Top Commentaries on Philippians

Bible commentaries on the New Testament book of Philippians are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Philippians 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. (See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.)

Best Reviewed Bible Commentaries on Philippians



The Epistle to the Philippians (New International Greek Testament Commentary) by Peter T. O’Brien


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Philippians, “the best technical commentary on the Greek…theologically rich”

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “technical but enormously useful”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Philippians; “the best commentary on the epistle to the Philippians,” “very highly recommended”

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “At a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGTC will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament… the volumes of the NIGTC are for students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary… the supreme aim of this series is to serve those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word of God and thus glorify God’s name.” See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.

Also see: Why Aren’t Peter O’Brien’s Commentaries in Publication Anymore?



Philippians (Word Biblical Commentary) by Gerald F. Hawthorne and Ralph P. Martin


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “helpful Greek exegesis”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

D.A. Carson: “equally accessible to students and pastors”

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Philippians; “for those who would like to consult another resource after checking O’Brien and/or Silva”

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. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.



Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (New International Commentary on the New Testament) by Gordon Fee


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a clear and excellent commentary”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

D.A. Carson: “the zest of his prose makes him exciting to read”

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 New Testament series.



Philippians (New International Version Application Commentary) by Frank Thielman


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “outstanding exposition for pastors”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Philippians; “useful in the preparation of sermons and lessons”

D.A. Carson: “one of the more substantive entries in the series”

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. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.



Philippians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Moises Silva


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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians; “the commentary is excellent…he is not so much trying to master the text as to be mastered by it”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “insightful brief exposition”

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Philippians; “less technical, yet still very thorough”

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

Purpose: From the Publisher: “The chief concern of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) is to provide, within the framework of informed evangelical thought, commentaries that blend scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness. We hope thereby to attract the interest of a fairly wide audience, from the scholar who is looking for a thoughtful and independent examination of the text to the motivated lay Christian who craves a solid but accessible exposition.”  See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.



The Epistle to Philippians (Black’s New Testament Commentary) by Markus Bockmuehl


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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians; “very good…he is as able to wrestle with theological issues as with historical matters”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a helpful exposition”

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Black’s New Testament Commentary has been hailed by both scholars and pastors for its insightful interpretations and reliable commentary.” See more about Black’s New Testament Commentary series.



Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary by Ben Witherington III


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Using sociorhetorical criticism, the New Testament is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read—the rhetorical method makes use of ancient or classical writings and strategies of communication, while the social science method notes issues of cultures and customs.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical commentary series.



The Letter to the Philippians (The Pillar New Testament Commentary) by G. Walter Hansen


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Designed for serious pastors and teachers of the Bible, the Pillar commentaries seek above all to make clear the text of Scripture as we have it…[the authors’] ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.” See more about the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.



The Message of Philippians (The Bible Speaks Today) by J.A. Motyer


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Philippians; “his love for the word of God and for God who gave His word always shines”

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

Purpose: 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.



Philippians (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Lynn H. Cohick


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Story of God Bible Commentary is a new commentary for today’s world. It’s the first commentary series to explain and illuminate each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. This “story-centric” approach makes SGBC a fruitful resource for pastors, students, Sunday school teachers, and everyday readers.”



More Bible Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Philippians (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Dennis E. Johnson


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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.



Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (Preaching the Word) by R. Kent Hughes


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” See more about the Preaching the Word commentary series.



Philippians (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by Fred Craddock


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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. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.” See more about the Interpretation commentary series.



Philippians (Christ-Centered Exposition) by Tony Merida and Francis Chan


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

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.”



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



Philippians (The IVP New Testament Commentary) by Gordon D. Fee


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues… Preachers, teachers, students and other individuals who want to dig deep into the heart of the New Testament will find an indispensable companion in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.



Philippians (New American Commentary) by Richard R. Melick Jr.


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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 new 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.



Philippians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) by Ralph P. Martin


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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 New Testament Commentary series.



Philippians (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by F.F. Bruce


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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. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated. Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper.” See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary series.



Philippians (Two Horizons New Testament Commentary) by Stephen E. Fowl


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Seeking to bridge the existing gap between biblical studies and systematic theology, this distinctive series offers section-by-section exegesis of the New Testament texts in close conversation with theological concerns. Written by respected scholars, the THNTC volumes aim to help pastors, teachers, and students engage in deliberately theological interpretation of Scripture.” See more about the Two Horizons Bible commentary series.



Philippians (A Mentor Commentary) by Matthew Harmon


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Mentor books are written at a level suitable for Bible College and seminary students, pastors, and other serious readers.” See more about the Mentor Bible Commentary series.



Philippians (Revised Expositor’s Bible Commentary) by David E. Garland


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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 – namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.” See more about the Revised Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.



Philippians and Philemon (New Testament Library) by Charles B. Cousar


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New Testament Library series offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, providing fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text.” See more about the New Testament Library commentary series.



Exegetical Commentaries



Philippians and Philemon (Paideia Commentary on the New Testament) by James W. Thompson and Bruce W. Longenecker


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “This commentary, like each in the series, approaches each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Each sense unit is explored in three sections: (1) introductory matters, (2) tracing the train of thought, (3) key hermeneutical and theological questions. Graduate and seminary students, professors, and pastors will benefit from this readable commentary, as will theological libraries.”



Philippians (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) by Joseph H. Hellerman


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series incorporates the latest in critical biblical scholarship, yet each volume is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective. The authors explore the context and meaning of the biblical books while showing the value and truth of the texts in ancient times and today. These commentaries present historical and literary insights for understanding the text within the Bible’s larger story and applying it to everyday life.”



Technical and Critical Commentaries



Philippians (Hermeneia) by Paul A. Holloway


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Hermeneia commentary series seeks to offer authoritative interpretation of the earliest texts of the biblical books… The name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work. Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible…The editors of Hermeneia impose no systematic-theological perspective upon the series (directly, or indirectly by selection of authors).”



Philippians (Evangelical Exegetical Commentary) by Mark Keown


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series incorporates the latest in critical biblical scholarship, yet each volume is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective. The authors explore the context and meaning of the biblical books while showing the value and truth of the texts in ancient times and today. These commentaries present historical and literary insights for understanding the text within the Bible’s larger story and applying it to everyday life.”



Philippians (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by John Reumann


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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.” The series “vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.” See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



Philippians (MacArthur New Testament Commentary) by John MacArthur


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “If you’re familiar with John MacArthur’s in-depth Bible teaching, you have an idea of what you’ll find in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary takes you deep into each passage, verse by verse—sometimes word by word. It’s like having a Bible teacher sitting next to you as you study Scripture.”



Philippians: An Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) was senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also president and cofounder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, the parent organization of The Bible Study Hour on which Boice was a speaker for more than thirty years… Boice has created a unique blend of scripture insight, rich devotional application, and vivid illustration in this commentary.”


Also see:

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