Commentaries On the Whole Bible

I. Synthetical

This section relates to commentaries of a more general, synthetical, survey-type treatment.

Baxter, J. Sidlow. Explore the Book. 6 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960. Also available unabridged in I volume, 1966.

Here is one of the best syntheses in lucid exposition by an outstanding and beloved Bible conference teacher of England who has had a wide ministry in the United States. There is a helpful overall view of each book in the Bible. The 1,600 page work is the result of more than 30 years of preaching. His treatment of Zechariah is very fine, and he is exceptionally good on Ephesians also.

The Beacon Bible Commentary. 10 volumes. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill, 1964-1968.

This major work of the Nazarene Church offers its readers a paragraph by paragraph (but not always verse by verse) study of Scripture with the King James Version text printed in bold face type. Though there is considerable use of the Hebrew and Greek, the commentary is primarily calculated to be an aid to the average layman. Among the top scholars in the Nazarene Church who contributed to the commentary are Drs. Ross Price (Isaiah) and Paul Gray (Jeremiah) of the Point Loma College (Nazarene).

Believers Church Bible Commentary. Various Vols. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press.

One finds a series geared more for lay readers and pastors wanting simple and broad explanation with some principles made plain. Vols. are helpful at times, not consistently, through a Bible book, and sometimes with material that does not reflect broad investigation. Frequently problem texts are passed over, and writers often do not show awareness of prophetic possibilities beyond their own amillennial perspectives, or problems premillennialists would raise hermeneutically This reviewer would go to many other works, expecting more frequent help. But for more elemental survey and practical issues (at times) products in this series offer some help.

The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1986ff.

Here are volumes attempting to give survey expositions of Bible books in a lucid way that explains passages concisely, deals with some problems, and seeks to show the practical import of principles. Writers often draw on considerable scholarly help for a competent evangelical product. Joyce Baldwin does The Message of Genesis 12-50 (1986). Derek Kidner contributes Love to the Loveless (Hosea) and A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance (Ecclesiastes). Michael Wilcock is fairly helpful on Chronicles, John Stott very good on Galatians and Ephesians, R. C. Lucas vital on Colossians and Philemon, etc. For lay readers and pastor-teachers desiring a readable tracing of the chain of thought, the volumes often offer much that refreshes.

Bible Study Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969.

This is a popular, usually brief set of evangelical commentaries designed for lay people but offering simple, quick surveys even for preachers, leaders of Bible groups, etc. The authors are well-known scholars, for the most part: Leon Wood (Daniel), Alan F. Johnson (Revelation), Leon Morris (Hebrews), Howard F. Vos (1, 2 Samuel), etc. Competence in aware scholarship is wedded with simplicity in synthesis, with comments of worth on some of the main problem texts.

Brown, Raymond, et al, editors. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990. 1,475 pp.

After 22 years this update of the Jerome Biblical Commentary has appeared to account for recent learning. It offers some of the cream of Roman Catholic scholarship on commentary and special articles on topics such as the Pentateuch, wisdom literature, prophetic scripture, apocalyptic, Hebrew poetry, apocryphal sources, Dead Sea scrolls, other Jewish literature, text and versions, modern Old Testament criticism, biblical archaeology, and religious institutions of Israel. It is about 60 per cent a replacement.

Bruce, F. F., General Editor, The International Bible Commentary. 1 volume. Revised edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. 1st published in 1979 as The New Layman's Commentary.

The old edition of this evangelical work used the RSV, the new version the NIV. Some of the writers on books are: Genesis (H. L. Ellisen), Psalms (Leslie Allen and John W. Baigent), Jeremiah (Donald Wiseman), Ezekiel (F. F. Bruce), Matthew (Ellisen again), Romans (Allen again), Hebrews (Gerald Hawthorne), Revelation (Bruce again). The book has introductory articles on the Old Testament and the New Testament and updates each 1979 article's bibliography. The product is aimed at lay people. It skips some verses and often is too thin. There is some focus on leading problem verses, as Isaiah 7:14.

Carter, Charles W. (Ed.). The Wesleyan Bible Commentary. 6 volumes. Grand Rapids: Baker.

Wesleyan scholars highly respected in nine evangelical denominations contributed to this attempt to make relevant in the 20th century scene the traditions of John Wesley and Adam Clarke. It is done with spiritual flavor and aware scholarship. Three volumes deal with Old Testament, three with the New Testament.

Crossway Classical Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The purpose is to reprint certain classic, old-time commentaries such as Thomas Manton's work on Jude. One gets quite an amount of good comment in using such works along with more recent and usually far better all-around commentaries on exegesis and application, minus some of the wandering.

Darby, John N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. 2nd edition. NY: Loizeaux, 1950.

Brief surveys of all 66 books (Genesis, pp. 20-83; Exodus, 84-143, etc.). Darby seeks only to give a short synopsis of the main subjects in each book, often so cursory it is of little use except as the most elemental summary for a beginner. The conviction is premillennial, as in Isaiah 64-65, Jeremiah 31-32, 33, Ezekiel 45-47, Daniel 2, 7, Rev. 3:10, chapter 20, etc.

