The 5 Best Whole Bible Commentary

Editor’s Choice

824310: Tyndale New Testament Commentary [TNTC], 20 Vols. & Tyndale Old Testament Commentary [TOTC], 28 Vols.

  • Trusted resource for Bible study
  • Written by some of the world’s most distinguished evangelical scholars
  • It is understandable, unbiased, and exceptionally readable

Best Overall

814701: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Complete in 29 Volumes

  • Thoroughly written, unbiased, easy to read, and understand
  • It gives great insight into the patristic perspective on scripture
  • It covers seven centuries of biblical interpretation

Budget-Friendly

49196X: Old Testament & New Testament Set, 13 Volumes: The Expositor"s Bible Commentary, Revised

  • Comprehensive introductions
  • Short and precise bibliographies
  • Detailed outlines

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best Whole Bible Commentary is, then I’d recommend Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by Thomas Oden as the best one.

The whole point of studying the Word of God is being able to grasp the lessons underneath the stories and apply them to your own life. However, the Bible can contain complex passages that may be difficult to understand. 

Thankfully, there are helping tools that may help dissect scriptures and offer interpretations. One thing you can use is a Bible Commentary.

Here are the Best Whole Bible Commentaries we will be reviewing:

What is the Purpose of a Whole Bible Commentary?

The main purpose of a Bible Commentary is to provide a clearer and deeper understanding of the Scriptures in the Bible. I know what you’re thinking! That sounds like a Study Bible, right? Well, it does. But what makes a Bible Commentary different is its very thorough content. 

A Study Bible is a sort of “special” Bible because it has sections that explain certain verses and tools you can use for studying. A Whole Bible Commentary goes over every verse in every book of the Bible and gives thorough explanations for each, which is why it says “whole”. That’s the reason why Bible Commentaries are often sold in volume sets.

It’s called a “commentary” as the authors, you guessed it! These authors “comment” on each Bible passage for in-depth study. A Whole Bible Commentary explains an event, a definition for a word, a synopsis, historical accounts, or an application. Needless to say that these notes are influenced by each author’s perspective and beliefs. 

Simply put, a Whole Bible Commentary gives an analysis of the books of the Bible, as understood by its author. The analysis is often by chapter and verse by verse or as a whole passage. A Whole Bible Commentary is used as a complementary tool in Bible study. 

Who Uses Whole Bible Commentaries?

Anyone who wants to understand the Scriptures better can use a Whole Bible Commentary. However, as this contains very thorough notes, this is often used by pastors or priests for their Church preaches/sermons. They are also used by nuns for their study and reflection. Professors also use a Bible commentary for research and lessons as well as students that have Bible training (future clergies, missionaries, and counselors). Christians who are readers also are users of this kind of book. 

When to use a Whole Bible Commentary

I recommend using a Whole Bible Commentary as a supplementary tool in Bible study. However, as these are written by authors and the content is of course influenced by their own beliefs and understanding, it would be better to read and try to understand the Scriptures by yourself first. If you find that there are passages that are difficult to understand, or you simply want a fresh perspective, then it’s time to use a Whole Bible Commentary.

If you’re a part of a Bible study group, it would help to bring a Whole Bible Commentary especially to take part in the discussion and to reflect on your understanding of the verses.

How to Choose the Best Whole Bible Commentary

Content

As I mentioned earlier, Bible commentaries are very info-packed as the notes are very detailed and are often written per passage. Before you choose your Bible Commentary, consider if you want the complete commentary on the whole Bible. Note that this will probably be more than one book, but a whole set. 

On the other hand, you can buy a less comprehensive one – a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible. The analysis is done per book in the Bible making it shorter than verse-by-verse commentaries.

Features

Because you’re probably getting a Whole Bible Commentary to study the Bible, it would be wise to skim through the Whole Bible Commentary you’re interested in. The most common features are pictures, illustrations, maps, bibliographies, book introductions, and historical backgrounds.

I find book introductions very helpful in giving substance to the commentary and notes. Moreover, I also appreciate historical backgrounds as these allow me to scratch through the surface of history. Absorbing the stories helps me put myself back in time and open my mind to another perspective, making Bible study more interesting and easier. 

Fit to your needs

But the most important thing to consider when getting your Whole Bible Commentary is your needs. Before you put books into your cart, ask yourself: “What type of a Bible Commentary fits what I need and what I want?”. 

Common Types

Devotional

A devotional Bible commentary’s purpose is to help the reader reflect upon the Scriptures deeper. This is designed for personal contemplation and is used to apply the Bible’s teachings to personal life.

Exegetical

Often written by more experienced theologists, exegetical Bible commentaries are more technical and are used in the academe. These focus on the context and grammar of the original text of the Bible. Exegetical Bible commentaries are mostly used by pastors and theologists.

Expository

Expository Bible commentaries are simply put used to explain the contents of the Bible. These provide notes that are often written comprehensively and verse-by-verse. Compared to devotionals, expository Bible commentaries emphasize discussion rather than application.

Special Commentaries

These commentaries are “special” as they focus less on theological discussions but on socio-cultural events and deliberations. Some may focus on historical accounts, the culture, or biblical interpretation from a certain perspective (i.e. Asian).

Benefits of Reading a Whole Bible Commentary

The first benefit of reading a Whole Bible Commentary is it can provide clarity. As the events in the Bible happened thousands of years ago, many passages may be confusing. Some even use unusual words and/or phrases. 

