Which New Testament, and Old Testament Commentaries should I have in my Library?

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Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Mar 23 2015 4:30 PM

Looking for the most authors, which have the most complete commentaries that I should have a need for in my library. Please help me to decide which has the best information!

God Bless, 

               Rickey Lamphere

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 23 2015 4:39 PM

Rickey,

You could help us help you with some additional information:

  1. What commentaries do you already have? Of these which are the most useful to you?
  2. Do you have Hebrew and/or Greek language training?
  3. What do you use Logos for? Is it personal Bible study. sermon preparation, teaching?
  4. Do you have a theological viewpoint that you would like to see reflected in the commentaries you own?
  5. Do you have a budget in mind?

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 23 2015 8:05 PM

Rickey Lamphere:
Looking for the most authors, which have the most complete commentaries

Rickey

This is a general query placed in a forum for an old version of Logos. You will have a much wider audience in the General forum.

Dave
===

Windows 11 & Android 8

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 6:52 AM

1. I have 799 individual commentary volumes. I have bought Logos 5 Diamond, and Logos 4 series. As for useful, so far I like them all, Love to read. 

2. No language training.

3. Personal bible study right now. I am signed up for college courses to work towards a Bible Study degree.

4. Hmm not sure what you mean by view point. I am a baptist.

5. No budget restraints. I will make payments if I have to.

Respectfully, 

                  Rickey Lamphere

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 7:23 AM

Thanks for the extra info.

Here are the commentaries I'd own with no budget constraints, more or less in teh order I'd want to own them.

  1. New International Commentaries - Old and New Testament
  2. Baker Exegetical Commentary
  3. Pillar Commentary
  4. Tyndale Commentaries (Old and New Testament)
  5. NIV Application Commentary (Old Testament. Some NT volumes)
  6. The Bible Speaks Today (only NT available)
  7. New American Commentary
  8. Dale Ralph Davis's Old Testament offerings (in the Focus on the Bible series)
  9. Black's NT Commentary
  10. The Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series
  11. Word Biblical Commentary (Better to have some language background. Frustrating format)
  12. New International Greek Testament Commentary (without Greek you'll be at a disadvantage)

Fortunately with Diamond you have some of these.

By theological viewpoint I meant Anglican, Reformed, SDA, Lutheran, etc. Each of these traditions has commentaries esp. valued in that tradition.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 7:26 AM

I should add that many lay persons will value The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Revised Edition. I don't own it so can't comment directly on it.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 304
JC54 | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 8:55 AM

Rickey Lamphere:
1. I have 799 individual commentary volumes. I have bought Logos 5 Diamond, and Logos 4 series. As for useful, so far I like them all, Love to read. 

I think my library is similar to yours and I found two things lacking: technical thorough commentaries and the Old Testament in general. I have invested in Word Biblical and Hermeneia. But they may not be as valuable without language skills.

NICOT/NICNT is very high on my wishlist (unfortunately I have budget restraints). When talking new testament, the current deal on Baker New Testament is very good. But buying L6 Gold would give you Pillars and NIGTC, which are both very precious for NT study.

Old Testament.... There is not much specifically on the Old Testament that I find very interesting. Just go for a good serie (as mentioned above).

Posts 1168
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 9:34 AM

Do not overlook that L6 Gold comes with Pillar and NIGTC, both very good. You should be able to pick that up very reasonably, although your coverage of the Old Testament will be lacking. You already have the NAC, which should not be overlooked.

But the gold standard, of course, is NICOT/NICNT. Expensive, but the best evangelical coverage on the New Testament out there. Combining that with NAC, you are in good hands.

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Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 12:08 PM

I tend to gravitate to these three more than most others: New American Commentary, UBS Handbook Series Old and New Testament Collection, Baker Exegetical Commentary.

However, Pillar, Tyndale, and Expositor's are also pretty solid. 

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 1:24 PM

I use also https://www.logos.com/product/5790/keil-and-delitzsch-commentary-on-the-old-testament among others. I am not competent to evaluate it, I just give my opinion:

I try to find information that reveals the original intended meaning and how to apply it. I prefer to follow those who think that the whole OT was written with messianic intention. I attempt to catch the original Hebrew meaning and the ancient oriental setting in the text. This K&D is old, but I feel no current series achieve that goal better.

