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Bible Resources: Commentaries

The purpose of this guide is to point the way to information sources about the Bible.


Commentaries are works that comment on and interpret the texts in the Bible in minute detail, from one verse to another.  They vary in theological perspectives and intended audiences. They exist in such abundance that we have chosen here to list a few of the more prominently known multi-volume sets and one volume works, in this order.  Readers who want more in-depth recommendations should consult the guides to this literature at the bottom of this section.

But first, Christian Classics Ethereal Library has a section with links to commentaries online here.

Multi-volume Commentary Sets

Anchor Bible Main BS 192.2 .A1 1964 v. 1-

The work of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish scholars, the Anchor Bible offers a new translation with extensive commentary. For each book of the Bible, it provides an introduction covering authorship and composition, date, historical and literary background, and theological aspects. Sections of text are followed by commentary and bibliography. The work maintains a high standard of scholarship while remaining accessible to the general reader and student. Some volumes exist in various editions.

New Interpreter’s Bible Main BS 491.2 .N484 1994 v. 1-12

Protestant in orientation, this work includes both the New International Version and New Revised Standard Version texts in parallel columns, with detailed commentary.  V. 1 has essays on the transmission, translation, and interpretation of the Bible as a whole, as well as introductory articles on the Old Testament.  V. 8 has introductory articles on the New Testament.  For each book of the Bible there is an introduction covering authorship, date, literary and theological discussion, an outline, and a bibliography.  The commentary emphasizes exegesis; the work as a whole is aimed at teachers and ministers.  Subject, ancient literature, person, place, and biblical language indexes.  Maps.  Illustrations.  Topical reference lists.

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament Main BS 1151.2 .A53 2001 v. 1-

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament Main BS 491.2 .A53 1998 v. 1-

With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the church fathers—including much that is available only in the ancient languages—have been combed for their comment on Scripture. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating and introducing it to today's readers.

One volume commentaries

Oxford Bible Commentary Main and DMC BS 491.3 .O94 2001

Written by a group of over 70 international Christian and Jewish scholars.  The commentary on each book (including the Apocryphal books) includes an introductory essay, chapter and verse discussion, and a list of references.  Additional essays cover broader introductions to the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha, postbiblical Jewish literature, and extracanonical early Christian literature.  Separate bibliographical guide to biblical studies arranged by the essays and books.  Maps. Index.

Zondervan Bible Commentary Main BS 491.3 .Z66 2008

Illustrated.  Maps.  Charts.  Timelines. Uses Today's New International Version of the Bible.  Contains quotes on texts from such historical figures as Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.  "Echoes" reveal New Testament references to the Old Testament.   "Shadows" spotlight Old Testament foreshadowing of the New Testament. "Reflections" help the reader apply the Scriptures to real life.  Cultural, historical, and theological information.  43 scholars wrote the entries on difference books of the Bible. 

New Bible Commentary Main BS 491.2 .N45 1994

Protestant scholarship by international writers, based on the New International Version.

Books of the Bible Main oversize BS 540 .B62 1989 v. 1-2

V. 1 Old Testament. V. 2 New Testament, Apocryphal writings, comprehensive subject index.  Contains interpretive essays followed by a select bibliography on each book.  Focuses on the text as it now stands, rather than on its historical development.  Written from an ecumenical perspective, mainly by American and British scholars.  Intended for general readers.

Collegeville Bible Commentary: Based on the New American Bible with revised New Testament Main BS 491.2 .C66 1989

HarperCollins Bible Commentary Main BS 491.2 .H37 2000

The work of seven associate editors and 75 contributors, representing Jewish and Christian scholarship. Designed "to make the best current scholarship available to general audiences for reading and studying the books of the Bible"—Pref. Contains introductory essays on the whole Bible and on the six parts into which the commentary divides it and provides an introductory essay, concise commentary, and current bibliography for each book, including the Apocrypha.

International Bible Commentary: a  Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary for the Twenty-first Century  Main BS 511.2 .I58 1998

“Intends to be ‘Catholic’… to be taken both with a capital ‘C” i.e. Roman Catholic, and with a lower case ‘c’, i.e. universal,” as it includes articles written by an international and ecumenical group of scholars.  Both general articles and commentary articles on each Biblical Book.

International Bible Commentary with the New International Version  Main BS 491.2 .I53 1986

JPS Torah Commentary: the Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation Main cat seps.

5 Vols, for Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Each volume cataloged separately.  Search in online catalog under title above to find call numbers for all vols.

New Jerome Biblical Commentary Main BS 491.2 .B7 1990

Authored by some 70 North American, Roman Catholic clergy and lay people, representing post Vatican II Catholic Biblical scholarship and exegesis. Contains topical articles, scholarly bibliographies, extensive subject and person indexes, as well as commentary on all Biblical books.

[Torah]=The Torah: a Modern Commentary Main BS 1225.53 .T67 2005

A modern commentary, reflecting the liberal point of view.  Contains commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy.  Gender-neutral translation.

IVP Women's Bible Commentary  BS 521.4 .I07 2002

From InterVarsity Press, a conservative, Protestant publisher.  "Majority of commentaries available to today's readers of Scripture are written from the perspective of white, Western, classically educated, middle-class males, and the questions asked and issues raised are almost always dealt with from the perspective....  This commentary seeks to redress this imbalance...."  Individual chapters on the books of the Old and New Testamaents, plus 77 supplementary articles on a variety of theological and practical issues of interest to women (sibling rivalry, adultery, menstruation, clothing and textiles, barrenness and fertility, violence, depression, divorce, women as witnessses, women in mission, etc.). 

Women’s Bible Commentary  BS 491.2 .W66 1992

Guides to Commentaries

Commentary & Reference Survey : a Comprehensive Guide to Biblical and Theological Resources Main BS 511.3 .G59 2007

Old Testament Commentary Survey Main BS 1151.52 .L64 2003

New Testament Commentary Survey Main BS 2341.2 .C33 2001

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