My Favourite New Testament Commentaries image

My Favourite New Testament Commentaries

Someone asked recently what my favourite biblical commentaries were, and whether I could put a list of them here, book by book. On Wednesday I put up my Old Testament favourites; these are the ones I'd recommend most for studying the New Testament. (Yes, these are all contemporary commentaries, and there is much to learn from pre-critical ones. No, I don't apologise for that.)

Matthew / Mark: N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God. This is not a commentary on Matthew or Mark. But it is the book that has opened up the meaning of the synoptic Gospels to me more than any other. Skip chapters 2 and 3 unless you’re a NT studies nerd.

Luke: David Lyle Jeffery (Brazos). This is for devotional and homiletic use, and not a verse by verse commentary, but it is tremendously eye-opening. For a more traditional commentary format, try Howard Marshall (NIGTC) or Joel Green (NICNT).

John: D. A. Carson (Pillar). Classic Carson, really: thoughtful, evangelical, wise and theologically sensitive exegesis.

Acts: Ben Witherington (Socio-Rhetorical). I should say, though, that I haven’t read Craig Keener’s four volume monster on Acts, so my recommendation here may not be that valuable.

Romans: Douglas Moo (NICNT), closely followed by Robert Jewett (Hermeneia) and Tom Schreiner (Baker). No NT book has attracted more brilliant commentators; you should also get John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift, Cranfield, Dunn ...

1 Corinthians: Anthony Thiselton (NIGTC). For me, Thiselton incorporates the strengths of all the other great modern commentaries (David Garland, Joseph Fitzmyer, Gordon Fee, Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, not to mention the Germans), yet adds his own distinct flavour.

2 Corinthians: Paul Barnett (NICNT). Solid exegetical and pastoral work on a somewhat neglected Pauline letter.

Galatians: Douglas Moo (Baker). It will certainly be worth checking out David DeSilva’s new NICNT one, however; it’s coming out any day now.

Ephesians: Frank Thielman (Baker). Lucid, clear exegesis with both a devotional and a homiletic eye on the text, with some wise treatments of difficult parts of the letter as well.

Philippians: Gordon Fee (NICNT). Everyone speaks well of this volume, and with good reason. (Useless trivia: it’s also the first commentary I ever saw Terry Virgo plug at Stoneleigh.)

Colossians / Philemon: N. T. Wright (Tyndale), although the best writing on Philemon itself comes in the opening section of Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

1&2 Thessalonians: I haven’t read enough to know.

1&2 Timothy, Titus: William Mounce (Word). You have to do a pretty amazing job to overcome the annoying format of this particular series, but Mounce does so with room to spare. Phil Towner (NICNT) is also excellent.

Hebrews: William Lane (Word). Lane’s two volumes are outstanding, although I think Peter O’Brien (Pillar) and Paul Ellingworth (NIGTC) are also well worth consulting on this crucial book.

James: I haven’t read enough to know, but I’d certainly give Scot McKnight (NICNT) a try before anyone else.

1 Peter: Karen Jobes (Baker). Wonderful analysis, fluid writing, clear layout and compelling exposition. All the things a commentary is supposed to be.

2 Peter / Jude: Gene Green (Baker). Everyone says Bauckham is excellent here too, although I haven’t read him myself yet.

1, 2 and 3 John: Howard Marshall (NICNT) is the only one I’ve worked through, so this isn’t especially well-informed, but it’s a good volume in a very reliable series.

Revelation: Peter Leithart (ITC). No commentary I’ve read on any biblical book has thrown out as many insights, ideas, connections and provocative interpretations as this one, for all its unexpected judgments (and typos!)

So there’s my list as of today. If you want to tell me I’m wrong, you’ll need to join Twitter ...

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