Monday, June 14, 2010

Recommended Bible Study Resources: NT for the Lay Bible Study Leader

A friend of mine at church recently asked me for help building a his personal library. I thought that it would be helpful to post my recommendations here as well. This first of two posts will cover New Testament study resources geared towards the lay Bible study leader. They have, in my opinion, sufficient detail for really engaging the text, but not too technical so as to limit their utility for someone without formal training. I don't claim to have examined every commentary for any book at this level, but I do believe that each of these would be a very helpful to a lay person putting together a Bible study. I also tried to select commentaries that are priced reasonably but occasionally I did recommend slightly more expensive commentaries. This page will be periodically updated as I read commentaries I haven't checked out before or as new ones are published. I will also add in some additional books that are not commentaries as time goes on.

NT Introduction and Theology:
Introducing the New Testament Its Literature and Theology - Paul Achtemeier, Joel Green, and Marianne Meye Thompson
New Testament Theology: Many Witnesses, One Gospel - I. Howard Marshall

Commentaries (series abbreviations in parenthesis are defined below):
Matthew (NAC) - Craig Blomberg
Mark (NIVAC) - David Garland
Luke (NIVAC) - Darrell Bock
John (IVP) - Rodney Whitacre
The Book of Acts (NICNT) - FF Bruce
Romans (NCCS) - Craig Keener (review)
First Corinthians (INT) - Richard Hays
2 Corinthians (IVP) - Linda Belleville
Galatians (NIVAC) - Scot McKnight
Ephesians (NIVAC) - Klyne Sondgrass
Philippians (NIVAC) - Frank Theilman
Colossians and Philemon (TNTC) - N.T. Wright
1-2 Thessalonians (IVP) - Greg Beale
1-2 Timothy & Titus (IVP) - Philip Towner
Hebrews (NIVAC) - George Guthrie
James (NIBCNT) - Peter Davids
1 Peter (TNTC) - Wayne Grudem
2 Peter & Jude (IVP) - Robert Harvey and Philip Towner
1-3 John (IVP) - Marianne Meye Thompson
Revelation (NIVAC) - Craig Keener

Key (Here I tried to link to the publishers page here when possible)
INT: Interpretation
IVP: IVP Commentary
NAC: New American Commentary
NCCS: New Covenant Commentary Series
NIBCNT: New International Biblical Commentary on the New Testament
NICNT: New International Commentary on the New Testament
NIVAC: NIV Application Commentary
TNTC: Tyndale New Testament Commentary


  1. Hard to argue with this list... but I'll try. =)

    Actually, the only possible adjustments are make are these:

    Tom Schreiner on 1-2 Peter, Jude (NAC)- more cost effective (1 volume) and is better (in my opinion) than Grudem on 1 Peter. Haven't used Harvey & Towner on 2 Peter & Jude so I don't know.

    Doug Moo on James- if his Pillar commentary is too advanced, his Tyndale commentary is still good. Toss up between him and Davids, so I wouldn't necessarily change it.

    Fee on the Pastorals- Towner may be better, just throwing this out there.

    Howard Marshall on Acts- Tyndale commentary is really good.

    As for NT Intros, I don't like any. In fact, I don't like any OT Intros, either.

  2. I did think about Schreiner on 1+2 Peter and Jude. The difficulty was that when I gave my friend 4 commentaries on 1 Peter to gauge the style he liked, Schreiner was checked out of the library. I gave him Grudem and he really liked it and when I was just getting my feet wet studying I loved that commentary too. But perhaps I should have gone with Schreiner. It was a tough call.

    I have Marshall in the Tyndale series and I like it (but admittedly haven't used it a lot). I waffled on that one a bit, but I felt he interacts a bit too much with other scholars in the main text which I think makes it a bit less useful for lay people. One I haven't checked out is Larkin's in the IVP series. Have you?

    James was one of the borderline cases for me. It ultimately came down to the fact that I think Davids is just a tad bit more accessible.

    Much of my choice of Towner was based on his effort in the NICNT. I really like that commentary. Fee is never a bad choice though.

    I actually like the intro I recommended. It spends a fair amount of time on literary which is sometimes overlooked in NT Intros. It's also from a moderate Evangelical position which I find to be a bonus. That said I like it, but I don't love it.

  3. I forgot about Larkin on Acts. I've never used it, but it comes highly recommended.

    I also forgot about the Expositor's series (revised nowadays). Carson on Matthew and Longenecker on Acts stand out in my mind as good ones from that series.

  4. If you plan to refer lay leaders to this post in the future, it might be good to write out the commentary series names instead of having the abbreviation.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion Brett, I added a key to the abbreviations below.