Top Commentaries on the Book of Zephaniah

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



Zephaniah (The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary) by J. Alec Motyer


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 commentary on The Minor Prophets

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “a readable and solid interpretation”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “helpful evangelical analysis of the book”

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Zephaniah, “fairly technical and requires some knowledge of Hebrew. It is very helpful.”

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “With their messages of doom and judgment, the Minor Prophets have not been popular subjects in the history of biblical interpretation. Here noted evangelical scholars–such as Bruce Waltke, Tremper Longman III, F. F. Bruce, and J. Alec Motyer–remedy this neglect by offering an authoritative, evangelical treatment of the prophets. In this edition, which now combines three volumes into one, the authors not only provide meticulous exegesis of the Hebrew text but also relate the message of the ancient prophets to contemporary life in practical and meaningful ways.”


Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by O. Palmer Robertson


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: “Robertson excels in theological analysis and pastoral application”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “helpful evangelical analysis of the book”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Zephaniah, “very helpful at explaining the larger theological themes found within these books. Highly recommended.”

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.


Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) by David W. Baker


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “engaging writing style and an emphasis on theology and historical background”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “helpful evangelical analysis of the book”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Zephaniah, “Although very brief, it does communicate the main ideas very well.”

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.


Micah, Nahum, Habakkuh, Zephaniah (New American Commentary) by Kenneth L. Barker and Waylon Bailey


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: “Bailey’s Zephaniah section is a solid commentary”

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Zephaniah, “the volume in the NAC series by Barker and Bailey is also a helpful commentary”

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.


Micah-Malachi (Word Biblical Commentary) by Ralph L. Smith


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: “solid and competent”

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Zephaniah, “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.


Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (The Old Testament Library) by J. J. M. Roberts


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “written in a way that even interested nonspecialists can understand”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “helpful evangelical analysis of the book”

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.


Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (New International Version Application Commentary) by James Bruckner


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: “Bruckner does a nice job getting to the heart of the message”

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.


Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (An Exegetical Commentary) by Richard D. Patterson


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “[Patterson] is clear, engaging, and profound”

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

Purpose: From the publisher: “An excellent exegetical commentary. Available in Libronix format or in paperback. This is one of 3 commentaries in a set. Also checkout the commentaries by Finley and Merrill.”


Zephaniah (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Adele Berlin


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “helpfully discusses text, semantics, historical issues, and theological message”

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.


Habakkuk (The Forms of the Old Testament Literature) by Michael Floyd


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “this excellent work will only be helpful to scholars”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (FOTL) is a series of volumes that seeks to present, according to a standard outline and methodology, a form-critical analysis of every book or unit of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). Fundamentally exegetical, each volume examines the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question. The series also endeavors to study the history behind the form-critical discussion of the material, to bring consistency to the terminology for the genres and formulas of the biblical literature, and to expose the exegetical procedure in such a way as to enable students and pastors to engage in their own analysis and interpretation.”


Zephaniah (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition) by Larry L. Walker


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Reviews and Accolades:

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “helpful evangelical analysis of the book”

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.



More Bible Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Iain M. Duguid and Matthew P. Harmon


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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.


Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by Elizabeth Achtemeier


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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 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.


Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi (Christ-Centered Exposition) by Micah Fries, Stephen Rummage, and Robby Gallaty


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

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.”



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah (Focus on the Bible) by John L. Mackay


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “These commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their specialty subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.” See more about the Focus on the Bible commentary series.


The Minor Prophets by Charles L. Feinberg


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “A comprehensive commentary on all twelve of the minor prophets Free of footnotes and devotional in style.”


Minor Prophets (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary) by Richard D. Patterson and Andrew E. Hill


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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 Cornerstone Biblical Commentary series provides students, pastors, and laypeople with up-to-date, accessible evangelical scholarship on the Old and New Testaments. Presenting the message of each passage, as well as an overview of other issues relevant to the text, each volume equips pastors and Christian leaders with exegetical and theological knowledge so they can better understand and apply God’s Word.”


Zephaniah (International Theological Commentary) by Maria Eszenyei Szeles


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Neither Habakkuk nor Zephaniah is very well known or understood by our generation. These Old Testament prophets, who were contemporary with Jeremiah, interpreted events leading up to the total destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian “king of kings and lord of lords,” in 597 and 587 B.C. / Writing from within a Socialist society, Maria Eszenyei Szeles offers a unique perspective on Habakkkuk and Zephaniah — a profoundly moving interpretation of the mystery of God’s apparent absence or weakness when his own people meet with intolerable suffering at the hands of a cruel totalitarian regime.”


Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Abingdon Old Testament Commentary) by Julia M. O’Brien


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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 and Critical Commentaries



Zephaniah (Hermeneia) by Marvin A. Sweeney and Paul D. Hanson


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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 Hermeneia commentary series seeks to offer authoritative interpretation of the earliest texts of the biblical books… The name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work. Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible…The editors of Hermeneia impose no systematic-theological perspective upon the series (directly, or indirectly by selection of authors).” See more about the Hermeneia Bible commentary series.



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



Minor Prophets (Ironside Expository Commentaries) by H.A. Ironside


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

Purpose: H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) was an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher and preacher, as well as the author of more than sixty books. His writings include addresses or commentaries on the entire New Testament, all of the Old Testament prophetic books, and a great many volumes on other biblical topics. For eighteen of his fifty years of ministry, Dr. Ironside was pastor of the historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Ill.


Zephaniah (Geneva Series of Commentaries) by John Calvin


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “This is volume 4 of John Calvin’s 5 volume set on the Minor Prophets. C.H. Spurgeon said, ‘Everything that Calvin wrote by way of exposition is priceless. His expositions are more equal in excellence than those of other men; other men rise and fall, but he is almost uniformly good.’ His great gifts as an interpreter are clearly evident here in his treatment of the oft-neglected Minor Prophets. In these volumes he opens up their rich contents to our hearts and minds: here is God’s Word concerning false religion, spiritual adultery, injustice, judgment, the remnant, the restoration and sovereign love.”


Zephaniah (Thru the Bible Commentary Series) by J. Vernon McGee


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

Purpose: From the publisher: “Radio messages from J. Vernon McGee delighted and enthralled listeners for years with simple, straightforward language and clear understanding of the Scripture. Now enjoy his personable, yet scholarly, style in a 60-volume set of commentaries that takes you from Genesis to Revelation with new understanding and insight.”


Also see:

<< Habakkuk Bible Commentaries | Haggai Bible Commentaries >>