Whole Bible commentaries will help you understand every passage of Scripture better. If Bible commentaries on single books are like studying individual trees, whole-Bible commentaries will help you understand the forest. Anyone who studies Scripture will benefit from whole-Bible commentaries, whether they are a new Christian, a pastor, or a scholar.
One-Volume (and Two) Whole Bible Commentaries: Best Reviews
Based on aggregate reviews, the Top 25 whole-Bible commentaries are listed below. There are exegetical commentaries as well as introductory volumes that are easier to understand. Using Bible commentaries doesn’t replace prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the reader’s diligent study of Scripture.
The “Top 25” list below 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 will likely point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.
Also, see the Best Commentary on Every Book of the Bible to learn more.
#1: New Bible Commentary
The New Bible Commentary is edited by Gordon Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France. Contributing writers are reputable, conservative, and evangelical. The cover below represents the latest version of this award-winning single-volume commentary.
Conservative Explanations on the Biblical Text
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.
D.A. Carson calls this volume “condensed, evangelical, brief… something of a standard for the English-speaking world.” Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman gives this volume five out of five stars. Pastor John Piper’s “Desiring God” ministry recommends this book for one-volume commentaries.
This volume is an excellent resource for pastors, Bible study leaders, and serious readers of Scripture. Pastors may use it to get an overview of a passage before doing more in-depth research using single volumes on individual books of the Bible. Readers don’t need to know Hebrew or Greek to maximize their use of this volume.
The publisher notes that this volume was “voted one of Christianity Today’s 1995 Books of the Year! …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.”
Also, see Best Bible Commentaries: Top 50 Series. Based on aggregate reviews.
#2: The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary
The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary was edited by Gary Burge and Andrew Hill. Burge is known for his expertise in the New Testament and the cultural and historical background of the Bible. Hill specializes in the Old Testament and has made significant contributions to the field of biblical studies.
Incredible Visual Aid for Biblical Studies
Known for its colorful pictures, illustrations, and maps, this one-volume commentary is the product of primarily evangelical authors. Some writers 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 long, the New Bible Commentary above has more commentary.
Tremper Longman rates this volume five out of five stars. Desiring God lists it as a recommendation for one-volume commentaries.
This one-volume commentary may be better for the layperson who wants a Bible study aid. The content is often more introductory, while the information in the New Bible Commentary leans more intermediate.
The publisher notes, “This nontechnical, section-by-section commentary on the whole Bible provides reliable and readable interpretations of the Scriptures from forty-two leading evangelical scholars.”
Also, see the best Revelation commentaries to learn more.
#3: IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary
A team of various scholars wrote The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary under the general editorship of Craig S. Keener and John H. Walton. Keener and Walton are prolific writers. This a two-volume whole-Bible commentary. The first volume is the Old Testament. The second is the New Testament.
A Goldmine of Background Insights
This two-volume whole Bible commentary focuses on the historical, social, and cultural background of each Scripture passage. These volumes are excellent companions to commentaries focusing on exegesis, theology, and application. These volumes utilize the author’s expertise, especially Craig Keener.
These volumes are best for readers interested in the historical, social, and cultural backgrounds of Old and New Testament books. Much of the content is intermediate, not introductory. Therefore, it’s more in-depth than information found in a Study Bible, for example.
Also, see the best Romans commentaries to learn more.
#4: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
A team of authors wrote The Bible Knowledge Commentary. It was edited by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. Walvoord was a prominent figure in the field of biblical eschatology. Roy B. Zuck was a well-known biblical scholar, author, and editor.
A Dispensational Commentary for Pastors and Laymen
The two-volume whole Bible commentary is the product of Dallas Theological Seminary. Its writers are conservative and evangelical. Regarding eschatology, they are dispensational premillennial, which impacts views on Revelation, Daniel, several Old Testament prophets, and specific New Testament passages.
For years, this commentary has been a go-to resource for dispensational pastors and laymen. The content is introductory to mid-level and takes a passage-by-passage approach to explain the text.
The publisher notes that “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 reliable help in personal Bible study.” It includes maps, charts, cross-references, book introductions, and helpful historical background information.
Also, see the best John commentaries to learn more.
#5: New International Bible Commentary
F.F. Bruce was a highly regarded biblical scholar and author. His works are known for their scholarly rigor, clarity, and deep understanding of the historical and cultural context of the biblical text.
Bible Teaching from a Highly Respected Scholar
This commentary is a conservative classic that has been helping readers understand the biblical text for decades. It’s the product of renowned 20th-century scholar F.F. Bruce who edits the volume. Contributing authors hold a high view of Scripture. The volume uses the NIV translation of the Bible.
