Building A Theological Library: Prison and Pastorals

October 30, 2013 — Leave a comment


Several weeks ago, we covered the first part of Paul’s Letters: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians. 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. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s the modified table of contents:

Ephesians 1

Philippians 2

Colossians & Philemon 3

Timothy and Titus 4


  1. Honorable mentions for Ephesians are Frank Thielman’s volume in BECNT (technical, but outstripped by Hoehner, who really outdoes everyone in his 1,000+ pg volume that took 25 years to write!) and Klyne Snodgrass’ volume in the NIVAC series (I’m partial to Stott)
  2. Honorable mentions for Philippians are Alec Motyer’s volume in BST (I like Thielman better) and Walter Hansen’s volume in PNTC (I’m partial to PNTC, but I think Fee is better for that category)
  3. Honorable mentions for Colossians are Dunn’s volume in NIGTC (technical, but I like O’Brien and Bruce better as commentators, theologically and otherwise), Pao’s volume in ZECNT (I have a review forthcoming, it is a solid work, especially to consult for teaching, but this is a tough book to crack to the top 4 in) and Garland’s volume in NIVAC (I like Garland as a commentator, but he doesn’t beat Wright)
  4. I don’t have any honorable mentions here, but it’s worth noting that there are volumes on the Pastorals forthcoming in BECNT (Stanley Porter), ZECNT (G. K. Beale), and PNTC (Robert Yarbrough), which also happen to usually be my favorite series. Mounce is probably unassailable, but the other two spots before the devotional commentaries could be surpassed in the coming years.


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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!

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