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 11

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 24 2015 1:40 PM

New Interpreter’s Bible (12 vols.) Is one of the finest general commentary Logos has to offer. 

Westminster Bible Companion Series (33 vols.) is one of the best devotional style commentary Logos offers.

Pleas note while the NIB is complete and includes all books in the Alexandrian canon as used in the RC church (the scholars doing the NIB were from many different backgrounds), the WBC is missing the Corinthian volume which has yet to be published.

Here is a look at Psalm 133 in both to give you a feel for them:

Psalm 133:1–3, In Praise of Unity Among God’s People


COMMENTARY

Psalm 133 is the fourteenth of the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120–134). Given the probable origin and use of the collection by pilgrims on the way to or upon arrival at Jerusalem (see Overview on Psalms 120–134), it is not surprising that Psalm 133 is akin to several other Songs of Ascents in its use of the imagery of family (v. 1; see Pss 122:8; 127:3–5; 128:3, 6; 131:2). But as in the others, family concerns are set within the larger context of God’s whole people (v. 3; see Pss 122:6–8; 128:3–6; 131:2–3). Adele Berlin even argues that the main theme of Psalm 133 is “the reunification of the country”—that is, “the dew of Hermon,” representing the people of the northern kingdom, is to flow down upon Zion, the center of the southern kingdom.486 While absolute certainty is elusive, it is clear that the focal point of Psalm 133 is finally not on local families but on Zion (v. 3), which is the rallying point and gathering place for God’s larger family (see Pss 122:4; 125:1–2; 126:1). The pilgrims gathered there to receive God’s blessing (v. 3). Not coincidentally, it is precisely the climactic themes of Zion and blessing that link Psalm 133 closely with Psalms 132 (see vv. 13–15) and 134 (see v. 3).
Verse 1 may have circulated at one time as a proverbial saying. In any case, it introduces the concept of unity or harmony; v. 1 itself does view family on a local level. The only other occurrence of the expression “when kindred live together” is in Deut 25:5, where the concern is with the responsibilities attendant upon members of an extended family in order to provide for and perpetuate the family. As Deut 25:5–10 makes clear, and as everyone knows from experience, harmony does not always prevail within extended families. When it does, v. 1 asserts, it is “good and pleasant” (see Ps 135:3, where the same two adjectives describe God; Ps 147:1, where they describe what it is like to praise God; see also Ps 128:2, 5).
The effect of the similes of oil and dew in vv. 2–3 is to broaden significantly the focus of v. 1. The Hebrew repetition represented by “good” (טוב ṭôb, v. 1)/“precious” (ṭôb, v. 2) links vv. 1 and 2. The steplike pattern is characteristic of the Songs of Ascents (see Pss 120:5–7; 121:1–4, 7–8; 122:6–8). An even more noticeable instance is evident in vv. 2–3, where the verb “to go down” (ירד yārad) occurs three times in an identical form (NIV, “running down,” twice in v. 2, and “falling” in v. 3). This repetition re-creates literarily and visually the effect of oil or dew slowly flowing downward, as does the repetition of “beard” (זקן zāqān). The question remains, of course, as to what the two similes intend to communicate. The pouring of oil over the head seems to have been an act of hospitality, signaling joy and relatedness (see Pss 23:5; 92:10; 141:5), as well as an official act of consecrating kings and priests. Both senses would be appropriate here, but the mention of Aaron especially calls to mind the latter (see Exod 28:41). Insofar as v. 2 looks back to v. 1 (note the repetition in vv. 1–2), the message would be that family unity is a joyful, even a holy, thing.
It is likely, however, that the poet intended v. 2 to look forward to v. 3 as much as or more than backward to v. 1 (note the repetition of “running down”/“falling”). The allusion to Aaron’s consecration has already served to begin to broaden the focus beyond the local extended family, and the mention of Zion in v. 3 goes even further in this direction. Mount Hermon, located in the north some 200 kilometers from Jerusalem, was known for its abundant dew. In other words, the abundance of outlying areas properly belongs with Zion. While this may be, as Berlin suggests, an appeal for national unity, it serves clearly also to shift the focus from the local family to the whole people. The shift is completed by “there”—Zion—in v. 3. The word “blessing” (see Pss 128:4–5; 132:15; 134:3) gathers up the meaning of the phrase “good and pleasant” from v. 1, but by the end of the poem it is clear that the ultimate goodness that God intends is the gathering of God’s larger family, the whole people of God. When God’s people gather in Jerusalem, God’s place, they experience their true family and home, for they are in touch with the true source of their life—God’s presence. As Mays concludes: “It is this abundant life, which Israel can receive only in its unity, and only from the Presence at this place that is the summum bonum [that is, “the greatest good”; see v. 1]. The life that the Lord gives his people in their unity is the supreme family value.”487