The publisher identifies the books’ features as having 43 evangelical contributors, 28 stand-alone articles, cross-referencing abilities, and in-text maps. Upon publication, it won the Gold Medallion Award.
Also, compare dozens of Study Bibles on the Best Study Bibles Comparison Chart.
#6: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A team of authors wrote The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Abridged Edition. It was edited by Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III. The abridged edition of the EBC condenses the original multi-volume set into a single volume while still providing verse-by-verse exposition and insights into the biblical texts.
A Condensed Biblical Studies Classic
The commentary series offers valuable insights and exegetical analysis of the biblical text, making it a helpful resource for sermon preparation and preaching. It also provides detailed explanations of the text, helping leaders guide their study groups in understanding the Bible more deeply.
Please note that the multivolume version of this commentary underwent an update from 2007-2010. This abridged volume condenses explanations found in the original version of the series.
The publisher notes, “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.”
#7: MacArthur Bible Commentary
Pastor John MacArthur is an evangelical Christian pastor and author. He has been the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. MacArthur is widely recognized for his expository preaching style, which focuses on a verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible.
A Very Popular Expository Commentary
The MacArthur Bible Commentary provides insights and explanations that can benefit sermon preparation and teaching. It offers detailed commentary and theological analysis that can assist pastors and teachers in communicating the meaning and significance of the biblical text to their congregations or students.
The commentary can be valuable for individual Bible study or devotional reading. It offers explanations and application points that can aid readers in understanding the biblical text and applying it to their lives.
The commentary follows a historical-grammatical approach to interpretation, focusing on the original historical and grammatical context of the biblical text. It provides analysis and explanations based on the original languages, cultural background, and historical context.
The publisher notes, “The MacArthur Bible Commentary treats every passage of the OT and NT phrase by phrase, with hundreds of word studies as sidebars throughout.”
#8: Africa Bible Commentary
A team of African biblical scholars and theologians wrote the Africa Bible Commentary. It was edited by Tokunboh Adeyemo. Adeyemo was the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa and has been involved in various Christian organizations and initiatives across the continent.
May God Bless the Church in Africa
The Africa Bible Commentary offers valuable resources for African church leaders and pastors. It provides contextualized commentary, practical application, and pastoral insights that address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the African Church.
It can also benefit individuals, missionaries, and organizations engaged in cross-cultural ministry or missions in Africa. It offers valuable insights into African culture, traditions, and worldview, enabling a deeper understanding of the African context and facilitating effective cross-cultural communication.
D.A. Carson writes, “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.”
The publisher explains, “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.”
#9: Peake’s Commentary on the Bible
Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, also known as “Peake’s,” is a widely recognized, respected biblical commentary. It was first published in 1919 and edited by Arthur Samuel Peake, an eminent biblical scholar and Methodist minister.
Peake’s 100-Year-Old Legacy
Peake’s Bible Commentary incorporates historical and critical approaches to biblical interpretation. It engages with the Bible’s textual, linguistic, and historical aspects, rigorously analyzing the biblical text.
It’s important to note that Peake’s has undergone revisions and updates over the years. Different editions may have different contributors and slightly varying content. Consult the specific edition or volume of Peake’s to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and interests.
The current publisher explains, “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: Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible
A team of scholars wrote the Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Its editors are James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson. Dunn has made significant contributions to Pauline theology. Rogerson made significant contributions to Old Testament theology and biblical interpretation.
A One-Volume Critical Commentary
The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible is a scholarly work that provides in-depth analysis, historical background, and theological interpretations of the biblical text. It engages with critical scholarship and offers a comprehensive exploration of the biblical literature.
While the commentary has a scholarly focus, it can be accessed by general readers who have an interest in delving deeper into the Bible. It provides accessible explanations, historical context, and theological insights that can enrich one’s understanding of the biblical text.
The publisher notes, “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.”
Also, see the Best Commentaries on Matthew to learn more.
NEWEST: Tony Evans Bible Commentary
Evans is a Christian pastor, author, and speaker. He is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. Evans is known for his passionate preaching, teaching, and emphasis on biblical principles and their practical application in everyday life.
Tony Evan’s Preaching Ministry in Book Form
The Tony Evans Bible Commentary offers verse-by-verse commentary, historical context, and theological insights that can enhance your study of the Bible. It provides explanations of complex concepts and helps illuminate the meaning and significance of different passages.
Pastors and preachers can utilize this commentary to gather valuable insights and sermon ideas. Dr. Tony Evans’ extensive knowledge and experience in ministry make this resource a valuable tool for sermon preparation and delivery.
It can be used as a teaching aid in small groups, Sunday school classes, or discipleship programs. Its clear explanations and relevant insights can facilitate meaningful discussions and promote spiritual growth among participants.
