New User Commentary Recommendations

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Posts 6
Lance McKenzie | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 24 2020 8:36 PM

Hey everyone,

I am a young preacher & new to Logos. I want to find commentaries that would be the most useful to my needs. I'm not a seminary student or have formal training. I would be looking for commentaries from an evangelical perspective. I'm looking more for content rather than a particular perspective. Knowing me, I would use these commentaries for both private study & preaching. 

I have three areas that I would like the commentary/commentaries to help me improve my knowledge in:

Exegesis. I would also hope the commentary would provide some application/ devotion from the text as well. It would definitely help me to learn exegesis for myself.

Original languages. I have zero training in the original languages. I have been exposed to some of the basics due to listening to debates & some lectures online. I would really like a commentary that would help me both learn & apply the knowledge to the text. When I looked at the expositors bible it seemed within my grasp of understanding.

Cultural. 

Thanks for all the help in advance! God bless!

Lance

Posts 52
Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 24 2020 10:21 PM

I found it most useful to first learn some basics of interpretation, and study a text myself, before consulting any commentary. A possible resource is Grasping God’s Word.

I look at online reviews: Amazon, https://www.bestcommentaries.com/, etc. - not for the number of stars, but whether it might be the kind of resource I'd find useful.

I download a sample from Google or Amazon to read some of the introduction/first chapter.

Posts 841
Posts 1263
Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 1:47 AM

Lance McKenzie:

Hey everyone,

I am a young preacher & new to Logos. I want to find commentaries that would be the most useful to my needs. I'm not a seminary student or have formal training. I would be looking for commentaries from an evangelical perspective. I'm looking more for content rather than a particular perspective. Knowing me, I would use these commentaries for both private study & preaching. 

I have three areas that I would like the commentary/commentaries to help me improve my knowledge in:

Exegesis. I would also hope the commentary would provide some application/ devotion from the text as well. It would definitely help me to learn exegesis for myself.

Original languages. I have zero training in the original languages. I have been exposed to some of the basics due to listening to debates & some lectures online. I would really like a commentary that would help me both learn & apply the knowledge to the text. When I looked at the expositors bible it seemed within my grasp of understanding.

Cultural. 

Thanks for all the help in advance! God bless!

Lance

Lance.  I'm a preacher, with no formal training either and very definitely evangelical.  I turn to the sets below again and again and typically find them more useful for my needs than the more technical commentaries. The sets below don't assume knowledge of the original languages and they're based on sermons, but by individuals with a deep understanding.  Remember you can pick volumes up individually and that certain sets will be on sale during the March Madness promotion which starts 1st March and the books are usually on sale from mid March to mid April.  The first series I've linked is in Faithlife's eBook store.  The books in this set are only $9.99 and used to go on sale from $2.99 from time to time - although not in over a year.

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/search?query=Exalting%20jesus&limit=60&page=1&filters=status-live_Status%2Bpublisher-5115_Publisher%2Bpublisher-5324_Publisher&ownership=all

https://www.logos.com/product/174956/reformed-expository-commentary-rec

https://www.logos.com/product/2665/boices-expositional-commentaries

https://www.logos.com/search?filters=author-2886_Author%2Bresourcetype-commentaries_Resource%20Type&limit=60&page=1&ownership=all

There are some excellent volumes in the following series too:

NIV Application Commentaries

The Story of God Commentaries

Teach the Text Commentaries

If I were starting out again I'd probably focus on buying books that I actually need for a forthcoming series rather than buying books that I might one day need - unless on a really deep discount.

Posts 318
Lonnie Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 8:34 AM

Lance McKenzie:

Hey everyone,

I am a young preacher & new to Logos. I want to find commentaries that would be the most useful to my needs. I'm not a seminary student or have formal training. I would be looking for commentaries from an evangelical perspective. I'm looking more for content rather than a particular perspective. Knowing me, I would use these commentaries for both private study & preaching. 

I have three areas that I would like the commentary/commentaries to help me improve my knowledge in:

Exegesis. I would also hope the commentary would provide some application/ devotion from the text as well. It would definitely help me to learn exegesis for myself.

Original languages. I have zero training in the original languages. I have been exposed to some of the basics due to listening to debates & some lectures online. I would really like a commentary that would help me both learn & apply the knowledge to the text. When I looked at the expositors bible it seemed within my grasp of understanding.

Cultural. 

Thanks for all the help in advance! God bless!

