Skip to content ↓

Best Commentaries on Proverbs

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.

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.

  • John Kitchen – Proverbs (Mentor Commentary). Kitchen is a trustworthy commentator and this volume received some encouraging endorsements. (Amazon, Logos)
  • Raymond Ortlund Jr. – Proverbs: Wisdom That Works (Preaching the Word). This is a sermon-based commentary that is appropriate for pastors or general readers alike. It includes endorsements by J.I. Packer and D.A. Carson among others. (Amazon, Logos)

And now, here are the expert recommendations:

Bruce K. Waltke – The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15; The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament). The clear consensus among the experts is that Waltke’s massive two-volume set is the absolute best commentary on Proverbs. Derek Thomas refers to it as “a definitive work” and “a lifetime achievement.” It is the result of two decades of thoughtful reflection and the introduction alone is worth the cost of the set. It’s the place to begin for Proverbs and a must-have for any pastor. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2; Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2; Logos: Volume 1, Volume 2) See also the more reader-friendly Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary (Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

David A. Hubbard – Proverbs (The Preacher’s Commentary). To some degree, all other commentaries are considered supplementary to Walke’s set, so when it comes to Hubbard, Keith Mathison says, “Those who are preaching or teaching through Proverbs will want to supplement Waltke’s work with a commentary that reflects on various issues related to application. Hubbard’s work is the best place to turn for this. While not as comprehensive as Waltke, Hubbard does not neglect addressing the difficult questions, all the while remaining clear and readable.” (Amazon, Logos)

Tremper Longman III – Proverbs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). Longman is a notable Old Testament scholar who also pens a helpful Old Testament Commentary Survey that I’ve relied on for this “Best Commentaries” series. His volume on Proverbs is said to be detailed but still readable, scholarly and yet still accessible. At 608 pages, it is quite thorough and its main focus is on the theological and ethical message of the book. (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Derek Kidner – Proverbs (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). All of the commentators on the commentaries regard Kidner’s as an excellent commentary, though one limited by the constraints of the TOTC series which requires short, popular-level volumes. Longman says, “This small commentary is packed with helpful insight and comments on the text. It is exegetically sensitive, theologically helpful, and orthodox.” This is a great option for devotional reading, for simple Bible studies, and for providing application. (Amazon)

Raymond C. Van Leeuwen – “Proverbs” in The New Interpreter’s Bible. There may be no need for a fifth volume on Proverbs if you’ve got each of the ones above, but if you need one more, consider Van Leeuwen. Mathison says, “Van Leeuwen is a recognized scholar in the field of biblical wisdom literature, and his understanding of this genre is reflected in his commentary. There is more reflection on the theology of the book here than in most commentaries.” You will probably have some difficulty tracking it down and may need to visit a theological library. (Amazon)

And let me close with a question: What are your preferred commentaries on Proverbs? Are there some you’ve found particularly helpful?

  • The Deconstruction of Christianity

    The Deconstruction of Christianity

    There is nothing new and nothing particularly unusual about apostasy—about people who once professed the Christian faith coming to deny it. From the early church to the present day, we have witnessed a long and sad succession of people walking away from Christianity and often doing so with expressions of anger, animosity, and personal superiority.…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (February 2)

    A La Carte: When your spouse won’t join a solid church / The gospel gives us courage / The beautiful burden of caregiving / At work in his Word / Do I have a hard heart? / Surrendering rights for the sake of the gospel / and more.

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (February 1)

    A La Carte: Vetting kids’ entertainment isn’t a one-and-done / Joni Eareckson Tada’s resilient joy in pain / Honor marriage / How can the church remain faithful in this current cultural climate? / What senior pastors should know about the younger generations / and more.

  • When God Gives Us a Platform

    When God Gives Us a Platform

    There are many ways we may respond to the sudden onrush of some new pain or the sudden onset of some fresh sorrow. There are many options set before us when health fails and uncertainty draws near, when wealth collapses and bankruptcy looms, when a loved one is taken and we are left alone. There…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (January 31)

    A La Carte: What are demons and how should we think about them? / It’s time to stop bagging out the “average church member” / Alistair Begg and the loving thing / The internal contradiction in transgender theories / Seeing in color / The sad relief / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (January 30)

    A La Carte: Evangelicals need a constructive vision / He’s with you, no matter what / Keeping singing the (whole) gospel / Abundant life in room 129 / On pastors and professors / Was Jesus confused by the cross? / and more.