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New Testament Commentary Recommendations (10)


I feel genuinely inadequate to recommend much on the book of Hebrews, if only because it has been nearly twenty years since I preached through the book and I've not kept up with the literature as much as I have with other books of the New Testament. Still, though, I'll give it my best shot.

Two works served me well when I worked through Hebrews and I still believe they are worth obtaining today, even though more substantial exegetical treatments have appeared. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series (Eerdmans, 1964, 447 pp.), is one of his better works. It is filled with excellent exegetical insights and is a must read for all pastors intent on preaching or teaching through the book.

I also have a fond affection for Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Eerdmans, 1977, 623 pp.). It is not as exegetically oriented as Bruce but is far more theologically substantive. I've read and re-read Hughes over the years and still profit immensely from his insights.

Although I've not read much in these next few works, they appear to be quite good. The first worthy of mention is the two volume set by William L. Lane in the Word Biblical Commentary Series (Word Books, 1991, 617 pp.). I can recommend Lane based solely on my very positive experience with his commentary on Mark. I've also heard good things about Paul Ellingworth's volume in the New International Greek Testament Commentary (Eerdmans, 1993, 764 pp.). This looks to be the most helpful treatment of the Greek text of Hebrews. Craig R. Koester in the Anchor Bible Series (Doubleday, 2001, 604 pp.) and George Guthrie in the NIV Application series are also worth obtaining.

Before I leave Hebrews, I should mention two works about which I was unaware until reading of them in Carson's commentary review. Peter T. O'Brien is writing on Hebrews for the Pillar series (which Carson edits). Given the superb nature of all his other commentaries, I venture to speculate that this will immediately become the evangelical standard upon its release. Carson also points out that R. T. France has written on Hebrews in the revised edition (2006) of the Expositor's Bible Commentary published by Zondervan. I've never been disappointed by France's commentaries and I trust that this too, although necessarily brief, will prove immensely helpful.


Studies on the short book of Philemon are usually bound up with commentaries on Colossians. My recommendation of the works by Moo, Harris, Dunn, Bruce (in the revised volume in NICNT), O'Brien, and Garland, will serve you well on Philemon. There is one rather unusual volume that is certainly worthy of a look. It is unusual because it devotes 561 pages to this tiny NT epistle, 240 of which constitute the Introduction alone! It is the collaborate effort of Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke in the Eerdmans Critical Commentary series (Eerdmans, 2000). It's hard for me to imagine anyone reading 561 pages to preach on twenty-five verses, but God bless you for your commitment and perseverance if you do!