The Paulist Biblical Commentary ~ HELP

Salutations all ~ I am thinking of getting one of these commentaries but a little pricey but will do it if I find out it is worth it. Can you please let me know your thoughts. The hardcover is on Amazon for $87. THANNK YOU & GOD BLESS YOU ><>
The Paulist Biblical Commentary

Looks like it was recently published in 2018. Also wonder how it stacks up to the Jerome Biblical Commentary, which I don’t have but heard was very good.

You can look at a sampling of pages, here.

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I’ve also been hemming-and-hawing over buying this. I own several commentaries, including a variety of one-volume editions. Not very many English-language Catholic commentaries out there, especially 1-volume editions. The problem with one-volume commentaries is that they lack scholarly depth…for obvious reasons.

The publisher’s website makes it clear what it’s aims are (

Primary Audience

  • Bible readers of all faiths looking for up-to-date introductions and interpretations of books of the Bible thoroughly in tune with the results of the best scholarship today but also accessible for the pastoral and spiritual message of Scripture.



  • Less technical than other commentaries and less oriented to an explanation of exegetical details. Rather, The Paulist Biblical Commentary interprets the text in larger sections to get the overall message of the text, especially its spiritual and pastoral insights.

Me? I prefer more technical commentaries. I’ll wait until it’s available on the used book market. I would get the JBC over this, if your interests lean more towards the technical. You can find the New Jerome Biblical Commentary used several places.

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This is one of those glowing favorable reviews that should dissuade one from this commentary.

Paulist Press is known for providing some genuinely good insights mixed in with a heavy liberal agenda, where opinions are dressed up as if they were proven facts. The problem I have seen in other Paulist work is not that they exactly teach falsely, but by their crucial omissions you get a misleading impression.

A Bible scholar might pick out some good ideas, skip the other stuff, but the non scholar, better skip it all together.

"The genius of this work is that it mines the Bible for insights into contemporary church issues. For example, on prophets, Jersey City native Sister Carol Dempsey writes: “A feminist and liberationist perspective addresses issues of patriarchy, hierarchy and gender.”



There are a few in-publication English-language 1-volume Catholic biblical commentaries out there: I own them all (save the Paulist volume under this discussion).

There’s the New Collegeville edition, published under the same rubric (i.e. pastoral…spiritual…ecumenical…“up-to-date”). There’s also the International Bible Commentary (also published under the same rubric, although older). Both are published by the same press. I don’t recommend either of them…unfortunately. I found both to be unhelpful.

The only option for a “decent” 1-volume Catholic commentary is the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. This is not my endorsement, just an elimination of said options. If you’re willing to hunt the used-book market, perhaps the “A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture” published by Nelson c.1969 is a good choice. Whenever Ignatius gets around to publishing their whole commentary…that’s a good choice.

Otherwise, the Eerdmanns Commentary on the Bible (Dunn/Rogerson editors, 2003) is reliable. So also is The Oxford Bible Commentary (Barton/Muddiman editors, 2001). While not Catholic…at least sober scholarship. I have both and am impressed by the scholarship.


I really appreciate the insightful feedback folks, this is an amazing forum with very charitable members.
May the peace of Christ be with you ><>

One question in finality ~
Can somebody please elaborate on differences between the JBC and the new JBC commentaries and which one is recommended?

When I want to decide if a book is good or for me, I go onto This provides peoples’’ reactions to the publication that generally are quite instructive. People highly praised this book.
However, publications by the Paulist press sometimes really don’t provide orthodox Catholic thought, and I sometimes as a Catholic find things their books say offensive. I might look further into this book because I have an extensive theological library, and would consider this book for purchase. Then I would look up reviews provided on the web on this book, since the web often brings up reviews from serious Catholic or scholarly sources, to further evaluate this publication.

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