Lance

Hi Lance,

I think (IMHO) what would benefit you the most is these two books on preaching before you even reach for a commentary. There are good reasons for this but that's for another thread in  different forums

"Preaching God's Word" https://www.logos.com/product/5442/preaching-gods-word

"Preaching to be Heard: Delivering Sermons that Command Attention" https://www.logos.com/product/166022/preaching-to-be-heard-delivering-sermons-that-command-attention

I would also consider picking up "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" https://www.logos.com/product/5439/how-to-read-the-bible-book-by-book

because it will quickly help get you oriented to an expository series through a book of the bible or locate your text in a book of the bible- all texts do not stand alone but at its minimum is in a context of a book,

For culture I would look into the two IVP Bible Background Commentary

https://www.logos.com/product/18658/ivp-bible-background-commentary-old-testament

https://www.logos.com/product/18657/ivp-bible-background-commentary-new-testament

For commentaries my choices are

"New American Commentary Series"

https://www.logos.com/product/177651/the-new-american-commentary-series-nac

"The Expositor's Bible Commentary"

https://www.logos.com/product/5457/the-expositors-bible-commentary-ebc

"The Abridged Expositor's Bible Commentary"

https://www.logos.com/product/5455/the-expositors-bible-commentary-abridged

You can do all of this for under a thousand dollars, which bodes well on a young preacher's salary- been there, done that.Big Smile

Posts 6
Lance McKenzie | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 3:51 PM

Thanks everyone for the suggestions I really appreciate it! I've already started looking through all your suggestions. What about commentaries that would help with the original languages specifically? I would need one that requires only basic knowledge. 

Posts 219
MWW | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 4:32 PM

The UBS (United Bible Societies) Hand Book series is written for translators but is written in layman's language to help translators accurately translate a verse or passage. I find it helpful when I have questions about the original meaning of a passage. Below is a sample of Colossians 1:11-12

The initial participial clause, “being empowered with all power according to the might of his glory,” may be taken as a circumstantial clause, “as you are made strong,” or absolutely (as participles in Greek New Testament often are) as a wish or a command (as “give thanks” in verse 12).

This expression of Paul’s wish for the believers in Colossae must be expressed in a number of languages as a type of prayer, for example, “I pray that you may be made strong.” It may, however, be important to introduce God as agent, for example, “I pray that God will cause you to be strong.”

A literal rendering of be made strong with all the strength may seem quite strange and even unintelligible, but the real problem is involved in relating this increase of strength with his glorious power. The connection may be made by a restructuring, so as to translate “I pray that God by using his glorious power may cause you to be exceedingly strong.” This strength, however, must not be understood in terms of physical strength or prowess. It is obviously related to the enduring of hardships with patience and therefore in some languages one must translate “strong in your spirits” or “strong in your hearts,” for this is psychological strength and not physical strength.

His glorious power (so most translations) is an inadequate translation of “the might of his glory,” since the noun doxa almost always (as its Heb counterpart käbōd) represents the self-revelation of God as his presence with his people with his people to save them. This characteristic of God is described in terms of light (compare Kgs –11, –4). TC has “the power manifested in his Glory,” Gpd “so mighty is his majesty,” GeCL “his complete godly power and might.” His glorious power may be rendered in some languages as “his power which is so wonderful” or even “the fact that he is so wonderfully powerful.”

Endure … with patience represents two nouns in Greek whose meanings overlap each other; “steadfastness” (hupomonē) occurs in the NT more often than “endurance” (makrothumia). TNT “stand firm and be patient,” NEB Brc “fortitude and patience,” Mft “endure and be patient,” Gpd “endurance and forbearance.”

In some instances, it may be essential to indicate the nature of what is to be endured, for example, “endure persecution” or “remain firm despite troubles.” In some languages, patience is best expressed as a negation of some negative quality, for example, “enduring without complaining” or “enduring and not being resentful.”

With joy may go with what precedes (so Lightfoot, Moule, RSV NEB Phps NAB Brc SpCL JB Mft Gpd) or with what follows (Abbott, TNT NIV). If the phrase with joy is to be related to what precedes, one may say “to endure persecution without complaining and with happiness” or “… while continuing to be happy.” In a number of languages, joy is expressed figuratively, for example, “with a happy heart,” or “with dancing in one’s heart,” or “with a heart that sings.”

If the phrase with joy is to be combined with the giving of thanks, it is often possible to employ a coordinate phrase such as “be happy and give thanks.”

