Serious about Bible study? It helps if you have a friend who can tell you all about the text. Ideally, this friend would know the situation the text addressed, appreciate the nuances of its language, and tell you how other people have understood it. Sounds like a big ask?
You can have friends like that with you wherever you go. They’re called commentators. Commentaries are available for whatever level of Bible study you want. This month (May 2018) could be your best chance to get the good ones.
So what level of commentary do you need?
- Free basic commentaries, such as the Asbury Bible Commentary.
- A single volume on the whole Bible, such as The New Bible Commentary.
- A commentary on just the Bible book you’re studying now, such as Exodus (New American Commentary series).
Or, you may want a multi-volume set covering all the Bible books, such as the New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (NICOT and NICNT).
Buying these sets electronically means they don’t take up shelf space, and you can carry them on your laptop or tablet. Looks like this:
The screenshot is from Logos Bible Software. Notice how Isaiah 42 popped up without even turning there. Opening, cross-referencing, and searching are so much faster, And you can highlight or add notes like a regular book.
Price is the biggest barrier, but 50% – 60% off helps for the top commentaries (as voted by users). These four sets are the finalists for 20 March:
- NICOT/NICNT: superb.
- WBC: brilliant, but assumes some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.
- Expositor’s Bible: great if you want something smaller (13 volumes for the whole bible).
- Anchor Yale: uneven (some good, some not so much).
Prepare the budget! This month we’ll have new friends helping us with our Bible study.
Update 2018-03-16: Prepare the budget!. It looks like NICOT/NICNT will be 60% off.