5 Books To Read As Commentaries August 4, 2020


Frequently I am asked what Bible commentaries I would recommend. This is a broad question without an easy answer. Some commentators are better on some books than others.

For example, if I am going to study the Psalms I would be sure to have Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David. I would not think of studying Philippians without Guy King’s Joy Way. And it would be very wise to have Andrew Murray’s The Holiest of All nearby as you walk through Hebrews. Personally I love F.B. Meyers expositions of Scripture and especially Bible characters. (Click here to view a good recommended book list compiled by Dr. Clarence Sexton on each book of the Bible.)

There is not one book that is perfectly thorough when it comes to Bible study and we must all remember that no one ever exhausts Scripture.That being said, there are a few sets of commentaries that have been my “go to” resources through the years. I have always been blessed by the writings of John Phillips and Warren Wiersbe. One man’s favorite is not always another’s, but permit me to share some that have been a help to me…

Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry (Charles Spurgeon said that every preacher should read through Matthew Henry at least once in his life and George Whitfield traveled with it in his saddlebags and read it on his knees. Pretty strong recommendations! Matthew Henry helps me see “nuggets” in the passage.)

Thru the Bible by J. Vernon McGee (This was given to me by a dear friend when I was a teenager and was the first commentary set I ever owned as a young preacher. McGee is devotional and simple in his writing style. It is a good foundational set to own.)

Barnes’ Notes by Albert Barnes (While there is no author that I would agree with on every point, Barnes always provides helpful exposition of a passage.)

Adam Clark Commentary (This long respected commentary set has often been referred to by other commentators. Clark gives a thorough look at Scripture verse by verse.)

The Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik (I mention this resource because it is a fairly new one and is easily accessible online. While I know little about Guzik it is obvious that he is a reader and diligent student of Scripture. He quotes frequently from the best commentators on each passage and presents his exposition in a logical outline format. Easy to follow.)

It is my conviction that commentaries should not be referenced first in Bible study. Read, pray, meditate yourself through the passage of Scripture. Commentaries can help to fill in gaps, confirm that you are on the right track, and correct wrong thinking. Use them, but use them discerningly.

What is your favorite commentary?

Read each article in this series:


5 Books To Read About Jesus (And One Bonus)

5 Books To Read On Revival

5 Books To Read For Bible Study

5 Books To Read On Prayer + 1 I’m Reading Now

5 Books To Read On The Holy Spirit

5 Books To Read On Preaching

5 Books Every Man Should Read

5 Books To Read On Great Christians

5 Books To Help With Your Personal Devotions

5 Books To Read On Living A Victorious Christian Life

5 Books To Read On Witnessing

5 Books To Read On Finances

5 Books To Read When You Are Having A Hard Time

5 Books To Read For Answers

5 Books To Read On Church Ministry

5 Books To Read To Help Young People

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  1. Byron Chesney on August 4, 2020 at 9:19 AM

    Hello Bro. Pauley! I agree with all your suggestions and I use each of these myself. My first set of commentaries was also J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible. As a young preacher starting out they helped me tremendously and 30-years later I still refer to them from time to time. Another one that I really like and use often is John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible. Like you said, I may not agree with every point some of these men but they are valuable resources when studying.

    • Scott Pauley on August 5, 2020 at 12:17 AM

      Gill is full of depth. Good suggestion!

  2. Jeff Jones on August 5, 2020 at 1:58 AM

    I agree with you on Guy King, the Treasury of David, F. B. Meyer! Not familiar the David Guzik but will check him out. I like Martin Lloyd Jones also.

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