Best One-Volume Whole Bible Commentaries | Top 25 for Bible Study, Preaching, and Teaching

Whole Bible commentaries will help you understand every passage of Scripture better. If commentaries on a single book of the Bible are like studying individual trees, whole-Bible commentaries will help you understand the forest. Everyone who studies Scripture will benefit from whole-Bible commentaries whether they are a new Christian, a pastor, or a scholar.

One-Volume Whole Bible Commentaries: Best Reviews

The Top 25 whole-Bible commentaries, based on aggregate reviews, are listed below. There are exegetical commentaries as well as commentaries that are easy to understand. These commentaries are not suggested as a replacement for prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the reader’s own diligent study of Scripture.

The “Top 25” list is a starting point for learning about whole-Bible commentaries. It is not intended to be the “final word.” Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate reviews is likely to point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.

Bible commentaries
Please see my video below on one-volume commentaries

#1

New Bible Commentary

G. Wenham, J. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France (eds.)

Summary: Perhaps the most substantial one-volume commentary covering all 66 biblical books, written from a conservative theological perspective. 1,455 pages.

Several conservative authors contribute to this commentary and the editors are among the most prominent Christian theologians in the last 50 years. Doesn’t include many pictures or maps.

Reviews and Accolades:

  • D.A. Carson: “condensed, evangelical, brief… something of a standard around the English-speaking world”
  • Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Desiring God: recommended for one-volume commentaries

Best for: This commentary is a great resource as a devotional or study aid for any bible reader. Pastors may use it to get an overview of passages before doing more study with single-volume commentaries. A reader does not need to know Hebrew or Greek to maximize its content.

From the publisher: “Voted one of Christianity Today’s 1995 Books of the Year! For 40 years, the New Bible Commentary has set the standard for works of its kind.

Now in this completely revised fourth edition (including over 80% new and updated material), the New Bible Commentary is positioned to maintain its standing as the leading one-volume commentary on the whole Bible well into the 21st century.”

After browsing the whole-Bible commentaries on this page, please see Best Bible Commentaries: Top 50. Based on aggregate reviews.

#2

The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary

Gary Burge and Andrew Hill (eds.)

Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary

Summary: Known for its colorful pictures, illustrations, and maps, this one-volume commentary is mostly evangelical, and authors give more weight to textual criticism than some conservative readers do.

Visual learners will benefit from its many images, though large graphics mean less actual commentary. While it’s 1,648 pages in length, the New Bible Commentary above has more commentary.

Reviews and Accolades:

  • Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Desiring God: recommended for one-volume commentaries

Best for: This one-volume commentary may be better for the lay person who wants a devotional or bible study aid. The content is often more introductory, while the information in the New Bible Commentary leans more intermediate.

From the publisher: “As more and more Christians are involved in teaching in their churches, there is a need for an accessible, engaging commentary that can enhance their understanding of Scripture and aid their teaching.

The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary is that resource. This nontechnical, section-by-section commentary on the whole Bible provides reliable and readable interpretations of the Scriptures from forty-two leading evangelical scholars.”

More people seek to own a commentary on the book of Revelation than any other book of the Bible. See best Revelation commentaries to learn more.

#3

IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary

IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Summary: The two-volume whole bible commentary focuses on historical, social and cultural background for each passage of Scripture. These volumes are excellent companions to commentaries that focus on exegesis, theology, and application.

The approach of these volumes utilizes the expertise of the authors involved in this project, especially Craig Keener.

Best for: Anyone who is interested in the historical, social, and cultural backgrounds of Old and New Testament books.

From the publisher: “To understand and apply the Bible well, you need two crucial sources of information. One is the Bible itself. The other is an understanding of the cultural background of the passage you’re reading. Only with the background can you grasp the author’s original concerns and purposes.”

The second most popular book of the Bible that people seek to own a commentary on is Romans. See best Romans commentaries to learn more.

#4

The Bible Knowledge Commentary

Summary: The two-volume whole bible commentary is the product of professors from Dallas Theological Seminary. It’s writers are conservative and evangelical. With regard to eschatology, they are dispensational premillennial.

Best for: This has been a go-to resource for lay people and pastors for years who are dispensational. The content is introductory to mid-level and takes a passage by passage approach to explaining the text.

From the publisher: “This detailed yet readable commentary, based on the New International Version of the Bible, is ideal for pastors, Bible teachers, students, or anyone looking for a reliable help in personal Bible study.

Now with updated contemporary covers, this classic series will reach a new generation of readers.

