Building A Theological Library: The Gospels and Acts

August 14, 2013 — 2 Comments


Last week, I introduced 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).

The commentaries in bold are the ones I think are your best bet if you’re just going to get one.

Today, we’ll start our trek through the Gospels. When I did the Old Testament, I had a post on background sources, but this time around, that will come at the end. Because you’re curious, here’s the 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






A couple of honorable mentions that I didn’t include in the list are the the commentaries by Craig Keener on John (2 Vols.) and Acts (2 Vols published, 2 more to come). I don’t have a lot of familiarity with Keener’s work, but his Acts commentary is certainly going to be the most meticulous and detailed one available. Any serious student of Acts will need to add the volumes to his library. I’ve been aware of Keener as a scholar, but only recently taken an interesting in reading some of his work.

There are of course other commentaries I could have included, but these are my preferences and recommendations. You can see I tend to prefer certain series, but an important thing to keep in mind is that author trumps series. Several names show up in each book list and that’s because they write quality commentaries, regardless of the series that published it. Series is a good indicator of the kind of commentary you’re purchasing, while author is an indicator of the quality of commentary you’re purchasing. Certainly there are quality commentaries by authors I haven’t heard of, but some names tend to continually produce quality work. It doesn’t mean their work on every book is of equal quality, but their scholarship should be fairly consistent across volumes. As a general rule of thumb then, if you find a particular author’s work in one commentary useful, edifying, and instructive, you might check out other commentaries that author has written regardless of what series (if any) it falls into.


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2 responses to Building A Theological Library: The Gospels and Acts

  1. Stott on Acts. My favorite commentary on Acts.

    • That was my other honorable mention. I opted for the PNTC volume instead, but Stott’s Acts is definitely one of the better volumes in the BST series

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