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School of Theology and Christian Ministries: Find a Bible Commentary

Searching for Bible commentaries in the Library catalog

A beginner may just go to the library home page, and type: Bible Galatians Commentaries    Some commentaries will show up, but there may be irrelevant books mixed in.

Because abook of the Bible, like "Matthew" might also be an author's / commentator's name, I recommend using the advanced search.  At the library home page, click on "Advanced Search" .

The on the advanced search screen, change the box label from Keyword to "Subject" and in the box type Bible Matthew Commentaries.  You will get more relevant results. (Of course  instead of "Matthew" you may use any book of the Bible.)

If you are searching databases for articles, databases  like ATLA Religion Database or Academic Search Premier, under subject, leave off "commentaries" and search for Subject: Bible Matthew  Here is more help for searching for articles.

eBook Bible commentaries from the library

The library has hundreds of current eBook commentaries.  But we may not have as an eBook the specific commentary series that your professor suggests in the syllabus.

As above, go to the library home page, and advanced search, and change the box label "Keyword" to "Subject" and type Bible Isaiah commentaries , and enter.  On the results page, on the left side, select "eBooks" to just see the eBook commentaries.  Then click "View eBook"  

You will need to decide for yourself if the eBook commentary is a scholarly commentary, and what point of view the commentary has.  Or ask your professor about the commentary series, or how to decide.

Read Chapters: To read an eBook from the library, I recommend scrolling to the Table of Contents, and perhaps opening subsections.  Then downloading a chapter "PDF" or reading online. 

It is often complicated to download an entire library eBook; you may need also to download special software and create usernames for different eBook platforms.  Contact a librarian if you want help setting up your computer to read an entire eBook.

eBook Commentaries

We have eBook commentaries.  

Search the library catalog for:

su:(bible commentaries <name of book, e.g. corinthians>)
and select the facet on the left column: "format" >> "eBooks"
We have eBooks commentaries for most published volumes of these series:
  • Hermeneia series, through 2020 (click here
  • Word Biblical Commentary, through 2018 (click here)
  • Anchor Bible series, through 2018 (click here)
  • ICC International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, up to the 2010s (click here)
  • New Testament library, 2000s click here, you may need to add the book of the Bible, for example: AND kw:(Corinthians)
  • Old Testament library, 2000s, click here , you may need to add the book of the Bible, for example: AND kw:(Exodus)
  • Beacon Bible commentary [Wesleyan, Holiness],  1960-2010s  (click here
  • Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching 1980-90s (click here)

  • Smyth & Helwys Bible commentary, 2000s (Baptist) (click here)
  • Reading <Bible book> : a literary and theological commentary, 2000s (click here)
  • Ancient Christian Commentary series, 2000s (click here)
  • Believers church Bible commentary series, 1990's-2010's [Mennonite] (click here)
  • New Covenant Commentary Series, 2010s ( click here )

Where to find Print Book Commentaries in Nicholson Library

Generally,  "scholarly" commentaries are shelved in the Nicholson Library Reference section, and more "application" commentaries are in the Stacks section. 

By scholarly, I mean commentaries that are written mostly for university students, other professors, and pastors.  Generally, the scholarly commentaries have many footnotes, showing the history of interpretation.  They analyze the Greek or Hebrew text.  They are explicit about their methodology and points of view; they focus on the meaning of the text for the original-historical audience.  They have less contemporary application.

By "application" commentaries, I mean commentaries that are written primarily for preachers, pastors, lay Bible study leaders, and other thoughtful Christians.  They focus on current interpretation, not the history of how it was interpreted.  They interpret primarily the modern English text, mentioning the original languages only occasionally.  They may be written by scholarly preachers-pastors, and may be based on sermon series.  They may have more doctrinal/theological reflection, comparing other Bible passages on a similar topic.  They tend to have more contemporary application of the text.

The commentaries in the Reference Section are grouped by commentary series, many sets in BS491 or following.  The commentaries in the Stacks are grouped by book of the Bible, Genesis  through Revelation, in the BS 1000's and 2000's.  You can checkout for a month the commentary books in the Stacks.  For the Reference commentaries, I recommend using the printers to scan the passage to your email, for free.

Selected Bible commentary series in the Reference section - brief descriptions

Below are descriptions of Bible commentary series in the library reference section. The goal is to help you decide which commentary might work for your assignment.  You'll still need to consult with your professor or judge for yourself which commentaries to use. 

The portions of the description in quotation marks are taken from the preface to each commentary series.  The other comments are from AU librarians.

Abingdon Old/New Testament commentaries - Ref BS491.2 .A246 (probably being relocated to Stacks)

This series "provides compact, critical commentaries" on the Bible.  "It is written for theological students, ... for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders."