Eason, Lawrence. The New Bible Survey. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963.

A 544-pp. popular-level evangelical work written as a survey for beginning students of Scripture which provides much helpful material for teachers. It is very useful.

Elwell, Walter, editor. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989. 1,229 pp.

The one-volume work is designed to help those without technical training understand, an aim already fulfilled by several commentaries which also were not done for scholars. Writers from many viewpoints are included, with no aim at unity (p. viii). Some of the better writers are: Genesis and Ezekiel (Victor Hamilton), Leviticus and Ezra/Nehemiah (Louis Goldberg), Joshua and Judges (Andrew Bowling), Ruth (R. K. Harrison), I and II Samuel (Herbert Wolf), Proverbs (R. K. Harrison), James (Douglas Moo), and Johannine Epistles (James B. DeYoung).

Focus on the Bible Commentaries. Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.

All of the vols. are of a survey type, usually well-organized to provide fairly good exposition to pastors wanting simple material, students seeking lighter discussion, or lay readers looking for refreshment in principles dealt out lucidly and quickly. One encounters very debatable opinions such as allegorizing by Brooks on the Song of Songs. In some cases very profitable, contributing exposition is consistent, as by R. Mayhue on the Thessalonian Epistles. On prophecy, such treatments as Fyall's on Daniel can really steer one afield into guesswork about the time or form of fulfillment the words convey, showing no grasp of a good natural hermeneutic to support in any solid way claims of what details mean.

Halley, H. Halley's Bible Handbook. Revised edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. 860 pp.

A much-used older evangelical handbook bringing together a brief commentary on Bible books, some key archaeological findings, historical background, maps, quotes, etc. It is helpful to a lay Bible teacher, Sunday School leader, or pastor looking for quick, pertinent information on a Bible book. This is the 72nd printing somewhat revised. Halley packed in much information. Unger's is better overall, but that is not to say that Halley's will not provide much help on basic information.

Henry, Carl F. H. The Biblical Expositor. 3 volumes. Philadelphia: Holman, 1960.

Sixty-five conservative scholars teamed up to produce this work which has brief outlines and general surveys of the Bible books. Authors are men like H. C. Leupold, Edward J. Young, Merrill C. Tenney and Merrill F. Unger. It is a good, broad synthesis, authored by outstanding men.

Holman Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.

A number of Bible books are represented now. Readers get a very well-packaged assortment of survey charts, main principles, panels, and cursory remarks on passages running through a Bible book. Generally comments offer help in a broad treatment, not elucidating a lot, and skipping much. Other series will provide more substance to those wanting material that addresses issues more fully and frequently. Those desiring simple survey attractively presented in a readable flow will get benefit here, but would draw more from the NIV Application Commentary, or any number of other reasonably simple expositions, old and new.

Interpretation. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.

The emphasis is on literary and theological points, offering help for the more academically minded, as Brown does on Ecclesiastes. Candidly, the reviewer did not find nearly as much help overall as in many other works, and realizes that this series at times will not enhance a high view of Scripture reliability that many believe is right. One often gets a scholar's theorizing in place of substantial explaining of what is in a text as it is, and respecting this so that light breaks forth in some way that can be defended as reasonable, while upholding Scripture's veracity.

Ironside, Henry A. The Ironside Collection (Joshua to Revelation). Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1987-89.

A famous Bible teacher much sought after a few decades back continues to minister after his departure, as A. C. Gaebelein, A. W. Pink, W. H. Griffith-Thomas and others. He is staunchly evangelical, showing good broad surveys based on diligent study, practical turns, even choice illustrations. In prophecy he is premillennial dispensational. The series now reprinted offers Joshua, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Isaiah through Malachi (various volumes), Matthew-Revelation (again different volumes). Many preachers have found that Ironside works, read along with heavier books on details of exegesis, help them see the sweep of the message and prime their spirits for practical relevance.

John Phillips Expository Commentary. Grand Rapids: Kregel.

This expositor's writings have been a simple, often illustrated practical help to many lay people as well as pastors and students. One can find surveys giving highlights in the flow of Genesis, Proverbs, the Minor Prophets, John, Revelation, etc. These serve in lighter study, and accomplish edifying work, while those wanting more meat can find simple panoramas and illustrations, but go elsewhere for more substantial help, as in exegesis and fuller exposition. In some cases, Phillips' material will be too scanty on really unfolding the text, though his illustrations are plenteous (and may be the only attraction that draws those who have access to the substantial works).

Liberty Bible Commentary, edited by Jerry Falwell et al. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983. 2,721 pp.

Liberty Baptist issued this evangelical work on the whole Bible. Some contributors are: S. R. Schroder (Genesis), James Borland (Exodus), Paul Fink (Minor Prophets) and Charles Feinberg, visiting lecturer (Revelation). It is frequently cursory but does have good surveys, handles some problems well, and offers a premillennial perspective on long-range prophecy as in the Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Matthew 24-25, the Thessalonian Epistles, and Revelation.

Luck, G. Coleman. The Bible Book by Book. Chicago: Moody, 1991.

