There are many, many academic commentaries on each book of the New Testament. So it’s no surprise that students often feel bewildered looking at the library shelf and wonder where to start. One excellent resource is A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works by John F. Evans (10th edition; Grand Rapids: Zonervan, 2016). If you’re interested in my own recommendations, here is a working list (I’ll update it periodically) of some of my favourite commentaries. I haven’t always read the most current volumes on every NT book, so this isn’t meant to be the final word. Rather, these are commentaries that I’ve found particularly helpful and that would make a good place to start in your own research.

Prominent Sections of the Gospels

Sermon on the Mount

  • Betz, Hans Dieter. The Sermon on the Mount: A Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, Including the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:3-7:27 and Luke 6:20-49). Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
  • Talbert, Charles H. Reading the Sermon on the Mount: Character Formation and Decision Making in Matthew 5-7. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006.

Infancy Narratives

  • Brown, Raymond Edward. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977.

Passion and Resurrection Narratives

  • Brown, Raymond Edward. The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels. 2 vols. Anchor Bible Reference Library 7. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

 Matthew

  •  Davies, W. D., and Dale C. Allison. The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. 3 vols. International Critical Commentary. London: T. & T. Clark, 1988.
    • Probably the most complete and detailed commentary on Matthew in English. A mine of information, but not the most accessible for beginning students.
  • Davies, W. D., and Dale Allison. Matthew: A Shorter Commentary: Based on the Three-Volume International Critical Commentary. London: T. & T. Clark, 2004.
    • A much more accessible “distilled” version of Davies and Allison’s ICC commentary
  • France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2007.
  • Garland, David E. Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Reading the New Testament. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2001.
  • Hagner, Donald Alfred. Matthew. 2 vols. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1993.

Mark

  • Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. Pillar New Testament Commentaries. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001.
  • Evans, Craig A. Mark 8:27-16:20. Vol. 34b. Word Biblical Commentary. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001.
  • Guelich, Robert. Mark 1:1-8:26. Word Biblical Commentary 34a. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1989.
  • Hooker, Morna D. A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Mark. Black’s New Testament Commentary 2. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.
  • Stein, Robert H. Mark. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2008. (ebsco)

Luke

  • Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997.
  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1991.

John

  • Barrett, C. K. The Gospel According to John. 1978.
    • Very readable, with depth of theological insight. A classic, though now somewhat dated, particularly when it comes to issues of cultural context and rhetoric.
  • Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. 2 Volumes. Anchor Bible Commentary. New York: Anchor, 1966.
    • The classic of English-language scholarship on John. Everyone since is a series of footnotes to Brown. Still well worth the read, though the discussion has continued since 1966 on many issues. Brown is also largely responsible for the hypothesis of a “Johannine School” as the source of the written Gospel.
  • Keener, Craig. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 Volumes. 2003.
    • Perhaps the best commentary for historical and cultural context. Not as strong on theological and literary issues.
  • Moloney, Francis J. The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series 4. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998.
    • All around once of the best, middle-of-the-road commentaries on John. Accessible but still detailed and critical. I use this as a textbook in my John course.
  • Ridderbos, Herman. The Gospel according to John: A Theological Commentary.
    • A very thick theological commentary, from a strongly Protest and and Reformed (i.e., Calvinist) perspective. At times I think Ridderbos allows his systematic theology to override the text in front of him, and one’s opinion of this commentary will depend on how satisfied the reader is with the classic Reformed system. Everyone, though, will profit from reading it.
  • Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. John. 1990.
    • A classic German commentary, recently translated into English.
  • Lindars, Barnabas. The Gospel of John. New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981.
    • Quite accessible and readable for students and pastors, though not as much depth as some.
  • Malina and Rorbaugh. A Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John. 1998.
    • Don’t look here for much on literary issues or theology, but valuable for gaining a sense of how John’s text is shaped by (and itself tries to shape) an ancient Mediterranean cultural setting. By “social-science” the authors mean primarily social anthropology.
  • Talbert, Charles H. Reading John: A Literary and Theological Commentary.
    • Perhaps the best commentary for giving one a grasp of John’s literary structures, particularly in the speeches which often sound like aimless wandering to modern ears.

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Brodie, Thomas. The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. (ebrary)
  • Brant, Jo-Ann A. John. Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011. (ebrary|ebsco)
  • McHugh, John F. John 1-4: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary. International Critical Commentary. Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2009. (ebsco)
  • Stibbe, Mark W. G. John’s Gospel. New Testament Readings. London; New York: Routledge, 1994. (ebsco|ebrary)
  • Swartley, Willard M. John. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2013. (ebsco)

Acts

  • Barrett, C. K. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles. International Critical Commentary. London, New York: T. & T. Clark, 1994.

Romans

  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. Reading Romans: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Macon, Ga.: Smyth and Helwys, 1997.
  • Wright, N. T. “The Letter to the Romans.” In The New Interpreter’s Bible. Vol. 10. Nashville: Abingdon, 2001.
  • Dunn, James D. G. Romans. Word Biblical Commentary 38. Dallas: Word, 1988.
  • Byrne, Brendan. Romans. Sacra Pagina 6. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1996.