Give thanks represents a participle, understood by TEV as an injunction or command, not as a circumstance (“as you give thanks”) or as a participle of means, dependent on the main verb “to live” in verse 10, that is, “by giving thanks” (so NIV).

It is frequently impossible to speak of God as “the Father,” since a kinship term such as “father” must be possessed, that is to say, a father is always the father of someone. In certain languages, the closest equivalent of the Father is “the father of us all.” In other instances, it may be necessary to use an expanded phrase such as “God our father.” It is important not to conclude that one can communicate the meaning of father in this context merely by a device such as capitalization. The Scriptures are heard far more widely than they are read, and obviously capitalization does not show up in pronunciation.

Has made you fit: the verb hikanoō is causative, to make someone hikanos, that is, fit, qualified, competent, sufficient (see the verb in ; the noun in ; and the adjective, in this sense, in , ; ). JB “made it possible for you”; NIV “qualified”; Gpd “entitled you”; Phps “you are privileged.” In some languages, the concept of fit may be expressed as “cause you to be the kind of person who can share” or “cause you to be the type of person who is worthy to share.”

In verse 12, RSV lists “us” as a variant reading (for “you”); “you” is the form better supported by external evidence; some commentators and translators, however, prefer us which, if adopted, is inclusive, meaning “all of us Christians.”

Your share of what God has reserved for his people: the noun klēros “lot” means that which is allotted or assigned to someone; it is a biblical word whose meaning springs from its application to the Promised Land, as the territory allotted by God to the Israelites as their exclusive possession. It became a figure of all of God’s blessings for his people, especially those reserved for the future; whence the use of “inherit eternal life,” etc. The use in English of “inheritance” (so RSV, compare NEB JB NIV) is not recommended (compare TNT note), since it implies the transference of property as the result of the original owner’s death.

Your share may be expressed as “what rightfully belongs to you” or literally “your part.”

The clause of what God has reserved for his people may be expressed as “of what God has designated for his people,” or “… set aside for his people,” or even “… promised to give to his people.”

His people: see .

In the kingdom of light represents the Greek “in the light.” The clue for the use of kingdom comes from the next verse, and it (or “realm”) is used here also by GeCL FrCL NIV Gpd Brc TNT TC. The kingdom of light is here a synonym for “the kingdom of God,” with emphasis on “the light,” that is, God’s own life, which shines on God’s people. Because of the extensive use of the figurative language for “light” and “darkness,” it is important to preserve the figurative significance and not to adopt merely an equivalent such as “the kingdom of God.” Some translators have employed a compromise expression such as “the kingdom of God, who is light” or even “the kingdom of God’s light.” At this point, it may be relevant to employ a footnote to identify the figurative significance of “light” versus “darkness,” for the contrast is not a matter of knowledge versus ignorance but of (1) moral and ethical truth in contrast with sin and disobedience, and (2) life in contrast with death. In a number of languages, there are very distinct words for “light” depending upon the nature of the light: (1) general light as in the case of daylight; (2) the light which radiates from a particular source such as a torch or lamp; and (3) unusual forms of light, as in the case of the northern lights (aurora borealis). Even the light of day may be subdivided into different aspects, for example, dawn before sunrise, early morning, midday, late afternoon, and twilight. In general the term which identifies the bright light of the day has the potential for greatest generalization of meaning and therefore is usually to be preferred to terms which may suggest only partial light or light coming from a lamp or a fire.


Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (pp. 17–19). New York: United Bible Societies.

Posts 141
Richard J. Ward | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 4:43 PM

It’s not a commentary, but you might find the NET Bible (text and notes) helpful. 
Here is the product description:

The NET Bible is a modern English version, with over 60,000 footnotes that help explain the translation. It's a completely new way to approach translation, in that the translators themselves justify the words they choose with careful explanation and provide bibliographic, linguistic and textual support for those words.  The NET Bible allows you to read and study with multiple features including search capacity and the ability to parallel scroll the footnotes with the text.

Posts 141
Richard J. Ward | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 4:54 PM

For a commentary set, I sometimes find the Exegetical Summaries Series helpful for word studies. It’s expensive though.

Posts 7215
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2020 5:14 PM

New Interpreter’s Bible has what you need.  12 volumes in one Logos resource: https://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible reflections at the end of each section.

Christ-centered preaching (Best in the business): https://www.logos.com/product/175196/christ-centered-preaching-redeeming-the-expository-sermon-third-edition will get you geared up for sermon prep and delivery.

