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OT Commentary Survey

BooksThis guide provides some suggestions for purchasing Old Testament/Hebrew Bible commentaries to aid in preaching and teaching. This survey is not exhaustive, though it does try to be inclusive. Priority is given to commentaries that focus on the "final form" of the text and that include some theological reflection and application. Nevertheless, major or significant critical commentaries are also listed. See below for more details about my selection and evaluation process. 

The biblical books are organized according to the traditional Protestant order. You may jump to the section that interests you by using the links.

A Note on Evaluation

I have provided a brief evaluative discussion of the commentaries for each book of the Bible before listing the commentaries. This discussion will typically highight some of the empahses of the works, as well as highlight one or two commentaries which I feel are the best of the group. In addition, I have also used the following classification/evaluation system:

  • Each commentary is labeled for its intended audience with one or more of the following icons (Most commentaries receive a combination of labels).

    S = scholarly; P = pastoral; L = Lay-oriented The best of biblical criticism with more of a scholarly focus. Some comments will be driven by the academic agenda. The amount of theological reflection will depend on the author and commentary series.

    S = scholarly; P = pastoral; L = Lay-oriented Geared for pastors and teachers, though built upon a solid academic foundation. Accessible to serious lay people.

    S = scholarly; P = pastoral; L = Lay-oriented Written with a lay-audience in mind, though typically useful for preaching and teaching.
  • A star (star) marks the commentaries that are among the best commentaries on a particular book given its intended audience, while a double star marks what I think is the best overall commentary on a particular book.
  • For a sense of the general theological/methodological stance of any individual commentary, consult the description of the commentary series.

N.B. I am always updating this resource. If you have any questions or comments, or if there is a significant commentary that you think should be listed or if you disagree with my evaluation, please email me at