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Best commentary series?

New commentary series are popping up all over the place, to join the fast becoming classics. Do you buy a series or is best to pick and choose?

The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary
Series Editors: Joel B. Green, Max Turner

Seeking to bridge the existing gap between biblical studies and systematic theology, this distinctive series offers section-by-section exegesis of the New Testament texts in close conversation with theological concerns. Written by respected scholars, the THNTC volumes aim to help pastors, teachers, and students engage in deliberately theological interpretation of Scripture.

The New International Greek Testament Commentary
Series Editors: I. Howard Marshall, Donald A. Hagner

This commentary series is established on the presupposition that the theological character of the New Testament documents calls for exegesis that is sensitive to theological themes as well as to the details of the historical, linguistic, and textual context. Such thorough exegetical work lies at the heart of these volumes, which contain detailed verse-by-verse commentary preceded by general comments on each section and subsection of the text.


The series is designed to be a critical and historical commentary to the Bible without arbitrary limits in size or scope. It will utilize the full range of philological and historical tools, including textual criticism (often slighted in modern commentaries), the methods of the history of tradition (including genre and prosodic analysis), and the history of religion.

Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible. It will make full use of ancient Semitic and classical languages; at the same time, English translations of all comparative materials—Greek, Latin, Canaanite, or Akkadian—will be supplied alongside the citation of the source in its original language. Insofar as possible, the aim is to provide the student or scholar with full critical discussion of each problem of interpretation and with the primary data upon which the discussion is based.

Series Editors: James L. Mays, Patrick D. miller, P. J. Achtemeier

Interpretation is a set of full-length, practical, and clearly written commentaries that helps teachers and preachers in their educational and homiletic work and lay persons in their study of the Bible. It bridges the gap between critical and expository commentaries and combines exciting biblical scholarship with illuminating textual expositions. Critically acclaimed and widely used in classrooms and for teaching and preaching in the church, Interpretation commentaries are written by recognized scholars with experience as teachers and/or preachers.

The Anchor Bible Commentary
General Editor: William Foxwell Albright (1891–1971), David Noel Freedman

THE ANCHOR YALE BIBLE is a fresh approach to the world's greatest classic. Its object is to make the Bible accessible to the modern reader; its method is to arrive at the meaning of biblical literature through exact translation and extended exposition, and to reconstruct the ancient setting of the biblical story, as well as the circumstances of its transcription and the characteristics of its transcribers.

It is a project of international and interfaith scope: Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine. Prepared under our joint supervision, The Anchor Yale Bible commentaries are an effort to make available all the significant historical and linguistic knowledge which bears on the interpretation of the biblical record.

The Anchor Yale Bible commentaries are aimed at the general reader with no special formal training in biblical studies; yet these books are written with the most exacting standards of scholarship, reflecting the highest technical accomplishment. This project marks the beginning of a new era of co-operation among scholars in biblical research, thus forming a common body of knowledge to be shared by all.

Brazos Theological Commentary
General Editor: R. R. Reno

The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is designed to serve the church--through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth--and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.

New Cambridge Biblical Commentary
Editors: Bill T. Arnold, James D. G. Dunn, Michael V. Fox, Robert P. Gordon, Judith Gundry-Volf, Ben Witherington III

The NCBC aims to elucidate the Hebrew and Christian scriptures for a wide range of intellectually curious individuals. Commentaries in the NCBC thus will be academically rigorous but will not assume the reader has a great deal of specialized theological knowledge or an impressive command of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or biblical Greek. Unlike the earlier CBC, however, the new series will take advantage of many of the rewards provided by scholarly research over the last three decades. While not mistaking trendiness for truth, volumes in the NCBC will make accessible and build upon many of the advances in theory and theology produced in universities and seminaries during the last thirty years. Utilizing recent gains in rhetorical criticism, social scientific study of the scriptures, narrative criticism and other developing disciplines, this series intends to provide a fresh look at biblical texts, taking advantage of the growing edges in Biblical Studies.

Word Biblical Commentary
General Editor: Bruce Metzger

The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.


michael jensen

Pick and choose I am afraid is the way to go. Each series has its absolute duds. I think Aune's three volume bore on Revelation in the Word series (so much information, so little wisdom - what a waste of money, and I purchased it!), or Christiansen's frankly weird take on Deuteronomy in the same series - counterbalanced by Wenham's Genesis and O'Brien's Colossians. Or some of the truly eccentric Anchor volumes - which sit along side Raymond Brown's imperious John commentary.
I thought the Brazos series would be the solution, so I went and purchased the first volume, by Pelikan on Acts: it is woeful. The Hauerwas volume from what I have read will tell you more about Hauerwas than about Matthew, that's for sure...

simon jones

I pick and choose though tend towards exegetical ones rather than theological. You appear to have missed the New International Commentary on the New Testament which contains Fee on 1 Corinthians (essential - though a little eclipsed by Thisselton) and Towner on 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. You also haven't mentioned the Pillar series from IVP and the New International Biblical Commentary from Hendrickson. Both these tend be used by ministers quite a lot - though I'm not a big fan of the first and think the second is a very mixed bag. The New Interpreters Bible also offers a couple of essential commentaries - namely Tom Wright on Romans and Richard Hays on Galatians. The rest in the two volumes I have is again a pretty mixed bag - the problem with single volume commentaries covering a number of books.

Jim Gordon

The commentary is one of my favourite types of reading. Like others I go for those which seem to offer a serious engagement with the text. But I think what any of us 'prefers' is subjective and based on what we have found useful, stimulating -even if we are lucky / blessed, occasionally mind-blowing. Raymond Brown's Anchor on John, Brueggemann on Genesis, Luz on Matthew, Achtemeier on 1 Peter, Fretheim on Exodus, Cranfield on Romans, Thiselton on 1 Corinthians, McCann on Psalms - these are volumes that over the years have taken me to the deep end of the text and helped me swim! Rather than series, my temptation (or strategy?) is to follow several authors. I have Fitzmyer on Luke, Romans and now on order for his new volume in Anchor series on 1 Corinthians. Brueggemann's commentaries are always worth the money,including his Exodus in the New Interpreter's Bible (bound with Fretheim on Genesis so no duffers in this volume), John Goldingay's Daniel, Psalms, Isaiah...oh and did I mention Luz on Matthew?? Instead of a series, it might also be worth paying tribute to the great tradition of commentary writing and gathering on each Bible Book one of the older, and too easily dismissed commentaries from the past. But that would be another list, another story.....


Pick and choose, pick and choose. I'm partial to the word series, because I like the layout, but every series has at least a few lemons.


It also depends what the commentaries are helping you research. Personally I have found New Interpreter's Bible series and the Interpretation series helpful when preaching. As others have said there are a few lemons in every series. But it is helpful having at least one complete set; you never know when you will want to preach on lamentations. Beyond that I've gone for picking particular ones that seemed good at the time, WBC, NICNT, ICC... Calvin on 1 Corinthians (great to read something written before the 20th Century). I too have tended to follow particular authors.


What about the Baker Exegetical Commentary Series (BECNT)? Koestenberger on John, Schreiner on Romans, Jobes on 1 Peter, Osborne on Revelation, this list goes on - it is still in process and is putting out some pretty good stuff!


The entire set of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary is 60% off the list prices in a new, electronic version from Logos Bible Software, now available for pre-order.

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