Finding Conversation Partners: Acquiring the right commentaries for preaching

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I thought the following gave some good criteria for thinking about gathering commentary resources for preaching.  With so many options out there, it can be overwhleming and expensive.

The Biblical Preaching blog give the following advise:

A few quick thoughts on buying commentaries (gathering the conversation partners):

1. If you can, try before you buy (library, google books, friend, etc.) If not, at least get good recommendations (such as on

2. Let your ministry provoke your purchases. I take a sermon series as a good excuse to buy a commentary or two if my library is lacking in that area. 2nd Chronicles now, Acts next.

3. Build a quality library slowly, rather than a junk collection fast. The personal library is a vital tool of the preacher. Even if it is only five books, if they are five good books, then it is worth having! Don’t rush, don’t get into debt, and don’t buy books with more hype on the cover than content in the pages.

4. Building an electronic library may save you money, but it may not. Last week we looked at software options – here’s the link.

Certainly, our various theological perspectives will lead us to different conversation partners.  You may like Moo’s commentary on Romans, whereas I am going to gravitate toward Wright’s.  But maybe by implementing these guidelines we might be able to save some money and end up with a library that has less fodder.

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  • Rogue Minister
  • Tim Peck

    I would add, have diverse conversation partners.  If you are preaching through Romans, for sure have Moo, but also have a Roman Catholic voice like Fitzmyer.  Have both the “old” and “new” perspective on Paul represented, perhaps Cranfield and Dunn.  Buying lots of commentaries that essentially do the same thing from the same perspective isn’t good stewardship.