Last week we shared four strategies on how to select commentaries generally. We briefly discussed using the Logos Daily Tips & Tricks Facebook Group, consulting an OT or NT Commentary Survey, Faithlife’s temporary 50% discount on the ten best commentaries on each book of the Bible, and using the phenomenal Lexham Research Commentary as a robust timesaver.
In today’s blog, we will dive into a bit more detail and give you three additional tips AND a time and money-saving bonus!
Are you looking for Part 1 of 2 in this series? Read it here.
Tip #1: Think About What Type Of Commentary You Need
Commentaries are written for different audiences and with different purposes in mind. So, when looking for a good commentary on a particular book of the Bible, it is good to ask yourself a few questions:
- Why do you need a commentary? To study the original meaning of the text? To learn more about the historical context of the passage? To help you analyze the flow of the argument throughout the book? For your own devotional life? For teaching? For preaching? To seek suggestions on how to apply the Biblical text?
- What type of commentary do you need? Do you prefer a critical commentary or rather a conservative commentary? Would you appreciate a commentary from a particular denominational tradition, or does that not really matter?
- What should the focus be of your commentary? Is the focus of your study on explaining the original meaning of the text, on literary analysis of a passage, on theological reflection, or on applying the text to people’s personal lives?
- What level of thoroughness do you expect from the commentary? Should it provide an in-depth discussion of the original languages? Can it be technical but without reference to the original languages? Would you instead prefer an intermediate commentary? Or would a general commentary at the level of a layman suffice?
Questions like these will help you narrow down the myriad options in choosing a Bible commentary.
Tip #2: Select Commentaries as Individual Volumes Rather Than Series
Many commentaries are published as part of a series. This can be misleading as a series title may suggest consistency that is not always there. For example, all volumes in the NIVAC series strongly focus on application, and Bauckham’s commentary on 2 Peter and Jude in the WBC series is probably the best technical commentary on these books. But that does not make all volumes in those series equally valuable. Sometimes the quality of individual volumes within one particular series varies highly. From that perspective, it is often much better to pick individual high-ranking volumes from different series than to purchase a single whole series. If you buy one top commentary for each book of the Bible, you will be better off than if you buy one whole series with volumes of widely varying quality.
When I started building my exegetical library, instead of purchasing whole series of Bible commentaries, I decided to buy for each book of the Bible at least one or two top commentaries on that book. I have never regretted this decision. And whenever I dive into a Bible book more thoroughly, I look for a few more top commentaries on that book to buy.
And top-quality commentaries don’t need to be expensive. Here is where Faithlife comes alongside: they temporarily offer a fantastic 50% discount on precisely the best top-ranking commentaries on each book of the Bible! That doesn’t only save you a lot of money in your wallet but also a lot of time in your busy schedule.
Tip #3: If You Buy A Series, Buy Them At A Huge Discount
If you can afford it, purchasing complete commentary series might still be worthwhile, especially for those who study the Bible for professional purposes. People often don’t realize that it is often possible for Logos Bible Software users to purchase commentary series at extreme discounts. Sometimes these discounts are publicly advertised by Faithlife, but they are often quite hidden. Let me, therefore, reveal a few strategies to find the biggest deals on top-ranking commentary series:
- A Commentary series is always the cheapest if you purchase them as part of a package.
If you look at a particular Logos Base Package, you can scroll down until you see the Library Resources included in the package. Each package has a section that displays all Biblical Commentaries that are included. Those commentaries often make up a large part of the value of the package. For example, the Logos 9 Gold Library contains the New American Commentary (NAC), the Pillar NT Commentary, and the Cornerstone Biblical Commentaries, whose value together is already more than the price of the whole library!
- Always check if your desired commentary is part of a larger collection.
This sounds like you have to pay more for that more extensive collection, but this is often not the case! When you check out any resource (including commentaries), always scroll through the product page to see if you see a section called “This title is included in the following collections.” For example, the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series (SRC) is by default on sale for $247. However, the section “This title is included …” shows that alternatively, you can buy the set as part of the Logos 7 Methodist Starter Legacy Library for only $35! That’s a whopping 86% extra discount—no small print, and you get tons of other resources for FREE. Make your own choice: would you rather pay $247 or $35?
- Faithlife does not always advertise their deals!
The International Critical Commentary (ICC) is by default discounted by 31% to a price of $1799. That discount might already sound incredible, but it is still a lot of money. The product page does not say that the series is included in another package, but … let me tell you that the whole ICC (minus 1 volume) is included in the Logos 9 Academic Professional Base Package, which currently goes for $1206 through this link. That is $593 less than the price for the ICC as a separate resource! Do you understand it? I don’t, but it is true: the cheapest way to purchase the ICC is by buying this Logos 9 Academic Professional Base Package, which gives you all other academic top resources in this package for absolutely FREE.
BONUS: Check out this absolute time and money-saver!
Logos does not only offer Logos 9 Libraries (click here for a special extra 10% discount!), but also former packages, which are called Logos Legacy Libraries. These libraries are much cheaper than the newer ones, but they still contain much value, especially for the commentaries that are included! Many people don’t know about them…
I created a public spreadsheet with an overview of all gems hidden in the lower-tier Logos Legacy Libraries. There are about 100+ legacy libraries, and you don’t have the time to go through them all. I did it and am happy to share the results with you. Note that dozens if not hundreds of other resources are also included in those packages! The spreadsheet only highlights the most expensive resources. Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find:
- Socio-Rhetorical Commentary ($247 🡺 $35: Logos 7 SDA Starter)
- Mentor Commentary Series ($296 🡺 $80: Logos 7 Baptist Bronze)
- Cornerstone Biblical Commentary ($490 🡺 $80: Logos 7 Pentecostal Bronze)
- The Bible Speaks Today NT + IVP Bible Background Commentary + IVP NT Commentary + Feasting on the Word ($639 🡺 $80: Logos 8 Anglican Bronze)
- Lange + SRC + Lenski + Black’s NT Commentary + Calvin + Pillar + NAC + NIGTC + UBS Handbooks ($2987 🡺 $828: Logos 6 Standard Gold)
Again, most Logos users are unaware of the fabulous deals hidden in these Logos Legacy Libraries. And that’s where Logos-Daily comes in to help you get the most value out of Logos Bible Software!
So many commentaries, so many choices. But it doesn’t need to be difficult to choose. I hope this blog gave you some helpful ideas on navigating the multitude of available commentaries.
Lastly, write an email to logos.trainer [@] gmail.com if you are interested in the highest discount on commentaries or Logos Libraries, and tell us what you are looking for. We would be happy to do some research for you and hook you up with the biggest discount possible.
Michel Pauw is a Dutch Wycliffe Bible Translators missionary who works with SIL in Papua New Guinea. He holds an MA in Classics and Teaching from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Michel is an international Logos Bible Software trainer and one of the coaches for Logos Daily. He is also an affiliate of Faithlife, and any revenue through his affiliate links in this blog helps support his volunteer ministry in Papua New Guinea.
If you want to support Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea through your Logos purchases – at no additional cost – feel free to sign up for his monthly newsletter.