REFLECTIONS

1. Psalm 133 reflects an obvious concern in ancient Israel that is a perennial concern in every culture: family values. The family is a crucial institution. It affects everyone, for good or ill. By its very nature, it can be the place where one experiences and learns intimacy, love, and growth, or it can be the place where one experiences and learns resentment, abuse, and destructive behavior. Clearly, v. 1 commends the former, but the expansive perspective of vv. 2–3 puts the consideration of family values in the larger context of the relationship between God and God’s people. The effect is to relativize the importance of the individual family; it cannot be in any unqualified sense the most important institution in a society.
The teachings and actions of Jesus move in the same direction as does Psalm 133, and they serve to bring into focus the radical implications of this direction. In the Gospel of Mark, for instance, when Jesus’ mother and brothers come to see him, he looks at those around him and says, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35 NRSV). In short, the most important sphere of relatedness is defined as the larger family of God’s people (see also Luke 11:27–28; 12:51–53). John Dominic Crossan captures eloquently the radical implications of Jesus’ words and deeds, ones that are in keeping with the direction of Psalm 133:

“The family is society in miniature, the place where we first and most deeply learn how to love and be loved, hate and be hated, help and be helped, abuse and be abused. It is not just a center of domestic serenity; since it involves power, it invites the abuse of power, and it is at that precise point that Jesus attacks it. His ideal group is, contrary to Mediterranean and indeed most human familial reality, an open one equally accessible to all under God. It is the Kingdom of God, and it negates that terrible abuse of power that is power’s dark specter and lethal shadow.488

As Crossan rightly recognizes, “most human familial reality” has not considered the critique of Jesus and Psalm 133. In other words, a focus on the family may well serve to do nothing other than reinforce cultural patterns that regularly exploit women and marginalize children (see Commentary on Psalm 131). Indeed, if the discussion of family values begins and ends with the individual family, apart from the vision and experience of God’s larger family, open and accessible to all, then such values will inevitably promote exploitation and abuse.

2. The church’s use of Psalm 133 has upheld the psalm’s portrayal of God’s family as the true definition of familial reality and the true source of blessing and life. While Augustine surely oversimplified the matter, he attributes the origin of monasteries and their brotherhoods to Psalm 133. To be sure, these family orders engendered problems of their own, but they were grounded in the affirmation of a family structure that transcends that of the biological family. The traditional association of Psalm 133 with the Lord’s supper makes the same affirmation, for the Lord’s supper brings the whole people of God to a family table where all profess their unworthiness and yet all are welcome. Some traditions also suggest the use of Psalm 133 in services of Christian unity, in which “the psalm is a witness that God is at work building a family that transcends all the given and instituted barriers that separate and diminish life.”489 Thus Psalm 133 affirms that life derives ultimately from God’s ordaining and blessing and in communion with the whole body of God’s people. This profession radically undercuts our pervasive tendency to conclude that life derives from human effort and achievement and that we can successfully manage it on our own (see Commentary on Psalms 1; 2). Psalm 133 is, therefore, an appropriate psalm for the season of Easter, during which we especially celebrate the reality of a life-giving power that both transcends and transforms human efforts and human structures: the resurrection of Jesus. To profess the resurrection is to take our place in God’s family, and it is thus to receive an identity that prevents our making an idol of human familial reality in any of its various cultural forms.

