What commentary should I purchase for Bible Study?


Selecting a Bible commentary is a very personal decision and also depends upon the type of study you intend to do.

Use and Type of Study Resources:

A pastor may use different resources than, say, a layman or a scholar. If you use extensive Greek and Hebrew resources in your study, then your selection of a commentary would probably differ from someone who is just beginning to study the Bible. These choices are very personal and depend upon one's study habits and knowledge base.

The Best Resources for Your Study:

Once you make a decision on what type of commentary would be most useful in your personal study, then you may decide upon the best resources. To select a commentary for your personal use, I would begin by looking at:

(1) IIIM Study Bible: (a) choose the book of the Bible you desire to study, (b) then click on "References and Related Resources," and then (c) look for the commentaries with - *** - next to them. These are the commentaries recommended by IIIM.

(2) Covenant Seminary: (a) go to the Commentary Guide and (b) select the name of the book you are studying.

Some of these resources are available from a variety of online locations online and others from various local bookstores, for example Reformed Theological Seminary's Bookstore or Westminster Bookstore. These links will help the student select what is best for them as the end user of any given resource.

Format of Resources:

Lastly, you need to determine in the format you desire the specific resource(s) to be in. Of course, as stated above, some may be found online. While you may purchase a commentary in a hard or soft back book version, this limits your use of the commentary - especially if you are purchasing an entire set.

A viable option is Bible software. With a Desktop, Laptop, iPad, or iPhone, etc., you can take a Bible library with you almost any place you go. I carry the ESV, Greek, and Hebrew Bibles on my iPhone. In addition, I have a commentary on every book of the Bible and all the Westmenister documents on the same iPhone. This is easier than connecting a trailer to my wheelchair.

Which software? My personal suggestions would include Accordance and BibleWorks. There are some free Bible Software programs as well, such as e-Sword. Be sure to check compatibility with your computer devices before purchasing.

Some have complained that some Bible software companies solicite and all but harass its customers with numerous phone calls and emails. I have personally experienced this. In such circumstances I would definitely purchase software from another vendor. Note that I have not experienced this from the companies mentioned above.

In addition, some software companies offer substantial discounts to pastors, missionaries, and academia. These discounts can help stretch one's budget.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).