A brief, simple but capable lay person's look at the historical outline and synthesis of each book by a long-time Moody Bible Institute professor. It is evangelical and premillennial. Sometimes it is fairly good, although overall J. Sidlow Baxter's Explore the Book offers more survey help.

MacDonald, William. Believer's Bible Commentary. Revised edition. Edited by Arthur Farstad. 2 volumes. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990.

This work, originally issued in 1983, is conservative and premillennial, written to help teachers, preachers and people in every walk of life with different views, explanation and application. The 2-column format runs verse by verse for the most part, usually in a helpfully knowledgeable manner, and there are several special sections such as "Prayer" in Acts and "Legalism" in Galatians. The premillennial view is evident on Acts 1:6, 3:20, Romans 11:26, Galatians 6:16, Revelation 20, etc.

Mays, James L. editor, Harper's Bible Commentary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. 1,326 pp.

Eighty-two scholars of the Society of Biblical Literature provide introductory essays and commentaries, The work's essays deal with such topics as reading and interpreting the Bible, Old Testament context, context of Apocrypha and New Testament, how the Bible relates to literature of the ancient near east and the Greco-Roman era, Jewish interpretation, and introductions to sections of the Bible such as Psalms and Wisdom, with a bibliography ending each. The work is shot through with leanings to a JEDP theory on some Old Testament books, Canaanite religious ideas, the view that Genesis 1-2 give conflicting creation accounts, etc.

Morgan, G. Campbell. An Exposition of the Whole Bible. Westwood, NJ: Revell, 1959.

Morgan deals with the Bible chapter by chapter, with nearly 300 words on each. He devotes 400 pages to the Old Testament, 150 to the New Testament. It is a stimulating broad evangelical coverage of Scripture, if the reader is looking for synthesis rather than detail. Morgan was a master expositor in the early part of this century. Some of the effort is so general it is of little help except to those looking for sketchy treatment. It is evangelical and premillennial. Morgan is better in such works as The Crises of the Christ.

A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. Edited by Reginald Fuller et al. Camden, NJ: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1969. 1,363 pp.

The work includes more than 30 introductory essays to Old Testament, New Testament and main sections, and surveys of all Bible books by Catholic scholars. Readers can see how Catholics explain passages, especially those where they often differ from Protestant writers on certain doctrines.

New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.

This series, employing commentators committed to inerrancy and careful scholarship written (usually) in quite lucid fashion, has flourished in the past decade. It features works on both the OT and NT. Contributors uphold a good standard in explaining passages, grappling with the Hebrew (OT) or Greek (NT) as in word studies and grammar, showing the relevance of customs and background, and resolving problem texts. They strike a good balance between giving synopses on each set of verses and then delving into details verse by verse. In most passages they seriously shed light on meaning, based on diligent study, as Rooker in Lev., Block on Judges, Bergen on 1 and 2 Samuel, Breneman on Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, and C. Blomberg on Matthew.

NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Works vary in this series, according to contributors, but often users gain well-studied synopses on sections of verses within a biblical book, comments on some of the main issues within a set of verses, and later copious suggestions of principles for applying main truths. Some of the better works are by S. Hafeman (2 Cor.), D. Bock (Luke), C. Blomberg (I Cor.), and A. Fernando (Acts). On prophetical books with passages about a blessed future for Israel, or in such a case as the Book of Revelation, one generally encounters blurred, generalized amillennial views that do not handle in any natural sense many of the details in the actual wording, if taken in the most obvious sense that the predictions seem to convey, and the biblical prophetical picture overall anticipates.

Phillips, John. Bible Explorer's Guide. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1987. 274 pp.

This general introductory work, evangelical in nature, has two sections, Hermeneutics and Helps. Under the first are 22 divisions such as studying Words, Figures of Speech, Culture, Context, Types, Parables, Prophecy, Devotional Rule, Application, Christ the Ultimate Key, etc. The section deals with a quick survey of the Bible, summary of Bible history, symbols, helpful books, etc. Phillips is well-known for his Exploring the New Testament series of clear, practical expositions of key books such as John and Romans. He is premillennial.

Preaching the Word. Wheaton: Crossway Books.

The editor of this series is R. Kent Hughes, pastor of the Wheaton College Church and contributor of many vols. that launched and sustained the effort. Some of Hughes' products deal with Mark, Ephesians, Colossians, and Hebrews. Recently Ryken has done Jeremiah and Lamentations. The vols. blend survey exposition with frequent illustrations that will help pastors, students, and lay people who use the treatments as catalysts for growth. The writing is stimulating, and shows messages preached through Bible books.

Richards, Lawrence O. The Teacher's Commentary. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1987. 1,110 pp.

This is an evangelical effort by a Dallas Seminary graduate to survey each book of the Bible and provide special material to help teachers of Sunday Schools, Bible study groups, and pastors teach on different sections. The special features are material to illustrate and apply, definitions of biblical and doctrinal terms, background, maps and charts, and teaching suggestions. Coverage of sections is very broad synthesis, picking out some key points and skipping a lot. Psalms 74-150 are given five and a half pages, Proverbs 10-31 and Ecclesiastes dealt with similarly, etc. Readers can be deeply agitated at how much is by passed. The work is set up in 2 columns with very readable type.

