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Descriptions of Series

There are an ever-increasing number of commentary series being published. Each series has its own purpose and implied audience, whether lay people, students, pastors, or scholars. As a general rule, it is better to pick individual commentaries rather than purchase an entire series, since each series contain some "duds."

  • Anchor Bible (Doubleday). Uneven critical series; most of the more recent volumes are excellent critical studies.
  • Berit olam (Liturgical Press). A Catholic series written by an ecumenical collection of scholars; focuses on the narrative and poetic features of the text.
  • Bible Speaks Today (InterVarsity). A readable, non-technical, conservative evangelical series.
  • Mastering the Old Testament (Word). A conservative evangelical series that is directed towards pastors. Readable and most are backed by good scholarship, though some are better than others. (Used to be called the Communicator's Commentary series).
  • Continental Commentary (Eerdmans). English translations of some of the best of German critical scholarship.
  • Daily Study Bible (Westminster). A moderately critical series directed towards lay people.
  • Forms of OT Literature (Eerdmans). A critical series that focuses on form criticism, but also has some theological reflection.
  • Hermeneia (Fortress). The best of critical biblical scholarship; generally not much theological reflection. Artfully presented and typeset.
  • International Theological Commentary (Eerdmans). A moderately critical series intended to be international in scope and theological in flavour.
  • Interpretation (John Knox). A moderately critical series intended to bridge the gap between academia and the church.
  • JPS Bible Commentary (Jewish Publication Society). The best of mainline Jewish scholarship; emphasis on philology, history of interpretation (including Jewish), and theology. These volumes are worth buying if even only for their beautiful typesetting!
  • New American Commentary (Broadman & Holman). A conservative evangelical series that takes its point of departure from the doctrine of inerrancy.
  • New Century Bible (Eerdmans). A moderately critical series based on the RSV; by and large weak.
  • New International Commentary on the OT (Eerdmans). A somewhat conservative evangelical series; technical comments are footnoted, making it quite accessible for lay people.
  • NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan). A popular conservative evangelical series that focuses on the relevance of the biblical text for today, but built upon solid scholarship.
  • OT Library (Westminster). A critical series, with some works translated from German.
  • OT Message (Michael Glazier). A Roman Catholic series intended for ministers and lay people; moderately critical and theological.
  • Tyndale OT Commentaries (InterVarsity). Conservative evangelical series intended for lay people; brief but often informative.
  • Word Biblical Commentary (Word). A top-notch evangelical series that is both critical and theological. The format makes it accessible to the assiduous layperson. Great for its bibliographies.
  • Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary (Moody). A defunct conservative evangelical series.


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 May 2009 15:09