I'm an ex-Computer Science geek and now curate in the Church of England.
Education BSc (hons), MSc, DPhil, BA (hons)
God with Us: Themes from Matthew. Wipf & Stock, 2009.
This is an excellent short commentary for congregation members and Bible study leaders by a reliable scholar-pastor. Each chapter covers 2 or 3 chapters of Matthew in about 15 pages. The focus is on bringing out the main points and themes of each section. At the end of each chapter there are questions to encourage further reflection. Carson has produced both a detailed commentary on Matthew and a number of popular level expositions, showing his ability as both a scholar and a pastor. This book combines the scholar (he is a reliable guide to the main points) and the pastor (he applies those points). It is clearly not enough for the pastor preparing his sermon (although it may help him get an overview), but it is good devotional material, good for helping Bible study leaders to get the main points in Matthew and perhaps good for enthusiastic congregation members to be reading alongside a series on Matthew.
Be Mature (James): Growing Up in Christ. BE. David C. Cook, 2008.
I've preached through James a couple of times recently and this last time I read Wiersbe as devotional reading just to keep the text mulling over in my mind. It's worth saying this is not an academic commentary. You don't get any engagement with the literature, or the debates. The level is that of the sermon. It's the first of his "Be..." series I've read from cover to cover. He loves the text, he teaches it faithfully, he illustrates well and applies insightfully. He has a bit of a tendency to over-cross-reference outside of James for me, but it was a minor thing. All-in-all a good devotional read and a helpful book for Bible-study leaders and the like.
The Message of James. BST. InterVarsity Press, 1985.
Motyer's BST on James is very good. For what is a relatively popular level commentary, it is pretty thorough with the text, by which I mean most of the disputed questions are discussed with reasons given for the views put forward - although you can find more elsewhere. Motyer is also interesting on his analysis of the structure. At times I found it a little over-complicated to be convincing, but it was good to have a commentary wrestling with the "why has James put that here?" question. One of the joys of a good BST is that it moves all the way through to application and I have to say I found this to be a good BST. The application was regularly challenging and was tied to the text. It's worth saying that it makes a good companion to Moo (in the Tyndale, I haven't got his more recent Pillar), partly because he often takes a different view and so you can compare the reasoning. This is a good commentary to resource the bible study leader and to help the preacher (who may want a more detailed resource as well).
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah: God's Just Demands. FB. Christian Focus Publications, 2008.
This is a very useful short and non-technical commentary on Jonah (about 70 pages in the book). It is clear, evangelical, deals with both the big picture and the details without becoming bogged down. Mackay discusses different options and gives a reasoned view. There are questions at the end of each section, which are usually a bit more systematic, i.e. picking up a theme in the passage and pointing to other passages to consider it further. This would be a useful commentary for preachers and homegroup leaders.
James. TNTC. Eerdmans, 2007.
Moo provides an excellent, readable and relatively concise commentary on James. He discusses interpretive options fairly and argues for his own views persuasively. He provides good referencing to other biblical and extra-biblical documents. He even steps into application and does so with pastoral sensitivity (for example on healing in ch.5). I haven't read his larger commentary, but I found this at a great level for someone preaching through James.
The Message of Galatians. BST. InterVarsity Press, 1993.
I've just finished John Stott's BST commentary on Galatians having read it alongside a sermon series in which I preached. It's a fantastic little book, careful at explaining the text, good at applying the text. It's not as detailed as you might need for preparing a sermon and it doesn't comment on every verse (5:12 being an outstanding example). It is also written before the New Perspective had so much influence, which means we might be alive to other questions these days. It is, however, ideal for devotional reading, preparing bible-studies and so forth. Highly recommended. [Full Review]
Exodus. DSB. Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.
I read this as a way of reading through Exodus while preaching some of the sermons in a series going through the book (and so spending more detailed time on those sections). I find it to be mostly disappointing. It is too brief to give and detailed work on the text and the comments it does makes often seem to be rather randomly chosen. I didn't usually find myself feeling the author had found the main point of a passage, nor did it feel to have a very coherent overview of the book. He is also rather disappointing in his approach to the miracles of Exodus - preferring to discuss the natural explanation rather than the significance. In general, it probably wasn't worth the time it took to read!