In some cases, it’s the event itself that’s confusing. And this can happen not just to beginners, but even to those who regularly study the Bible. Reading a Whole Bible Commentary can provide a thorough and clearer discussion of those difficult passages.

Another benefit is it can help add perspective as you study your Bible. As I mentioned earlier, the reflections on the Scriptures in Bible commentaries are written by mere humans and are therefore clouded by their perspectives and beliefs. 

Although it’s still best to first reflect on the passages by yourself so you can apply them to your own life, it can be refreshing to hear a fresh take from another person. Reading the accounts of authors can also help widen your point of view and break down cultural barriers.

Here are the best Whole Bible Commentaries we recommend. 

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by Thomas Oden

814701: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Complete in 29 Volumes

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture does what very few of today’s students of the Bible could do for themselves. With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the church fathers – including much that is available only in the ancient languages – have been combed for their comments on Scripture.

From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating, and introducing it to today’s readers. 

I recommend this as the best commentary of the whole Bible because it’s user-friendly. What I mean by this is it’s suitable for beginners and perfect for those looking for something new without necessarily being overwhelmed. 

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by Thomas Oden is complete in 29 volumes.

Pros:

  • Thoroughly written, unbiased, easy to read, and understand
  • It gives great insight into the patristic perspective on scripture
  • It covers seven centuries of biblical interpretation
  • Great complimentary for daily Bible study
  • Materials used for printing and manufacture are of great quality 

Cons:

  • Print may be too small

Tyndale Old & New Testament Commentary, 28 Vols.

824310: Tyndale New Testament Commentary [TNTC], 20 Vols. & Tyndale Old Testament Commentary [TOTC], 28 Vols.

An outstanding set with a deserved reputation of reliability, accessibility, and relevance. Penned by distinguished scholars, each volume’s introduction offers in-depth information on the authorship, date, and historical background while commentary examines main themes, individual verses, and challenges of interpretation. 

The introduction to each volume gives a concise but thorough description of the authorship, date, and historical background of the biblical book under consideration. The commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.

Essential for pastors, students, and anybody who needs a trustworthy commentary in succinct English.

Pros:

  • Trusted resource for Bible study
  • Written by some of the world’s most distinguished evangelical scholars
  • It is understandable, unbiased, and exceptionally readable
  • It offers clear, reliable, and relevant explanations of every book in the Old and New Testament
  • Designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means

Cons:

  • Not as much interpretation of scripture itself and pulling principles
  • The font size is a bit small

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary by Tremper Longman III

49196X: Old Testament & New Testament Set, 13 Volumes: The Expositor"s Bible Commentary, Revised

One of the best commentaries available has now been updated and revised! This thoroughly revised edition of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary features the work of 56 contributors – 30 of whom are new. Reflecting the commentary’s international and cross-denominational approach, they come from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand, and from a broad diversity of churches and traditions, including Anglican, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, and Reformed. 

This complete 13-volume set includes comprehensive introductions, detailed outlines, and penetrating theological and critical exposition. New features include occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues. Notes on textual questions and special problems are placed close to the texts in question transliterations and translations of Hebrew and Greek words enabling readers to understand even the more technical notes. There is also a balanced and respectful approach toward marked differences of opinion.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive introductions
  • Short and precise bibliographies
  • Detailed outlines
  • Insightful expositions of passages and verses
  • Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture

Cons:

  • Some find the explanations not so in-depth

The Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren Wiersbe

030474: The Bible Exposition Commentary, 6 Volumes

The Bible Exposition Commentary is composed of six volumes categorized by the books in the Bible. This is a very comprehensive commentary. What’s best about this is it’s very easy to read and understand.

I recommend this as the best commentary of the whole Bible because it’s user-friendly. What I mean by this is it’s suitable for beginners and perfect for those looking for something new without necessarily being overwhelmed.

The Bible Exposition Commentary weighs about 11 pounds and is 9.6 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches in dimensions.

Pros:

  • Thoroughly written and easy to read and understand
  • Great complimentary for daily Bible study
  • Content is not written to preach and is suitable for casual reading
  • The notes are supported by Scriptures so you can keep track of it on the references
  • Materials used for printing and manufacture are of great quality 
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Print may be too small

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

564365: Matthew Henry"s Commentary on the Whole Bible, 6 Volumes

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible also comes in a six-volume set. It weighs around 12.44 pounds, which is a bit heavier and thus more taxing to carry around. Furthermore, this commentary was first printed in 1922, so the author sometimes uses outdated or deep words.

This commentary offers discussions on classic theology. It is great for those who are seeking to understand the Bible from that point of view. His commentary is aimed primarily at explanation and edification.  

Pros:

  • Comprehensive
  • It provides instruction and encouragement
  • It can enhance your relationship with God and deepen your understanding of His word
  • Worth studying
  • Useful for pastors, theologians, and students of the Bible

Cons:

  • Written in an older style
  • The font size is small

Conclusion

A Whole Bible Commentary provides a deeper understanding of the Bible. This is often used by pastors or priests for their sermons, personal study, and reflection.

A Bible commentary can be a helpful tool if you’re looking for a complementary tool in Bible study. Before you head out and purchase yours, make sure to consider the commentary’s content, the features, and the type of Bible commentary.

I recommend Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by Thomas Oden as the best one. It has very well-written content that’s easy to read and understand. This Whole Bible Commentary is a great partner for your Bible study as its notes are not preachy and are perfect for casual reading. If you’re looking for clever and meticulous discussions for a practical price, then this is the Whole Bible Commentary for you.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.