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The J. Oliver Buswell Jr. Library
Recommended Commentary Series
Recommended Commentary Series

Below are listed a selection of commentary series that are generally recommended by the Library based on their overall quality. The quality of individual volumes within a particular series may vary significantly. All volume counts are as of April 2009 and are subject to change as new volumes are published.

Apollos Old Testament Commentary, 2002– (3 volumes available)
Highly rated based on what’s appeared so far, this series aims to keep one foot planted firmly in the universe of the original text and the other in that of the target audience.
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1992– (13 volumes available)
This fine series is scholarly but also aims to be accessible, such as to educated folks who lack knowledge of biblical languages. E.g., both Greek and transliterations are provided.
The Bible Speaks Today, 1968– (nearly complete)
Tremper Longman says this series is “readable, accurate, and relevant.”
Calvin’s Commentaries (Calvin lived between 1509–1564; many translations & editions available)
These find their origin in Calvin’s sermons and offer timeless exegetical insights. Psalms and Isaiah are among the best ever, as Brevard Childs notes. Some biblical books never were covered, and unfortunately Exodus through Deuteronomy is harmonized.
Commentary on the Old Testament, by C. F. Keil & F. Delitzsch
This classic work may never go out of print, owing to its solid merits.
Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised edition, 2006– (4 volumes available)
Acquire the original edition (1976–1992) if you cannot wait, but the revised edition is both updated and rendered in a more pleasing typeface.
New American Commentary, 1991– (about ½ complete)
This is evangelical, mainly Southern Baptist, and essentially a successor to the Broadman Bible Commentary (1969–1972). Tremper Longman says it is “highly competent, but not outstanding.” Not a few of the volumes have received excellent reviews.
New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1951– (nearly complete)
This is one of the very best series in any language or from any period of time. Be aware that, as is sometimes the case with series, some biblical books have been treated a second time—and that well prior to the completion of the set, which has not yet occurred.
New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1965– (about ½ complete)
Like its NT counterpart, this is an outstanding series. Isaiah has been done twice.
The New Interpreter’s Bible, 1994–2004
This began to appear in 1994 and recently was completed in twelve volumes plus an index volume. This is far superior to its predecessor, The Interpreter’s Bible. The Buswell Library Director recommends it based on his personal use. Search in the library’s catalog by title rather than series title, for this is a multi-volume work rather than a series.
NIV Application Commentary, 1994– (NT complete; OT about ¾ complete)
John Evans (his commentary guide is available from the Covenant Seminary Bookstore) says: “In the better volumes there is a good measure of interpretation before the writer moves on to consider practical application. That is a good and safe pattern. But what makes NIVAC unique and even more helpful is that, in between exegesis (‘Original Meaning’) and application (‘Contemporary Significance’), the authors discuss the process of moving from the world of the text to our own. Often those ‘Bridging Contexts’ sections offer helpful counsel to preachers.” But Carson offers some warnings especially for those who may rely too heavily on the applications and fail to do their own hard study and careful cultural reflection.
Pillar New Testament Commentary, 1991– (about ⅓ complete)
This series so far is, as Evans says, “strongly evangelical, well grounded in scholarship, and warmly recommended.”
Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, originally 1956–1974, but revisions followed
The advantages of this series are that it can be purchased as a set for a very reasonable price, offers evangelical scholarship, and is easily portable. With one or two exceptions, the commentaries are too brief to meet the needs of pastors in a significant way.
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1964–1999 (major revision may occur)
American, Australian, English, Irish, and South African evangelical scholars contribute. Evans says that it “offers weighty exegetical comments rather than full exposition.”