Scroggie, Graham, Know Your Bible. 2 volumes. Old Tappan, NJ: Revell.

The evangelical volumes are divided between the Old Testament and New Testament and include introductions and outlines for each book of the canon. The comments are pithy in the Scroggie tradition.

Smith, F. LeGard. The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (NIV). Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1984.

An evangelical professor at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles sought to arrange the Bible in sequence. He uses black print for Bible verses, red for frequent explanatory synopses, very frequent headings that pin-point concisely the subject of a paragraph, etc. Smith is also known for Out on a Broken Limb (Harvest House, 1986), answering Shirley MacLaine's New Age books Out on a Limb and Crystal Lies (Vine Books, 1989).

Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Handbook. Revised by Gary N. Larson. Chicago: Moody, 1984. 720 pp.

A former Professor of Old testament at Dallas Seminary, evangelical writer of many scholarly books, did this in his late years. He has sections on each Bible book, archaeology, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, between the testaments, the four gospels, epistles of Paul, how the Bible came to us, Bible statistics, outline of church history, creation stories, Ur of Abram's day, Egypt, Assyria, the Chaldean empire, demonism, miracles, Bethlehem, Dead Sea scrolls, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc. The work includes more than 20 charts and 30 maps and has color sections. Unger has good material at some points in surveying passages, dealing with certain problems, etc., and handles the long-range prophecies in a premillennial way. Often he is very cursory.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy Zuck (eds.). Bible Knowledge Commentary. 2 volumes. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983-1985.

A work entirely by Dallas Seminary faculty aiming at a consistent theology, conservative and premillennial. Contributors write on every verse or group of verses, use Hebrew and Greek expertise, deal with problem passages, and provide historical settings. The work varies in quality from book to book as some of the contributors are from departments of biblical expertise and some not. Most books are done well in a concise yet well-informed manner. Notable exceptions at many points are the treatments of Hebrews and John's Epistles, which have strange, different twists on verses, advocating a "non-Lordship salvation."

Welwyn Commentary. Auburn, WA: Evangelical Press.

The series serves the purpose of providing readable surveys of Bible books, giving frequent principles and illustrations. It seems primarily useful for those wanting a simple, broad flow through a book, without spending much time on problem verses or giving views (generally). In treatment, it is hit or miss, sometimes up, sometimes down. Writers tend not to be much informed, or informed at all about premillennial interpretations of key biblical passages, as explanations are amillennial and issues blurred. This reviewer does not consider the vols. nearly as helpful in really explaining passages as many other commentaries do. One can compare D. Thomas on Isaiah with J. Alec Motyer in either of his two works on Isa., even with the shorter, less technical effort, and he will see the vast difference in what is explained and what is left out.

Wesley, John. John Wesley's Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press of Zondervan Publishing House, 1990. 612 pp.

Wesley (1703-1791) originally published Explanatory Notes on the New Testament (1755) and had 3 volumes on the Old Testament (1765-66), 3,682 pp., all told. Here now is a one-volume condensation by G. R. Schoenhals, who for ten years had been editorial director of the Free Methodist Publishing House. Wesley drew a lot of help from works of his day such as Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, and John Bengel (New Testament). Wesley adds much from his pastoral concern. He felt that Henry's work (6 large volumes) was too long, heavy and expensive for the common person (p. 8). The editor, seeing that Wesley's own work would today cost more than $100, did the abridgement! He left out the Bible text, some of the technical material, and other things to trim the work to about one-sixth.

Westminster Bible Companion. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.

Here is a series which claims to be readable for lay people. When one seriously considers the heavy level of content that comes at times, he can question that. Bruegemann on Isaiah is more for scholarly intake, dealing with setting, exegesis, and theology. Some denials of things many conservatives accept will disturb them. For example, Bruegemann denies that NT authority in Matt. 1 can be part of validly explaining Isaiah 7:14. Clements on Ezekiel and Long on Matthew are other examples of skeptical opinion given in place of explanation that enhances parts of God's Word. In contrast to all those who think they profit from such efforts, many will turn to what they regard as sources that uphold the Scripture more consistently.

II. Analytical

Commentaries here are of a more detailed, specific nature in discussing the text of Scripture.

The Anchor Bible, ed. by W. F. Albright and D. N. Freedman. NY: Doubleday, 1964.

Several volumes are out in this basically liberal work, The format includes an introduction, original translation, notes and commentary. Speiser's work on Genesis (1964) is an example. Though rejecting the unity of Genesis, he has a lucid translation and notes which abound in rich grammatical, philological and historical value. However, the work sometimes lacks spiritual illumination. The series was conceived with a plan to include Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant authors. There is a wealth of information and fine documentation of rich sources. Some of the work is outstanding, e.g. Jacob Myers (1, 11 Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah), Raymond Brown (John), etc.

Barnes, Albert. Barnes' Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975rp.

This includes 16 volumes on the Old Testament, 11 on the New Testament. The New Testament part of this old work was first published in 1832-1851. Various authors contributed. It is evangelical and amillennial. Also see the Kregel reprint (1966) in I volume of 1,776 pages on the New Testament. Often the explanations of verses are very worthwhile.