Africa Bible commentary - Ref BS491.3 .A47 2006

A one volume commentary "written by Africans and primarily for Africans."  It was "produced by seventy African theologians and scholars,"  meeting at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology.  The Africa Bible Commentary "contains section-by-section exegesis and explanation of the whole Bible as seen through the eyes of African scholars who respect the integrity of the text and use African proverbs, metaphors and stories to make it speak to African believers in the villages and cities across the entire continent.  SIM (aka. Sudan Interior Mission or Serving in Mission) was "logistically and financially behind the project."

Anchor Bible - Ref BS491.2 .A512

The Anchor Bible "project [is] of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine."   "It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible ..; to the educated non-specialist.  Its approach is grounded in exact translation of the ancient languages and an appreciation of the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written, supplemented by insights from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism."  Doubleday is a secular publisher.

Apollos Old Testament commentary - Ref BS491.2 .A664

"This series .... keep[s] one foot firmly planted in the universe of the original text and the other in that of the target audience, which is preachers, teachers and students of the Bible."  Authors of this series must "be fully conversant with the literary conventions, sociological and cultural practices, historical background and understanding, and theological perspectives of those who produced the text as well as those whom it [was first written.]  "They must also understand their own times and culture."  "It is not only necessary to interpret the text, but ... also interpret the audience."  InterVarsity Press is an evangelical publisher, historically rooted in college ministry.

Baylor-Mohr Siebeck studies in early Christianity - Ref BS491.3 .B38

Commentaries in this series make "recent German research available in English translation" for "scholars and graduate
students."  Mohr-Siebeck and Baylor University Press are academic publishers.

Beacon Bible Commentary - Ref BS491.2 .B4 (probably being relocated to Stacks)

"We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Bible. ... The Christian faith derives from the Bible. It is the Founda­tion for faith, for salvation, and sanctification. ... The revelation of God and His will for men is adequate and complete in the Bible."  We "earnestly pray that this new offering among Bible commentaries will be helpful to preachers, teachers, and laymen in discovering the deeper meaning of God's Word and in un­folding its message to all who hear them."  Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City is the publisher for the Church of the Nazarene. 1964-1969.

Expositor's Bible commentary - Ref BS491.2 .E96

"It aims to provide preachers, teachers, and students of the Bible with a comprehensive commentary."  "Its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible."  Most but not all the "contributors ... are premillennial .. [yet] this commentary gives due recognition to ... godly social concern in the prophetic writings."  The methodology of "this commentary is the grammatico-historical one - namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing .. [with] attention to matters of grammar and syntax, word meanings, idioms, and literary forms."

Hermeneia: a critical and historical commentary on the Bible - Ref BS491.2 .H47

Hermeneia is the word "in the ancient Greek-speaking world, for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work."   "Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible."   "It will use ... [Hebrew], Greek, Latin, Canaanite, or Akkadian ... to provide ... a full critical discussion, [based upon] the primary data."  "Hermeneia is ... international and interconfessional."   It refrains from making sermon application.  Fortress Press is a mainline Lutheran publisher.  EBooks of all volumes of this commentary series are also available from Nicholson Library.

Historical commentary on the Old Testament - Ref BS 491.3 .H57

This international series "devotes explicit attention the history of biblical tradition in all its stages, both within and without the Hebrew canon."  It is "intended... for scholars, ministers and other interested parties."  It "stands in the Christian exegetical tradition."   Peeters is a scholarly publishing house based in Belgium.

International critical commentary  - Ref BS491 .I6

T & T Clark, Bloomsbury, 1895 - present

International exegetical commentary on the Old Testament - Ref BS 491.3 I58

IECOT is written for "a broad, international audience of scholars, laypeople and pastors."  It is "international, ecumenical and contemporary."  "This series [aims] to bring synchronic and diachronic methods into closer alignment."  "Synchronic studies embrace non-historical narratological, reader-response ... approaches."  "Diachronic ... include[s] use of manuscript evidence to identify pre-stages of the biblical text ... to reconstruct its formation over time, and also [examines] the ways in which a biblical text may be in dialogue with earlier biblical text."  "Each author or team of authors will highlight specific contemporary methodological and hermeneutical perspectives -- e.g. gender-critical, liberation-theological, reception-historical, social-historical."  Kohlhammer is a German science and theological publisher.

Interpreter's Bible - Ref BS491.2 .I55 (probably being relocated to Stacks)

A widely used commentary published in the 1950's for students and pastors.  Each page has two sections: exegesis and exposition, written by separate authors.   Abingdon Press publishes for the United Methodist Church and mainline churches in general.

New American commentary - Ref BS491.2 .N491

"Designed ... to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power."  "The Bible primarily belongs to the church.  ... Scholarship and the academy provide an indispensable foundation for biblical understanding..., but the ... authors ... communicate ... their research in a manner that will build up the whole body of Christ."  "Discussions relating to contemporary scholarship and technical points of grammar and syntax appear in the footnotes."  Broadman (now B&H) publishing is a division of the Southern Baptist Convention.

