Intended Audience and Purpose

These commentaries have been selected with the scholarly conservative pastor or student in mind. They are important to consider for all serious biblical studies research libraries, including Anabaptist ones. If used wisely, they should help the Spirit-guided Church rightly handle God’s word and faithfully follow Christ.

Commentaries most useful for exegetical research have been given priority. Theological value has been an important, but sometimes secondary, criterion. Many excellent devotional and preaching commentaries have not been considered. (The NIVAC series, though aimed at application, has been included in full because of its popularity among evangelicals.)

On the other hand, some important scholarly works that are of debatable value for a pastor’s library have been excluded. Also, many important non-commentary resources have not been included (such as books on the theology of specific Bible books, or books on parables, the Sermon on the Mount, or other portions of Bible books). With few exceptions, only commentaries have been listed.

Works valued by evangelical (relatively conservative) reviewers have been given priority, but many useful non-evangelical works have also been included. Recent commentaries have been given priority, but sometimes works several decades old have been recommended because they remain highly influential.

The main guiding question has been, “What are the most important commentaries for a serious, believing Bible student to study?” Supporting questions include: “What are the modern classics? What works are most widely admired and used by conservative evangelical scholars? Which are also respected by less conservative scholars? Which works best summarize recent scholarship? Which works best introduce students to the important exegetical cruxes and interpretive options?”

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