Good Commentaries


I’m doing my New Testament grad work and am thinking of beefing up my commentaries. I have a question - What is your opinion of the following commentaries?

-Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, 2008-2007 (7 vols), Various authors, almost all clergy
-Navarre Bible New Testament, Standard Edition, 2005, (12 vols) (this is only commentary - no Bible included, and obviously not to be confused with the Navarre Bible New Testament one volume edition), various authors
-The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament

These I already have:
-Catena Aurea, Thomas Aquinas
-Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859, George Haydock
-New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1989, Raymond Brown
-Introduction to the New Testament, 1997, Raymond Brown
-A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1953, Orchard, Sutcliffe
-The Great Commentary of Cornelius A Lapide, 1908
-And some other minor or Protestant ones.

Thanks for your input.

David De Luna


I was initially interested in reading your post to get information on Catholic commentaries.... I see no one has responded to your question?

Just wanted to thank you for posting what you are working from, very helpful.:)


Have you looked into the Sacra Pagina series, edited by Daniel Harrington, SJ? I have used it a good bit and have found it a good series to teach upper-level lay Bible Study.


I would like to know what your instructors recommend. What kind of textbooks are used, and what do they reference?

Let's start over.

Read this:
which is, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church

This will disappoint you, perhaps. It reviews a lot of mainstream intellectual methods, like the historical-critical method, feminist, patristic, etc. methods.

It finds them all lacking for a one-stop-shopping type of method for interpreting scripture. But, it may lead you to survey what types of Bible scholarship is out there.

The logic may seem circular to you: after about a hundred pages of discussion, it says a Catholic should read the Bible with a good commentary at hand. Duh. But, I guess that's a good "duh" because it tells you that there ISN'T just a single method or approach for studying scripture.

This is different from the advice given in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, where it says that someone should read the Bible and study it under the supervision of a qualified teacher. Rut row.

When I get in "hot pursuit" of studying something in the Bible, I usually pull out a couple translations and all the commentaries I have laying around.

I thought the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (InterVarsity Press) was expensive, but I think there's a beefy Catholic one around called something like Verbum. You have to dig deep to buy into that one.

I keep saying, you should decide what your lifetime budget is for Bible study and then start acquiring materials sensibly -- what you're really going to use.


This morning I went to a wholesale market to purchase supplies for a fund-raising dinner tomorrow, benefiting the homeless. The woman who went with me also had a sign to put in the yard of the church where the supper is to be held. She also had a pipe wrench. I asked if she did plumbing on the side. She said she could not find a hammer, and so she was going to use the pipe wrench to drive the sign into the ground. I then went to my own church to present an overview of Second Corinthians, including a number of critical theories.

All these methods are just as much tools as the pipe wrench. They have optimal uses, and then there are situations in which they may work, but not well, and others where they would be useless. Tomorrow, when we cook 40 pounds of pasta, the best pipe wrench made will be of no use in cooking.

I see the same problem with all these methods, as the article stated. A commentary will be limited, if for no other reason that we are all products of our own times, A good commentary can be a help, even though it is not the final answer. If we rely on the Bible and the Holy Spirit first, then we are on solid ground. Saint Paul, in his letters to the church in Corinth, emphasized the communal nature of the Christian experience and criticized those who relied on personal experience. Private Bible Study can be helpful, but study in community is the ideal situation for the Christian.

closed #6

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