With maps, charts, cross-references, bibliographies, book introductions, and helpful historical background, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Series addresses readers’ deepest questions as it draws them into the truth and power of Scripture.”

The third most popular book of the Bible that people seek to own a commentary on is John. See best John commentaries to learn more.

#5

New International Bible Commentary

Summary: A conservative classic that has been helping bible readers understand the text, the commentary benefits from the editorial insight of renown 20th century scholar, F.F. Bruce. Authors hold a high view of Scripture.

Best for: A great study aid for readers of the NIV translation and those looking for basic, yet substantive, explanations of the biblical text. A favorite among lay Christians for years, but pastors will also benefit from it’s overviews.

From the publisher: Features:

  • Based on the NIV translation
  • Commentary from 43 world-class evangelical scholars
  • 28 additional articles
  • Cross-referencing, bibliographies, and in-text maps
  • Covers the complete Old & New Testaments in one volume
  • In one volume, the Gold Medallion Award-winning New International Bible Commentary unlocks the message and meaning of every book of the Bible.

Also compare dozens of Study Bibles on one chart: Best Study Bibles Comparison Chart.

#6

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (abridged)

Abridged Edition: Two-Volume Set by Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III (editors)

Expositor's Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “All the verse-by-verse insights of the 12-volume Expositor’s Bible Commentary―in 2 convenient volumes. When you want to dig more deeply into the meaning of God’s Word, a good expository Bible commentary is ideal.

You want more than a simple, one-volume commentary that just scratches the surface. But you don’t want a time-consuming multi-volume set laden with fine points you can’t use.”

Also see New Testament Bible Commentaries: Index.

#7

MacArthur Bible Commentary

by Pastor John MacArthur

John MacArthur Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The MacArthur Bible Commentary treats every passage of the OT and NT phrase by phrase, with hundreds of word studies as sidebars throughout.”

Also see Old Testament Bible Commentaries: Index.

#8

Africa Bible Commentary

Written by 70 African Scholars

Africa Bible Commentary

Reviews and Accolades:

  • D.A. Carson: “The distinctive African flavor comes from greater sensitivity to issues like demon possession and tribalism, and a good deal less emphasis on the individualism characteristic of the West”

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

From the publisher: “The Africa Bible Commentary is a unique publishing event—the first one-volume Bible commentary produced in Africa by African theologians to meet the needs of African pastors, students, and lay leaders.

Interpreting and applying the Bible in the light of African culture and realities, it furnishes powerful and relevant insights into the biblical text that transcend Africa in their significance.

The Africa Bible Commentary gives a section-by-section interpretation that provides a contextual, readable, affordable, and immensely useful guide to the entire Bible.”

#9

Peake’s Commentary on the Bible

Peakes Bible Commentary

Reviews and Accolades:

  • D.A. Carson: “Until a quarter century ago, the standard one-volume mainstream critical commentary”

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

From the publisher: “Now available in paperback, this classic commentary, drawing on the expertise of over sixty scholars, gives students of the Bible a thorough grounding in the origin and meaning of all the books of the Bible.

Special attention is given to how the teaching of Scripture has been affected by archaeology, more accurate translations of the text, and the discovery of new manuscripts.”

#10

Eerdman’s Commentary on the Bible

James D.G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson (editors)

Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible

Reviews and Accolades:

  • Longman: 4 out of 5 stars

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

From the publisher: “No one familiar with the Bible needs to be told that it is a truly remarkable work. But it takes help to understand this ancient collection of diverse forms of literature written by different people across many centuries. The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ECB) is the finest, most up-to-date single-volume Bible handbook now available.”

NEW

Tony Evans Bible Commentary

Tony Evans Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “No one familiar with the Bible needs to be told that it is a truly remarkable work.

#11

Matthew Henry Commentary

Matthew Henry Bible Commentary

Reviews and Accolades:

  • Desiring God: recommended for one-volume commentaries

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

From the publisher: “The straightforward manner in which Matthew Henry’s Commentary brings Scripture to bear on the practical matters of life and of Christian character together with its deeply reverent, devotional style, have made it the most beloved Bible commentary of all time.

For nearly 300 years, Christians have consulted its rich insights into the very heart of God’s Word. Passage by passage, its prayerful, penetrating reflections inspire and challenge the reader.”

#12

Zondervan Bible Commentary

One-Volume Illustrated Edition by F. F. Bruce, General Editor

Zondervan Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “The Zondervan Bible Commentary takes its award-winning predecessor, the New International Bible Commentary, and weaves in rich, full-color images and other new features to make it the finest one-volume commentary of its kind.

