Monday, February 6, 2017

Best Set of Online Bible Commentaries

If you are interested in quality Reformed Bible commentaries, and your book budget is limited or you appreciate the benefits of being able to search online, be sure to bookmark this page at Reformed Books Online (RBO): Bible Commentaries.

Travis Fentiman has done yeoman's work to assemble most of the highest rated commentaries identified by Charles Spurgeon, Richard Muller, Cyril J. Barber and others in one place where they are easily accessible online. Of particular interest to readers of this blog, there are so many Puritan and Reformation-era Bible commentaries that are now accessible.

This is a fantastic resource, and I highly commend it to all students of the Word of God.

Here is a more thorough overview of what this resource entails:

This is the best and largest collection of Bible commentaries on the net (a total of 2,200+).  It includes, but is not limited to:
– Every commentary that Charles Spurgeon gave his top recommendation (3 stars  *** ) and ‘good’ recommendation (2 stars  ** ) to in his Commenting and Commentaries  (1876);
– Every Reformed, Puritan or otherwise good commentary we could find on PRDL and EEBO that is in English;
– Every relevant commentary  mentioned by Dr. Richard Muller in his survey of the major Reformation and Puritan era commentaries in McKim’s Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters  Buy  that is in English and online;
– Most all of the older Bible commentaries that a Bible-believer would be interested in, that are free online (in the public domain, pre-1920’s);
– The best of the commentaries listed in Cyril J. Barber’s The Minister’s Library (1974), including his top recommendations;
– The major commentaries from the Early and Medieval Churches that have been translated into English;
– And many more.
The Best works are at the top of each page.  More commentaries follow under the sub-sections: 1500’s, 1600’s, Simple & Practical, Intermediate, Advanced.
Commentaries in larger subsections have not been reduplicated on the pages of the individual books, except as Spurgeon or Barber commented on them.  Some of the best commentaries are on those pages, so be sure to check them as well.
In the days ahead (Deo volente) we hope to add much more to this collection, including works in Latin and a selection of the better contemporary commentaries (only a few are present as is).  
While contemporary commentaries have their benefits (they are typically more uniform, focus on exegesis, bring in archaeology, have some updated research, etc.), they are, as a whole (with few exceptions), seriously deficient in deep, savory, godliness.  They will feed you information, but not your eternal soul.  On the other hand, not only do many 1800’s commentaries often have more thorough scholarship in them than many contemporary commentaries (for instance, see Jamieson-Fausset-Brown in Whole Bible Commentaries), but in reading older puritan commentaries from the Reformation age, one not only grows in knowledge, but finds depths of soul-stirring communion with our Eternal and Beloved God.
Spurgeon’s justly famous, helpful and often humorous comments and evaluations have been quoted under the titles where possible.  His scale is as follows: 
*** – ‘Heartily recommended’ ** – ‘Good, but more ordinary’ * – ‘Least desirable’
Do note that Spurgeon’s recommendations were for whether a late-1800’s seminary student preparing to be a preacher should buy a certain commentary.  As some commentaries were very pricey and scarce in Spurgeon’s day, he sometimes gave a lower rating to certain commentaries than what they otherwise deserve, and his emphasis is on whether a given work will be helpful to a preacher or not.  By God’s grace, we have many more of these works available to us than what even Spurgeon and his readers had available to them in their own day.
Cyril J. Barber’s comments have been added where possible as well.  He was a late-1900’s evangelical pastor and bibliophile who reprinted many of the best works he commends through (the now defunct) Klock & Klock Publishers (which commentaries should be purchased immediately if found).
Not every commentary is reformed, as truth may appreciated, and should be desired, wherever it is found.  A number of broadly evangelical works have been included (especially in the mid-1900’s) at Barber’s recommendation. 
Please note, in relation to this collection, the words of Spurgeon:
‘It is to be specially noted, that in no case do we endorse all that any author has written in his commentary.  We could not read the works through, it would have needed a Methuselah to do that; nor have we thought it needful to omit a book because it contains a measure of error, provided it is useful in its own way; for this catalog is for thoughtful, discerning men, and not for children.  
We have not, however, knowingly mentioned works whose main drift is skeptical, or Socinian, except with a purpose; and where we have admitted comments by writers of doubtful doctrine, because of their superior scholarship and the correctness of their criticisms we have given hints which will be enough for the wise.  It is sometimes very useful to know what our opponents have to say.’
Do note that, while liberal theology is in serious, fundamental, unbelieving error, some of the better, more conservative liberal works (usually noted as such) from the mid-late 1800’s and early 1900’s have been included on these pages as they often contain a wealth of information that can be found nowhere else (which is particularly valuable for the advanced student if one is looking for exhaustive information on a particular text).  These works are usually in the advanced sections of the webpages (as liberals rarely wrote anything that fed anyone’s soul).  Barber often relates why the particular work is useful.  Needless to say:  Beware of their presuppositions, eat the meat, spit out the bones, and feed upon the vast majority of the commentaries that hold forth God’s Truth in shining fullness.
Many of the works on these pages can be bought on Amazon and BookFinder. A book in hand is worth two on the computer.
Please enjoy thoroughly to the glory of God, and tell your friends.


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