by Brian Borgman
A number of people have asked from time to time for good commentaries. The following is a list that I have compiled and believe to be sound and helpful.
Entire NT Commentary Sets
John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, 12 Volumes (Eerdmans). Calvin is always solid and insightful. (Baker has Calvin’s entire set, 22 volumes, covering most of the Old and New Testaments. CBD runs really good sales on it from time to time. The Eerdmans NT series is an updated translation.)
R.C.H Lenski, Commentary on the New Testament, 12 Volumes (Hendrickson). Lenski was a Lutheran commentator. His commentaries are rich in exegetical and historical detail. He was very conservative.
J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth). Ryle’s commentaries are devotional in nature, with many wonderful insights and applications.
D.A. Carson, Matthew: Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Zondervan). Carson’s commentary is excellent. Carson gives a wide variety of views, including liberal criticisms. He is consistently conservative and redemptive-historical. A must have for Matthew.
R.T. France, Matthew: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (IVP). Solid commentary, sensitive to redemptive-historical themes.
R.T. France, Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher (IVP). This book deals with the major themes of Matthew. Chapters 5-8 are invaluable.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Eerdmans). This is a classic work on the sermon on the mount, by one of the 20th century’s great preachers.
John R.W. Stott, Sermon on the Mount: The Bible Speaks Today (IVP). This is a brief, but very fine treatment of the Sermon on the Mount.
William Lane, The Gospel of Mark: New International Commentary on the New Testament (Eerdmans). Lane is a five star commentary. Lane is very sensitive to redemptive-historical issues, thorough and conservative.
D. Edmond Hiebert, The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary (Bob Jones University Press). Hiebert is always helpful. He does well at explaining the text.
Leon Morris, Luke: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (IVP). Morris is a solid evangelical commentator. Although this commentary is brief, it is very helpful.
William Hendricksen, The Gospel of Luke: New Testament Commentary (Baker). This series was produced by two very fine Reformed expositors, William Hendricksen and Simon Kistemaker. Most of the New Testament is covered. The work on Luke is very solid. Where there are better works on a certain book (in my opinion) I will list the others, but the NTC is always reliable.
D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (IVP/Eerdmans). Carson’s treatment of John is as good as his treatment of Matthew. Carson is solid, conservative and sees the unity between Old Testament and the Gospel.
Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John: NICNT (Eerdmans). Morris’s work is thorough and solid.
Acts and Romans
Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts: NICNT (Eerdmans). This is one of Bruce’s best commentaries. It is rich in historical background and Bruce was always a faithful and conservative expositor.
Dennis Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption (P and R). This book is more of an overview of the themes of Acts, seen in their redemptive-historical setting. Very good book.
Simon Kistemaker, Acts: NTC (Baker).
John Stott, The Spirit, the Church and the World (IVP). Stott’s commentary is fairly brief, but helpful in seeing the major themes and explaining the major sections.
John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans: NICNT (Eerdmans). John Murray was probably the finest Reformed expositor and theologian of the 20th century. He was a first class exegete (having been trained under Geerhardus Vos). This is the best English Bible commentary on Romans.
Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans: NICNT (Eerdmans). Moo’s commentary actually replaced Murray’s in the NICNT series, although Murray remains in print because of its value. Moo does a great job at exegeting the text, he is a good Calvinist and a fine expositor. Moo does have a much stronger Law/Gospel distinctive than does Murray.
CEB Cranfield, Romans: ICC (T and T Clark). I believe that this is the best commentary on Romans. It is a two volume commentary in the International Critical Commentary series. It deals with the Greek text. It is outrageously expensive (even from CBD). And yet I would buy it again in a heartbeat (although when Ariel originally bought it for me it was only about 60% of what it sells for now!). Cranfield is one of the world’s leading Pauline scholars, and it shows in his brilliant commentary on Romans.
1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon
1 and 2 Corinthians
Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: NICNT (Eerdmans). Fee is a first NT scholar. His treatment of 1 Cor. is thorough. Although he is a classic Pentecostal, he tries to be fair with the text (except with the women in ministry issue).
Simon Kistemaker, I Corinthians and II Corinthians: NCT (Baker). Kistemaker is reformed and a very fine expositor and theologian.
Philip Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: NICNT (Eerdmans). This is one of my favorite commentaries on 2 Cor. Hughes was an Anglican and a Calvinist. The commentary is first rate.
DA Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Cor. 12-14 (Baker). As was previously mentioned, Carson is one of the outstanding conservative NT scholars and expositors alive today. This work covers only 1 Cor. 12-14. Carson does not take a cessationist view, but his work is solid as a rock.
DA Carson, From Triumphalism to Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13 (Baker). This is another classic by Carson dealing with a very difficult section of Scripture.
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon
Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (Kregel). Luther is always entertaining to read, although he does not expound the text like Calvin.
Ron Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians: NICNT (Eerdmans).
