Finding Bible Commentaries

What are Biblical Commentaries?

Biblical commentaries explain the books of the Bible. They are organized by biblical chapter and verse in the sequence of the Biblical canon. The best usually open with an overview of recent scholarly research and include detailed bibliographies.

We strongly recommended that you consult more than one commentary whenever possible, especially if you are using multi-volume commentary sets. A particular book or passage of the Bible may receive better coverage in one commentary set than in another. Individual commentaries will also have their particular strengths, weaknesses, goals, biases, and intended audiences.

Commentaries, like all works, vary according to their intended audience and the goals of their writers and editors. Reading the book’s introduction should help you determine if the commentary is right for your needs. Your professor could also recommend commentaries

Finding Biblical Commentaries.

An easy way to find commentaries is to do a subject keyword search in Novanet. This is especially useful for those on a specific Biblical book, such as the Gospel of Luke. (These instructions are designed for the Novanet catalogue, but the principles are the same for most databases).

Choose the Search Type "Keyword - Subect". Type in the name of the book, e.g. "Luke", and the word "commentaries”. Press the “Go” button.

A list of commentaries will appear. If the call number does not appear, click on a title to see a full record.

Try it yourself.

It is often useful to look at a full record to get more information about a book. Here is an example of a full record from the search. Note the subject (or in this case the Title Subject). In a real search you could click on it to find others on the same subject.

You can also find these by doing an exact subject search in Novanet. Choose the search type: "Subject begins with...". Type in the search phrase (without quotes) "bible. n.t. commentaries" and Press "Go".

To see an example of the results click here.

Other subject browse searches

  • Bible Commentaries - This will find commentaries on the Bible as a whole.
  • Bible N.T. Commentaries - Will find commentaries on the New Testament.
  • Bible O.T. Genesis Commentaries - Will find commentaries on Genesis.

Commentaries in our Reference Collection.

Our Reference Collection has a lot of the smaller and more general commentaries on the Bible. Some examples include:

  • The Expositor's Bible Commentary.
    • Ref BS 491.2 Z65 2004
  • Harper's Bible Commentary
    • Ref. BS 491.2 H37 1988
    • "This most balanced of one volume Bible commentaries makes on admire the legions of scholars who’s life work it encapsulates. If one were to posess a single commentary, this one would win the theologically uncommitted."
  • The International Bible Commentary: a Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary for the Twenty-first Century
    • Ref. BS 511.2 I57 1998
  • The IVP Women's Bible Commentary
    • Ref. BS 521.4 I97 2002
  • New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition
    • Ref. BS 491.2 N45 1994
    • Johstone describes this as very conservative and evangelical, but well argued.
  • The New Jerome Biblical Commentary
    • Ref. BS 491.2 N485 1990
    • Johnstone describes this as a masterpiece. "No one should begin with this masterpiece but all can work up to it." (102)
  • Oxford Bible Commentary
    • Ref. BS 491.3 O94 2001
  • Women's Bible Commentary
    • Ref. BS 491.2 W66 1998
    • "Few Bible commentaries offer so much lucidity or novel insight as this one, almost no other so effectively addresses beginner and expert alike" (Johnston, p103)
  • The New Interpreter's Bible
    • Ref. BS 491.2 N484 1994
    • A twelve volume work. Its subtitle describes it well: "general articles & introduction, commentary, & reflections for each book of the Bible, including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books".