4 Must Have Commentaries for Preachers!

Helpful Resources

Commentaries are a preachers best friend or worst nightmare! Sounds dramatic but heavily leaning on a commentary when studying for a message can actually cripple you and your message. If you find refuge in a commentary, you are short circuiting your own thinking and reliance on the Holy Spirit to bring you revelation.

The upside of using a trusted commentary is a more complete understanding of the passage. Since commentators often devote years of their life to understanding a single book of the Bible their thoughts can lead to stronger expositional preaching.

Although commentaries can be mighty helpful, don’t ever use them first. After much prayer, repeated reading of the text, and mediation, commentaries can play a very suitable role in the development of your message.

A good rule of thumb when consulting commentaries is to purposely use varying viewpoints. This will help shape your personal interpretive skills and allow you to get a peak into what different audience members may believe.



The 4 Best Commentaries for Preaching: (in no particular order)

  1. R.C. Sproul’s Expositional Commentaries

    • Although I am not reformed, I have learned quite a bit from R.C. Sproul.

    • From the cover: Dr. Sproul’s expositional commentaries help you understand key theological themes and apply them to all areas of life. Drawn from decades of careful study and delivered from a pastor’s heart, these sermons are readable, practical, and Bible-centered.

  2. IVP Bible Background Commentary

    • “My favorite is when the preacher explains some facet of First Century life that shifts and quickens your grasp of a familiar passage. Quick trade secret? This book is probably where the preacher got that cultural nugget.” T. Pfingste

    • “Books are available that give us the cultural, social and historical background of Bible passages, but most are hidden away in academic libraries. Now Craig Keener . . . provides us with a single volume in a verse-by-verse format that covers the entire New Testament. Why use a background commentary? With it, we get a glimpse of the New Testament authors’ original concerns and purposes. Keener writes in clear, non-technical language for the lay person.”

      — Discipleship Journal

  3. Expositor’s Bible Commentary

    • The Expositor’s Bible Commentary is an amazing resource for studying the Bible whether it is for private study or for sermon preparation. It uses the NIV translation of the Bible and is extremely readable. These books provide excellent background and are written from a conservative point of view.

    • From the Back Cover: Based on the critically acclaimed Expositors Bible Commentary used by pastors, students, and scholars across the world, this two-volume abridged edition offers you the full, penetrating, verse-by-verse commentary of the 12-volume series while leaving out needless technical details. Marshalling the knowledge of fifty-two top biblical scholars, it brings tremendous insight to your Bible studies.

  4. The New Matthew Henry Commentary

    • From the Back Cover: A classic commentary in modern language … this volume contains the wealth of exposition, metaphors, analogies, and illustrations that have set Matthew Henry’s Commentary apart as one of the enduring legacies of faith—and presents them in the language of today. Passage by passage, its prayerful, penetrating reflections and rich insights into the very heart of God’s Word are sure to challenge and inspire you.Ideal for personal devotions, Bible studies, and lesson and sermon preparations, The New Matthew Henry Commentary will enable you to rediscover this classic work—or discover it for the first time. Forever fresh and never failing to render new pearls of wisdom, this beloved text is one that you will reach for often to obtain deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Scriptures.

Last note: A very helpful resources for this topic is bestcommentaries.com which provides information on most commentaries and will guide you in choosing commentaries for specific books of the Bible.

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