Leon Morris, Galatians: Paul’s Charter of Freedom (IVP).
William Hendrickson, Galatians and Ephesians: NCT (Baker).
John Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians (Banner of Truth). Here is a fantastic taste of Calvin’s consecutive expository preaching.
Charles Hodge, Ephesians (Banner of Truth). This the great Princetonian”s work on this epistle.
Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians: Pillar (Eerdmans).
Sinclair Ferguson, Let’s Study Philippians (Banner of Truth). This is a basic commentary, although very helpful and sound.
Stott, John R.W. Ephesians: The Bible Speaks Today (IVP). This commentary is brief, but very good. I highly recommend it.
William Hendrickson, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon: NTC (Baker).
1 and 2 Thessalonians, the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews
1 and 2 Thessalonians
F.F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Word Biblical Commentary (Word). Bruce deals with the Greek text, and is solid in his treatment of the text, as was his custom.
Leon Morris, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, NICNT (Eerdmans).
William Hendricksen, Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus, New Testament Commentary (Baker). Hendricksen is reliable and helpful.
The Pastoral Epistles
The Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) have received enormous attention over the years.
*Note, Hendricksen deals with the Pastorals in the previously mentioned volume.
Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, Tyndale (IVP). Guthrie is brief but helpful and conservative.
George Knight, Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, NIGNTC (Eerdmans/Paternoster). This is by far the most thorough and soundly conservative commentary on the pastoral epistles. It is my favorite.
Patrick Fairbairn, Pastoral Epistles (Klock and Klock). Fairbairn was an 19th century Scottish theologians who was an outstanding biblical scholar. His commentary is very good.
Over the years there has been some exceptional work done in the book of Hebrews. I will keep myself limited to what I consider to be the most helpful and biblically sound.
Philip Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Eerdmans). In my opinion, this is the best English Bible commentary on this difficult epistle. Unfortunately it is out of print. Hughes was an Anglican and a good Calvinist and a top rate expositor.
John Brown, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Geneva Series (Banner of Truth). Brown’s commentary is an old one but thoroughly enjoyable and rock solid. There is good exposition and some fine devotional and applicational material here.
Bruce, F.F. The Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT (Eerdmans). Bruce is solid and his treatment of Hebrews is rich.
William Lane, Hebrews 1-8 and Hebrews 9-13, Word Biblical Commentary (Word). Lane is great! His commentary on Mark is my favorite, and from what I have seen of Hebrews he does not disappoint. Lane does a good job of seeing Hebrews in its redemptive-historical light.
General Epistles and Revelation
Thomas Manton, James: Geneva Bible Commentary (Banner of Truth). Manton was an outstanding Puritan expositor. His work on James and Jude is very good, with much rich application.
D. Edmund Hiebert, James (Moody Press). Hiebert has a long career as a Bible expositor, who is careful and thorough with the text. He is almost always reliable. He is always conservative.
Doug Moo, The Letter of James: Pillar Bible Commentary (Eerdmans). This commentary is brand new. Although I have not used it, I am familiar with Moo and with this series. Moo is very conservative, he is a fine exegete and NT scholar.
1 and 2 Peter and Jude
Edmund Clowney, 1 Peter: Bible Speaks Today (IVP). This is a very fine little commentary dealing with Peter’s first epistle. Clowney brings out great nuggets.
Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, Tyndale Series (IVP). Grudem’s treatment, although brief (the series is fairly brief) is very good.
Simon Kistemaker, Peter and Jude, New Testament Commentary (Baker).
Thomas Manton, Jude, Geneva Bible Commentary (Banner of Truth).
William Jenkyn, Jenkyn on Jude (Soli Deo Gloria). Jenkyn was a Puritan and this is a classic Puritan commentary.
Epistles of John
D. Edmund Hiebert, The Epistles of John (Bob Jones University Press).
John Stott, The Epistles of John, Tyndale Series (IVP). This is a very helpful, conservative commentary by the famous Anglican pastor and theologian.
I. Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, NICNT (Eerdmans). Marshall is a top rate scholar, although he is Arminian, his insights into the text are often stimulating.
Robert Candlish, 1 John, Geneva Bible Commentary (Banner of Truth). This is an old classic by the Scottish Free Church pastor.
Robert Law, The Tests of Life (Baker). This is a classic collection of essays on John’s first epistle.
Leon Morris, Revelation, Tyndale Series (IVP).
William Hendricksen, More Than Conquerors (Baker). Hendricksen’s treatment of Revelation is well worth considering. Too often we have approached Revelation without giving due consideration to its genre (literature type) and structure.
Dennis Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb (Presbyterian and Reformed).
George Ladd, Revelation (Eerdmans). Ladd was a classic Premillennialist, and his commentary, although fairly brief, is solid.
Vern Poythress, The Returning King, A Guide to the Book of Revelation (Presbyterian and Reformed). This brand new book follows Hendricksen’s lead and gives an excellent overview of Revelation.