Commentaries: A Follow Up

Greg Strand – February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Since not many interact formally with comments, I thought it would be helpful if I post this comment made by Steve along with my response so that the personal conversation taking place between two could be overheard by others. As you will read, the comment addresses the post on the uses and abuses of commentaries.

Steve comments:

I find using commentaries important to avoid my own errors in reading and application. Carson, Longman, and Glynn are all helpful. When at TEDS in the early 1990s, Richard Allen Bodey advised me to obtain as many good commentaries as possible on the particular book of the Bible I was preaching on at the time. One way I use commentaries is to answer questions that come up in personal study and conversations. I also make use of the comments in study Bibles. While too brief for detailed exegetical analysis, good study Bibles are a cost effective way to get help with synthesis and even some particular questions that longer commentaries have missed. My favorites include The Gospel Transformation Bible, The ESV Study Bible, The NIV Study Bible, and The Archaeological Study Bible.

 My response:

Thank you, Steve, for sharing how you use commentaries. I followed a similar principle, which means I would build my commentary library book by book, not only in reference to purchasing books (commentaries) but the biblical book through which I was teaching/preaching would be the focus of my commentary purchases. Then, as mentioned by Carson, I would purchase commentaries that addressed the different aspects necessary to understand the book and to engage in solid, faithful exegesis. This is why I never did purchase a set – sets are sporadic with some commentaries excellent, others good, still others average, while some are poor. I would, rather, buy the best commentaries in the various categories listed by Carson, regardless of the series in which they were published. The exception to this in order to build a library would be to purchase a set if it is at a greatly discounted price. Another way to build a commentary library today is through computer programs like Logos. Your mention of study Bibles is also an important reminder since there have been some very good ones published over the past few years, some which you noted.

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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