Like many pastors, I’m a commentary nerd.
Bible commentaries are scholarly books which give a verse by verse analysis of a book of the Bible. There are commentaries on every book of the Bible. Over the last 20 years, there have been hundreds of new commentaries that have been released. Commentaries are helpful to me in my studies of the Bible as I prepare sermons, Sunday school lessons, youth group lessons, and small group discussions. They’re a huge blessing to me and my ministry.
If you’re looking to study a book in depth, which commentaries should you read?
I’m starting a new series where I give my opinions on some of the best commentaries I’ve encountered for various books of the Bible.
Today, we start with the Gospel of Matthew. It’s my favorite book of the Bible to study. I’ve also preached more from Matthew than any other book and I’m familiar with all of the major commentaries.
Matthew has many great commentaries. I would put it right up with Romans as being the New Testament books with the best literature.
- Grant Osborne – Zondervan Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament (2010). Osborne was a professor at my seminary but I never actually had him for a class (so many great professors, it was difficult to get ’em all). I love his writing. Commentaries can be very dense and intellectual but Osborne’s commentaries (and he’s written one on every book of the New Testament) are written in an approachable manner, while still being academically rigorous.
- R.T. France – New International Commentary of the New Testament (2007). The late R.T. France actually wrote two commentaries on Matthew. He wrote one the New International Commentary of the New Testament (NICNT) and the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Matthew. The NICNT commentaries can at times get highly academic, but, like Osborne, France writes with great clarity. Every time I read France’s observations of Matthew’s gospel, I feel that there is something fresh and interesting he has gleaned from the text. The Tyndale commentary is still very solid, more condensed than the NICNT, and a bit more approachable for the lay person, but still very solid.
- Leon Morris – Pillar New Testament Commentary (1992). Unlike any other commentator I’ve read, Morris could write with brevity while feeling like he fully captured the idea of a verse. Truly a gift. A solid Evangelical scholar.
- D.A. Carson – The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1984). This is my favorite commentary in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series. Carson is my favorite New Testament scholar. As with anything Carson does, excellent exegesis and explanations of the text. One of the things I most appreciate about Carson is his ability to explain a passage while seamlessly connecting it to the rest of the context of the passage and within the overarching book. In treating a controversial passage, Carson is a master of
- Craig Blomberg – North American Commentary (1992). As a critique (and not so much a direct criticism of Blomberg because there are often restrictions from publishers on how long a book can be), but at times, I feel like his exposition can be too brief, and leaves me wanting more. But what he gives you in his commentary of Matthew is first rate. Blomberg approaches challenging subjects in a gentle manner.
What’s your favorite commentary on Matthew?
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.