  • J. Clinton Mccann Jr., “The Book of Psalms,” in New Interpreter’s Bible, ed. Leander E. Keck, vol. 4 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994–2004), 1213–1216.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

HOW SWEET IT IS!
Psalm 133

133:1–3 A friend returned from a trip to Israel with a new song—a popular Israeli folk song, he said, taken from the Bible. He began to strum his guitar, and he sang the first line of Psalm 133 in Hebrew:

Hee-nay mah tov oo-mah na-eem,
she-vet a-cheem gam ya-chad.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers together” runs the literal translation; “when kindred live together in unity” is the NRSV translation.
The song became a part of my teaching material, in classrooms, camps, and churches. Then one day I received a postcard from a young woman who had learned the song in my class a decade earlier. “Now I’m a camp counselor here in New York,” she wrote, “and I taught my campers that Hebrew song. We were out hiking one day and we sang it. Suddenly another group of campers came running out of the woods and began singing along. They were Jewish kids from New York City! I think God must have enjoyed hearing us Christians and Jews singing that psalm together.”
A musical setting for a psalm starts in Israel, moves to the midwestern United States, and emerges decades later when it is sung outdoors by young Jewish and Christian campers who happen to meet in New York. “How very good and pleasant it is” indeed.
Psalm 133 begins with a proverbial saying (v. 1), continues with a pair of similes illustrating the proverb (vv. 2–3a), and concludes with a word about blessing (v. 3b). As the second to last of the pilgrimage psalms (see on Psalm 120), it reflects on the pleasant experience of fellow believers gathering together in Jerusalem for a time.


A Good Time Together (133:1–3)

The saying in verse 1 is a proverb, similar to those found in the book of Proverbs. As such, it contains “the wisdom of many in the wit of one,” as has been said. The Hebrew word translated “pleasant” is nā‘īm, from which the name Naomi is derived (see Ruth 1:20). The literal Hebrew “brothers” is rightly translated for our time by “brothers and sisters” or “kindred” (NRSV) or even “God’s people” (TEV).
The poet/teacher wants to emphasize the point about the goodness of being together and therefore supplies two pictures. “Precious oil” was a pleasant-smelling, refreshing liquid used as a body oil (Ps. 23:5; Amos 6:6; Micah 6:15). Since it was also used at the installation of a priest, the priest Aaron is mentioned (see Lev. 8:12). The generous quantity of oil adds to the picture of the community gathering as a sweet, pleasant time together.
The writer’s imagination generates another picture in verse 3. Mount Hermon is far to the north of Jerusalem, some fifty miles to the northeast of the Sea of Galilee. It is mentioned here as a place where the dew is heavy. Since this is poetry and not meteorology, one need not worry over whether Hermon’s dew actually reaches the mountains around Jerusalem. The psalm ends with a word about blessing, the Lord’s giving of good gifts to the Lord’s people.


Visiting with Garfinkel

The story is told about a Jewish man who never failed to attend synagogue services on Friday evenings. He often made the point, however, that he didn’t really believe in God. And so it happened that one Friday evening when he returned from services, his children asked him, “Dad, if you don’t believe in God, why do you go to synagogue every Friday?” He answered, “Garfinkel is my best friend. He goes to synagogue each week to visit with God. I go to visit with Garfinkel.” The community gathered each week to be in the presence of God. Another important aspect of that gathering is being in the presence of others!
Psalm 73 tells the story of a person who was near losing faith. Then one time when that person joined the gathered community in worship, he or she could once again perceive the reality of God (see vv. 16–17). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews once advised young Christians to encourage one another in good deeds, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:25). Placed in a collection of psalms to be used at times of gathering in Jerusalem, Psalm 133 expresses delight in times of being together with other believers. That joy is given expression in the words of a proverb to be spoken or, better yet, to be sung: “How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony!”

  • James Limburg, Psalms, ed. Patrick D. Miller and David L. Bartlett, Westminster Bible Companion (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 454–456.

Dan

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 7:07 AM

Mr. Smith, 

Thank You for the suggestions. I do hope to make my library well rounded. I did go and look at the commentary collections. I have 18 sets of 10 plus different collections. 

     As for theological viewpoint I will have to read up on what you mentioned. I am still learning about them.

Thank You Again, 

                        Rickey Lamphere

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 7:09 AM

Mr. Menkveld, 

Could you please tell me what the acronyms NICOT and NICNT are in reference too!

Thank You, 

               Rickey Lamphere

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 7:13 AM

Rickey Lamphere:
what the acronyms NICOT and NICNT are in reference too

The New International Commentary on the (Old / New) Testament

Available at https://www.logos.com/product/23989/the-new-international-commentary-on-the-old-and-new-testament or in various bundles

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 7:13 AM

Mr. Gatlin, 

Could you please tell me what the acronym NIGTC stands for?

