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Please note: All the commentaries listed below I have recommended based on my belief that they fulfil two important criteria.
First, I consider that the commentators themselves write in a way that shows that they believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I may not always agree with their interpretation of a particular text, but I think that they show respect for God's Word as being inspired. For me, that criterion is non-negotiable.
Second, they demonstrate a level of excellence that makes their commentaries worth the financial investment. You don't want books on your shelf that you wish you'd never bought.
If you do not already have access to good commentaries, a good strategy is to be patient, and purchase them one at a time. Wait for your local Christian bookstore to have a sale and buy them at discounted prices.
If you're wondering why I have randomly selected volumes from different commentary sets, there is a method to my madness. Sets of commentaries are not necessarily of uniform quality. They have multiple authors and not all of the authors produce the same quality work.
In building my own library, I often referred to the Old and New Testament Commentary Surveys mentioned in the General Reference Works section. In addition to this, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart has a helpful list of recommended commentaries in the appendix.
Originally published in 1706, this set of commentaries is in many ways quite dated. However, Henry had a real knack for coming up with pithy statements, was logical in his approach to the Scriptures, and these are a great devotional tool.
This is not exactly an in-depth exposition of the New Testament, but Wiersbe has a knack of distilling the basic truths of any given section of Scripture into a form that is easily grasped. I would use this commentary, not so much for its explanatory value (unless you're a new Christian), but for its value in highlighting topics for the preacher as well as some good illustrations.
This book is basically a commentary, but instead of restricting its focus to a particular book, Fee examines every text on the Holy Spirit in the writings of Paul.
This is a top commentary, full of great insights, clearly the result of a high level of scholarship, yet easy to read. It used to be available on its own, but now is in the same volume as commentaries on Mark and Luke.
Although this commentary is of the highest academic standard, you don't need to know Greek to understand it - except for the footnotes. It is very thorough and contains great background information helpful for the preacher.
This is a top commentary, full of great insights, and doctrinally sound. It is clearly the result of a high level of scholarship, yet easy to read.
The book of Romans is known as "The Christian Constitution", and as might be expected there are some quite extensive commentaries available. This one is over 1,000 pages, and is very thorough in its dealings with the text. No Greek is necessary unless you wish to delve into the extensive notes.
Stott approaches Romans with his usual thoroughness and includes a helpful study guide. This excellent commentary should be on every pastor's bookshelf.
In my opinion, this would have to be the standard by which all other commentaries should be measured. Fee is himself a Pentecostal, and if any commentary ought to have been written by a Pentecostal it is this one on 1 Corinthians. He is a top Greek scholar, there are extensive footnotes, he is thorough in his treatment of the text, but what I like most is his honest style. Obviously, after 2000 years, there are going to be some things that aren't quite as clear to us as they were to the original recipients. Fee doesn't try to bluff his way through. If there are several explanations, he lists them along with their strengths and weaknesses. If he favours one over the others, he explains why, but even then, he admits at times that the best explanation still isn't completely satisfactory.
Barrett's commentary is outstanding. It is readable and full of great insights. Some Greek is helpful, though not necessary.
Probably the best commentary available on 2 Corinthians, this is a substantial work of almost 600 pages. No Greek is necessary.
Regarded by many as the best commentary available on Ephesians, but you need to be aware that it is written for the advanced student. If you can't read Greek, that would be a disadvantage, but you can always offset this by using an interlinear New Testament.
A great commentary for the general reader by one of the outstanding scholars of evangelical Christianity. If you want complete understanding of the extensive footnotes, you'll need to be able to read Greek, but for the main body of the text that is unnecessary.
Although not as thick as some of the other works in this series, Bruce's treatment of these epistles is nevertheless thorough and the background material is particularly useful. It is helpful if you can read some Greek.
Probably not in quite the same league as Fee's commentary on 1 Corinthians, this volume is still worth getting. No doubt he was under the limitations of space in this series, but Fee is an excellent scholar and his style is lucid, informative, and contains great insights.
The Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) should be of special significance to pastors since they were written to church leaders. This is a substantial work which emphasises the relationship between theology and daily living. It is helpful if you can read some Greek.
This commentary is readily understandable and invaluable to preachers. No Greek is necessary unless you wish to delve into the extensive notes, and even they are mostly understandable to the non-Greek reader.
Smalley's work is a thorough exegesis of the text. It may be too academic for some, and being able to read Greek is definitely an advantage, but it is still a very useful commentary.
John Stott's work is always of the highest standard. No Greek is necessary, although he refers to the original language as he seeks to explain the true meaning of the text.
If, when it comes to the book of Revelation, you're tired of all the sensationalism, scaremongering, and speculative predictions, and you're looking for a more balanced approach to this mysterious book, then this is the commentary to get. Once you've read this, you'll realise that Revelation was never meant to make sense to just one end-time generation, but every Christian generation throughout history.