What is your favorite commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians?

I am embarking on research for a commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians (New Covenant Commentary) over the next couple of years. I will spend year one mostly getting my hands dirty with the Greek text and some lexical and grammatical aids. However, I will continue to collect good resources. For a shorter commentary, I cannot read every commentary cover-to-cover, so I will try and limit myself to 9  commentaries which I will examine in detail.

I plan on reading Donfried’s soon-coming ICC volume, especially because it will be up-to-date on bibliography, and his work has been so influential in general in the study of the Thessalonian epistles. I have in mind to read, also,  Gaventa, Malherbe, Bruce, and a variety of voices from the ancient church (thanks to ACCS and Blackwell “Through the Centuries). Aside from that, I am “open.”

Please offer your perspective in the comments. It is most helpful if you name your favorite commentary and why you think it is so useful, illuminating, unique, or eminent. If you simply list a name or commentary series, it is not as helpful to me. But please do not be shy!

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5 thoughts on “What is your favorite commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians?

  1. I find Fee’s commentary quite helpful. Not only does he have a good handle on the Greek, I think he offers a fine balance between Greco Roman and OT backgrounds.

  2. I like Fee’s commentary as well, but found it less thorough than his NICNT Philippians or Corinthians volumes. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a fine commentary, warmly evangelical, deals with the issues — just maybe a 4 star as compared to 5-star Philippians/Corinthians.

    I found Malherbe’s AB volume to be superb, very detailed, good interaction with backgrounds. It’s my first choice for technical work, although Donfried’s volume will probably take pride of place when it’s out.

    You might check out Earl Richard’s Sacra Pagina volume. I found that very helpful, often a different spin on things than the typical commentary, but a good “spin”.

    For its size and purpose, Beale’s IVPNTC is a helpful work. I had been convinced that the reason behind the disorderly conduct in 2 Thess 3 could NOT be eschatological in nature — most scholarship has moved to seeing the issue as more sociological — but Beale drew connections between 2 Thess 2 and 2 Thess 3 that no one else seemed to and makes a good case.

    Gene Green’s Pillar volume is excellent, good on backgrounds as you’d expect.

    Wanamaker in NIGTC was a bit of a disappointment. A very short work, and as I recall, he gives 2 Thess chronological priority over 1 Thess, which makes for some odd readings at times.

  3. I found Gene Green’s Pillar commentary to be great as well, especially as a rather concise work if you are going to be working with Malherbe’s. Even as a shorter commentary, its background is very thorough.

  4. What a great opportunity! Due to the huge popularity of dispensationalism and the fact that many hold this position by default, I’d encourage you to familiarize yourself with a standard dispensational commentary. I’ve sometimes read commentaries where that viewpoint is just dismissed or is caricatured by the extreme examples, not by the best scholarship they have to offer.

  5. Hi Nijay

    I suggest Colin R Nicoholl’s ‘From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians’ is a necessary study to consult on the two letters. It provides a fascintating historical reconstruction of the situation behind the letters. It’s also very helpful on the eschatological passages.

    If theological interpretation and reception history is your thing, you might like Angus Paddison’s Theological Hermeneutics and 1 Thessalonians. It provides extensive interaction with Cavin’s and Aquinas’ commentaries on 1-2 Thessalonians and a great theological reading of the letters (‘great’ if you are into the ‘Evangelical Calvinism’ of P. T. Forsyth and Thomas Torrance!).

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