Featuring the insights of forty-three world-class scholars, this convenient, information-packed volume unlocks the meaning and message of every book of the Bible to help you gain a deeper, life-changing understanding of the Scriptures.”

#13

Moody Bible Commentary

Moody Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “This comprehensive and reliable reference work should be the first place Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, missionaries, and pastors turn to for biblical insight.

Scripture being commented on is shown in bold print for easy reference, and maps and charts provide visual aids for learning. Additional study helps include bibliographies for further reading and a subject and Scripture index.”

#14

Believers Bible Commentary

Believers Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “This commentary, written by the late William MacDonald, explores the deeper meaning of every biblical book and tackles controversial issues from a theologically conservative standpoint while also presenting alternative views.

Serving as a friendly introduction to Bible study, Believer’s Bible Commentary gives clarity and context to scripture in easy-to-understand language.”

#15

Wiersbe Bible Commentary

Wiersbe Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: ” Whether you are a pastor, teacher, or layperson, now you can study the Bible in easy-to-read sections that emphasize personal application as well as biblical meaning.

Developed from Dr. Wiersbe’s popular ‘Be’ series of Bible study books, this commentary set carefully unpacks all of God’s Word in two accessible volumes.”

#16

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown

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

From the publisher: “With its scholarly insights, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary is to verse-by-verse exposition what the venerable Matthew Henry’s Commentary is to devotional-style commentaries.

It sheds light on the full meanings and implications of words, verses, and passages to supply you with an in-depth understanding of the entire Bible.

#17

The Complete Bible Commentary

by George Williams

The Complete Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “Williams’s Complete Bible Commentary is a valued volume in my library.” ~ Billy Graham

“This insightful, biblically faithful commentary is one of the most informative single-volume commentaries available. It includes an introduction to each book of the Bible as well as helpful comments on the book’s history and themes.

Individual words and phrases throughout the text are explained with the aid of Williams’s extensive knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.”

#18

King James Bible Commentary

King James Bible Commentary

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

From the publisher: “The King James Version Bible Commentary is a complete verse-by-verse commentary. It is comprehensive in scope, reliable in scholarship, and easy to use.

Its authors are leading evangelical theologians who provide practical truths and biblical principles.

Any Bible student will gain new insights through this one-volume commentary based on the timeless King James Version of the Bible.

#19

The Teacher’s Bible Commentary

H. Franklin Paschall and Hershel H. Hobbs (editors)

The Techer's Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Teacher’s Bible Commentary has been one of the widely used reference tools for Sunday School Teachers for over 25 years.

From the ideal stage, the commentary was designed to meet the week-to week needs of men and women who have the awesome responsibility of leading others in the study of God’s word.”

#20

Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary

by Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney

Tyndale Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary offers clear and concise commentary on every passage in the NLT in one handy volume.

Previously published as The New Bible Companion, this helpful resource also includes introductions to each Bible book, an article about the theme of the entire Bible, and detailed maps of places mentioned in Scripture.

Sunday school teachers, pastors, and anyone who studies the Bible will find this commentary a great starting point for learning about God’s Word.

#21

The New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary

Beverly R. Gaventa and David L. Petersen (editors)

New Interpreters Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Pastors and students who want a one-volume commentary to complement the New Interpreter’s Study Bible will be pleased to find in this resource the quality of scholarship that is a hallmark of other New Interpreter’s Bible resources.”

#22

Theological Bible Commentary

by Gail R. O’Day and David L. Petersen (editors)

Theological Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Most one-volume Bible commentaries focus on standard scholarly issues, answering questions such as, who wrote the book? who was addressed? and how is the book structured?

In contrast, this is the first one-volume commentary to emphasize theological questions: what does each biblical book say about God? how does the book describe God and portray God’s actions? and who is God in these biblical books?

This volume meets the need for a resource that puts the best of scholarship in conversation with the theological claims of the biblical text.”

#23

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Charles E. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison (editors)

Wycliffe Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written by forty-eight leading Bible scholars, this powerful handbook walks you through the entire text of the Old and New Testaments (primarily in the KJV).”

#24

South Asia Bible Commentary

Brian Wintle (General Editor)

South Asia Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “A one-volume commentary, written and edited by South Asian Biblical scholars on all the books of the Bible.”

#25

New Collegeville Bible Commentary

Daniel Durkin (editor)

New Collegeville Bible Commentary

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “The completion of all thirty-seven volumes of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary means an important new resource is fully available to all who wish to delve more deeply into the word of God.

Now the one-volume, hardcover edition brings together every volume into a single, accessible guide to the entire Bible in a convenient and attractive format.”