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Best Commentaries on Genesis

This page is current as of December 2023.

For recommendations on other books and an introduction to this series, visit
Best Commentaries on Each Book of the Bible.

There is no shortage of commentaries on Genesis and, thankfully, no shortage of recommendations. The most pressing and divisive issues include the authorship of the book and, of course, the most faithful understanding of creation.

Before turning to the expert recommendations, here are some recent commentaries written by trusted scholars that may be of interest. Because these volumes are newly published, the commentators on the commentaries have not yet had opportunity to evaluate them. They would, though, come with my recommendation.

  • Richard Phillips – Genesis (Reformed Expository Commentaries). Part of the REC, this one was first prepared and written as a series of sermons so is suitable for any reader. It is sold as a two-volume set. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)
  • Richard Belcher – Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible). Both the author and the publisher have proven themselves trustworthy when it comes to the difficult textual decisions. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

And now, here are the expert recommendations:

Gordon J. Wenham – Genesis 1-15 and Genesis 16-50 (Word Biblical Commentary). This series is certainly not known for being user-friendly; the volumes are also uneven with some being far superior to others. However, most experts rate Wenham’s work as one of their top recommendations for Genesis. Tremper Longman rates Wenham as “one of the finest evangelical commentators today” and says that his “commentary on Genesis shows a high level of scholarship and his exegetical sensitivity.” His approach to Genesis is conservative and he stresses the unity of the biblical text. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2. Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2. Logos: 2 Volumes)

Victor P. Hamilton – The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17 and Chapters 18-50 (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament). Most commentators on commentaries commend Hamilton for his thoroughness in examining the interpretive difficulties in Genesis and his generally conservative conclusions (though some are frustrated that he ends up ambiguous regarding Mosaic authorship). After a helpful examination of the various ways of understanding the creation story, he advocates a literary interpretation of Genesis 1. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2. Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2. Logos: 2 Volumes)

Allen Ross – Creation & Blessing. Ross’ text is not a commentary per se but more of an exposition meant to help the preacher. He holds to a six-day creation and to Mosaic authorship. Instead of going verse-by-verse, he proceeds section-by-section in the way he recommends preaching the book. Keith Mathison calls it “an invaluable resource for expositors” and insists “if you are a pastor, you should not be without this book.” I have used this volume several times and have found it a very helpful aid. (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

John D. Currid – Genesis Volume 1 and Genesis Volume 2 (Evangelical Press Study Commentary). Derek Thomas provides a very strong recommendation for this two-volume set which he says features “easy to read yet biblically robust expositions that seek to bridge the gap between technical and popular commentaries.” Currid advocates Mosaic authorship and a literal six-day creation. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2. Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2. Logos: 2 Volumes)

Derek Kidner – Genesis (Kidner Classic Commentary). This volume was formerly part of the TOTC series. Kidner’s work, like his other volumes in the TOTC series, is far shorter than the other recommendations. This, along with his conversational style, make it eminently readable. The short format necessitates great concision which can be both a help and a disappointment; the preacher will definitely need to supplement with more thorough volumes. Still, this makes an excellent commentary to begin with and an excellent choice for those looking to bypass some of the scholarly works. Nearly every scholar gives it his recommendation. (Amazon, Logos)

Here are a few other common recommendations:

  • Bruce Waltke – Genesis
  • Kenneth Mathews – Genesis 1-11:26 and Genesis 11:27-50 (New American Commentary)
  • John Sailhamer – Genesis (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

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