Bewer, Julius A. (Ed.). Annotated Bible Series. NY: Harper, 1949.

This is a critical approach by liberal men who use the King James Version throughout.

Bible Student's Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981.

This is an effort of Baker to offer a translation of the Korte Verklaring, a well-respected conservative commentary among the Dutch in various parts of the globe as early as the 1930's with an updating in some instances in the 50's and 60's. The set is prepared for lay readers without knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, and little grasp of critical issues. Baker has edited the NIV text into the commentary. Even scholars have a healthy respect for the usually solid explanation and exegetical insights reflected here. Some of the contributors are G. Charles Aalders (Genesis, 2 volumes) and A. Noordtzij (Leviticus; Numbers).

Black, M. and H. H. Rowley (eds.). Peake's Commentary on the Bible. New York: Thomas Nelson, 1962.

The new Peake's has some contributions by good scholars (usually liberal) that are especially helpful at points, e.g. Krister Stendahl (Matthew), C. F. D. Moule (Colossians) and C. E. B. Cranfield (I Peter), as examples. One has to remember the theological perspective that shows up in certain critical presuppositions, as in Matthew, but finds much good comment informed by careful study and wide reading. The old Peake's was edited by Arthur S. Peake (NY. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1919, new addition 1937).

The Broadman Bible Commentary. Edited by Clifton J. Allen et al. 12 volumes. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1969.

Evangelical work from a Southern Baptist press, for ministers and lay people, using the RSV. It holds the high reliability of Scripture but sometimes buys into "priestly" material theory etc. in the pentateuch (1, 109, 120 etc.). It says "there is no way that the days of Genesis I can be held to 24 hours" (1, 121). But it upholds the trustworthiness of the material as tradition that is true, as Genesis 2:4bff. The work favors an amillennial view (volume 12, p. 350).

Bullinger, E. W. The Companion Bible. 6 volumes. London: Lamp. One-volume edition became available in the United States, 1964.

By a church of England clergyman who produced the famous Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the Greek New Testament. When Bullinger died in 1913, the companion Bible was completed only up to the middle of John. His followers finished the work with comments from his prolific writings elsewhere. The name comes from the fact that a wide margin is left to be a companion to the text, and the work is intended to be the Bible reader's companion. Bullinger was an ultra-dispensationalist, but his system does not usually shine through noticeably in the work. The C.B. is not especially helpful today because so many other works are better.

Calvin, John. Calvin's Commentaries. 22 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979rp.

Calvin was not only a great theologian but also a great expositor, and his insight into Scripture contributed to his grasp of doctrinal truth. His commentaries are deep in spiritual understanding, usually helpful on problem passages, and refreshing in a devotional sense to the really interested reader. He usually offers good help on a passage. The present work skips Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, II and III John and Revelation. Calvin is amillennial on long-range prophecy, but in other respects usually has very contributive perception on passages and doctrinal values edifying to the believer. He also can be very wordy, but the serious and patient glean much.

The Cambridge Bible Commentary. Cambridge: University Press, 1965.

Several volumes are now out in this set which follows the New English Bible translation. The Cambridge Bible Commentary is aimed more at the general reader, with comments which are exegetical but brief. The brevity renders it less valuable to the student who wants a more thorough study which he can obtain elsewhere. There is little original contribution.

Clarke, Adam, 1760-1832. A Commentary and Critical Notes. 6 volumes. NY: Eaton and Mains (n.d.).

This old, conservative Wesleyan Methodist work is good devotionally and aggressive for righteous living. Laypeople can find it still valuable today. It is Arminian in viewpoint and thus helpful, for example, in showing the reader how this approach deals with texts involving the eternal security question. The work contains much background material from many sources on all books of the Bible.

Ellicott, Charles J., 1819-1905. Commentary on the Whole Bible. 8 volumes. Now published in 4 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959.

Though often scanty, the work edited by a brilliant scholar is sometimes very helpful. Ellicott was an Anglican bishop. The New Testament part is more valuable. The work dates back to 1897 and is verse by verse, consisting of 2,292 pp. Ellicott was an outstanding Anglican conservative scholar of the 19th century in England. He also wrote critical commentaries on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians and Philemon. Different scholars here contributed on different scripture books, Famous names included are George Rawlinson (Exodus), H. D. M. Spence (I Samuel), E. H. Plumptre (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Acts, 2 Corinthians), W. Sanday (Romans, Galatians), Alfred Plummer (2 Peter, Jude), etc. A one-volume condensation edited by John Bowdle is available (Zondervan, 1971, 1,242 pages).

Everyman's Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody Paperback, 1960ff.

These are less expensive, concise evangelical expositions by such men as Hiebert on I Timothy, Pfeiffer on Hebrews, Coder on Jude, and Ryrie on Revelation. In prophecy it follows a premillennial pattern.

Exegetical and Expository Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker.

As its name claims, this series provides careful exegetical details by scholars with expertise and also meaningful exposition that assists on passages. One example is J. Alec Motyer et al on Zephaniah, Haggai and Zechariah. On long-range prophecy, the tendency is to explain details for Israel's eventual blessing in amillennial fashion, generalized in the future and not in a millennial regathering of Israel to enjoy such a boon after Christ's Second Advent.