#11: Matthew Henry Commentary
Matthew Henry (1662-1714) was an influential English minister. He was known for his piety, commitment to biblical study, and dedication to pastoral ministry.
A Beloved 300-Year-Old Commentary
While the Matthew Henry Commentary is highly regarded, it’s worth noting that it was written several centuries ago and may not incorporate the most recent scholarship or archaeological discoveries. Therefore, it can be beneficial to supplement its insights with more contemporary commentaries for a well-rounded understanding of the Bible.
Many individuals use the Matthew Henry Commentary for personal reflection and Bible study. Its clear and concise writing style and profound insights make it accessible and engaging for personal spiritual growth and understanding of Scripture.
Pastors and preachers often find the Matthew Henry Commentary helpful for sermon preparation. It’s detailed explanations and practical applications offer valuable perspectives and sermon ideas, enabling the preacher to communicate the biblical text’s meaning to the congregation effectively.
The publisher notes, “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.”
#12: Zondervan Bible Commentary
A team of scholars and theologians wrote the Zondervan Bible Commentary. F.F. Bruce edited the volume (see more about Bruce above). They provide a comprehensive and informative exploration of the biblical text, helping readers to understand the context, meaning, and significance of Scripture.
Another Commentary from F.F. Bruce
The Zondervan Bible Commentary is accessible to many readers, including laypersons and general readers looking to deepen their understanding of the Bible. It presents information clearly and understandably, making complex concepts more approachable.
It can be a valuable resource for small-group discussions and Bible study groups. It provides thought-provoking insights and discussion questions that can facilitate meaningful conversations and promote spiritual growth among participants.
The publisher explains, “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.”
Also, see the Best Commentaries on Genesis to learn more.
#13: Moody Bible Commentary
A collection of scholars associated with Moody Bible College wrote the Moody Bible Commentary. Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham edited the volume. The volume brings together contributions from various scholars and theologians to provide an in-depth exploration of the entire Bible.
A Bible Commentary from Moody Bible College
The Moody Bible Commentary is best for individuals looking for a conservative and evangelical perspective on the Bible. It provides a comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the biblical text and insights and interpretations that align with conservative Christian theology.
It emphasizes the importance of sound doctrine and biblical theology. It explores key theological themes and provides explanations from a conservative evangelical standpoint, making it valuable for individuals who want to study and understand specific theological concepts.
The publisher says, “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.”
#14: Believer’s Bible Commentary
William MacDonald is the author of the Believer’s Bible Commentary. MacDonald was a Christian author, Bible teacher, and theologian. He was known for his influential writings and teachings on various aspects of the Christian faith.
William MacDonald’s Whole-Bible Commentary
This commentary provides concise and practical explanations of every book in the Bible. It offers insights into the meaning of the text, along with application points for personal and spiritual growth.
The publisher notes, “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.”
Also, see the Systematic Theology Comparison Chart to learn more.
#15: Wiersbe Bible Commentary
Warren Wiersbe was a well-known Christian author, pastor, and Bible teacher. Wiersbe served as a pastor for many years and had a heart for teaching and equipping believers with practical and accessible biblical insights.
Pastor Wiersbe’s Preaching in Commentary Form
Wiersbe was a well-known pastor, teacher, and author, and his commentaries are widely appreciated for their clarity, depth, and applicability.
The Wiersbe Commentary is an excellent resource for group Bible studies and Sunday school classes. It offers clear explanations and discussion questions that facilitate meaningful conversations and fosters spiritual growth among participants.
It presents complex concepts in a clear and understandable manner, making it valuable for laypersons and general readers who want to deepen their understanding of the Bible.
The publisher says, “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
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, often called JFB Commentary, was written by a team of authors consisting of Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. This commentary is a classic and widely used biblical study and interpretation resource.
A Conservative Commentary with a Great Legacy
The JFB commentary holds to the belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, considering it to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. It approaches the text with a high view of Scripture and seeks to interpret it faithfully.
The JFB commentary reflects an evangelical theological perspective. It upholds core evangelical doctrines, such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, the atonement, and the authority of Scripture.
The publisher says, “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.”
Also, see the King James Bible Commentaries to learn more.
#17: The Complete Bible Commentary
George Williams was a prominent Bible scholar known for his work in biblical studies. This comprehensive commentary has been widely used by students, scholars, and pastors seeking a deeper understanding of the biblical texts.
One of Billy Graham’s Favorite Resources
Evangelist Billy Graham once said, “Williams’s Complete Bible Commentary is a valued volume in my library.” The publisher notes, “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.”
#18: King James Bible Commentary
This commentary is specifically tailored to the King James Version and provides verse-by-verse explanations and historical context for the entire Bible. Editor Edward Dobson is an author, pastor, and theologian.
