Zondervan Exegetical Commentary (ZECOT, ZECNT) | Reviews, Theology

Zondervan’s Exegetical Commentary series is a broadly evangelical, reader-friendly, biblical resource that helps pastors and teachers interpret and apply the biblical text. Since the series began in the early 2000’s, many books of the bible have yet to be covered. The New Testament commentaries are original. Some of the first Old Testament volumes were re-branded editions from Zondervan’s now-defunct Hearing the Message of Scripture commentary series. One of the unique features of ZECOT and ZECNT volumes is the Graphic Layout feature, which visually displays exegesis. [1]

Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries divide every biblical passage into seven components:

zondervan exegetical commentary on the new testament
New Testament volumes have a white background
  1. The Literary Context: In this section, the author discusses the passage in light of what comes before and after it in the text.
  2. Main Idea: Here, the passage is synthesized into two to three sentences, which preachers should find especially helpful.
  3. The Translation and Graphic Layout: This feature visually organizes words and phrases in the English-language biblical text.
  4. Structure: Next, the author describes the “flow of thought” that leads to interpretation.
  5. Exegetical Outline: Here, the overall structure of the passage is displayed in outline form.
  6. Explanation of the Text: In this section, the author discusses the meaning of the text, which includes discussion on the original languages, though the explanations are not overly technical.
  7. Theology in Application: This is another component preachers will find helpful because it offers suggestions on how to apply the passage today. [2]

Please see how the ZECNT and ZECOT series compares to dozens of other commentary series on the Bible Commentaries Comparison Chart.

Eckhard Schnabel on his Acts volume in the ZECNT series

Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries (ZECOT, ZECNT): Reviews

Many of the best biblical scholars today are contributing to this well-reviewed series. Clinton E. Arnold, Dean of Talbot School of Theology, is the General Editor of New Testament volumes, as well as author of the Ephesians commentary. Daniel I. Block, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Wheaton College, is the General Editor of Old Testament volumes, as well as the author of the Ruth commentary. Associate editors include George Guthrie, who is well-known for the Hebrews commentary in the NIVAC series, and Thomas Schreiner, who is well-known for his 1-2 Peter commentary in the NAC series.

Among the New Testament volumes that have been highly praised are Mark Strauss’ Mark commentary, Clint E. Arnold’s Ephesians commentary, and Thomas Schreiner’s Galatians commentary. [3]

Interviews with Authors in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series

I am grateful to have conducted question-and-answer interviews with multiple authors in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series. Links to these interviews are below.

zondervan exegetical commentary on the old testament
Old Testament volumes have a gray background

Jonah: Q & A with author Joel Youngblood

Mark: Q & A with author Mark Strauss

John: Q & A with author Edward W. Klink

Romans: Q & A with author Frank Thielman

Ephesians: Q & A with author Clint E. Arnold

1-2 Thessalonians: Q & A with author Gary Shogren

James: Q & A with author Mariam Kovalishyn (co-author with Craig Blomberg)

Volumes in the ZECOT and ZECNT Series

The links below go to Amazon, which sells new and used copies. Also visit Christian Book Distributors’ ZECOT/ZECNT commentaries page to compare prices.

New Testament Volumes (so far)

Matthew – Grant R. Osborne | Published: 2010

In this volume of the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, Grant Osborne offers pastors, students, and teachers a focused resource for reading the Gospel of Matthew. Through the use of graphic representations of translations, succinct summaries of main ideas, exegetical outlines, and other features, Osborne presents the Gospel of Matthew with precision and accuracy.

Mark – Mark L. Strauss | Published: 2014

In this commentary on Mark written for pastors and Bible teachers, Mark L. Straus exegetes each passage of Scripture succinctly in its grammatical and historical context. He argues that Mark is indeed energetic and forceful, yet at the same time presents a well-structured and powerful theological drama.

Luke – David E. Garland | Published: 2013

The commentary presents a translation through a diagram that helps visualize the flow of thought, provides a summary of the central message of the passages, reveals how they function within the gospel, and offers an exegetical outline with a verse-by-verse commentary that takes notice of Jewish and Greco-Roman background evidence that sheds light on the text.

