Building a Library: Commentary Sets

Commentary Sets

Any commentaries written by several contributors varies in value, some sets more than others.

“What the Bible Teaches,” For any Bible student, I heartily recommend these 11 volumes of exposition and practical application on all 27 books of the New Testament, edited by T. Wilson and K Stapley and published by John Ritchie.

“The Collected Writings of W. F. Vine” I highly recommend these 5 volumes, published by Gospel Tract Publishers. With a thorough knowledge of the Greek text, Mr. Vine wrote for English readers on 14 epistles and the Gospel of John. He also wrote on Isaiah and a number of subjects. Cyril J. Barber recommended “Christs Eternal Sonship” and “The First and The Last.”

“New Testament Word Studies” by John Albert Bengel has 925 pages in Volume 1 and 980 pages in Volume 2 (originally published as “The Gnomon of the New Testament”). The Greek word “Gnomon” means a pointer. Bengel did not want his books to be exhaustive, but rather to point the way, so he gave pithy hints instead of long comments. It is highly recommended by reliable scholars.

“Commentaries on the New Testament Books” by Charles Rosenbury Erdman in 17 volumes, published by The Westminster Press. This set is not as thorough as “What the Bible Teaches”, but it is also less technical.

“The Bible Knowledge Commentary” by Dallas Seminary Faculty is edited by John F Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck and published by Victor Books. The Old Testament volume has 1589 pages and the New Testament volume has 991 pages. They believe the same as the assemblies do regarding dispensational teaching and prophecy. Cyril J. Barber in his 3 volume set, “The Ministers Library” (in which he comments on thousands of books), published by Moody Press, says, “It is a fine condensation of Biblical information.”

“The Synopsis of the Books of the Bible” by John N. Darby in 6 volumes, published by Stow Hill Bible & Tract Depot is the most useful of all the 34 volumes of his works. I have gotten help from them, but I must confess that there have been times when I could wish that he were with me so I could ask him just what he meant.

“The Numerical Bible” by F. W. Grant in 3 volumes on the N.T. is published by Loizeaux Brothers. There are also 4 volumes on the O.T. which only cover from Genesis to II Samuel, Psalms, and Ezekiel.

“Ungers Commentary on the Old Testament” by Merrill F. Unger is published by Moody Press. Volume 1 has 1132 pages for Genesis to Song of Solomon. Volume 2 for the rest of the Old Testament is about the same number of pages. He himself is a scholar but he chose not to write for scholars, unlike Keil and Delitzch in their complete set on the Old Testament books. Unger wrote for average Christians and also for serious students.

“Tyndale New Testament Commentaries” was originally edited by R. V. G. Tasker and published in 20 volumes by Eerdmans Publishing Company. In the general preface is this comment by Leon Morris, “They avoid the extremes of being unduly technical or unhelpfully brief.” They enable the non-technical Christian to understand the New Testament more fully and clearly. Some of the volumes are being replaced under the editorship of Leon Morris.

“Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries” in 28 volumes are edited by D. J. Wiseman and published by Inter-Varsity Press. This set has the same aim as the New Testament series. “A few writers manifest a slight adherence to the higher critical documentary theories. This minimizes their value and usefulness” (Cyril J. Barber) to the average Christian. I Chronicles by Martin J. Selman has the most thorough introduction of 45 books consulted on I Chronicles.

“The Expositors Bible Commentary” in 12 volumes is edited by Frank E. Gaebelein and published by Zondervan, covering all the books of the Bible. This set gives Bible students a scholarly tool for the exposition of scripture.

“Expositions of Holy Scriptures” is in 11 volumes by Alexander Maclaren and published by Eerdmans Publishing Company. This set does not cover every verse and chapter of the Bible, but Wilbur M. Smith writes, “Will there ever again be such a combination of spiritual insight, of scholarship, of passion, of style, of keen intellectual power?”

“New Testament Commentary” by Win. Hendricksen and Simon Kistemaker is published by Baker Book House. (Since Mr. Hendricksen died, Simon Kistemaker has taken his place very ably). When 2 Corinthians and Revelation are finished there will be 15 volumes. Hendricksen is Amillennial, but thorough and scholarly. He has written with simplicity and the text is well applied in a practical way. Cyril J. Barber recommends highly most of the volumes, though he says that he finds Matthew pedantic.

“Interpretation of the New Testament” in 14 volumes by Richard C. H. Lenski is published by Augsburg Publishing House. He is Lutheran, Armenian, Amillennial, and strongly conservative. He has very helpful background material. Most of the time he is helpful in his exposition. His commentary is Warren Wiersbes favorite. Cyril J. Barber writes, Lenski manifests a rigidity in handling the original texts that at times mars his treatment; however, his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.”