Bible Commentaries: A Definitive Guide

There are so many Bible commentaries, how do you pick the best? How do you pick the best for your need?

I love seeing people dig deep into the Bible, so as a personal and professional teacher for many years, and I've found a select few sets and series to be the most helpful for me.

The Top Two Sets for most Bible Students

If you want a concise yet overarching commentary on every verse of the Bible, I've recommended over and over again the Bible Knowledge Commentary.

bible commentariesEdited by preeminent scholars from Dallas Theological Seminary (Walvoord and Zuck), one of the nations's top seminaries, this two-volume Bible commentary gives a commentary on every verse of the Bible within an outline for every book in the Bible. The commentary is endorsed by Chuck Swindoll and Erwin Lutzer, and has a host of respected contributing editors.

Each book of the Bible is also covered for introduction and outline.

At the close of each book, the author also lists a bibliography of Bible Commentaries that can also be looked at for further in-depth study.

This is a handsome hardback set, and I've recommended it to many friends over the years and none of them has been disappointed.

The only drawback to this set is that it's a little more abbreviated, and it has to be to fit into two volumes.

In short, it's a good reference point but not good for serious in-depth study. Pick up your copy of the Bible Knowledge Commentary from

bible commentaries barclayMy #1 Pick for in-depth study that digs deeper yet is very readable: The Daily Study Bible Set by William Barclay. Available are both the Old Testament and New Testament commentary sets.

William Barclay, Bible CommentatorThe great thing about Barclay, a world-renown Scottish New Testament interpreter, is that he takes the best of deep scholarship and puts it "on the bottom shelf" for the reader in an easy, pleasant writing style. In his own words, his goal was to make the best Biblical scholarship available to the average reader.

Furthermore, he adds to this scholarship thoughts on how each verse applies to us today.

I've used much, much more expensive Bible Commentaries (we're talking 30-40 for each book of the Bible) that in the end end up saying the same thing Barclay says!

The Daily Study Bible sets work out to only about 10 dollars for a commentary on each book. That is simply an amazing price, for the value you're getting.

You can buy the books individually, but I would recommend against it. You're going to pay about 4 dollars more per book plus shipping for each time you order another book. (And trust me, you'll want them all.) I've found that has the best overall price and service for both the Old Testament Bible and New Testament Bible Commentaries sets.

Advanced Commentaries

For those into heavy-lifting, scholarly hunger and deeper pocketbooks, I would recommend the New International Commentary Set, The Word Biblical Commentary Series, or the still emerging, top shelf New International Greek Testament Commentaries.

Free Online Bible Commentaries?

There are a few freebies out there for quick reference, but they definitely don't replace the above sets in any way. You can find them at our free online Bible commentaries page

Bible Software?

The top shelf Bible Software packages often have add-on modules. For myself, I like a good mix of Bible software and hardbound reference books. You can take a look at the best Bible software packages here...


Need more help?

If you're still not certain, shoot me a line via our contact page and I'll do my best to help you pick out the right thing.