Best 1-2 Samuel Commentaries | Updated for 2020

The best 1-2 Samuel commentaries are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews.

You will also find options for commentaries on 1-2 Samuel that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more.

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1-2 Samuel Commentaries: Best Reviews


1 and 2 Samuel
New American Commentary
by Robert D. Bergen

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Samuel commentary Bergen

Reviews and Accolades:

• Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “The best of the evangelical commentaries.”

• Tremper Longman: “a competent and readable treatment of the narrative”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New American Commentary is introduced to bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”

This “series has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.”

See more about the New American Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Tyndale Old Testament Commentary
by Joyce G. Baldwin

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Samuel commentary Baldwin

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: “characterized by careful scholarship… writes with the educated lay reader in mind”

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “Brief but insightful evangelical treatment.”

• Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on 1-2 Samuel, “a great example of Baldwin’s high quality work. A very good introductory-intermediate level commentary.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: This series is “designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means… [each commentary] 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.”

See more about the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series.


1 Samuel
New International Commentary on the Old Testament
by David Toshio Tsumura

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Samuel commentary Tsumira

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: “Tsumura’s strengths are in the areas of history and grammatical study”

• Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on 1 Samuel, “best intermediate-advanced level commentary on the first book of Samuel… very well written and very thorough… Tsumura’s expertise in the languages of the ancient Near East is evident throughout”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written for scholars, pastors, and lay readers alike… undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.” 

See more about the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series.


1 and 2 Samuel
NIV Application Commentary
by Bill T. Arnold

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Samuel commentary Arnold

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: “[Arnold] does an excellent job revealing the original meaning of the text and bringing it to life for the modern reader”

• Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on 1-2 Samuel, “The strength of the NIVAC series is its focus on contemporary applications, and Arnold is helpful here, but he is also concerned to deal with the original meaning of the text and does so very well. It is an engaging work.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context.

The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance.”

See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised
by Ronald F. Youngblood

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Samuel commentary Expositor's

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: “a solid commentary that shows good exegetical sense and literary and theological sensitivity”

• Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on 1-2 Samuel, “probably the most helpful intermediate level commentary on the books of Samuel”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written primarily by expositors for expositors… its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible… the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical.”

See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Library of Biblical Interpretation
by Robert P. Gordon

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Samuel commentary Gordon

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “full of good theological insight”

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “Highly recommended evangelical treatment.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Robert P. Gordon has provided us with a substantial commentary on the English text of the books of Samuel, concentrating on exegesis, but also paying attention to linguistic and textual problems.”


1 Samuel
Focus on the Bible
by Dale Ralph Davis

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Samuel commentary Dale Ralph Davis

Reviews and Accolades:

• Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on 1 Samuel, “written at a level accessible to the layman… numerous insights for pastors and teachers that other commentaries overlook”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “These commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth.

Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.”

See more about the Focus on the Bible commentary series.


2 Samuel
Focus on the Bible
by Dale Ralph Davis

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Samuel commentary Davis

Reviews and Accolades:

• Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on 2 Samuel, “written at a level accessible to the layman… numerous insights for pastors and teachers that other commentaries overlook”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “These commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth.

Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their specialty subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.”

See more about the Focus on the Bible commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Apollos Old Testament Commentary
by David G. Firth

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Samuel commentary Firth

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “insightful on its theological teaching”

Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with David G. Firth on this volume

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Apollos Old Testament Commentary (AOTC) aims to take with equal seriousness the divine and human aspects of Scripture.

It expounds the books of the Old Testament in a scholarly manner accessible to non-experts, and it shows the relevance of the Old Testament to modern readers.”

See more about the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Interpretation
by Walter Brueggemann

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Samuel commentary Brueggemann

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “his writing style is not just engaging but also exciting”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible.

It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary.”

See more about the Interpretation Bible commentary series.


Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


1 Samuel
Reformed Expositional Commentary
by Richard D. Phillips

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Samuel commentary Phillips

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: The REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical… Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal… Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical… Fourth, these commentaries are practical…” All authors are “pastor-scholars.”

See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


1 Samuel
Brazos Theological Commentary
by Francesca Aran Murphy

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Samuel commentary Brazos

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible enlists leading theologians to read and interpret Scripture for the twenty-first century, just as the church fathers, the Reformers, and other Orthodox Christians did for their times and places.”

