Bible Commentaries

Bible Commentaries No Comments

     Commentaries on the Bible contain comments and observations on the biblical text, organized in the same order as the biblical text.  Most people turn to commentaries for an explanation of a passage or passages they are studying. 
     Commentaries include an introduction to each book of the Bible that discusses authorship, date, the circumstances in which the book was written, intended audience, and the relationship of that book to the rest of the Bible.  The introduction also includes an outline of the book or at least breaks it down into major sections.
     The introduction is followed by running commentary that moves verse-by-verse or section-by-section through the book, discussing the Bible text.  Did you know that there are different types of commentaries?  Let’s consider some of them.
     1.  Critical Commentaries.  Critical commentaries discuss in great detail the Hebrew or Greek text, interact with scholarly literature, and may use higher critical methods to investigate scripture.  Examples of this type of commentary include the International Critical Commentary series and the New International Greek Testament Commentary.
     2.  Devotional Commentaries.  This type of commentary is written as an interpretive aid or devotional guide for the common person who reads the Bible in English.  They avoid technical or textual discussions.  They focus on the interpretation and application of scripture to everyday life.  An example of this type of commentary would be the Life Application Bible.
     3.  Pastoral Commentaries, also called Homiletical Commentaries.  Homiletical commentaries focus on the needs and concerns of those in the ministry (i. e. preachers and teachers).  They aid in the preparation of sermons and Bible studies.  An example would be the Pulpit Commentary Series.
     4.  Exegetical Commentaries.  This type of commentary is text-centered but remains accessible to readers without formal language training.  Examples are the New American Commentary Series and Baker’s New Testament Commentary Series.
     5.  Eclectic Commentaries.  Eclectic commentaries draw comments on the biblical text from a variety of scholarly sources, especially other commentaries and places them side by side for comparison and analysis.  An example would be the Commentary Series by James Burton Coffman.
     Some commentaries are written by one person who may or may not be a trained professional in the field of biblical hermeneutics.  Others are written by a group of men who have been specifically selected for this purpose.  Sometimes a recognized book publisher puts together a team of writers that express a particular theological viewpoint.  Remember, every commentary written by a human being is subject to the theological bias of that person.  There is a wide range of theological viewpoints and hermeneutical skills of the writers involved in producing commentaries.  The Bible student must give careful consideration to these features before the purchase of any set of commentaries.  The best commentaries adhere faithfully to the truth of God’s Word.  Every commentary must be put to the test of truth and those that fail, must be rejected.