Last Sunday, I started a preaching series that is based on the book of First Thessalonians. As I study each week, I have around 15 different commentaries that I use. Some of them are technical and some of them are pastoral. These commentaries are my friends that help me at different points in my study through this book. I know that might sound strange and only pastors might fully understand that statement. But it is true. I thought I would give a brief rundown on some of my favorite "friends" as I study this book. Also, realize, that I am just at the beginning of the study, some of these might find their way out of my "friend" list and others might find their way onto the list. But for now, here are some that I am very impressed with in my studies.
This great commentary by D. Edmond Hiebert might just be one of the very first commentaries I ever purchased. I have vivid memories of sitting in the library at IPFW in Fort Wayne, Indiana (where I was a pre-med major) and reading this commentary. I have used it often and keep coming back to it. What I love most about the works of Hiebert is how consistently he shows the flow of arguments in outline form. He is committed to the Greek text, yet it is not so deep that the average person can't benefit from it. For the average person who wants to do some in-depth Bible study on either of the books to Thessalonica, this is the first one I would recommend to you.
I have come to love all of those that are part of The Pillar New Testament Commentary series, and this edition by Gene L. Green is no different. Through my study of chapter 1, I have been really impressed. The Pillar series uses the NIV translation as it's English translation of choice, but they do a great job of pointing back to the Greek text as the foundation. I found this interesting, particularly as I read through the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians and Green continually kept saying how the NIV had missed this or that.
The NICNT series has always been one of my favorites since I began to study the Bible and preach. It is a series that is very committed to the original languages, but doesn't write as it is. Most of the technical Greek references are found in the footnotes, which makes it easier to read for the person who has not studied Greek. The edition that I have is from Leon Morris, but recently the NICNT has replaced it with an edition by Gordon Fee. I guess they felt like Morris' edition was too old. I don't think so, I have appreciated it so far and since I already have this edition, I doubt I will purchase a newer copy by Fee.
When it comes to a series on the Greek text, I have always appreciated the NIGTC. This edition by Charles Wanamaker will be one of the most technical commentary that I will use and might not be worth the cost for the average layman.
There are many others that I will be using that I find helpful. For instance, I appreciate Richard Mayhue's commentary, particularly his insights on the Day of the Lord. I always use Hendirksen & Kistemaker's volume that deals with the Thessalonians, Pastorals, & Hebrews. If you do not have this series, it might just be one of the first NT series that you purchase. And of course, I will always take a quick glance at John MacArthur's commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Then there are a few that I have recently purchased and look good, but I have not used them enough to make a final decision on them.
- 1-2 Thessalonians by G.K. Beale -- Beale seems like a solid theologian. I am particularly interested to see how he deals with some of the eschatological issues in 1 Thessalonians as I know he comes from a different background than I normally read. Should be interesting.
- The First & Second Epistles To The Thessalonians by Ernest Best -- This is part of Black's New Testament Series which I have used a bit in the past and have enjoyed. It is a bit more technical, but seems helpful
- The NIV Application Commentary: 1 & 2 Thessalonians by Michael W. Holmes -- I have enjoyed others that are part of this series. I enjoy at the end of each section as they give some "bridging the gaps" and "contemporary significance." They seem to really take the text and make if applicable.
Question for Pastors (or anyone): What Commentaries Have I Missed?