Best Proverbs Commentaries | Reviews for Bible Study, Preaching, and Teaching

Imagine what it would be like to understand the book of Proverbs better. How great would it be to communicate its message on relationships, work, finances, parenting, and other life issues to others with great effectiveness? The right commentary on Proverbs will save you confusion with explanations that are easy to understand. For a full list with helpful reviews see below, but here is a quick glance of the Top 3 Commentaries on Proverbs:

Top 3 Commentaries on the Book of Proverbs
Proverbs by Derek KidnerProverbs (KCC) by Derek Kidner (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): Great for Bible studies, small groups, and for pastors look to provide explanations that are easy to understand.
Proverbs by Bruce WaltkeProverbs (NICOT) by Bruce Waltke (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): This two-volume commentary provides more depth than Kidner. The target audience is pastors, but any reader used to reading biblical studies resources will do fine with it.
Proverbs by Tremper LongmanProverbs (BCOTWP) by Tremper Longman (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): Longman, an expert on Old Testament books, helps readers understand the message of Proverbs and its relevance for today.
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The Bible instructs Christians to seek wisdom (Prov. 1:7, James 1:5) and who better to learn from than pastors, theologians, and professors who have been studying and teaching Proverbs for decades?

10 Best Proverbs Commentaries

The best Proverbs commentaries based on aggregate reviews are listed below, including exegetical, technical, and introductory volumes. These commentaries aren’t suggested as a replacement for prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the reader’s own diligent study of Scripture.

The “Top 10” list below is a starting point for learning about Proverbs commentaries. It is not intended to be the “final word” because of its limitations. Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate reviews is likely to point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.

#1

Proverbs
Tyndale Old Testament Commentary
by Derek Kidner

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Proverbs by Derek Kidner
There are various covers designs, but the content is the same

Reviews and Accolades:

• Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Proverbs

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “packed with helpful insight and comments on the text… exegetically sensitive, theologically helpful, and orthodox”

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “Useful introduction section on the themes of Proverbs.”

• Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Proverbs, “…this is an introductory level work, but it is probably the best of the introductory level works on the book.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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

Kidner also wrote one of the best Genesis commentaries, and one of the best Ecclesiastes commentaries, based on aggregate reviews.

Please note: The TOTC version (top) is out of print. The KCC version (bottom) is the same content and is in print. The latest version of Proverbs in the TOTC series by Lindsay Wilson is listed below.

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.

Please also see Best Commentary Series: The Top 50. Based on aggregate reviews.

#2

Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. and 16-31
New International Commentary on the Old Testament
by Bruce Waltke

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Proverbs commentary by Bruce Waltke
Along with Longman, this is best mid-level Proverbs commentary

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 5 out 5 stars, “the product of two decades of reflection and research… is theologically sensitive”

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “The best evangelical commentary on Proverbs.”

• Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Proverbs, “Bruce Waltke’s two-volume commentary is truly a gift to the church… Very highly recommended.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “All of the NICOT volumes combine superior scholarship, an evangelical view of Scripture as the Word of God, and concern for the life of faith today…

The commentary itself carefully balances coverage of technical matters with exposition of the biblical text’s theology and implications.”

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

After browsing the commentaries below, also see the best one-volume bible commentaries, based on aggregate reviews.

#3

Proverbs
Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms
by Tremper Longman III

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Proverbs commentary by Tremper Longman III
Lognman is the edited for this series, which is well-reviewed

Reviews and Accolades:

• Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Proverbs, “Longman deals not only with the details of the text, but also with literary and theological questions… It is quite readable.”

• John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “Practical guide to interpreting and applying biblical wisdom to everyday life.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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

Longman also wrote one of the best Psalms commentaries, based on aggregate reviews.

Purpose: From the publisher: “With Proverbs, veteran Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III offers an accessible commentary on one of Scripture’s most frequently quoted and visited books.

With his deft exegetical and expositional skill, the resulting work is full of fresh insight into the meaning of the text.”

See more about the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series.

#4

Proverbs
The Preacher’s Commentary
by David A. Hubbard

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Proverbs commentary by David Hubbard
Slightly dated now, but a treasure trove of information

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “quite readable”

• Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Proverbs, “While not as comprehensive as Waltke, Hubbard does not neglect addressing the difficult questions, all the while remaining clear and readable.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New King James Bible has been chosen for the Preacher’s Commentary because it combines with integrity the beauty of language…

The paragraphs of exposition combine fresh insights to the Scripture, application, rich illustrative material, and innovative ways of utilizing the vibrant truth for his or her own life and for the challenge of communicating it with vigor and vitality.”

See more about The Preacher’s Commentary series.

#5

Proverbs
New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary
by Raymond C. Van Leeuwen

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Proverbs New Interpreter's Bible Commentary
Proverbs can only be purchased in Volume 5 of the series

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “written from a progressive evangelical perspective, it is one of the best commentaries on Proverbs”

• Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Proverbs, “There is more reflection on the theology of the book here than in most commentaries.”

