A Bible Scholar’s Guide to Preaching: Theological Resources (Gupta)


I have already offered my suggested exegetical resources (including exegetical commentaries)

Here I want to pass on my favorite theological resources to move from biblical text to theology and application


There are many good commentaries that delve into the theological dynamics of the text. Here are some worthwhile series.

BNTC (Black’s) This series balances exegetical study with theological examination

Two Horizons This unique series offers theologically-sensitive exposition, and then also thematic analysis

NTL (New Testament Library) Similar to BNTC

I would also commend reception-oriented series like IVP’s Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series and the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

There are a few series written by theologians, not biblical scholars, but they tend to be hit-or-miss (e.g., Brazos, Belief).

Moving into the territory of “application” there are several options.

Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary This series boasts beautiful designs, numerous images and sidebars, great scholars, and a dedicated “connections” section for every major section of the biblical text. I wrote the volume on Colossians, and I serve as an editor for the supplemental series (where I also wrote the launch volume on the Lord’s Prayer).

NIVAC This series is starting to feel dated, but contains many good volumes and offers great practical reflections and “sermon fodder.” I have more volumes in this series than any other.

Story of God This new series is still in its initial releases, but has proven very promising. Again, offers lots of great everyday life reflections. Scot McKnight wrote a stellar commentary on the Sermon on the Mount.

Interpretation This series is geared more towards mainline churches. There are several extraordinary volumes (e.g., Brueggemann on Genesis, Richard Hays on 1 Corinthians, Gaventa on 1-2 Thessalonians). The aim is a blend of exposition and application.

Teach the Text Sadly, this Baker series was discontinued, but the available volumes are very good with lots of suggestive illustrations (e.g., RT France on Luke, Jeannine Brown on Matthew)

Feasting on the Word This is a lectionary-based commentary series, aiming for supporting preachers.

Other Print Resources

I have mentioned dictionaries before, but again I will recommend a few

New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible

There are a couple of helpful book series

New Testament Theology (Cambridge) Expensive, and a bit dense, but some volumes have become classics (e.g., Bauckham on Revelation).

Biblical Theology of the New Testament (Zondervan) This is a newer series, so not a lot of released volumes, but I have read one on Mark (David Garland) and it is incredibly rich.

“Reading” Series, Cascade (Wipf & Stock) For helpful books that break down theological themes (among other introductory matters), this is a good series; check out Reading John (Chris Skinner!), Reading Paul (Michael Gorman), Reading Acts (Josh Jipp), Reading Revelation Responsibly (Michael Gorman), and I am writing one of these on Reading Philippians.

The Bible Speaks Today This is a bit older series (though with new volumes still appearing), but I can attest that some of the books are quite insightful and well-written (e.g., The Message of Women, Derek and Diane Tidball).

New Studies in Biblical Theology (IVP) I call this the “ugly-gray-cover” series, but we ought not to judge a book by its cover! Several thematic books in this series are useful (e.g., see Craig Blomberg’s work on money; Mark Boda on repentance)

Biblical Theology for Life (Zondervan) this thematic series is picking up steam, with several praiseworthy books in recent publication, including Brian Rosner on identity, and Nick Perrin’s very recent one of the kingdom of God (which I am currently reading)

Websites for Preachers

Blogs? Ironically, I don’t really have time to read blogs, but when I do:

Michael Bird is good, Scot McKnight too; Missio Alliance has some good stuff.

Podcasts? Again, I only have a few recos

OnScript for interviews and discussions of biblical scholarship

Kingdom Roots (Scot McKnight)

Exegetically Speaking (Wheaton College)

Other Resources:

WorkingPreacher (Luther Seminary) I love this resource; preachers and Bible scholars offer expositional guides to lectionary texts. It’s fantastic!

Seven Minute Seminary (Asbury Seminary) Short (~7 minute) thematic videos on biblical and theological themes from expert scholars.



Recommended Commentaries, Philippians-Philemon

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Dr. Andy Johnson has produced a concise, annotated list of recommended commentaries for pastors on Philippians, Colossians, Philemon,  1-2 Thessalonians, and the Pastorals.


I like all of Johnson’s recommendations, but would nod to the following in addition:

Philippians  – Morna Hooker has a stellar commentary in the NIB (New Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon) series, with end-of-section theological reflections. For those who know Greek, the best resource is Joseph Hellerman’s EGGNT commentary, hands down.

Colossians – NT Wright’s little TNTC commentary (1989) is still extraordinarily insightful. Also, I commend David Garland’s NIVAC for helping to bring the messages of Colossians into life today.

1-2 Thessalonians – I second the value of Weima’s work. I also hasten to promote the 1982 commentary by F.F. Bruce (WBC) – despite its intimidating size and format, Bruce regularly relates these letters to ministry and life. (I wrote a non-technical commentary on 1-2 Thess as well, $15!)

Pastorals – I have yet to find a commentary on the PE that I love, but Fee’s short NIBC is helpful, and Howard Marshall’s massive ICC commentary has been a trusty resource. Perhaps my favorite for pastors is Jimmy Dunn’s NIB contribution. I have been tasked by Todd Still to write a commentary on the Pastorals for a revised series (Reading the New Testament, Helwys). I do so with fear and trembling, but very excited to help rehabilitate these oft-neglected letters.