A Commentary Based on the KJV
The publisher explains, “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.”
Also, see the Best Commentaries on Luke to learn more.
#19: The Teacher’s Bible Commentary
The Teacher’s Bible Commentary has contributions from various authors. The volume aims to provide teachers, pastors, and Bible study leaders with insights and guidance in preparing and presenting lessons.
A Helpful Resource for Preachers and Teachers
Pastors and preachers can benefit from the Teacher’s Bible Commentary in sermon preparation. It provides valuable insights, historical context, and practical illustrations that can be incorporated into sermons to make them more engaging and relevant.
The Teacher’s Bible Commentary can be a valuable resource for curriculum developers or writers. It offers comprehensive commentary on biblical passages, providing a foundation for creating structured and engaging curriculum materials.
The publisher notes, “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
Robert Hughes and Carl Laney are the co-authors of the Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. The book gives readers a clear, introductory understanding of the biblical text. It offers verse-by-verse commentary, historical context, and theological analysis, all in a condensed format.
An Introductory Resource for Bible Readers
The publisher explains, “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.”
#21: The New Interpreter’s Commentary
The volume condensed the multi-volume commentary series, The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary. The team of scholars involved in the NIB: One Volume Commentary comprises experts from various academic backgrounds and theological perspectives.
An Abridged Version of the Multivolume Collection
The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary is also a valuable resource for scholars, theologians, and students of the Bible. It offers a critical analysis, extensive footnotes, and bibliographic references, enabling further academic research and study.
The publisher explains, “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
Gail R. O’Day is a respected biblical scholar and theologian. She has made significant contributions to the field of biblical studies, particularly in the area of New Testament scholarship. Petersen has written numerous scholarly articles and books on topics related to the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament.
A Theologically Focused Commentary
The publisher says, “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
The team of scholars involved in creating The Wycliffe Bible Commentary consisted of biblical experts from various backgrounds and theological perspectives. They collaborated to provide verse-by-verse commentary, historical context, literary analysis, and theological interpretation of the biblical text.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary is designed to serve as a valuable tool for pastors, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to delve deeper into the Scriptures. It provides a wealth of information and interpretation, drawing on the expertise of renowned biblical scholars and theologians.
An Expository Commentary
The commentary covers each book of the Bible, offering verse-by-verse explanations and commentary on the text. It explores the historical and cultural context in which the books were written, shedding light on the original meaning and intent of the biblical authors.
It also provides insights into each book’s literary structure, genre, and theological themes, helping readers understand the text more deeply.
One of the goals of The Wycliffe Bible Commentary is to facilitate the application of biblical principles to contemporary life and faith.
It offers practical and relevant insights for readers, guiding them in living out the Bible’s teachings and messages in their lives and communities.
#24: South Asia Bible Commentary
The scholars who contributed to the South Asia Bible Commentary consist of individuals with expertise in biblical studies and a deep understanding of the region’s cultural and social dynamics. They aim to provide a relevant and contextualized interpretation of the Bible for readers in that specific region.
Biblical Explanations for South Asia
The purpose of the South Asia Bible Commentary is to provide a contextual and culturally relevant resource for studying and understanding the Bible within the context of South Asia.
It aims to offer insights and perspectives specific to the region’s cultural, social, and religious context.
This commentary bridges the gap between the biblical text and South Asia’s diverse cultures and traditions, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.
It provides commentary on the various books of the Bible, considering the unique challenges, issues, and perspectives of South Asian readers.
By incorporating the voices and experiences of South Asian theologians, scholars, and practitioners, the commentary brings a localized perspective to the interpretation of the Bible.
It addresses topics such as caste, poverty, religious pluralism, gender, and other social and cultural issues relevant to South Asian societies.
The South Asia Bible Commentary also strives to be accessible and useful for a wide range of readers, including pastors, teachers, students, and laypeople.
It provides clear and practical insights, application points, and study aids to help readers engage with the biblical text and apply its teachings in their specific South Asian context.
#25: New Collegeville Bible Commentary
A team of scholars wrote the New Collegeville Bible Commentary under the general editorship of Daniel Durken, O.S.B. (i.e., Order of Saint Benedict). It is a series of commentaries that offers insights and explanations for each book of the Bible.
A Summary of New Collegeville Single-Volume Commentaries
The purpose of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary is to provide readers with a comprehensive and accessible resource for studying and understanding the Bible.
It aims to offer insightful and informative commentary on biblical texts, including historical context, literary analysis, theological insights, and practical application.
The New Collegeville Bible Commentary is designed to be user-friendly and approachable, catering to scholars and general readers interested in deepening their understanding of the Bible.
It seeks to bridge the gap between academic scholarship and the needs of a wider audience by presenting scholarly insights clearly and understandably.