Gaebelein, Arno C, 1861-1945. The Annotated Bible. 9 volumes. NY: Our Hope Magazine, 1913-1921. Also published by Loizeaux.

This dispensationally oriented work is not verse-by-verse, but deals with the exposition on a broader scale, treating blocks of thought within the chapters. Cf. also Arno C. Gaebelein, Gaebelein's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible (I Volume, Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1985), the Annotated Bible revised. The author was a popular evangelical Bible teacher of the first part of the century, much like H. A. Ironside in his diligent but broad, practical expositions of Bible books. Gaebelein was premillennial and dispensational, and editor for many years of Our Hope Magazine.

Gaebelein, Frank E., ed. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. 12 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979-1992.

The top general work of scholarly evangelicalism by 72 writers from several countries who hold to divine inspiration and premillennialism (for the most part). They use the NIV. The associate ed. is J. D. Douglas, and consulting eds. are Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, James Boice and Merrill C. Tenney. The work represents study abreast of recent literature, issues and views in exposition. Some very skilled, established scholars are among the contributors, men on introductory matters such as Gleason Archer, Jr., G. W. Bromiley, Donald Guthrie, R. K. Harrison, Carl Henry, Harold Hoehner, Walter Kaiser, Bruce Metzger, Roger Nicole, Robert L. Saucy, Bruce Waltke, Andrew Walls, Donald Wiseman, and Edwin Yamauchi. Scholars on New Testament books are such men as M. C. Tenney (John), R. N. Longenecker (Acts), James Boice (Galatians), Homer Kent, Jr. (Philippians), Robert L. Thomas (Thessalonians), D. E. Hiebert (Titus), Leon Morris (Hebrews), Edwin Blum (1, 11 Peter, Jude), and Alan Johnson (Revelation).

Gill, John. Gill's Commentary. 6 volumes. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980 from 1852-1854 edition (London: William Hull).

Gill (1697-1771), a pastor of England, wrote these which are two-column pages, ca. 900-1,000 pages per volume, Originally they were 9 volumes, folio. He also wrote Body of Divinity, 3 volumes, and several other volumes. His commentary is evangelical, wrestles with texts, is often wordy and not to the point but with worthy things for the patient who follow the ponderous detail and fish out slowly what his interpretation of a text is. He feels the thousand years in Revelation 20 cannot begin until after the conversion of the Jews and the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles and destruction of all antiChristian powers (volume 6, p. 1063) but in an amillennial sense of new heavens and new earth coming right after Christ's second advent (1064-65), and the literal thousand years of binding at the same time. He feels the group that gathers against the holy city at the end of the thousand years is the resurrected wicked dead from the four quarters of the earth (i.e. from all the earth, etc. (1067)).

Grant, F. W., 1834-1902. The Numerical Bible. 5 volumes. NY: Loizeaux, 1894-1903.

This premillennial-dispensational work gives good expository notes, but they are irregular. It omits several poetic books of the Old Testament. There is a stress upon the significance of numbers in Scripture. Grant also authored a book called The Numerical Structure of Scripture (Loizeaux, 1899).

Guthrie, D. et al. The Eerdman's Bible Commentary, i.e. New Bible Commentary Revised. 3rd edition. 1 volume. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970. 1,310 pp.

An evangelical updating (since the 1st edition, 1953, 1,119 pages) of the New Bible Commentary edited by F. Davidson et al. Some of the best known commentators are: O. T. Allis (Leviticus), Gleason Archer, Jr. (Micah), Joyce Baldwin (Ruth, Esther), G. R. Beasley-Murray (Ezekiel, Revelation, etc.), F. F. Bruce (Judges, Acts, Thessalonians Epistles, etc.), R. K. Harrison (Deuteronomy), Derek Kidner (Isaiah, amillennial), Meredith Kline (Genesis), 1. H. Marshall (Luke), R. P. Martin (Romans, Ephesians), Leon Morris (John's Epistles), etc. In the revision, 37 commentaries on books are by different scholars, and five articles are new. Extensive revision occurs in other respects, and the work uses the RSV rather than the KJV.

Henry, Matthew, 1662-1714. Commentary on the Whole Bible. 6 volumes. Revell. Now out in one-volume abbreviated form edited by Leslie F. Church, Zondervan, 1961, and other more recent one-volume editions.

This evangelical work, devotional in character, has been in constant demand for about 280 years. Its insight into human problems is great, but it often does not deal adequately with problems in the text. The one-volume form eliminates the Biblical text and is thus less bulky. It has sold very well. The late Wilbur M. Smith, internationally noted Bible teacher, seminary professor and lover of books, tabbed this "The greatest devotional commentary ever written" (cover, I volume edition). Henry was born in a Welch farmhouse, studied law, and became a Presbyterian minister near London. He wrote this commentary in the last 13 years before he died at 52 in 1714. The first of six volumes was published in 1708. He completed through Acts, and the rest of the New Testament was done by 14 clergymen (p. ix, I volume edition), Another I volume edition, unabridged but in 3 columns and small but clear print, is Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991, 2,248 pages).

Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Technical exegetical detail and strong acquaintance with a plethora of scholarly learning over the centuries, and today, are features. The series is for scholars, and leans to the liberal perspective. Some examples of helpfulness at times to advanced students are Achtemeier on I Peter and Altridge on Hebrews. Due to the complex academic nature of contents, it serves the more trained and advanced in some details, but is not as serviceable for most expositors as many other works are. One will learn not to be surprised to find statements that call scriptural reliability into serious question, and can substitute scholarly leanings in place of really explaining the text in straight-forward ways that recognize connections some regard as sensible in passages. The patient, advanced inquirers will glean out much from the wealth of details presented, and gain a wider perception on scholarly thought on verses, whether they agree with conclusions or not.

Hubbard, David A. and Glenn W. Barber, gen. eds. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, Texas: Word Books, Publisher, 1982.

This recent, sometimes liberal, sometimes evangelical work, with many volumes already out, projects 52 volumes and an imposing list of around 50 scholars, many of them inter-nationally known. The Old Testament editor is John D. W. Watts, the New Testament editor Ralph P. Martin. Each contributor prepares his own translation of the biblical text and fits his exegesis to this, yet makes the technical, scholarly matter understandable and relevant for seminary students (in some places more advanced ones) and pastors as well as professional scholars and teachers. The introductions and commentaries on individual books are done in fairly good detail, even with well-organized excursuses on larger problems and lengthy bibliographies of books and journal literature. For the verse by verse comment, Hebrew or Greek words or phrases are printed and the explanation of their sense follows. Often, good detail is devoted to different views on the sense of a passage, e.g. F. F. Bruce on I Thessalonians 4:4, whether skeuos ("vessel") means a man's wife or his body. Other contributors are such names as Gordon Wenham (Genesis, 2 volumes); Peter C. Craigie (Psalms 1-50; Marvin Tate, Psalms 51-100, and Leslie Allen, 101-150); G. R. Beasley-Murray (John); James D. G. Dunn (Romans); Ralph Martin (2 Corinthians, James); Richard Longenecker (Galatians); Robert Mounce (Pastoral Epistles.); Wm. Lane (Hebrews), etc. The venture varies on different books as is true of any set of such breadth.

The International Critical Commentary (ICC). Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1885-1964.

This usually liberal work was begun in 1885 under the editorial supervision of C. A. Briggs, S. R. Driver and Alfred Plummer. The intention was to provide for English readers a Bible commentary equal in scholarship to the critical German productions of that day. The emphasis is critical and philological. Volumes have now been produced on all Old Testament books, and among better ones available are: Kings (Montgomery); Ezekiel (Cooke); Judges (Moore) and Daniel (Montgomery). In the New Testament, the better works are: Luke (Plummer); Romans (Sanday and Headlam; later replaced by Cranfield's 2 volumes); Galatians (Burton); First Corinthians (Robertson and Plummer); St. Peter and St. Jude (Bigg). The technical nature of the work renders it quite helpful to the trained expositor, especially in detailed problems. In quality it varies. Recently Davies and Allison have three often highly helpful volumes out on Matthew and I. H. Marshall has made a fine contribution on the Pastoral Epistles.

International Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Hamlin on Ruth is an example of how this series can do fairly well in giving substantial light on passages. Scholars vary in convictions about biblical matters, sometimes offering a worthy view of these, sometimes discounting them. Used as one among several sources, the vols. can furnish frequent help, even if they do not rate high for consistent contribution when compared with several other works.

The Interpreter's Bible. 12 volumes, ed. George Arthur Buttrick, et al. NY: Abingdon, 1952-57.

A great amount of money was poured into this series which is beautifully printed and has elaborate, often very informative introductions. The work has more than 11,000 pages. It is very liberal. Actually much good material that is presented can be equaled in other commentaries such as the Expositor's Bible Commentary with more done in a satisfying way. But the set has exercised a wide influence over ministers in the United States. Cf. also Layman, Charles M., Editor of The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (1-volume, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971. 1,386 pp.). This too is a liberal work of brevity by seventy scholars who are Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish, compared with the multi-volume Interpreter's Bible that takes up passages more at length. One also finds articles on historical, literary, linguistic, geographical, archeological and theological areas as related to biblical interpretation, from liberal perspectives.

Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 6 volumes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961. 1,591 pp.

This is a helpful old set of 1863 for laypeople and pastors to have because it usually comments at least to some degree on problems. Though terse, it provides something good on almost any passage, phrase by phrase and is to some degree critical in nature. It is evangelical. There is also a 1-volume edition, briefer at some points (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961). Especially in its multi-volume form this is one of the old evangelical works that offers fairly solid though brief help on many verses. Spurgeon said, "It contains so great a variety of information that if a man had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he possessed this and used it diligently" (Commenting and Commentaries, p. 3). Things have changed greatly since this assessment! It is primarily of help to pastors and lay people looking for quick, though usually somewhat knowledgeable treatments on verses.

Lange, John Peter, 1802-1884. Commentary on the Holy Scriptures. 12 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1871-1874.

