Which WBC volumes do you recommend?

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Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Sep 1 2015 5:01 AM

This month (Sep ’15) we can buy individual volumes of the Word Biblical Commentary series @ $9.99. For anyone who doesn’t want/need the whole set, this is a great opportunity to pick out the best of the set. So, can those of us who use WBC help others decide which ones to get?

Personally, this is one of the go-to sets for me, especially in the Old Testament. The layout (translation, form/setting, commentary, and explanation for each pericope) doesn’t suit everyone, though I like it: it's quick to find what I’m after.

Here are the OT volumes I’ve received most from:

  • 1 & 2: Genesis, by Wenham
  • 3:    Exodus, by Durham
  • 16:  Ezra/Nehemiah, by Williamson
  • 19-21: Psalms, by Craigie, Leslie, and Tate
  • 17-18: Job, by Clines
  • 30:    Daniel, by Goldingay

NT:

  • 38: Romans, by Dunn
  • 41: Galatians, by Longenecker
  • 44: Colossians/Philemon, by O’Brien
  • 47: Hebrews, by Lane
  • 50: Jude/2 Peter, by Bauckham

(Butler’s Joshua and Judges are probably very good too, but I’ve only just got these so am not in a position to comment.)

I’m sure those who don’t have the set would appreciate other opinions too.

Posts 1602
Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 5:24 AM

It might be interesting to review the rankings on Best Commentaries.  Seems there are quite a number in the series ranked in the top 3 with seventeen #1's as I count them.

Posts 343
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 6:43 AM

Doug Stuart's Hosea-Jonah volume is really good. I've also made heavy use of the two Mark volumes.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 88
Johann | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 12:52 PM

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm not on the forums much, but specifically came to find recommendations on the volumes of the WBC series. Even at $10 a volume, don't know if I can afford more than a few at this point. 

I'm considering:

Genesis, Ezra/Nehemiah, Daniel, Galatians, Colossians/Philemon, 1&2 Thess, Pastorals

Maybe Hebrews too, but I have a Bruce's NICNT volume, so I have at least one top rated commentary on that book. I have Moo's NICNT Romans, but think Dunn's would be great.

I mention that because at this point I'm mainly looking to getting at least one good commentary on each book of the Bible. Wish I could get the top 3-5 rated. I have Bronze (includes Socio-Rhetorical, Lange's, etc) plus the older Expositor's series, some devotional sets (Wright and Boice). I usually add some individual titles when I can get good bargains with March Madness, but don't have anything from WBC.

Will I regret not getting everything I'm interested in at $10 each?! I could buy everything I mentioned for less than 3 volumes at the regular price!

Thanks for the recommendations, hopefully more people will join in this thread in the next couple weeks.

Posts 194
Michael | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 1:11 PM

Based on Bestcommentaries.com and Ligonier.org I have the following in my cart and ready to order in a week or so.

OT:

  • Genesis 1-15, 16-50
  • Leviticus
  • Joshua
  • Ruth,Esther
  • 1,2 Chronicles
  • Ezra, Nehemiah
  • Job 1-20, 21-37, 38-42
  • Daniel
  • Hosea-Jonah
  • Song of Songs/Lamentations

NT:

  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Colossians, Philemon
  • Pastoral Epistles
  • 1, 2 Thessalonians
  • Hebrews 1-8, 9-13
  • Jude, 2 Peter
  • 1 Peter (this one I as a little more iffy about, but for $10 I think it's worth it)

I think these will round out my commentary sets.  I have NIVAC, NIGTC, NICOT/NICNT, NAC, PNTC, and TOTC/TNTC.  The only volumes I have my eye on after this are the 2 volume Luke commentaries from BECNT.

I'm just an average person trying to take a serious look at Bible study.  I understand the layout for WBC has a strong love/hate relationship, but I've also read that for academic study it's pretty useful.  I'm getting the books in the set specifically for academic study, so I think with that expectation I shouldn't be disappointed.

I'm curious if anyone would consider other volumes "must-haves" or recommend against getting any volumes I've listed.

Posts 334
Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 1:35 PM

Looks pretty good to me, Michael.  Perhaps consider adding Exodus and Ecclesiastes.

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 1:44 PM

Michael,

You have picked most of the best ones. If your library is like mine, it is NT heavy. I actually use WBC a lot when in the OT. I have the entire set, but if I did not, would compare the bestcommentaries.com list and consider OT commentaries that are in the top 4, unless you are covered with the NICOT as the top commentary.

Whatever you decide, enjoy them.

Posts 244
Alexxy Olu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 3:00 PM

Please can someone comment if the new two-volume Joshua and 2 Corinthians new edition are worth buying at the sales price.

I do intend to buy the two volumes: Judges and the 3rd volume of Job when the current confusion is cleared.

I could add the Joshua and Corinthians volumes if they are considered to be worth the price.

Thanks for your help

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 3:20 PM

Alexxy Olu:
Please can someone comment if the new two-volume Joshua

I have not used the new edition. Here are some observations:

1st edition: 1982, 284 pages plus 15 pages of Introduction.