1 Corinthians

  • Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • Soards, Marion L. 1 Corinthians. New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999.
  • Witherington, Ben. Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians.Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995.

2 Corinthians

  • Barnett, Paul. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1997.
  • Garland, David E. 2 Corinthians: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture. First Edition edition. Nashville, Tenn: Holman Reference, 1999.
  • Harris, Murray J. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Matera, Frank J. II Corinthians: A Commentary. The New Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003.

  • Witherington, Ben. Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians.Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995.

Galatians

 

Ephesians

  • Arnold, Clinton E. Ephesians. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 10. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010.
  • Barth, Markus. Ephesians. Anchor Bible. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974.
  • Best, E. Ephesians. International Critical Commentary. London, New York: T. & T. Clark, 1998.
  • Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1984.
  • Edwards, M. J. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999.
  • Hoehner, Harold W. Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2002.
  • Hoehner, Harold W, Philip Wesley Comfort, and Peter H Davids. Ephesians, Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Philemon. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.
  • Liefeld, Walter L. Ephesians. IVP New Testament Commentary Series 10. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
  • Lincoln, Andrew T. Ephesians. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1990.
  • MacDonald, Margaret Y. Colossians and Ephesians. Sacra Pagina. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2000.
  • O’Brien, Peter Thomas. The Letter to the Ephesians. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999.
  • Patzia, Arthur G. Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon. New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1990.

  • Perkins, Pheme. Ephesians. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997.
  • Schnackenburg, Rudolf. Ephesians: A Commentary. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1991.
  • Talbert, Charles H. Ephesians and Colossians. Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007.

 Available as Tyndale Ebooks

  • Fowl, Stephen E, and Jennifer K Cox. Ephesians: A Commentary. New Testament Library, 2012. (ebrary|ebsco)
  • Heil, John Paul. Ephesians Empowerment to Walk in Love for the Unity of All in Christ. Studies in Biblical Literature 13. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007. (ebrary|ebsco)
  • Kitchen, Martin. Ephesians. New Testament Readings. London; New York: Routledge, 2002. (ebsco)
  • Martin, Ralph P. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Interpretation. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1991. (ebsco)
  • Neufeld, Thomas R. Ephesians. Believers Bible Commentary. Waterloo, Ont.: Herald Press, 2002. (ebsco)
  • Slater, Thomas B. Ephesians. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2012. (ebrary)
  • Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2010. (ebrary|ebsco)
  • Williamson, Peter S, and Mary Healy. Ephesians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009. (ebrary)

Colossians

  • Dunn, James D. G. The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1996
  • Martin, Ralph P. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Interpretation. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1991. (ebsco)

Philemon

  • Dunn, James D. G. The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

1 Timothy

  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. The First and Second Letters to Timothy: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 35A. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
  • Towner, Philip H. Letters to Timothy and Titus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006.
  • Marshall, I. H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Pastoral Epistles. London, New York: T. & T. Clark, 1999.

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Collins, Raymond F. I and II Timothy and Titus. New Testament Library. Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • Drury, Clare. “The Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 244–63 in The Pauline Epistles. Edited by John Muddiman. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford [England] ; Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Gloer, Hulitt. 1 & 2 Timothy—Titus. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2010.
  • Guthrie, Donald. The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Saarinen, Risto. Pastoral Epistles with Philemon and Jude. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, US: Brazos Press, 2008.

2 Timothy

  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. The First and Second Letters to Timothy: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 35A. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
  • Towner, Philip H. Letters to Timothy and Titus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006.
  • Marshall, I. H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Pastoral Epistles. London, New York: T. & T. Clark, 1999.

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Collins, Raymond F. I and II Timothy and Titus. New Testament Library. Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • Drury, Clare. “The Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 244–63 in The Pauline Epistles. Edited by John Muddiman. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford [England] ; Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Gloer, Hulitt. 1 & 2 Timothy—Titus. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2010.
  • Guthrie, Donald. The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Saarinen, Risto. Pastoral Epistles with Philemon and Jude. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, US: Brazos Press, 2008.

Titus

  • Towner, Philip H. Letters to Timothy and Titus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006.
  • Marshall, I. H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Pastoral Epistles. London, New York: T. & T. Clark, 1999.

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Collins, Raymond F. I and II Timothy and Titus. New Testament Library. Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • Drury, Clare. “The Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 244–63 in The Pauline Epistles. Edited by John Muddiman. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford [England] ; Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Gloer, Hulitt. 1 & 2 Timothy—Titus. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2010.
  • Guthrie, Donald. The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Saarinen, Risto. Pastoral Epistles with Philemon and Jude. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, US: Brazos Press, 2008.

Philemon

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Saarinen, Risto. Pastoral Epistles with Philemon and Jude. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, US: Brazos Press, 2008.

Hebrews

James

  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 37a. New York: Doubleday, 1995.

1, 2, 3 John

1 Peter

2 Peter

Jude

Ebooks at Tyndale

  • Saarinen, Risto. Pastoral Epistles with Philemon and Jude. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, US: Brazos Press, 2008.

Revelation

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