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


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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: The authors take an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Hawthorne wrote the original volume in 1983 and Martin revised in 2004. Martin also wrote the James commentary in the WBC series. The publisher notes that the WBC series “delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.


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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: O’Brien takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. This volume contains exegesis of the Greek text and is over 600 pages in length. O’Brien also wrote the Hebrews commentary. The publisher notes that “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.” See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.

Also see: Why Peter O’Brien’s Commentaries Aren’t Published Anymore


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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Fee takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is ordained in the Assemblies of God denomination. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Fee is known for 1 Corinthians commentary volume in the same series. The publisher notes that the NICNT series provides “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 (NIV 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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Thielman takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Thielman also wrote the Romans commentary in the ZECNT series. The publisher notes that the NIVAC series helps “you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series. Also compare NIVAC and IVPNTC commentaries.


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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Silva takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. Silva has served on the NASB, NLT, and ESV translation teams and consulted on The Message. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. It was published in 1992 and revised in 2005. The publisher notes that the BECNT series combines “scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness.”  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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bockmuehl takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is an expert in early Christianity. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the BNTC series “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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Witherington takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Witherington also wrote the Revelation commentary in the NCBC series. The publisher notes that SRC volumes are “interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical commentary series.


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

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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Hansen takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He has been a missionary, pastor, and seminary professor. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Hansen also write the Galatians commentary in the IVPNTC series. The publisher notes that the PNTC series combines “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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Motyer takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Motyer is known for his Isaiah commentary. The publisher notes that the BST series is unique because (1) “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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Cohick takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. This volume, and this series, are designed to be help pastors. The publisher that the SGBC series explains “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.” See more about The Story of God Bible Commentary series.


Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


Philippians (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Dennis E. Johnson

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Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Dennis Johnson on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Johnson takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. Johnson also wrote a well-reviewed Revelation commentary called Triumph of the Lamb. 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…” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


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

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Fee takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is ordained in the Assemblies of God denomination. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Fee also wrote the 1-2 Thessalonians commentary in the NICNT series. The publisher notes that the IVPNTC series is “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.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.


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

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Melick takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This series was published by conservative Baptists. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Melick has taught at Gateway Seminary since 1966. The publisher notes that the NAC 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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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Martin takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Martin revised the Philippians volume in the WBC series (see above). The publisher notes the WBC series “examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.


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

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bruce takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Bruce is well-known for his Acts commentary in the NICNT series. The publisher notes that the UBCS 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.


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

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Theology, Audience, Purpose: Fowl teaches at Loyola-University of Maryland. He studied under Hawthorne who wrote Philippians in the WBC series (see above). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Fowl also wrote the Ephesians commentary in the NLT series. The publisher notes that Two Horizons series bridges “the existing gap between biblical studies and systematic theology.” See more about the Two Horizons Bible commentary series.


Philippians (A Mentor Commentary) by Matthew Harmon

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Harmon takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that “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 (Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised) by David E. Garland

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Garland takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Baptist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is under 100 pages. Garland is known for his Mark commentary in the NIVAC series. The publisher notes that the REBC series reflects “evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.


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

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Cousar is Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This commentary is less than 100 pages. The publisher notes that the NLT series provides “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.


Technical Commentaries


Philippians and Philemon (Paideia Commentary) by James W. Thompson and Bruce W. Longenecker

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Longenecker is Professor of Early Christianity at Baylor University. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. The publisher notes that this 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.” See more about the Paideia Commentary series.


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

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Hellerman is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Talbot School of Theology. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. Volumes in the series provide Greek help and also preaching suggestions. The publisher notes that EGGNT “commentaries present historical and literary insights for understanding the text within the Bible’s larger story and applying it to everyday life.” See more about the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament commentray series.


Philippians (Hermeneia) by Paul A. Holloway

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Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Paul Holloway on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. The publisher notes that the Hermeneia series “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. See more about the Hermeneia Bible commentary series.


Philippians (Evangelical Exegetical Commentary) by Mark Keown

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Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Mark Keown on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Keown takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the EEC series “incorporates the latest in critical biblical scholarship, yet each volume is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective.” See more about the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series.


Philippians (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by John Reumann

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. It is over 800 pages in length. The publisher notes that the Anchor 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


Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) by Mark J. Edwards

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Synopsis: This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that “the expository voices of Jerome, Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrosiaster, Theodoret, Marius Victorinus and Theodore of Mopsuestia speak again with eloquence and intellectual acumen, some in English translation for the first time.”


Philippians (Crossway Classic Commentaries) by J.B. Lightfoot

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Synopsis: Lightfoot was an English theologian (d. 1889). This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that commentaries in this series “present the very best work on individual Bible books, carefully adapted for maximum understanding and usefulness for today’s believers.” See more about Crossway Classic Commentaries.


Are you a pastor?

On the page Philippians Commentaries for Pastors you find commentaries that uniquely designed for pastors in that they focus on application and spend less time on technical discussions.


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Compare 65 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart