Commentary sets vs individual commentaries

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    How would you build a set of commentaries? What I mean is, would you pick and choose individual commentaries or would you simply choose one set?

    Currently I am working through the Bible and trying to build an adequate collection of commentaries. I have been tempted to buy a set, but every time I look at a set as a whole there are other commentaries that I prefer (or would trust more). I was just wondering if you/y'all had any suggestions.
     
  2. TadQueasy

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    My advice would be to do both. Pick one high regarded set and get that, and then go about getting the best individual commentaries for each book.
     
  3. go2church

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    I like a variety. There are sets that have couple consistent editors but different authors for a particular book, these are the ones I tend to favor. The computer and Internet have made access to commentaries so much easier and cheaper.
     
  4. exscentric

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    Use e-sword (computer bible program) and you can have multiple sets (lots of commentaries etc. at biblesupport.com).

    I used to have a Barnes notes set then individuals. Worked fine, but I'd guess each person just builds as they can afford. Electronic resources are usually cheaper to free as opposed to paper.
     
  5. quantumfaith

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    Bingo....great advice. Start with a set that you have intellectual respect in, then add "random" commentaries as you see fit.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    If you're looking to build a commentary library, a worthy task for sure, it is difficult to do with the constant addition of volumes from various publishers.

    I'd suggest checking a couple of sources prior to buying anything:
    - bestcommentaries.com is a crowd sourced site that provides qualified reviews of commentaries and classifies them across a few categories.
    - Pick up the "Commentary Survey" for both OT & NT from good scholars like Tremper Longman and DA Carson respectively. They offer valuable insights that will sort through the mess.
    - Read, with a grain of salt, Amazon reviews. Also, check out the Society of Biblical Literature's book review site: bookreviews.org

    That said, it is also important to understand what your scholarly acumen is and whether you're interested in deeper commentaries or more laymen oriented commentaries. There isn't a right answer here, just know where you are.

    As for the question of the OP: If a commentary set is available and suits you, buy it. I've done that before. I've got the Word Biblical Commentary, New American Commentary, New International Commentary on the Greek New Testament, and the New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments on my shelf. I've also bought particular sets like the whole JPS Torah Commentary on the Pentateuch as well as the Baker Exegetical Old Testament Commentary on Wisdom Literature.

    Since I have all of these on hand, I am now buying particular volumes that I find helpful. Recently, for instance, I picked up the International Critical Commentary on Matthew because it is extremely good. I've also purchased a couple of other stand alone commentaries and volumes from sets to round out my work on Matthew.

    My goal has been to have at least two of the best commentaries for each book of the Bible on hand (whether in print form or digital.) Using tools like the ones listed above sure do help with that.

    Hope that answers your question. :)
     
  7. JonC

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    Thank you all for your suggestions. I have several commentaries (individual commentaries) from my time at seminary and am trying to make them more comprehensive. I do not have a complete set or series. For a few years, I've been buying commentaries as I needed them (for study) but now I want to focus on actually building a decent library. Thank you again for your suggestions and for sharing your experiences.
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    Would advise you to use the list of DA Carson about commentaries, and also to stick to good conservation sets, such as the one Expositors bible commentary...
     
  9. JonC

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    Thank you. I like Carson's works. Depending in the topic, there are several authors I respect in regards to scholarship.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. Jordan Kurecki

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    my favorite Commentators to read are H.A. Ironside, Oliver B. Greene, David Cloud, Adam Clarke, Hudson Taylor, and Spurgeon.

    Oliver B. Greene has to be the best commentator I have ever read hands down.
     
    #10 Jordan Kurecki, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2015
  11. Deacon

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    Three directions in commentaries

    Devotional commentaries - good for the soul
    Pastoral commentaries - good for application/teaching
    Critical commentaries - good for the mind

    Older commentaries tend more towards devotional commentary.

    Good to collect a few of each as you collect books in your personal library.

    Rob
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    I would use those who advocate the inerrancy/inspiration of the Bible, as have used both reformed and Baptist authors, but would stay away from those of the l;iberal/critcal bent!
     

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