I am of the belief that the best Bible commentary that anyone can have is the one that they have done themselves. That is to say, when you study the Bible and take notes you will be amazed at what you have written when you come back to look at those notes later.
There are many, many Bible commentaries on the market today. They range from individual books of the Bibles to topical and even exhaustive commentaries. When you study the Bible it is sometimes helpful to refer to some of these commentaries. Caution should be taken when you use the commentaries as many are written for certain denominational views, while others are theologically quite sound. Regardless of our study tools we must always remember that when it comes to studying the Bible we should:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Throughout the years I have referred to many commentaries. Of these, here are some that I have reviewed, including some of my favorites.
Willmington’s Guide to the Bible
This is our recommended resource for our How to Study the Bible course at Selah Mountain Bible Institute. We like it because it includes so many treasures such as maps, highlights of parables, character summaries and more. It has a great question and answer format that motivates the student to dig in deep for study. Publisher is Tyndale House with ISBN-13: 9781414329710
Matthew Henry Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible
Matthew Henry’s commentary has stood the test of time for 3 centuries. Originally published in 1709, it is generally solid in theological teachings and it reads like a devotional. Matthew Henry was not only a great preacher in his time, but even though he has long since gone on to be with the Lord, he has blessed us with his writings and insights for our lifetime. This complete commentary is available in print by Thomas Nelson publishers and on the web. One of my favorite web places to use this tool is at Bible Study Tools. This one is available as an eBook as well. ISBN-13: 978-0785250487
Thru the Bible Commentary by J. Vernon McGee
This ageless commentary is taught in a simple and thorough way by Dr. McGee who learned to preach and teach from Dr. Harry Ironside of Dallas Seminary. It is helpful for students of all ages. Dr. McGee taught thru the Bible for more than 40 years. Published by Thomas Nelson, ISBN: 9781418586034.
Layman’s Bible Commentary Set
Great for the average every day Christian. Good for Sunday school class prep too. Published by Babour ISBN-13: 9781616267896
Parallel Commentary of the NT (Spurgeon/Wesley/Henry)
This is a great resource to view three commentaries in one. Includes the KJV of the Bible along with commentaries from renowned preacher/authors C.H. Spurgeon, John Wesley and Matthew Henry. Published by AMG Publishers ISBN-13: 9780899574448
A History of the Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ
Compiled by Emil Shurer this is a great resource of political and historical records. It even discusses some important and interesting Greek and Jewish literature before and after Christ. Published by Hendrickson ISBN-13: 9781565630499
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, New Testaments (set)
Reads like a history book only easier. Published by Zondervan ISBN-13: 9780310217404
Bible Verses that Encourage us to Study
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
When we love the Lord we should desire to know Him. The only way to know Him is to read and understand His word, the Holy Bible. Keeping notes is a great tool when you are studying the Bible and reading some other commentaries is also helpful. I pray that the Lord continues blessings upon you as you seek Him and get to know Him better by studying His word.
Pamela Rose Williams is a wife, mom and grand mom. She and her Pastor-husband serve together at Selah Mountain Ministries in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a Christian freelance writer and has her own web site Christianity Every Day. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education. Other interests include bird-watching, gardening, crafting and technology. Her motto is “Christianity isn’t for just once a week; Christianity is for Every Day.” Pamela is also Senior Editor and writer at What Christians Want To Know