After that a base package bronze or silver standard.  There will be a lot of resources you think you are probably not going to use but they will be there and prove to be helpful when you least expect it.

And when you can and if you want get NICOT/NT series.  Helps with everything even if you don’t have formal training.

Finally, lots of sermon outlines and sermon archives! You can always tweak them and they are life and time savers when you have a busy week! 👍😁👌

DAL

PS. Wait for a good sale on the NICOT/NT

Posts 266
Greg Corbin | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2020 11:48 AM

Lance,

If you have not already purchased them, I would advise you to purchase three study Bibles - the ESV Study Bible, the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, and the Macarthur Study Bible. The notes are extensive and they are like commentaries on the entire Bible. This would be $100 or so well spent. The following sets are excellent and provide good original language studies without being overly technical....

Four sets on the entire Bible....

https://www.logos.com/product/5457/the-expositors-bible-commentary-ebc

https://www.logos.com/product/177651/the-new-american-commentary-series-nac

https://www.logos.com/product/168900/tyndale-commentaries-totc-tntc

https://www.logos.com/product/5759/langes-commentary-on-the-holy-scriptures

Two incredibly strong New Testament sets...

https://www.logos.com/product/4233/hendriksen-and-kistemaker-new-testament-commentary-hk

https://www.logos.com/product/166799/pillar-new-testament-commentary-pntc

As a pastor who preaches weekly, if I only had these six commentary sets, I would be "OK".  I use many more - some more "technical" sets i.e. Word Biblical Commentary.  Knowing what I know now, if I were building a library from scratch, the aforementioned study Bibles and these six commentary sets would be the foundation of my library.

One note, check to see if some of these are included in base packages - that is always the best "bang for your buck." Don't get enamored with how many books you have. Focus on books you will use. Keep studying!

Posts 278
danwdoo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 27 2020 5:21 AM

I find the following blog list of top 5 commentaries for every book of the Bible very helpful:

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/top-5-commentaries-on-the-book-of-genesis/

Hope this helps.

Posts 10
Plip | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 27 2020 7:51 AM

Hey Lance,

I've found that the best use of my money is to buy the volumes that I have an immediate use for -- in my preaching, teaching, and personal study.

For instance, I've been preaching through Ephesians for the last 18 months. When I was preparing for that series, I bought Harold Hoehner's Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. It was about $50 when I bought it, which in many ways doesn't seem like the best deal in Logos. I mean, $50 and it only increased the size of my library by one!

But it's almost 1000 pages, and I think I've read every word up to where I am right now in the middle of Ephesians 5. And I've benefited immensely from it.

By contrast, I also have several full series of commentaries. For instance, the NICOT/NICNT series, which is 53 volumes. I think I got most of it for around $1000 on sale a few years ago. That's less than $20 a volume, and it's a great, respected series.

But while I love having the NICOT/NICNT series in my library (and, truthfully, I would buy it again), I'll bet more than half of those volumes have never been opened. And several of the ones I have used have only been used for quick reference.

$20 per volume for something as useful as the NICOT/NICNT seems like a great value (and it is). But, honestly, $50 for a volume that I have used exhaustively is an even better value for me and the church I serve in, given my particular needs at this time.

I understand the desire to begin to flesh out your library. And I don't begrudge you that. Identify something in the March Madness sale coming up, and make as significant of an investment as your budget allows. It's probably the best sale of the year. But I believe that the greatest value to you and those who hear you is going to come from picking out two or three volumes that you'll use extensively now.

Posts 1263
Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 27 2020 8:23 AM

Plip:

Hey Lance,

I've found that the best use of my money is to buy the volumes that I have an immediate use for -- in my preaching, teaching, and personal study.

For instance, I've been preaching through Ephesians for the last 18 months. When I was preparing for that series, I bought Harold Hoehner's Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. It was about $50 when I bought it, which in many ways doesn't seem like the best deal in Logos. I mean, $50 and it only increased the size of my library by one!

But it's almost 1000 pages, and I think I've read every word up to where I am right now in the middle of Ephesians 5. And I've benefited immensely from it.

By contrast, I also have several full series of commentaries. For instance, the NICOT/NICNT series, which is 53 volumes. I think I got most of it for around $1000 on sale for it a few years ago. That's less than $20 a volume, and it's a great, respected series.

