in the correct direction with his book.

2.New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. Carson

In this book, Carson shows you how to pick a good commentary on any New Testament book. This is the 7th edition of the book. The strength of the book is that it’s, well, D.A. Carson, and he is perhaps the best New Testament scholar alive and is more than competent to help.

3. Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman

Just like the blurb says: “Leading Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III provides students and pastors with expert guidance on choosing a commentary for any book of the Old Testament. The fifth edition has been updated to assess the most recently published commentaries, providing evaluative comments. Longman lists a number of works available for each book of the Old Testament, gives a brief indication of their emphases and viewpoints, and evaluates them. The result is a balanced, sensible guide for those who preach and teach the Old Testament and need help in choosing the best tools.”

4. Bestcommentaries.com

I love this site. This is a site that “combines reviews and ratings from journals, books, and users to create an aggregate ranking for Biblical commentaries.”

In other words, they have a ranking system, which they explain: “Each commentary receives a score. The higher the score, the better the commentary. The score is given based on reviews from scholars, journal reviews, and site users. It’s a quick and easy way to filter through and find the best commentary on each book of the Bible.”

But not only commentaries, you can also find the best theological books on essentially any topic of interest. It’s a site worth perusing.

5. Ligonier Ministries

Dr. Keith Mathison, professor of systematic theology at Reformation Bible college, provides his top five commentaries for each book of the Bible.

6. Desiring God

What commentaries do John Piper and the Desiring God crew recommend? You’ll find good guidance by clicking on this button:

7. Challies

A trusted source for many, Tim Challies points you to the best commentaries on each book of the Bible.

8. Goodreads

While many of these voters do not have theological credentials, honest reviews from a layperson’s perspective can be worth reading.

Well, hopefully, you’ll find a few helpful resources in this post. Don’t be afraid to ask your pastor for his opinion. Or even your friends who read theology. Sometimes the best recommendation is from a personal friend.

Finally, remember that while imperfect commentaries are massively helpful, nothing quite compares with the perfect Word of God. Commentaries are merely supplemental. As  Dr. Jay Sklar likes to say, “Start with the Bible, not with the commentaries.”

You may also like: 

The Tools I Use in Everyday Life

Books, Resources, and Bible Reading Plans for Teens

Christian Resources on Homosexuality

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more>