Bible Commentary question


Can anyone explain what a Bible commentary is?

I am trying to deepen y knowledge of the Bible but looking at Bible commentaries online made me very nervous. 14 volumes here 31 volumes there!

Are Bible commentaries worth the hassle or are they meant only for theology or biblical scholars/students?

Any help or suggestions would be great.


I love Bible commentaries, they are excellent reference tools to get clarification of the meaning of passages in Scripture. There are various levels of commentaries, some are concise and simplified while some are deep and are geared towards those who are already well versed, and there are everything in between.

I love a variety of commentaries, but I have a distaste for those that have the historical critical school of thought. I like those commentaries that are traditional. My favorite commentaries are the Church Fathers, Glossa Ordinaria, Medieval commentators, Haydock, Cornelius a Lapide, Bishop John McEvilly, etc. My website called the Aquinas Study Bible has tons of the commentaries I like all online for free! The link is below!


A Commentary generally tries to provide some information about the time or practices so that the scriptures will be easier to understand within its proper context. Without context, we can sometimes misunderstand what the scripture is trying to convey.

I would suggest a commentary that is Catholic, however. If one is written by someone who is in conflict with the Church, there is a potential that their interpretations may reflect their own doctrine, sometimes unbeknownst to Catholics.

If you don’t have any commentary now, I would start with Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which is an RSV New Testament. It is easy on the pocketbook and very good. From there you can make decisions on future purchases once you get your feet wet.


The Intervarsity Press Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture has about 27 volumes at close to $30 a pop.

you know, even the best study bible just skims the surface. The ACCS has the perspective of the early church fathers, which tells you what the Church thought in those hundreds of years immediately after Christ.

The criticism of such as the accs is that it has essays that the fathers just thought up. So, you can find contradictions among them, from time to time, depending on how they took things.

Also, before the Church defined various dogmas officially over the centuries, there were some who expressed views that might later be considered heretical – simply because the Church had not completely vetted an issue.

I read the five-volume Jewish Publication Society commentary on the Torah. I was disappointed that it didn’t explain a puzzling aspect of the plagues that God sent down on the Egyptians. There’s more than one plague that was sent down, attacking cattle. I thought all the cattle had been slain, but then there comes another plague against cattle, and another plague. What’s with that? No answer.

You have to jump in someplace and start reading, with an open mind, holding those questions until you get an answer.

You might best look over Dr. Scott Hahn’s website for direction.


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