See more about the Brazos Theological Commentary series.


2 Samuel
Brazos Theological Commentary
by Robert Barron

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Samuel commentary Barron

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible enlists leading theologians to read and interpret Scripture for the twenty-first century, just as the church fathers, the Reformers, and other Orthodox Christians did for their times and places.”

See more about the Brazos Theological Commentary series.


1 Samuel as Christian Scripture:
A Theological Commentary
by Stephen B. Chapman

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Samuel commentary Chapman

Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Stephen B. Chapman on this volume

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This work by Stephen Chapman offers a robustly theological and explicitly Christian reading of 1 Samuel.

Chapman’s commentary reveals the theological drama at the heart of that biblical book as it probes the tension between civil religion and vital religious faith through the characters of Saul and David.”


The Message of Samuel
The Bible Speaks Today
by Mary J. Evans

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Samuel commentary Mary Evans

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: The “the three distinctives of The Bible Speaks Today series are (1) “BST authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.” 

See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.


1 Samuel
Word Biblical Commentary
by Ralph W. Klein

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Samuel commentary Klein

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.

It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence.” 

See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.


2 Samuel
Word Biblical Commentary
by A.A. Anderson

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Samuel commentary Anderson

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.

It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence.” 

See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Understanding the Bible Commentary Series
by Mary J. Evans

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Samuel commentary Evans

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers.”

See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.


1 Samuel
Concordia Commentary
by Andrew E. Steinmann

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Samuel commentary Concordia

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text.”

See more about the Concordia Commentary series.


2 Samuel
Concordia Commentary
by Andrew E. Steinmann

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Samuel commentary Steinmann

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text.”

See more about the Concordia Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary
by Tony W. Cartledge

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Samuel commentary Smyth Helwys

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written by accomplished scholars with all students of Scripture in mind, this innovative new commentary series is designed to make quality Bible study more accessible.

Pastors, professors and students of Scripture are discovering that this commentary is a wonderful new tool for enhancing interpretation.”

See more about the Smyth-Helwys commentary series.


Technical Commentaries


1 Samuel
Anchor Yale Bible Commentary
by P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.

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Samuel commentary Anchor

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Anchor Yale Bible Series, previously the Anchor Bible Series, is a renowned publishing program that for more than 50 years has produced books devoted to the latest scholarship on the Bible and biblical topics.”

See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.


2 Samuel
The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries
by P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.

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Samuel commentary McCarter

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Anchor Yale Bible Series, previously the Anchor Bible Series, is a renowned publishing program that for more than 50 years has produced books devoted to the latest scholarship on the Bible and biblical topics.”

See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
Old Testament Library
by Hans Hertzberg

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Samuel commentary Hertzberg

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.”

See more about the Old Testament Library commentary series.


1 and 2 Samuel
International Critical Commentary
by Henry P. Smith

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Samuel commentary Smith

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: The ICC series has “sought to bring together all the relevant aids to exegesis, linguistic and textual no less than archaeological, historical, literary and theological to help the reader understand the meaning of the books of the Old and New Testaments…

No attempt has been made to secure a uniform theological or critical approach to the biblical text.”

See more about the International Critical Commentary series.


1 Samuel
Forms of Old Testament Literature
by S.J. Anthony F. Campbell

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Samuel commentary

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (FOTL) is a series of volumes that seeks to present, according to a standard outline and methodology, a form-critical analysis of every book or unit of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).

Fundamentally exegetical, each volume examines the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question.”


2 Samuel
Forms of Old Testament Literature
by Anthony F. Campbell

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Samuel commentary

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (FOTL) is a series of volumes that seeks to present, according to a standard outline and methodology, a form-critical analysis of every book or unit of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).

Fundamentally exegetical, each volume examines the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question.”


Classic Christian Commentaries


1 and 2 Samuel
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
edited by John R. Franke

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Samuel commentary Ancient Christian

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the “The vast array of writings from the church fathers — including much that is available only in the ancient languages — have been combed for their comment on Scripture.”

See more about the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series.


Also see:

Compare 75 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart

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