2nd edition: 2014, 883 pages, of which 151 are Introduction.

Dr. Butler's original work was considered controversial among evangelicals when first released. He has gone into greater detail in the new work to explain his point of view and the evidence he followed in the original volume. He has also greatly enlarged the commentary proper. My suggestion is that the new edition may be much more helpful than the original which is why I purchased it.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 194
Michael | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 4:31 PM

John Fidel:

Michael,

You have picked most of the best ones. If your library is like mine, it is NT heavy. I actually use WBC a lot when in the OT. I have the entire set, but if I did not, would compare the bestcommentaries.com list and consider OT commentaries that are in the top 4, unless you are covered with the NICOT as the top commentary.

Whatever you decide, enjoy them.

Thanks for your input.  Between NAC, NICOT, and TOTC I have pretty good coverage if I only get the OT volumes from the WBC that I listed.  My goal has been to get the top 3-5 commentaries for each book.  Getting the WBC volumes listed will achieve that goal.  Obtaining all of the WBC set is not important to me.  I will consider my library more than sufficient for years of study.  Big Smile

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 4:54 PM

I'd add that Philippians (Hawthorne) is worth it as well.  If you own Moises Silva's work, he really goes after Hawthorne (WBC).  It's good for comparison.

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 1 2015 5:01 PM
  • I have three additional volumes which are beaten by other series though but for which I find occasional use. My recommendations are:
    • The new Joshua -volumes are the best for Joshua but I don't think it's a necessity to study it. Since no works yet reference the new volumes I have the old volume as well (although in print), as it is in fact cited here and there in my library. So not a must-buy unless You'll find an effective way of using them.
    • Ralph W. Klein (2009). 1 Samuel. Unfortunately Old Testament Library by A. Graeme Auld (2011) cites the 1st Edition. And since Klein cites Journal of Biblical Literature and Biblical Archaeology Review I chose it on the Accordance platform as BAR is available only there.
    • Roddy L. Braun (1986). 1 Chronicles. I have it as printed matter. I go to it first, but because of its age I then go to Hermeneia (which I have in Accordance, it cites BAR btw).
    • H. G. M. Williamson (1985). Ezra/Nehemiah. I have the Sheffield / T&T Clark Old Testament Guides volume as well (the entire set, including the volume on 1 Pt which is not (yet?) in Logos/Verbum). This is a good author. Another work that I have on these books is the UBS (Translator's) Handbook. It's nice to have this combination of works.
    • Keown, Scalise, Smothers (1995). Jeremiah 26-52. I know it's not generally recommended but it works for the end of Jeremiah, as I don't want to put too much money into a commentary on the end of Jeremiah nor would necessarily read a more serious commentary for the last chapters of Jeremiah such as AYBC by Jack Lundbom. But I do have the first two volumes of Lundbom's commentary since those are the only volumes of the three by him which have been on a sale somewhat recently. Jeremiah is the very favourite book of mine to research, I just limit my research when it comes to the last chapters.
    • I have Douglas Stuart (1987). Hosea- Jonah, but if I would write a paper or author a book and need to cite, I would put it in footnotes as I won't be progressing to that level soon and by then it'll be considered by the seniour lecturers and professors to be bordering to dated. So I wouldn't recommend it as the only commentary in the long run, for example the new Amos volume in the Hermeneia -series is far superiour any other commentary volume.
    • John Nolland (1993). Luke 9:21-18:34 and 18:35-24:53, especially the latter volume.
    • Ralph P. Martin (2014). 2 Corinthians. Maybe not as Your only commentary on 2 Cor 1-7 though!
    • Richard J. Bauckham (1983). 2 Peter and Jude. A classic cited by or in the bibliography of all works published after it.


  • EDIT: I would choose Clinton E. Arnold (2011). Ephesians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)., because of its particular approach to dealing with words. With Lincoln You'd have to put a bit more energy into spotting where the nuances are important:

    Michael:

    NT:

    • Ephesians

    [...]

    I'm curious if anyone would consider other volumes "must-haves" or recommend against getting any volumes I've listed.

Aply!
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Posts 244
Alexxy Olu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 2 2015 3:00 AM

Mark Smith:

Alexxy Olu:
Please can someone comment if the new two-volume Joshua

I have not used the new edition. Here are some observations:

1st edition: 1982, 284 pages plus 15 pages of Introduction.

2nd edition: 2014, 883 pages, of which 151 are Introduction.

Dr. Butler's original work was considered controversial among evangelicals when first released. He has gone into greater detail in the new work to explain his point of view and the evidence he followed in the original volume. He has also greatly enlarged the commentary proper. My suggestion is that the new edition may be much more helpful than the original which is why I purchased it.

Thanks Mark for your timely and helpful information. I will now go ahead to get the additional volumes.

