First Commentary Set

by Brian LeStourgeon

Every pastor should have a ready reference commentary for basic bible study. One or two volume commentaries are great for beginning Sunday school teachers, but are not sufficient for an educated ministry leader. You should have at least one volume for each book of the Bible to which you can refer for educated answers to questions that pop up in the regular ebb and flow of ministry. Each of the following commentaries is selected as a good first commentary. This library evaluates selections and determines which volumes best fit the following criteria:
  • Evangelical, Conservative while providing reasonable arguments for positions.
  • Evidence of scholarly competence.
  • Current – nothing prior to 1985.
  • Interested in helping the reader comprehend the meaning of the text as we have it.
  • Lucid, engaging prose.
  • Good technical / expositional balance (“semi-technical”), Good footnote balance.
  • Helpful to a pastor’s study. Useful for preaching and teaching. This does not mean that I select commentaries that do the “application” for me. I choose commentaries that help me understand the meaning of the text in such a way that I can confidently shape my sermon/lesson and apply the text to my congregation (and most often, to me).
  • Good commentaries (for this list) strike an engaging balance among grammatical explanation, contextual meaning, and biblical theology.
No one will agree with all of my selections, but if you value the criteria above, you should not be disappointed with any of these volumes.

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Joshua

Judges

1 & 2 Samuel

1 & 2 Kings

1 & 2 Chronicles

Ezra-Nehemiah

Esther

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Song of Songs

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Micah

Haggai

Zechariah

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Acts

Romans

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

1 & 2 Thessalonians

1 & 2 Timothy, Titus

Hebrews

James

1 Peter

1, 2, & 3 John

Revelation

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