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Hello all,

I chair our church's education committee and am looking for recommendations vis-a-vis resources for biblical and theological literacy.  One resource I'd like to introduce to our church library is a set of commentaries.  I'm looking for commentary recommendations that are Reformed, academically astute, well-written and, most importantly, aimed at the layperson.  I'm thinking of materials similar in form to a commentary that I've benefited from, namely, William Hendrikson's "More Than Conquerors" (his commentary on Revelation).

Any advice along these lines would be most appreciated.


C. Spurgeon has made comments on a number of commentaries;  you can see them on the internet .   Here is a quote from him in his preface:  "

"It would be easy to point out the deficiencies of the modern pulpit, and hold up one’s own ideal of what preaching ought to be, but this has been so often attempted by others with such slender results that we decline the task. A judicious critic would probably complain that many sermons are deficient in solid instruction, Biblical exposition, and Scriptural argument: they are flashy, rather than fleshy; clever, rather than solid; entertaining, rather than impressive. He would point to rhetorical discourses in which doctrine is barely discernible, and brilliant harangues from which no food for the soul could ever be extracted. Having done this, he would probably propose that homilies should flow out of texts, and should consist of a clear explanation, and an earnest enforcement of the truths which the texts distinctly teach. Expository preaching he would advocate as the great need of the day, its best protection against rising errors, and its surest means of spiritual edification. To such observations most of us would offer no opposition; we should confess them to be full of wisdom, and worthy of being pondered. We should not unite in any indiscriminate censuring of hortatory addresses, or topical sermons, nor should we agree with the demand that every discourse should be limited to the range of its text, nor even that it should have a text at all; but we should heartily subscribe to the declaration, that more expository preaching is greatly needed, and that all preachers would be the better if they were more able expounders of the inspired Word...." 

"...For this purpose I have toiled, and read much, and passed under review some three or four thousand volumes. From these I have compiled my catalogue, rejecting many, yet making a very varied selection ."

Some would suggest Calvin's commentaries might also be a good starting point. 

Calvin's commentaries are available on-line: 

Calvin Seminary has a list of recommended commentaries on its website. Some of those would work for a church website.

Greg Linnell on November 9, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


Thanks for the link to the Seminary list of commentaries.  I should have thought of that!  Many titles to consider and I'll ask my pastors what they would recommend for an adult lay audience.


The New International Commentary on the New Testament (and Old Testament) is a great series of commentaries that is often insightful and lay accessible. However, they are not strictly Reformed, but more broadly evangelical. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Old Testament also) are smaller, more affordable and more accessible or readable. These also seem to be more broadly evangelical. The Revelation commentary by Leon Morris takes an amillennial approach. Stay away from Word Biblical Commentary series as it is academic.

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