But while I love having the NICOT/NICNT series in my library (and, truthfully, I would buy it again), I'll bet more than half of those volumes have never been opened. And several of the ones I have used have only been used for quick reference.

$20 per volume for something as useful as the NICOT/NICNT seems like a great value (and it is). But, honestly, $50 for a volume that I have used exhaustively is an even better value for me and the church I serve in, given my particular needs at this time.

I understand the desire to begin to flesh out your library. And I don't begrudge you that. Identify something in the March Madness sale coming up, and make as significant of an investment as you budget allows. It's probably the best sale of the year. But I believe that the greatest value to you and those who hear you is going to come from picking out two or three volumes that you'll use extensively now.

Totally agree and put farther better than I did.

Posts 6
Lance McKenzie | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 2 2020 7:03 PM

I appreciate all your suggestions! I've been going through them all & hopefully buying some commentaries in the upcoming sale! Thanks again. 

Lance

Posts 59
Joseph Sollenberger | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 3 2020 6:10 AM

A workflow I often use to preview a commentary is to find the title of interest on the Best Commentaries website, click on the Amazon or Find at Google Books link, and then read the preview that is often available. Seeing a goodly number of pages is extremely useful. While on the Best Commentaries or Google Books page, check to see if the title is in a local library. The number of libraries and nature of organization maintaining the library may give some indication of who finds the title useful.

Best wishes in your searching,

Joseph

Joseph F. Sollenberger, Jr.

Posts 21
Angela Meister | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 3 2020 7:32 PM

Lance, I have found a lot following this group. https://faithlife.com/free-books/activity
You can scroll back quite a bit. I am not a pastor, but you might look really closely at what "features" you actually need and what things can either wait or are just "nice"... I don't know a lot about it, but some functionality might be easier elsewhere but that is a question for other pastors. From the things in the free group and the discounted Fundamentals package and purchasing specific things at a discount, I have quite a library and I haven't "invested" in a large base package.

I did, however buy quite a few of the commentaries that were on sale for $19.99 last month after spending the month obsessing (and previewing/reading reviews) on them-- some were close to 80% off. I wasn't planning on getting them and we put them on a payment plan. The discount more than made up for the service fee and we will likely pay them off early, God willing. 

I just wanted to let you know that there is plenty in some of the lower end resources. I have been picking up deeply discounted items here and there. 

The two commentaries that are still on sale from last month (I think) Nelson's and Believer's Bible (From Thomas Nelson) are great so far. And $7.99 each! 

I really like the IVP bible background NT (get the 2nd edition) and OT commentaries as well. Though they might not help you so much in a direct way as a preaching type commentary, I have a physical bible with similar content by Walton and Keener and I open it often in personal study and it has been helpful in some of the cultural things that aren't obvious from the text. They also have things that you need to evaluate if it is really relevant or just scholarly speculation, though. It's not leading, but not something that a baby Christian would need to think was super relevant if they were opening a study bible, IMO.

Fundamentals and a few of the other free resources from that group I mentioned really added a decent amount to my searches. I think I had close to 300 things in my library with only buying a few specific items.

The base packages were 20% off in December. I had no clue what I was looking at so it was generally analysis overwhelm. I have been planning what I want in the future and really thinking about what I want to invest in for the long term as I am just learning the program at leisure.

I have also found Amazon to be helpful for reading reviews and previewing books. I don't think I have bought much anything individually that I haven't had a peak at first. Also, Logos has a 30 day return policy, I believe.

Hope some of this is helpful.

God bless you and keep you on the narrow path. 

Posts 2437
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 11 2020 8:54 PM

I'm going to kick in a recommendation for the Osborne New Testament Commentaries. I began using one for a class I'm teaching starting this week and it is just superb. On sale right now.

https://www.logos.com/product/176214/osborne-new-testament-commentaries

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 18359
Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 12 2020 9:03 PM

+1 Yes for UBS Handbook Series Old & New Testament Collection (55 vols.) and UBS Handbook Series Upgrade (6 vols.) that are included in many Logos 8 Base Packages.

Some more resources to consider:

IVP Bible Dictionary Series, 8 Volumes included in IVP Reference Collection (14 vols.) is included in IVP Reference Bundle (41 vols.)

The Complete Jewish Study Bible Notes and Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) (excellent introduction includes Jewish insights & translation process). Thankful for Jewish Joyful insight about beginning of John 7:37 "on the last day of the festival, ..."

Keep Smiling Smile

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