11 Best Commentaries on Luke: The Top Commentaries

Luke’s Gospel is a great historical and spiritual work. However, the Bible is not always clear. We struggle to completely understand both the gravity and the meaning of the things being communicated through the Bible. Commentaries are a great way to understand the Good news better. Another problem arises, what is the best commentary to read? There are dozens of Luke commentaries, so which ones are any good? In this article, I have compiled some of the best Luke Commentaries out there. 

Here are some criteria that we used to determine the best commentaries on the book of Luke. First, how modern readers reviewed the text. Second, the longevity of the book. and Third, the depth at which they covered the source material. 

Best In-Depth Commentary: Baker Exegetical Commentary

The Baker Exegetical Commentary is one of the best commentaries on the Book of Luke. This commentary has it all. 

The commentary comes as a two-volume tour through the text of Luke. Darrell Bock gives a deep dive into the Book of Luke and expounds on it from a theological perspective. It is an extremely useful commentary. 

Specifically, this commentary delves into the Greek text, and it explains the social, historical context of Luke and the theological perspective of the times of Luke. 

Plus, the reviews on this commentary are immensely positive. 96% of the reviews are either 4 or 5 stars. That is an incredible average and makes it a choice that other people enjoy. 

Bock’s Commentary is a great option. Based on its reviews and in-depth analysis, it is a top option for people who want a deep look at the Book of Luke. 

Best Greek Commentary: The Gospel of Luke by I. Howard Marshall 

Dr. Marshall gives a masterclass on the Book of Luke in this commentary. Although it’s reviews are not as glowing as some of the other options, it’s mostly due to the depth of the analysis. 

Many of the complaints about this text was its complexity. It is not as accessible as some of the other options on this list. Greek New Testament can be difficult to grasp, and Greek text commentary makes it even more difficult at times. With the meticulous analysis of the Greek, many people struggle to understand these types of commentaries. 

A reason that it is more complex is that it is from the original Greek text. It takes an extensive amount of education to appreciate this text in its totality. 

Pros:

  • A Great Greek Commentary 
  • Incredibly in-depth 

Cons:

  • Not as accessible as other commentaries 

Best Devotional Commentary: Luke: An Introduction and Commentary by Leon Morris

Leon L. Morris created a great commentary on the book of Luke. It is straightforward to read. 

Many comments suggest that, although it’s not flashy, this commentary is a great “devotional level” commentary. That means that it is accessible to people who do and don’t have extensive educational experience. 

Since it is straightforward, this commentary did receive some negative reviews for its surface-level material. Some of the readers found to book insightful when compared to more comprehensive commentaries. 

If you are just starting to read commentaries, this might be a great option for you. If you are just beginning to study scripture in-depth this is an easy entry point to the world of commentaries. Furthermore, if you want to lead small groups through a specific commentary section, this might be the perfect one to go through. 

Pros:

  • Easily Accessible
  • Inexpensive Compared to other commentaries

Cons:

  • Not as “in-depth” as certain people might want. 

Great for Pastors: The Gospel of Luke by Joel B. Green

In Joel Green’s, The Gospel of Luke (The New International Commentary on the New Testament), Green examines Luke from a historical and theological perspective. Specifically, Green’s Commentary observes the Roman world that Jesus Christ lived in. He relates the Biblical text back to the historical Jesus. 

It received high praise from readers. They declared that it is in-depth, but not too confusing. Many of the commentaries on this list struggle to strike the balance between insightful, and confusing. Audiences agree that Joel Green did a great job of both of these things. 

If you are a pastor who wants a great, everyday commentary this might be a great option for you. 

Pros:

  • Strikes a balance between insight and confusion
  • Gives a holistic view of the Gospel of Luke 

Cons:

  • Very Long

A Great Historical Commentary: Luke: An Expositional Commentary Dr. Sprouls

R.C. Sprouls has quite the following when it comes to his books, and this commentary is no different. This commentary will give you both a historical perspective on the book of Luke, along with the life application that is so important when it comes to studying scripture. With a sub-title of, “The Son of Man came to Seek and Save the Lost” this commentary focuses theological themes of Luke when it comes to Him being the son of man. 

If you love history and want to understand Jesus’ life on Earth, this commentary might be perfect for you. Reviewers love this author and commentary. Of its nearly 200 Amazon reviews, 92% are 5 stars. 

Pros:

  • Great Historical Commentary
  • Great for Application

Cons:

  • Not a dense as other works

Honorable Mention for Greek Commentary: The Gospel According to Luke I-IX by Joseph Fitzmyer

Joseph Fitzmyer produced a great commentary on the book of Luke. He teaches from the book of Luke and it’s historical context. 

If you love the Greek translations, this commentary is right for you. It will help you further understand the significance of the Greek.