Posts 391
Geo Philips | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 2 2015 5:53 AM

I would recommend getting Lane on Hebrews, which is top-notch. I use that along with Bruce, and the two have different strengths

Johann:

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm not on the forums much, but specifically came to find recommendations on the volumes of the WBC series. Even at $10 a volume, don't know if I can afford more than a few at this point. 

I'm considering:

Genesis, Ezra/Nehemiah, Daniel, Galatians, Colossians/Philemon, 1&2 Thess, Pastorals

Maybe Hebrews too, but I have a Bruce's NICNT volume, so I have at least one top rated commentary on that book. I have Moo's NICNT Romans, but think Dunn's would be great.

I mention that because at this point I'm mainly looking to getting at least one good commentary on each book of the Bible. Wish I could get the top 3-5 rated. I have Bronze (includes Socio-Rhetorical, Lange's, etc) plus the older Expositor's series, some devotional sets (Wright and Boice). I usually add some individual titles when I can get good bargains with March Madness, but don't have anything from WBC.

Will I regret not getting everything I'm interested in at $10 each?! I could buy everything I mentioned for less than 3 volumes at the regular price!

Thanks for the recommendations, hopefully more people will join in this thread in the next couple weeks.

Posts 334
Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 2 2015 12:12 PM

I'm not sure I'd put too much weight on the ratings at the Best Commentaries site.  The Hermeneia volume on Mark, for example, is ranked 18th.  I'd probably rank it at the top, personally.  That said, I don't think you'd go wrong with the WBC volumes (esp. at $10 a pop).

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 2 2015 9:31 PM

If I were picking a few volumes (I tried to pick the top 10 in my mind but unfortunately ended up with a top 20 Admittedly I added the gospels not wanting to break them up, I have found them useful and if going to spend just $80 would grab those.. Genesis is just wonderful as is Job... The 3 Psalm volumes are again my personal desire not to break up a set, 1-50 is undoubtably the strongest but the other two volumes are nearly as good in my mind. Dunn's Romans is very insightful and Lane's Hebrews is a masterpiece. )... 

Volume 1: Genesis 1–15

Volume 2: Genesis 16–50

Volume 17: Job 1–20

Volume 18A: Job 21–37

Volume 18B: Job 38–42

Volume 19: Psalms 1–50

Volume 20: Psalms 51–100

Volume 21: Psalms 101–150

Volume 33a: Matthew 1–13

Volume 33b: Matthew 14–28

Volume 34a: Mark 1–8:26

Volume 34b: Mark 8:27–16:20

Volume 35a: Luke 1:1–9:20

Volume 35b: Luke 9:21–18:34

Volume 35c: Luke 18:35–24:53

Volume 36: John (Second Edition)

Volume 38a: Romans 1–8

Volume 38b: Romans 9–16

Volume 47a: Hebrews 1–8

Volume 47b: Hebrews 9–13

-Dan

Posts 194
Michael | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 8 2015 7:36 PM

Thanks for all the input and the OP for starting this thread.  I ended up making my purchase tonight.  I think I've rounded out my commentaries enough to last years and years.  Or until Logos 7 comes out.  Big Smile

Volume 1: Genesis 1–15

Volume 2: Genesis 16–50

Volume 4: Leviticus

Volume 7A: Joshua 1–12 (Second Edition)

Volume 7b: Joshua 13–24 (Second Edition)

Volume 9: Ruth, Esther

Volume 14: 1 Chronicles

Volume 15: 2 Chronicles

Volume 16: Ezra, Nehemiah

Volume 17: Job 1–20

Volume 18A: Job 21–37

Volume 18B: Job 38–42

Volume 23b: Song of Songs/Lamentations

Volume 30: Daniel

Volume 31: Hosea–Jonah

Volume 40: 2 Corinthians (Second Edition)

Volume 41: Galatians

Volume 42: Ephesians

Volume 44: Colossians, Philemon

Volume 45: 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Volume 46: Pastoral Epistles

Volume 47a: Hebrews 1–8

Volume 47b: Hebrews 9–13

Volume 49: 1 Peter

Volume 50: Jude, 2 Peter

That's about all I afford for now.  Crying

Now I'll wait patiently to see if the BECNT volumes on Luke will ever go on sale for a good price.

Posts 353
Virgil Buttram | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 8 2015 7:48 PM

Michael:
Now I'll wait patiently to see if the BECNT volumes on Luke will ever go on sale for a good price.

Hopefully sooner rather than later, as those are core texts for my NT class this quarter. Geeked

Posts 1661
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 8 2015 8:38 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions.

There is a significant amount of overlap among those recommendations, so hopefully that is informative for those who are looking at the WBC as good value this month.

Posts 932
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 9 2015 7:56 AM

For Ephesians, I was disappointed by Lincoln. If you have Harold Hoehner, you're covered with that one commentary alone (That is not to say there are not other good commentaries, like BECNT, ICC and NICNT, but Hoehner is very exhaustive).

I am a little surprised no one has mentioned Aune on Revelation. Three volumes, but very detailed and very precise. 

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