My Favourite Old Testament Commentaries

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Someone asked recently whether one of us could write a list of our favourite biblical commentaries for each book, and post it here. I thought it was a great idea, although one which I cannot completely follow through on, for the simple reason that I haven't read enough commentaries on every biblical book to know which ones are the best. (It's like when someone says "The best book on X I've read," when they mean, "The only book on X I've read.") My academic grounding is in Paul, not the Old Testament, so the list below will cause spluttering amongst those who have read much more than I have! But I can certainly recommend a bunch that I've found helpful, and that might get you started.

Genesis: John Walton (NIVAC). Walton is excellent on Genesis through ancient eyes, and writes well. I also love R. R. Reno (Brazos), but it might not be so useful if you hadn’t already consulted other commentaries.

Exodus: Peter Enns (NIVAC). A superb book that reminds you just how good a biblical scholar Peter Enns was before his fallout with Westminster.

Leviticus: Ephraim Radner (Brazos). Searching and occasionally difficult, but rich, thorough, and full of insight.

Deuteronomy: Gordon McConville (Apollos). Solid analysis of a book that can easily bamboozle. John Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch is also very helpful.

1&2 Samuel: Peter Leithart, A Son To Me. Nobody writes on the Israelite monarchy like Leithart (see below), and the connections he makes are often breathtaking.

1&2 Kings: Peter Leithart (Brazos). The best commentary I have ever read on anything, and one of the best five books I have read on anything. Full of devotion, insight, philosophy, typology, history and the gospel. Marvellous.

1&2 Chronicles: it’s not out yet, but I’m waiting for Leithart’s on this as well, for reasons that are probably already clear.

Job: John Walton (NIVAC). The introduction makes you rethink what the book is even about, and having seen it, you won’t look back.

Psalms: Derek Kidner (Tyndale). It’s very difficult to do such a big book justice, but Kidner does a super job here.

Proverbs: Tim and Kathy Keller, The Way of Wisdom. This is a daily devotional, not a commentary, and does not go through the book line by line. But (like its authors) it is full of excellent reflection, application, contextualisation, and most importantly wisdom.

Ecclesiastes: Peter Leithart, Solomon Among the Postmoderns. Warning: this is not a commentary. At all. But I’d be surprised if there was a book that helped you preach on the text, or wrestle with it, more than this one.

Isaiah: Alec Motyer, The Message of Isaiah. The first biblical commentary I ever used for my devotions, and still one of the best on anything. Get this one, rather than his (shorter) Tyndale commentary.

Jeremiah: I’m waiting for Kevin Vanhoozer on this.

Ezekiel: Robert Jenson (Brazos). Sweeping, deep, exegetically careful and theologically illuminating, with the occasional Jensonian quirks thrown in.

Daniel: Ernest Lucas (Apollos). I would have liked a more unapologetic landing on dating and predictive prophecy, but generally an excellent guide to a very complicated book.

The Twelve: I haven’t consulted enough commentaries to know here, but I’m looking forward to James Jordan on Haggai and Zechariah (Brazos) when it comes out.

My New Testament commentary recommendations will follow on Friday.

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