After a decade of preaching and teaching (and quite a lot of blogging) I have accumulated a medium size library of commentaries and resources for communicating God’s Word to others. Therefore in this new series of blog posts I am going to list, with some comment, commentaries and other works that have been especially helpful in teaching and preaching God’s Word. Due to my theological convictions most of the works will be from a reformed perspective of scripture. Furthermore this is not an exhaustive list, if you prefer an exhaustive list I suggest buying a copy of A Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference Works (10th Edition) by John F. Evans. This list reflects the works I have used in preaching and teaching adults, teenagers, and children. This list will also be focusing on more modern commentaries.
In this first installment I am covering works on the book of Genesis. This post will be longer than most since there is a plethora of great works on the subject. The following the the top five commentaries with additional commentaries/reference works listed below.
This is the absolute best commentary on the book of Genesis this commentary is a bit technical and it is highly scholarly, yet the conclusions that Hamilton draws are superb. There are a few instances which his conclusions are not generally evangelical but you will find them few and far between. He is always worth using.
This commentary is without a doubt a must buy for every pastor. Currid not only expouses scripture in winsomely reformed perspective, makes sure to put the text in its proper cultural context yet also aids in the application of the text. A worthy purchase.
*I will note my basis, I was a student of his during my seminary training.
This commentary is usually high, if not first, on the list of almost all commentary guides. While it is a wonderful commentary, it is highly technical, and it is not always accessible to pastors without knowledge of Hebrew. Furthermore the format can be confusing. Yet despite all of this caveats, this volume has some of the most insightful comments and helpful conclusions.
This is a great set of commentaries for working pastors. This commentary is staunchly conservative and has great exegesis. It is unfortunately a bit light on application suggestion, but it is a handy work for pastors, especially those without training in Hebrew.
5. Genesis (Gospel According to the Old Testament) in 3 volumes.
Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace: The Gospel in the Lives of Isaac and Jacob by Iain M. Duguid, and
Living in the Light of Inextinguishable Hope: The Gospel According to Joseph by Iain M. Duguid and Matthew P. Harmon.
This are not commentaries in the strictest sense but they are great expositions of scripture and might be the greatest aid a pastor can use in finding application for the book of Genesis.
Some other helpful commentaries and reference works in no ranking order are: Bruce Waltke’s stand alone commentary, this commentary is a great example of examining scripture through a narrative lens (I used this primarily in breaking down a narrative into multiple teaching parts). David Atkinson of the BST (Genesis 1-11), Joyce Baldwin (Genesis 12-50) both of these commentaries are great for small group Bible study. John Walton of the NICAC, Tremper Longman III of SGBC, this commentary like the NIVAC are great resources is you are teaching large chunks of scripture but are less helpful when preaching exegetically. It also goes without saying that John Calvin’s commentary is always worth consulting, yet it is not recommenced for purchase since it is available free online.
***If you are a frugal pastor, such as myself, and could only have a few commentaries per book of the Bible, I would suggest investing with Hamilton’s, 2 Volume Set in the NICOT (Exegetical) and John Currid’s, 2 Volume set in the EPSC (Expository).***