Building A Theological Library: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians

October 2, 2013 — Leave a comment


Several weeks ago, we covered the Gospels and Acts in the New Testament portion of the Building A Theological Library series. Just to reiterate, these are my preferences and what make up my library (for the most part). There are definitely some great resources I’ve overlooked. What I’m trying to do here is give you what I typically look for, and in the case of individual books, what I think is the best 2 commentaries for a pastor to have on each (because I think you should have at least 2) and what is the best single commentary for the interested reader to pick up (who is maybe not a pastor). What I’m listing here is a) what commentaries I currently have and b) what commentaries I’m still tracking down (gradually and systematically).

Below, I’m giving you four recommendations for each book. The first two are the best technical commentaries (or at least what I go to for technical/exegetical work). The third is the best in-depth commentary for the average reader. The fourth is the best devotional commentary for someone who isn’t doing research or sermon prep, but just wants to understand the flow of the book better.

Today, we’ll continue our trek through into Paul’s epistles. I decided to split it into two posts since it covers 13 books. Because you’re curious, here’s the modified table of contents:

  • New Testament Commentaries
  • Gospels and Acts
  • Paul’s Letters: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians
  • Paul’s Letters: Prison and Pastorals
  • General Letters
  • New Testament Backgrounds
  • Essential Special Studies

Romans 1

1st Corinthians 2

2nd Corinthians

Galatians 3

1-2 Thessalonians 4

A couple of things to note here. First, in the later stages of sermon prep, I’ve found volumes in the Preaching the Word and NIVAC series helpful to consult. I’m starting to think the Reformed Expository Commentaries go on that list as well. However, since there are so many NT commentary series, I’ve usually found better volumes in terms of technicality and devotional value elsewhere. Generally speaking, if there is an available Pillar volume, I’ll prefer it for a mid-range volume. Second, as far names, you can see I’m partial to Bruce and Stott, but the same could be said of Schreiner, and probably Moo once his Galatians volume releases. Names are generally a better guideline than series, but some series (Pillar) have really distinguished themselves (IMO).

Hopefully, next week we’ll be back on track with a post a week so we can finish out the NT in October. That’s the plan, but you know, life tends to happen in the meantime!


  1. I’m omitting Cranfield because I don’t own it and don’t plan to. It is considered a very standard 2 volume technical commentary. However, since these are recommendations, I’m assuming most people don’t want to drop $100 to get both volumes. Cranfield is good to consult for technical matters, but when I have prepared sermons in Romans, I haven’t consulted it
  2. Similar to what I did with Romans, I’m omitting Thiselton from a recommendation, mainly because of price. I think there is a paperback option, but Fee will do well for a technical commentary on 1st Corinthians. If you really really want to dig into the book though, get Thiselton along with these
  3. Honorable mention here goes to Longnecker’s volume in the WBC series. A bit too technical for my needs (as is often the case in this series, even though I own it), but worth adding if you’re really getting into Galatians, especially since he will provide a different perspective than Schreiner/Stott/Bruce
  4. Honorable mention here goes to Shogren’s volume in the ZECNT series, which I really like. I have it for review, but haven’t evaluated it enough yet to know whether it would oust Bruce or Fee for a better technical commentary. It definitely has a more user friendly layout for preparing a sermon series. So there’s that.


Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation.

Want To Add Your Thoughts?