Thank You, 

             Rickey Lamphere

Posts 25968
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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 7:16 AM

Rickey Lamphere:
Could you please tell me what the acronym NIGTC stands for?

That's the New International Greek Testament Commentary - https://www.logos.com/products/search?q=nigtc&Series+%2f+Sets=New+International+Greek+Testament+Commentary+(NIGTC) 

Posts 191
Al Het | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 4:12 PM

Rickey,

A couple of things, here.  First, asking for the best commentaries might be a bit like asking what the best car is, or perhaps the best musical group...  People sometimes draw pretty hard lines, and get a bit loud about their choices (usually in a good way).

The second thing is, the people who frequent these forums, and who have answered your questions so far are largely Pastors and Scholars.  These can be GREAT people to ask about commentaries, but the answers they give you might lean toward the highly detailed, scholarly minded, original language heavy tools (and they have been).  While these resources might still be useful for people who don't have an advanced degree in theological things, including Greek and Hebrew, they might seem to focus a lot on nuance, and perhaps less on practical application, than some might want.

There are two significant things to consider when buying commentaries.  One is the author, and the other is the format of the commentary series.  With most commentary series, each volume is written by a different scholar.  So, in the same commentary series, you might get one book that is outstanding, and another that is only good (but hopefully not bad).  Most of the commentary series that have been recommended to you so far are written by many of the best Evangelical scholars around.  However, the format of each series is very different. 

So for instance, The New International Greek Testament Commentary is among the most scholarly, Greek intensive commentaries available (which is why Mark commented to you that without knowing Greek, it will be a bit tougher to use).  The The New International Commentary (NICNT, NICOT) is not as dependent on the reader knowing original languages, but is still very scholarly in its format.  On the other end of the well respected Evangelical commentaries would be the NIV Application Commentary.  It is written to focus a bit more on application, and it intentionally aims at a more general reader.  However, most scholars I know have many volumes of this series in their libraries, because it is an excellent series, with some GREAT authors.

When given the choice between particular author, or particular commentary series, most pastors and scholars will recommend going with the best author.  Let's say you will be studying or teaching a particular book of the Bible, and you want to buy one or two of the best commentaries on that book.  Most of the time, you will find that the writer of the commentary is more significant then what series that book comes from.

All that said, digital media tends to be a bit different.  People tend to by whole commentary series for their Logos system, not just particular volumes.  Because all the series that have been recommended to you have very good authors, you would probably do best to choose the series that fit your intentions and the depth of study you are looking for.

Last general comment.  at least a couple of these commentary series recommended to you are not complete.  For instance, the Pillar Commentary series is a New Testament series.  However, it is not finished yet.  So, if you want to buy a series that has something for every book of the Bible (or New Testament/Old Testament) some of these won't get there.  The New American Commentary (NAC) still has a volume or two left to be written, as well.

Having said all that, if I were going to be forced to go with just one commentary series, I would go with the NAC.  Over the years, I have consistently found books from that series to be the most useful to me.  This was a bit of a surprise, as it is written to be sort of the middle of the "Scholarly" scale.  It was not written primarily for the high level scholar, though their intention was to be scholarly enough to give significant depth.  They arrange it so that the deeper, more language-dependent material is included in the vast footnotes.  Over all, I find myself referencing that series more than others.  My next "go to" series might be the New International Commentary series.  Having said that, most of the commentary series that have been recommended are really good.  You would not go wrong with most of them.

Without some detailed knowledge of Greek, I wouldn't recommend the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.  Along those same lines, the Word Biblical Commentary is perhaps not as dependent on original languages, but it is very scholarly in its format as well.  And given your current situation, I'd definitely consider the NIV Application Commentary series.

Hope all that helps.

Al

Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 25 2015 6:57 PM

I almost forgot: http://bestcommentaries.com/

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 26 2015 2:39 AM

Al, 

Thanks for the advice. I am thinking of buying all the recommendations as I am starting college this summer. My major is ministry. So I will have to learn a lot of things including I imagine Greek. The other suggestions they were already on my to buy list. 

Thanks Again, 

                   Rickey Lamphere

Posts 20
Rickey Lamphere | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 26 2015 4:52 AM

Thanks Josh, Awesome site!!

God Bless,  

                   Rickey Lamphere

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