A Sane Approach to Biblical Commentaries

June 30, 2007

Our Featured Toolbox this Saturday is one of the sanest short articles I’ve read on the use of commentaries in sermon prep. Steven Mathewson’s post on the PreachingToday blog, offers five dangers in relation to commentaries:

1) Using commentaries exclusively, or too quickly in the process;
2) Using too many commentaries
3) Using substandard commentaries
4) Using Commentaries to the neglect of prayer and meditation and
5) Not using commentaries at all.


I love his honest comment that while many speak of the dangers of commentaries being overused, “I know few, if any, pastors who spend too much time in commentaries.” Read the whole post here.

Other Toolbox This Week
* Packer on Lloyd Jones
* 7 Steps to Sermon Prep
* Gospel Coalition Website Launched
* Learning from Cancer – Begg Audio
* Paul’s Imperatives to Pastors
* Church – What about Me Songs?
* Review: The Complete Gathered Gold – John Blanchard
* New Nine Marks Newsletter: The Gospel
* A New Bible Translation (Unfortunately)
* Music When You Study?
* Review: Everlasting Dominion – a Theology of the OT
* Evangelical Faithfulness in Academia
* Nazarenes Rethink Entire Sanctification
* Teaching Laymen to Preach Expositionally
* Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing


  1. Just wanted to say thank you for the toolbox and thank you for your faithfulness in blogging. I truly do appreciate it!

    The end of the week collection of the best of the toolbox is a great resource and one I make use of frequently!

    God bless

  2. It seems that the danger for many preachers is not usuing too many commentaries, but using one commentary too frequently! In other words, it can be very easy to just preach what MacArthur says and be done with it. Commentaries are useful to the degree that we measure them against our own exegesis and glean wisdom where necessary.

    Just a thought…


  3. Tim,

    That’s a really insightful comment. I, for one, can end up with a favourite commentary in a given series. The danger becomes that I turn to Morris or Moo or Carson or Fee for the definitive ‘take on the text.’ Since you mention MacArthur, I’m sure I’ve read him say that he reads around 20 commentaries on every passage to steer him clear of this danger!

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