Although this is a great option, it became an honorable mention due it it’s scattered reviews. Some audiences found it incredibly useful, whereas others found it difficult to understand. Each reader has their preferred writing style, but many of the commentaries on this list overcome that challenge. 

Pros:

  • Great analysis of the Luke from the Greek Language
  • Considered a classic commentary

Cons:

  • Writing style is not for everyone. 
  • Can be dated
  • Not always accessible

Best Series of Commentaries: Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 35a by John Nolland

John Nolland created a great commentary on the book of Luke. It is in a series called, Word Biblical Commentary. Although this is a very collaborative effort, it yields an incredibly focused and straightforward commentary on the book of Luke. 

Audiences love the clarity that John Nolland brings to the text. With insightful thoughts, historical background, and clear application John Nolland created one of the best commentaries in a series. Plus, the Word Biblical Commentary has both New Testament series and Old Testament series, so you can develop a holistic view of Scripture. 

Pros: 

  • Options for continued reading through a series
  • Simple and Clear

Cons:

  • Pastors might not find it “in-depth” enough

Great for Teachers: Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke by François Bovon

Bovon created an incredible resource for an undergraduate student and teachers in his commentary Luke 1. Luke 1 highlights the historical and critical analysis of the book of Luke.

If you are a teacher or preacher, this might be a great tool to use. Bovon is praised for his judicial approach to the text. He brings a great deal of insight to each section. 

Beyond that, the commentary is split into 3 volumes. These 3 volumes allow Bovon to have enough time with each section to accurately break down the text. 

Reviews sang the praises of this commentary. Many even declared it one of the best commentaries that they have read. 

Pros:

  • Judicial approach to the text
  • Great historical analysis

Cons:

  • Multiple Volumes 

Great Additional Commentary: Luke (3) by David E. Garland

If you have just started out in commentaries, but you want something more in-depth, David Garland’s, Luke is an incredible resource. It delivers on what a commentary should be, an explanation and furthering of the message of the text. 

Garland does an exceptional job of providing analysis for the book of Luke. Some negative reviews for this edition do suggest that Garland’s commentary is similar to other commentaries. 

That is why I suggest starting with this one if you haven’t read any commentaries yet. It is a great introduction to the world of commentaries and will give you everything you need to understand the Gospel of Luke

Pros:

  • Reliable
  • Well connected

Cons: 

  • Can be Derivative of other commentaries

Bonus Commentary: Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture Robert E. Stein 

Robert E. Stein developed a great commentary on the book of Luke. It gives a glimpse into the Greek world through Greek words that aim to communicate the truth of scripture. 

Many rave about it’s usefulness in Bible study and pastoral aid. However, others worry about some comments made by Stein in the book. Stein questions whether or not the author fabricated some of the events throughout the book. 

This can create a theological issue when applying it to the rest of scripture. Stein approaches the book of Luke as a historical document, rather than an official writing of God. That does not mean Stein does not view it as holy, but it does mean that his observation of the text does not come from a spiritual side, but an analytical side. 

For many Christians, textual criticism must come with an understanding that the Holy Spirit has ordained the scriptures that are being read. 

Pros:

  • Great tool for Bible study

Cons:

  • Some question-specific ideas communicated in the commentary

Another Alternative: The Gospel of Luke by D.A. Carson

Another great alternative resource for Bible study and the Gospel of Luke is D.A. Carson’s The Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke gives an in-depth analysis of the major themes and moments in the book of Luke. 

The only reason it falls down this list is it’s newness. It has not had the time test. Many of the other books on this list are tried and true classics of Christian commentary. D.A. Carson’s only came out 11 years ago. Although that does not deduct from the effort put in, it does mean there has not been enough time for audiences to agree whether it is shelf-worthy. 

All current reviews point to this commentary being an excellent resource for Pastors, seminary students, and Christians. The core themes and ideas that Carson communicates are accurate with scripture and are helpful to understanding the holistic meaning of the Gospel. 

Pros:

  • Newer Commentary 
  • Does everything a commentary should

Cons:

  • Too new to determine its stain power.  

Major Features of the Book of Luke

The Gospel of Luke is oftentimes one of the first books that new Christians are encouraged to read. It is one of the synoptic Gospels that follows the story of the other synoptic gospels. 

It is the best place to start because it has stories like, the birth of Jesus, the story of the prodigal son, and more. As a book of the Bible, it is a great place to start, however, sometimes, we forget to revisit this spiritually dense book. 

These commentaries can help you incover the deeper meanings of the scriptures that are written in the book of Luke. All of these commentaries are great, but if we could only choose a couple, we’d choose Baker’s and Marshalls. Combining these two commentaries can create a better understanding of the main character, Jesus. They can help us to develop an understanding of the theological message of Luke, and to help us walk out our faith better! The third Gospel is a great one to study in depth. 

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