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 Interpreter’s Bible Commentary offers critically sound biblical interpretations.

Guided by scholars, pastors and laity representing diverse traditions and academic experience, this collection of commentary meets the needs of preachers, teachers, and all students of the Bible.” 

See more about the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary series.

#6

Proverbs
A Mentor Commentary
by John A. Kitchen

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Proverbs commentary by John Kitchen
Kitchen provides commentary on every verse in Proverbs

Reviews and Accolades:

• C.J. Mahaney: “For the benefit of my own soul I have studied the book of Proverbs and benefited from the book for almost 40 years. This is my favorite commentary on Proverbs.”

Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with John Kitchen on this volume

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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.

#7

Proverbs
Word Biblical Commentary
by Roland Murphy

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Proverbs commentary by Ronald Murphy
Murphy was a Catholic priest

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “Murphy is a preeminent interpreter of Wisdom literature”

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.

#8

Proverbs
Concordia Commentary
by Andrew E. Steinmann

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Proverbs commentary Andrew Steinmann
A Lutheran, evangelical, conservative approach

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “pays special attention to matters of gospel and law in the book”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

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.

#9

Proverbs
The Old Testament Library
by Richard J. Clifford

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Proverbs commentary Richard Clifford
Childs offers readers a critical approach to the book

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “this commentary puts more emphasis on text criticism, philology, and ancient Near Eastern background”

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.

#10

Proverbs
The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries
by Michael V. Fox

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Proverbs commentary Michael Fox
Fox offers readers a critical approach to the book

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “Fox is a master interpreter”

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.

More Book of Proverbs Commentaries for Christian Ministry

Please read: Why are the Proverbs commentaries below not in the “Top 10”? It’s not because they have received poor reviews or because people haven’t found them helpful. The reasons vary:

  • Some are relatively new and haven’t been widely reviewed, read, or used yet.
  • Others haven’t been widely distributed, so it is difficult to get enough information to aggregate.
  • Still others may be outdated in relation to biblical scholarship or out of print and difficult to acquire.

The “Top 10” list is reviewed annually. Readers are encouraged to consider the volumes in this section before making a purchase. These 10 are not in any particular order.


Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
New American Commentary
by Duane A. Garrett

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Proverbs commentary Duane Garrett

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 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.


Proverbs
Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised
by Allen P. Ross

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Proverbs commentary Expositor's

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.


Proverbs
NIV Application Commentary
by Paul E. Koptak

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Proverbs commentary Paul Koptak

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.


Proverbs
Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary
by Ernest Lucas

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Proverbs commentary Ernest Lucas

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Two features distinguish The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary series: theological exegesis and theological reflection… The result is a paragraph-by-paragraph engagement with the text that is deliberately theological in focus.”

See more about the Two Horizons Bible commentary series.


Proverbs
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
by Lindsay Wilson

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Proverbs commentary Lindsay Wilson

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


Proverbs
Abingdon Old Testament Commentary
by Christine Roy Yoder

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Proverbs commentary Christine Roy Yoder

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theology students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders.”


Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible
by Amy Plantinga Pauw

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Proverbs commentary Amy Plantinga Pauw

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Building on a wide range of sources from biblical studies, the history of theology, the church’s liturgical and musical traditions, contemporary culture, and the Christian tradition, noted scholars focus less on traditional historical and literary angles in favor of a theologically focused commentary that considers the contemporary relevance of the texts.”


Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
Brazos Theological Commentary
by Daniel Treier

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Proverbs commentary Daniel Treier

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.

The commentaries are designed to serve the church—through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth—and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.”

See more about the Brazos Theological Commentary series.


Proverbs
New Beacon Bible Commentary
by John E. Hartley

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Proverbs commentary John Hartley

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 Beacon Bible Commentary provides 21st-century scholars, pastors, theological students, and laity an academically competent, readable commentary in the Wesleyan theological tradition.

Each volume features: Contemporary Scholarship from notable experts in the Wesleyan theological tradition.

Convenient introductory material for each book of the Bible, which includes information on authorship, date, history, audience, sociological/cultural issues, purpose, literary features, theological themes, hermeneutical issues, and more.”

See more about New Beacon Bible Commentaries.


Classic Proverbs Commentaries

Proverbs
Geneva Series of Commentaries
by Charles Bridges

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Proverbs commentary Charles Bridges

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Book of Proverbs, in Bridges’ view, ‘is not generally estimated at its just value.

The author of The Christian Ministry does not favor a purely technical study of the text, but gives a homiletical and practical treatment.

‘The best work on the Proverbs’, was C.H. Spurgeon’s verdict on this commentary. ‘Whilst explaining the passage in hand, he sets other portions of the word in new lights’.

Charles Bridges (1794-1869) was one of the leaders of Evangelical party in the Church of England in the last century.”


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

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