New Beacon Bible commentary - Ref BS491.2 .N49

A set of commentaries "in the Wesleyan tradition."   Authors" task is to communicate clearly the critical consensus ... to demonstrate .. the significance of the Bible as the church's book and ... [its] contemporary relevance."  The comment on each Bible "paragraph has three parts: Behind the Text, In the Text, and From the Text."  "Behind" includes "historical situations, .. literary context, ... sociological and cultural issues, and literary features" of the text. "In the Text" includes 'grammatical details, word
studies, and the connect[ions]  to other biblical ... passages."  "From the Text" includes "theological significance, intertextuality, the history of interpretation, use of the Old Testament scriptures in the New Testament, interpretation in later church history, actualization, and application."  This set  fits some of the understandings and methods of some Church of God (Anderson) and evangelical Methodist congregations.  Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City is the publisher for the Church of the Nazarene.

New Collegeville Bible commentary - Ref BS491.2 .N471 (being relocated to Stacks)

Brief understandable books for Bible study participants, teachers and preachers. Most authors for this series are seminary professors.  Liturgical Press is a Catholic Benedictine publisher.

New Covenant Commentary Series - ebooks

Designed for ministers and students.  Covers the text and context of each New Testament book and pays specific attention to the impact of the text upon the faith and praxis of contemporary faith communities.

New international commentary on the Old/New Testament - Ref BS491.2 .N481

The series draws on "... recent methodolog[ies] .. for example, canon criticism, new literary criticism, reader-response theories, sensitivity to gender-based and ethnic readings."   "This series ... speaks from within ... evangelicalism, ... an informal movement within Protestantism [with] ... the conviction that the Bible is God's inspired Word, written by gifted human writers, through which God calls humanity to enjoy a loving personal relationship with its Creator and Savior."  Each author "writes as an expert in both the biblical text itself and the relevant scholarly literature ... convey[ing] ... mature reflection."  Eerdmans is a scholarly, reformed publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

New international Greek New Testament - Ref BS 2341.2 .N483 

"Cater[s] particularly to the needs of student of the Greek text."  "Attempt[s] to provide a theological understanding of the text, based on historical-critical-linguistic exegesis."  It  "interact[s] with significant New Testament research published in recent articles and [books]" and seeks to makes its "own scholarly contribution to the ongoing study of the biblical text."  Eerdmans is a scholarly, reformed publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

New interpreter's Bible - Ref BS491.2 .N484

It's "aim ... is to bring the best in contemporary biblical scholarship into the service of the church to enhance preaching, teaching, and study of the Scriptures."  It "provides an exegetical analysis informed by linguistic, text-critical, historical-critical, literary, social-scientific, and theological methods."  Abingdon Press publishes for the United Methodist Church and mainline churches in general.

Pillar New Testament commentary - Ref BS 2341.2 .P544

"Designed for serious pastors and teachers of the Bible, the Pillar commentaries seek above all to make clear the text of Scripture as we have it [canonical criticism]. The scholars writing these volumes interact with the most important informed contemporary debate, but avoid getting mired in undue technical detail. Their ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and to the contemporary relevance of the Bible."  Eerdmans is a scholarly, reformed publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Reformation commentary on scripture - Ref BS491.2 .R432

This series is made up of "exegetical comment ... gathered from the writings of sixteenth century preachers, scholars and reformers."  Selections were originally written "from the late 1400s to the mid-seventeenth century."  Most of the quotations were translated into English by the editor of each volume, so it may be difficult to find the fuller context of a quotation in English translation.

Smyth & Helwys Bible commentary - Ref BS491.2 .S69

This sets "primary goal ... is to make available serious, credible biblical scholarship ... accessible to a wider audience." It is formatted like a college textbook, with sidebars, maps, charts, photos, and other visually appealing elements.  "Considerable attention
is given to the wording and structure of texts ... in the light of the entire canon of Christian Scriptures."  Information from archeology,
ancient history, geography, comparative literature, history of religions, politics, sociology, and ... economics is used to illuminate the culture of ... the Bible.  And it draws from "the history of interpretation in traditional commentary ... [and] in literature, theater, church history, and the visual arts. Finally, the commentary [makes] connections to the world of the contemporary church.  Smyth & Helwys is an independent Baptist publisher.

The transforming word - Ref BS491.3 .T73

This is a one volume commentary, produced by authors from the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ and Stone-Campbell movement. The publisher is Abilene Christian University Press.

