Top Bible Commentaries and Reference Guide
Building an extensive library of Bible commentary and reference guides will help you gain a deeper understanding of scripture, strengthen your faith, and expand your ability to create a powerful sermon or message. Most popular works can be found on Amazon, while others are offered as free downloads on the author’s website. To build your library, start with the following study guides, dictionaries, concordances, and commentaries.
Studying commentaries from other teachers is a must if you want to be a good expositor of the Word. That said, always use at least two or three different sources. You will come away from your study confident that you have adequately researched your passage and heard from God regarding how He wants the message applied.
John MacArthur: John MacArthur has a very conservative, Calvinistic, anti-charismatic view point. As with any commentary, take from it what you can use and don’t worry about the rest.
J. Vernon McGee: A practical Bible teacher who was best known for his popular radio program, “Thru the Bible.” From Genesis to Revelation, McGee taught through the Bible every five years.
Chuck Smith: Pastor Chuck was one of the best Bible teachers of our time. He had a unique ability to make God’s word simple. This site offers a huge collection of his teachings for free.
William Barclay: Barclay’s daily Bible study will give you insight into the time and context of your passage, as well as an understanding of the original language. He sometimes leans toward liberal interpretations so use it along with other conservative commentaries.
Henry Ironside: This is another preacher from yesteryear. His teachings are very simple, easy to understand and will give you a lot of practical applications.
Martin Lloyd Jones: Jones is considered by many to be one of the foremost Bible expositors. His teachings are not brief. If you’re looking for an in-depth study of the Word, his writings are a must.
Bible Reference Books
The reference books listed below are a few of the most fundamental works for the study of the Word of God. They are especially good for those new to preaching and the ministry.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: A necessary tool for any Bible student, especially beginners. It allows you look up any word and find every place it appears in the Bible. It also includes Greek and Hebrew dictionaries so you can look up the word’s basic meaning from the original.
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon: This is a Greek dictionary that allows you to look up the original meanings of words in the Bible. The numbers next to each word in both Strong’s and Thayer’s correspond with each other for easy use.
Vines Expository Dictionary: This is also good for looking up key words in your study. In this dictionary you’ll be able to find not only the meaning of the word, but also whether it’s a verb or noun, etc. A must have for every serious Bible student.