John – Mickey Klink | Published: 2018

Klink received a B.A. from Trinity International University, M.Div. and Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. After serving for nearly a decade as a professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in southern California, he was led to transition from teaching and the professorate to preaching and the pastorate.

Acts – Eckhard J. Schnabel | Published: 2013

This volume won the Christian Book Award for best Bible Reference of 2013 for its valuable insights and thorough commentary.

Romans – Frank Theilman | Published: 2018

Frank Thielman has taught at Beeson Divinity School faculty since in 1989, teaching courses in Greek exegesis. He is a noted New Testament scholar, concentrating primarily in the Pauline epistles.

1 Corinthians – Paul Gardner | Published: 2015

Dr. Paul D. Gardner was senior pastor of Christ Church Presbyterian in Atlanta, Georgia.

Galatians – Thomas R. Schreiner | Published: 2010

In his commentary on Galatians, Thomas R. Schreiner presents a brief and lucid commentary for pastors, students, and laypeople, while also attending to questions that have arisen in light of the New Perspective on Paul. Schreiner, endorsing a Reformation reading of the text, reminds readers of Paul’s chief concerns in writing the letter: justification by faith, the full divinity of Christ, freedom from the power of sin through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and dependence on the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.

Ephesians – Clinton E. Arnold | Published: 2010

In this volume, Clinton Arnold highlights four themes that emerge in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians: The superior power of God over spiritual powers, The unity of Jews and Gentiles through Jesus Christ, The encouragement for Gentile believers to live holy lives before God, The need for believers to be rooted in the knowledge of their new identity in Christ Jesus, Woven into Paul’s theology is a refrain of praise and adoration to the glory of God that insists that such praise should also be our response.

Colossians, Philemon – David W. Pao | Published: 2012

In Colossians and Philemon, David W. Pao continues providing the powerful exegetical commentary this series has offered on other books of the Bible. Written primarily for the pastor and Bible teacher, the text succinctly exegetes each passage of Scripture in its grammatical and historical context. Each passage of Colossians and Philemon is interpreted in the light of its biblical setting, with a view of grammatical detail, literary context, flow of biblical argument, and historical setting.

1 and 2 Thessalonians – Gary Shogren | Published: 2012

1 and 2 Thessalonians treats the literary context and structure of the passage in its original Greek, as well as an original translation based on the literary structure. Critical scholarship informs each step but doesn’t dominate the commentary, allowing readers to concentrate on Paul’s message to the Thessalonians as it unfolds. While primarily designed for those with a basic knowledge of biblical Greek, all who strive to understand and teach the New Testament will find this book beneficial.

James – Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell | Published: 2008

Authors Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell use the historical, theological, and literary elements of James to guide their interpretation of this often-overlooked early Christian text. Their concise discussion of how the book delivers consistent, challenging instruction will help pastors and church leaders teach the message of James to today’s readers.

1, 2, and 3 John – Karen H. Jobes | Published: 2014

In her commentary on John’s letters, Karen H. Jobes writes to bridge the distance between academic biblical studies and pastors, students, and laypeople who are looking for an in-depth treatment of the issues raised by these New Testament books. She approaches the three letters of John as part of the corpus that includes John’s Gospel, while rejecting an elaborate redactional history of that Gospel that implicates the letters. Jobes treats three major themes of the letters under the larger rubric of who has the authority to interpret the true significance of Jesus—an issue that is pressing in our religiously pluralistic society today with its many voices claiming truth about God.

Old Testament Volumes (so far)

Ruth – Daniel I. Block | Published: 2015

Daniel I. Block is Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College.

Obadiah – Daniel I. Block | Published: 2015

Daniel I. Block is Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College.

Jonah – Kevin J. Youngblood | Published: 2015

Kevin Youngblood is associate Professor of Bible & Religion at Harding University.


  1. https://www.academia.edu/28817650/Review_of_first_three_Zondervan_Exegetical_Commentary_on_the_Old_Testament
  2. http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/review/colossians-and-philemon-zondervan-exegetical-commentary-on-the-new-testament
  3. http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/review-galatians-zondervan-exegetical-commentary-on-the-nt.php