Monday, October 01, 2007

About Commentaries

I'm thinking now about what I want to do for my devotions next year. This year I've been reading through the Bible using a little One-Year Bible, and I have really loved it. I'm considering just starting right over with that, but I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to take a break, and choose to study something (like one book) more in-depth.

Which brings me to commentaries. I am thinking that if I decided to read through, say the book of John, I may want a commentary or two to aid my reading, and help me dig deeper. Which raises the question, which commentaries should I use? I started really thinking over this today while I was receiving MacArthur Commentaries at work (they're on sale all month for 40% off and we got a truckload!). I have not consistently read a commentary with my Bible reading in years -- probably since high school, when I was sort of struggling to understand the meaning of quite a lot of the Bible. Here are the ones I am considering right now:

Johnny Mac, of course

Crossway Classic Commentary

Reformed Expository Commentary

Baker Exegetical Commentary

New American Commentary

I wondered if any of you regularly use commentaries as companions in your personal devotions? Do you have any insight for me?


Anonymous said...

I have used the MacArthur Study Bible this year and have greatly enjoyed it. I would suspect the commentary would be similar. I have also enjoyed using a key word study Bible. It is amazing how alive Scripture becomes when you actually study what certain words mean. Well, these are not actually commentary suggestions, just some suggestions in general I suppose. Blessings

Paul Fuller said...

I just bought Carson's Pillar commentary on John this summer... It is pretty technical along the way, but Carson always seems to be masterful at bringing the heart of the passages home. It's worth checking out.

Name: Karen said...

Yup, MacArthur is my usual.


MadMup said...

I tend to use various versions of the Bible, some of which I'm told are more like commentaries than translations. Probably not the best way to go about it, but I've always had trouble with full-on commentaries.

G-Knee said...

OH! OH! OH! Pick Me, Pick me!!! Get Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. It's made for the church member. It even has a hymn at the back of each chapter to reflect on. Well, it's not a commentary, but it would be a great devotional book, imo. Pick up a copy if it is in your bookstore!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gret, Sometimes the best commentary is meditation. Asking the Holy Spirit to guide you through a passage and open up His Word in a special. Not for private interpetation but for insight. DAD

GloryandGrace said...

1) I agree with G-Knee - Grudem's Systematic (which I'm sure your husband would gladly let you use) is a wonderful read along with Bible reading.

2) I have used Word Biblical Commentary in the past and simply because I like the way it's laid out and goes step by step very clearly through the text. I don't know which book you're thinking about studying, but the two I have are for Hebrews.

Miss you, sister! (Still not quite through with "When Sinners..." but I'll let you know!)

Josh said...

I like your Dad's advice. I think Dr. Ware would agree with him, judging by the meditation assignments he's given us in Theology III. I remember that Dr. Thrasher at Moody would say that each year he would choose a passage to meditate on and memorize, and he would ask the Lord, "Teach me what this passage means this year." Commentaries are great and have their place of course, but personally I've never been able to make them work for devotional reading. Does Paul Fuller has some suggestions on this front?

And what about the commentaries by James Mongomery Boice? I think they're somewhat popularly written but also scholarly.

Gretchen said...

Thanks, everyone for chiming in with your advice. I'm still thinking over what book(s) I'd like to study, so that will probably help me decide what commentaries to use (if any). I think I need to do some reading in some of them. Good thing I work at a bookstore. :)

jillybean said...

Thanks for sharing these ideas! Very helpful to me too.