Top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Job

from Sep 18, 2008 Category: Articles

With this post, we begin to look at the best commentaries on the Old Testament Wisdom Books and Psalms. For a good introductory overview of these books, I would recommend Daniel Estes’ Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms and Derek Kidner’s The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. Estes’ book is essentially a mini-commentary on all of these books, while Kidner’s work is focused more on the nature of Wisdom literature. In this post, we look at the deeply profound book of Job. The following are five of the most helpful commentaries on this book of Scripture.

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1. David J.A. Clines — Job 1-20; Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary, 1989, 2006).

As readers of this series of blog posts will know, I find the layout of the Word Biblical Commentaries a bit exasperating. However, some of the commentaries in the series are so good that it is worth the effort to deal with the poor editorial decisions of the publisher. Clines’ commentary on Job is one of those works. Although it is not yet complete (the final volume will cover chapters 38-41 and include extensive indexes), this is the best commentary available on the book. Clines is one of those commentators who realizes the necessity of dealing not only with the minutiae of the text, but with the big picture as well. It is a more technical commentary, but those who take the time to work through it will be rewarded. Very highly recommended.

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2. John Hartley — The Book of Job (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1988).

Hartley’s commentary on Job is not as comprehensive or technical as Clines’ work, but it is not written at an introductory level either. It is a thorough and demanding work that supplements Clines well. Readers will find much insight into the meaning of Job here. Highly recommended.

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3. Francis I. Andersen — Job (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1976).

For those seeking a more introductory level commentary on the book of Job, Francis Anderson’s commentary is the best place to start. Anderson is a renowned scholar, and the commentary reflects his learning without becoming overly technical. Virtually any reader should be able to pick up this volume and work their way through it with little difficulty. A very helpful introductory commentary.

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4. Elmer Smick — “Job” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1984).

I may be somewhat partial to the commentary by Elmer Smick because he was one of my professors during the final years of his life. He is not as well-known as some of the other commentators mentioned in these posts, but he was a godly man, and his devotion to Jesus Christ is evident on the pages of his commentary on Job.

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5. David Atkinson — The Message of Job (The Bible Speaks Today, 1991).

The Bible Speaks Today volumes vary in terms of quality and helpfulness. The volume on Job by David Atkinson is one of the more helpful works in the series. There is much of practical value here.

Runners Up:

There are a number of other helpful commentaries on the book of Job. Among them are several works that will be of help to pastors including the commentaries by Derek Thomas, Bill Cotton, Gerald Wilson, and Steven Lawson.

Other “Top 5 Commentaries” blog posts:

OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

NEW TESTAMENT: The Gospel of Matthew, The Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Luke, The Gospel of John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians & Philemon, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter & Jude, The Epistles of John, Revelation

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