The treatments of books within this evangelical set vary in importance. Generally, one finds a wealth of detailed commentary, background, and some critical and exegetical notes. Often, however, there is much excess verbiage that does not help particularly. On the other hand, it usually has something to assist the expositor on problems and is a good general set for pastors and serious lay people though it is old.

Maclaren, Alexander, 1826-1910. Expositions of Holy Scripture. 25 volumes but now in 11 volumes without abridgement. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.

This evangelical work is both homiletical and expository and is often very good homiletically but weaker otherwise. Helpful in discussing Bible characters, it is weak in prophecy at times because of allegorization. It is not really as valuable today as many other sets for the serious Bible student. The expositions are in the form of sermons.

Morgan, G. Campbell, 1863-1948. The Analyzed Bible. 10 volumes. NY: Revell, 1907-1911.

Morgan was an evangelical master at surveying a book and giving its message within a brief compass. He introduces each book with a chart giving an analysis and synthesis. Revell put it out in a one-volume form in 1959 (see Synthetical), and it is adequate to have the one-volume work, since Morgan is broad in his treatment anyway.

The New Clarendon Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963.

This commentary uses the NEB as its translation like the Cambridge BC, but is aimed at a higher intellectual level. Thus it is more technical than the CBC.

Nicoll, W. Robertson (Ed.). The Expositors Bible. 26 volumes. NY: A. C. Armstrong, 1903.

Though this work is generally helpful on historical background, it is often not of great assistance on the original text or problem passages. It skips over these many times. It is generally conservative, but not always. The value is greater on some books because the authors have done an excellent work: Kellogg on Leviticus; Blaikie on Joshua and I, II Samuel; Plummer on the pastorals, James and Jude. Some sections are by radical liberals, for example George A. Smith on Isaiah and the Minor Prophets. By and large, the student will do better to use a detailed set like The Expositor's Bible Commentary plus individual best works on the different Bible books or sections of Scripture.

Parker, Joseph, 1830-1902. The Peoples Bible. 28 volumes. NY: Funk and Wagnalls, 1888.

This work, later called Preaching Through the Bible (Baker Book House), is rich in its applications and exhortations, though often not particularly helpful for the reader who is looking for exposition that stays right with the text. Treatment of the texts is sermonic.

Pfeiffer, Charles and Everett Harrison (Eds.). The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1 volume. Chicago: Moody, 1990rp of 1962 edition. 1,525 pp.

Conservative and premillennial scholars here have been experts in their fields. The work contains brief introductions and attempts to give a verse-by-verse exposition, though it does skip over some verses. The treatments vary with the authors, but as a whole it is a fine one-volume commentary for pastors and students to use or give to a layman. Outstanding sections include, for example: Whitcomb on Ezra-Nehemiah-Esther; Culver on Daniel; Ladd on Acts; Harrison on Galatians; Johnson on I Corinthians; and Ryrie on the Johannine Epistles.

The Pulpit Commentary. Edited by H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell. 23 volumes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans reprinted at various dates, 1950's -1970's.

Many authors contributed to this work that had the aim of giving preachers material on introduction, verse by verse exposition, a section on homiletics, and a section of collected homilies (outlines, etc.) by various preachers, which can stimulate thought. It moves through one small section of Bible verses after another.

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Edited by Francis D. Nichol et al. 7 volumes. Washington, D. C: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1953-76.

These are large volumes by 34 writers (Volume 1, on Genesis-Deuteronomy is 1,120 pages, 2 columns). General essays appear on such topics as the languages, manuscripts and canon of the Old Testament, science and a literal creation, evidences of a global flood, archeology, daily life in the Patriarchal Age, chronology, etc. The commentaries are extensive. Genesis is pp. 201-487, Exodus 491-689, etc. Ellen G. White's comments are sprinkled in sections throughout as supplements.

The Twentieth Century Bible Commentary. Edited by G. Henton Davies et al. Revised edition. 1 volume. NY: Harper and Brothers, 1932, 1955. 571 pp.

Designed for ministers, Sunday school leaders, Bible teachers and lay people, this sometimes liberal, sometimes evangelical work (cf. contributors, pp. vii-viii) has general articles and extremely brief commentaries such as Genesis (24 pp. 2 columns). Parts of the Pentateuch are assigned to the "priestly" or some other alleged strand of writing centuries later. It is not of solid value.

The Wesleyan Bible Commentary. Edited by Charles W. Carter, et al. 6 volumes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967.

Devotes 3 volumes to Old Testament and 3 to New Testament, upholding views within the Wesleyan theological frame of reference, as of John Wesley and Adam Clarke. It is evangelical, expositional, Arminian, practical, homiletical and devotional. More than 20 scholars of the United States wrote it, coming from the Church of God, Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical United Brethren, Free Methodist, Friends, Methodist, Missionary Church Association, Pilgrim Holiness and Wesleyan Methodist. It is written for the average minister, Sunday School leader and teacher, Bible teacher, college professor, student and Christians in general. The commentary is 2 columns in format. It deals with some problems but not others, as the supposed high totals in Numbers 2. It has much good summary and upholds a high view of Scripture's reliability. Sometimes one writer was asked to do too much, as on Joshua-Job.