True to our native land : an African American New Testament commentary

A one volume commentary written by African American scholars.  Ref  BS491.3 .T78 2007

Wesleyan Bible commentary - Ref BS491.2 .W4

It "aims at a high level of sound biblical scholarship, with a purpose that is practical rather than technical."  It aims to "maintain... the spiritual insight .. of John Wesley and Adam Clarke."  It includes "the social implications and provision of the gospel of Jesus Christ."  This set fits some of the understandings and methods of conservative Church of God (Anderson) and evangelical Methodist churches.  Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City is the primary publisher for the Church of the Nazarene.

Women's Bible commentary, 3rd edition, 2012 - Ref BS Ref 491.3 W55 2012

A one volume Bible commentary, featuring women authors writing about each book of the Bible from the perspective of feminist criticism.  Articles from the first two editions are also interesting.  Westminster John Knox Press is a mainline Presbyterian publisher.

Word biblical commentary - Ref BS491.2 .W67

This commentary set is known for clear historical-critical exegesis divided in sections expressing distinct methods of exegesis.  Often the sections follow the same order as assignments in exegesis courses.  Though "based on biblical languages, ... it seeks to make the technical and scholarly approach[es] ... understandable by and useful to fledgling student[s]."   Word Books was an evangelical publisher; which was purchased by Thomas Nelson, which was purchased by HarperCollins.

Zondervan exegetical commentary on the Old / New Testament - Ref BS 2341.2 .Z662

Utilizing "discourse analysis" this series emphasizes "the rhetorical agendas of biblical authors... [with] careful attention to the flow and argument of [the] text."   "Commentators will address ... Literary context, ... Structure and literary form ... Explanation of the text, attending to how the biblical authors select and arrange their materials, ... words, phrases, and syntax to communicate, [and] Canonical and practical significance."  Zondervan is an evangelical publisher.  This series is part of their academic line of books.

Selected commentary series in the Stacks - brief descriptions

Africana Bible : Reading Israel's Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora.

It highlights issues of concern to the global Black community such as globalization and the colonial legacy.  Fortress Press, 2010. BS1171.3 .A37 2010

Asia Bible commentary

It "empowers Christian believers in Asia to read the Bible from within their own respective contexts. ... The ... goal is to strengthen the body of Christ in Asia by providing pastoral and contextual exposition."  Published by Langham, a British evangelical publisher. 2016-2019.

Baker exegetical commentary on the Old/New Testament

Blends "scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, attention to critical problems ... that have direct bearing on the meaning of the text, although selected technical details are treated in the ... notes."  Translates "the [Hebrew or] Greek text and rigorously analyz[es] it content through exegesis and exposition." 1992-2019.

Berit olam: studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry

"Literary analysis [for] professional biblical scholars, student or religious educators."  Liturgical Press is a Catholic Benedictine publisher. 1996-2014.

Big Greek Idea Series: an exegetical guide for preaching and teaching

"[The] threefold audience in mind: the busy pastor, the overworked professor ..., and the student with demanding Greek professors. ... Interspersed throughout the closing section [of each passage] are grammatical, syntactical, semantical, lexical, theological and text-critical nuggets of information. They are exposition-like commentary to enhance an understanding of selected issues that surface in the text.

Continental commentaries

Translations academic commentaries by European authors, Fortress Press is a mainline Lutheran publisher. 1986-2004.

Eerdmans Critical Commentary

"Accessible to serious general readers and scholars ... [it reflects] textual, philological, literary, historical and archeological inquiry."  Eerdmans is a scholarly, reformed publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2000-2012.

Feminist Companion to the Bible

Essays on selected passages, grouped by books of the Bible.  Most volumes edited by Athalya Brenner.  1993-2001.

Old Testament library 

Westminster John Knox Press is a mainline Presbyterian publisher, 1962-2015.

Paideia commentaries on the New Testament 

Comments on the "final form" of the text, paying attention to "cultural, literary, and theological settings" and "contemporary readers.  Aimed at "MA students ... seminarians, and upper-divisional undergraduates."  Baker publishing, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, "represents historic Christianity and serve the diverse interests and concerns of evangelical readers."  2007-2019  

Postcolonial commentary on the New Testament writings

Covers selected N.T. passages, by Fernando F Segovia, R S Sugirtharajah.  T & T Clark, 2009. BS2361.3 .P67 2009

Sacra pagina

Intended for "biblical professionals, graduate students, theologians, clergy, and religious educators"  "provide[s] sound critical analysis with an loss of sensitivity to religious meaning."  Liturgical Press is a Catholic Benedictine publisher, 1991-2005

Two horizons Old/New Testament commentary

"Seeing to bridge the existing gap between biblical studies and systematic theology, this ... series offers section-by-section exegesis ... in close conversation with theological concerns.  Eerdmans is a scholarly, reformed publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2005-2018

Wisdom commentary  

"Making the best of current feminist biblical scholarship available ... to ministers, preachers, teachers, scholars an dstudents."  Liturgical Press is a Catholic Benedictine publisher, 2015-2019.