Commentaries I use: Genesis

I have spent a great deal of time giving out information on commentaries that I use and find helpful in my study of scripture mainly from the New Testament. I honestly believe that, while a significant amount of time needs to be spent on the New Testament, it cannot be at the expense of spending some time in the Old Testament texts also. A fundamental understanding of the New Testament requires us to have a good understanding of the Old.

The first recommendations I will make will be from the book of the first things, mainly my favourite book of the Old Testament, Genesis. While I have a few commentaries on this glorious book, I will stick to three main commentaries that I have found extremely useful in supporting my study. I am a bit torn as to which one to mention first since my two first recommendations are essentially similar and just as valuable as one another. I will begin with a two volume commentary that is part of the World Bible Commentary series and written by Professor Gordon Wenham. This is probably the most popular commentary on Genesis by conservative scholars. Wenham gives us a clear and concise volume with references to linguistics, historical data and a sound theology throughout. I appreciate this commentary especially for the fact that Wenham doesn’t go overboard with long rabbit trails as some others do but sticks to the relevant information. With this said, he also refuses to give his reader a mere surface level approach. The format is what really drew me to the commentary in that it begins with the technical material then moves on to the more scholarly textual evaluation then finishes with the commentary.

My 2nd recommendation which certainly could be my first is a two volume set written by Victor Hamilton from the New International Commentary of the Old Testament. While this commentary is very similar to Wenham’s, one advantage I would say that this commentary has is that it is easier to read. It is still a tremendously well written and scholarly work but Hamilton leaves room for application which I find is seriously lacking in Wenham’s volume. This commentary is a bit larger and will be a longer read to be sure. One suggestion I would emphasize on with this volume is that if you are a much more scholarly minded individual with knowledge of the Hebrew language then Wenham is the way to go however if you like a more readable commentary and you don’t have an understanding of the original language then Hamilton is definitely for you.

The last commentary I will recommend is considered to being a classic.  I have a used copy of it and it was difficult to find. I did hear however that it has gone back into print into a one volume set and it will now be available for purchase once again. The commentary is simply called “An Exposition of Genesis” by C.H. Leupold. While it is a classic in every sense of the word, there are many who will probably never have heard of it. I enjoyed Leupold’s commentary on Isaiah and Daniel as well (which will be elaborated on later) yet this volume, in my mind, surpasses both of these. The volume is perfect for people who just want a commentary they can fully understand without getting into too many facts and just giving the meaning with some wonderful applications to the Christian life. This is not to say that Leupold leaves anything out historically or exegetically but that one can gain some good ground in their understanding of Genesis no matter where they are in their Christian life with this commentary. I feel it is similar to A.W. Pink’s commentary “Gleanings in Genesis” but without all the types that sometimes muddy the meaning to the reader.

Again, I welcome your suggestions. I’m always looking for new commentaries to better my understanding of the scriptures.

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