By William R. Baker
The set of biblical commentaries I have recommended to students repeatedly over the years is The Tyndale Bible Commentary Series (InterVarsity Press). Hands down, this is the best value for the money. The set is complete and in paperback, which typically is less expensive. The volumes are economical in their length too, making excellent though judicious comments on authorship, date, and the text. This series is written by the all-stars of British Evangelical scholarship, like F. F. Bruce, I. Howard Marshall, John Stott, Leon Morris, N.T. Wright, Derek Kidner, and Alec Motyer. The volumes are regularly being revised or replaced. The complete set of paperback commentaries is $631.20 (available at www.ivpress.com), though you can purchase Old Testament sets or New Testament sets separately; for the CD-ROM, IVP’s price is $208.00 (Macintosh version still available; Windows version out of print).
A second outstanding set that is more current, having just been completed within the past year, is the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Tyndale). It numbers 20 hardbound volumes. This series employs the very popular New Living Translation as its base text, though comparisons and critiques of the NLT are provided in the ample notes. It is more contemporary and thorough than The Tyndale Bible Commentary. I like that it is a clear, understandable interpretation. A section of detailed notes precedes the commentary section and supplies underlying support regarding the translation, cultural background, and interpretive controversies. Excellent contemporary, American, Evangelical scholars are contributors, including Grant Osborne, Tremper Longman III, and even myself (1 Corinthians). I’ve seen this available at $500.00, with an electronic version coming soon.
My last recommendation is for those who desire extreme depth of language, culture, and issues by current, trustworthy, American Evangelical scholars at the top of their game. This is the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament Series. This is not yet complete; the 16 volumes already published cover all New Testament books except 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews. These volumes can run more than 500 pages, with Luke requiring two volumes. Thick books like these provide expert comment on every key word or phrase. Recognizable names like Darrel Bock, Tom Schreiner, Grant Osborne, and Gene Green are contributors. Prices range from $35.00 to $80.00 (though Luke is a bit more), and some of these volumes have already come out as e-books.
William R. Baker serves as professor of New Testament at Hope International University in Fullerton, California, and is editor of the Stone-Campbell Journal.