Top Commentaries on Ruth

Bible commentaries on the Old Testament book of Ruth are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Ruth 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 Ruth



Judges, Ruth (New American Commentary) by Daniel I. Block


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Judges and Ruth

Tremper Longman: rated 5 out of 5 stars, “particularly strong in literary and theological analysis”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Ruth, “helpful on the Book of Ruth…highly recommended”

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.



The Book of Ruth (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Robert L. Hubbard, Jr.


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “demonstrates careful scholarship, a lively writing style, and balanced judgment…one of the very best in the series”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “The best of the commentaries on Ruth: evangelical, thorough, insightful, and readable.”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Ruth, “Robert Hubbard’s commentary on Ruth is a model of how commentaries should be written. It is careful and clear. It manages to deal with both details and the big picture.”

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. Each volume features an extensive introduction treating the biblical book’s authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. The author’s own translation of the original Hebrew and verse-by-verse commentary follow. 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.



Ruth-Esther (Word Biblical Commentary) by Frederic Bush


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: rated 5 out of 5 stars, “very competent…gives a thorough discussion of all the technical issues”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Ruth, “An extensive, if somewhat technical, commentary on the Book of Ruth, but one well worth consulting.”

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.



Esther and Ruth (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Iain M. Duguid


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Ruth, “Iain Duguid’s commentary is primarily directed toward pastors and teachers, but it will benefit any reader. The commentary is less technical than many others and very practical.”

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.



Judges, Ruth (New International Version Application Commentary) by K. Lawson Younger


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Ruth, “very helpful”

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.



Ruth (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, provides “a great deal of insight into both the theological and sociological significance of the book”

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 Bible commentary series.



Ruth: A New Translation With a Philological Commentary And a Formalist-folklorist Interpretation by J.M. Sasson


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: scored 4 out of 5 stars, “shows great literary sensitivity”

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Well-known for his work in ancient Near Eastern languages and literature, Sasson emphasizes in this revised edition of his commentary on Ruth various philological matters: problems of translation, idiom and grammar, all with strong linguistic insights. The author also treats literary features, and provides admirably compact and accurate synopses of scholarly debates, while often charting his own course. For folkloristic interpretation, Sasson concentrates on formal aspects of the text to identify the genre of Ruth, and then systematically surveys narrative feature, provenance, date, and purpose of writing. There is a large bibliography, and indexes of biblical citations, authors and subjects are provided.”



More Expository Commentaries



Ruth (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament) by Daniel I. Block


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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 idea for this series was refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the [original] text…We arrived at a design that includes seven components for the treatment of each biblical passage”: Literary Context, Main Idea, Translation and Graphical Layout, Structure, Exegetical Outline, Explanation of the Text, and Theology in Application.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series.



Ruth (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) by L. Daniel Hawk


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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 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. Written by an international team of scholars and edited by David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, these commentaries are intended to serve the needs of those who preach from the Old Testament, as well as scholars and all serious students of the Bible.” See more about the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.



Ruth (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary) by James McKeown


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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.



Ruth (Bible Speaks Today) by David Atkinson


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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.



Ruth (New Cambridge Bible Commentary) by Victor H. Matthews


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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 NCBC aims to elucidate the Hebrew and Christian scriptures for a wide range of intellectually curious individuals…[volumes] do not assume the reader has a great deal of specialized theological knowledge or an impressive command of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or biblical Greek… Utilizing recent gains in rhetorical criticism, social scientific study of the scriptures, narrative criticism and other developing disciplines, this series intends to provide a fresh look at biblical texts, taking advantage of the growing edges in Biblical Studies.”



Ruth (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Laura A. Smit


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Pastors and leaders of the classical church—such as Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and Wesley—interpreted the Bible theologically, believing Scripture as a whole witnessed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ…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.



Ruth (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) by Mary J. Evans


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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 Old Testament Commentary series.



Ruth (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by Michael S. Moore


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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.



Judges and Ruth (Kregel Exegetical Library ) by Robert B. Chisholm 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: “This definitive commentary sheds exegetical and theological light on the books of Judges and Ruth for contemporary preachers and students of Scripture. Listening closely to the text while interacting with the best of scholarship, Chisholm shows what the text mean for ancient Israel and what it means for us today. In addition to its perceptive comments on the biblical text, it examines a host of themes such as covenants and the sovereignty of God in Judges and providence, redemption, loving-kindness, and Christological typology in Ruth. Chisholm offers astute guidance to preachers and teachers wanting to do a series on Judges or Ruth by providing “homiletical trajectories” after each exegetical unit. These show how historical narrative can be presented in the pulpit and classroom, for rich, responsible sermons and lessons.”



Ruth (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) by Leon Morris


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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 Old Testament Commentary series.



Ruth (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition) by George Schwab


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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 Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.



Ruth (Abingdon Old Testament Commentary) by Judy Fentress-Williams


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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 Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries series offers compact, critical commentaries on all the books of the Old Testament. In addition to providing fundamental information on and insights into Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical exegesis so as to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed engagement of the biblical texts themselves. 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.”



Technical Commentaries



Ruth (The JPS Torah Commentary) by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Tikva Frymer-Kensky


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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 JPS Torah Commentary series guides readers through the words and ideas of the Torah. Each volume is the work of a scholar who stands at the pinnacle of his field. Every page contains the complete traditional Hebrew text, with cantillation notes, the JPS translation of the Holy Scriptures, aliyot breaks, Masoretic notes, and commentary by a distinguished Hebrew Bible scholar, integrating classical and modern sources. Each volume also contains supplementary essays that elaborate upon key words and themes, a glossary of commentators and sources, extensive bibliographic notes, and maps.” See more about the JPS Bible commentary series.



Ruth (The Old Testament Library) by Kirsten Nielsen


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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 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.



Ruth (A Continental Commentary) by Andre LaCocque


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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 series “makes leading critical biblical scholarship from German and French scholars available to the English-speaking world. This series combines scholarly excellence with academic rigor to benefit pastors, students, and scholars of both the Old and New Testament…Each book in the Continental Commentary Series includes comprehensive introductory material, including an explanation of narrative themes, an overview of the historical and cultural context, an analysis of textual traditions, and an evaluation of recent literature. The remainder of each volume is divided according to each pericope of Scripture, with each section containing a summary of secondary literature, a fresh translation of the text, an evaluation of the literary form and the setting in life, and a lengthy commentary. Each volume also contains indexes on Hebrew words, subjects, names and authors, and other material.” See more about the Continental Commentary series.



Ruth (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Jeremy Schipper


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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



Ruth (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) edited by John R. Franke


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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 ACCS is a post-critical revival of the early commentary tradition known as the glossa ordinaria, a text artfully elaborated with ancient and authoritative reflections and insights. 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. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating, and introducing it to today’s readers. Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power, and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.”