Book review: Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Someone recently asked me what I thought of the Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Overall, it’s a good conservative commentary.

Though relatively brief (the 1990 edition is only one volume), the WBC goes a step deeper than today’s Study Bibles like the MSB, ESV, and HCSB which have notes alongside the text. However, it’s certainly not as deep (or expensive) as a more scholarly multi-volume commentary. The WBC is rather dated (originally published in the early 60s) and fairly light on application, but could be a very good starter tool for Bible students and teachers.

Jim Rosscup, in his book Commentaries for Biblical Expositors, says, “Conservative and premillennial scholars here have been experts in their fields. The work contains brief introductions and attempts to give a verse-by-verse exposition, though it does skip over some verses. The treatments vary with the authors, but as a whole it is a fine one-volume commentary for pastors and students to use or give to a layman. Outstanding sections include, for example: Whitcomb on Ezra-Nehemiah-Ester; Culver on Daniel; Ladd on Acts; Harrison on Galatians; Johnson on 1 Corinthians; and Ryrie on Johannine Epistles.”

Below is a description from the book’s introduction:

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary is an entirely new commentary on the whole Bible written and edited by a number of scholars representing a wide cross section of American Protestant Christianity. Within the limits of its more than a million and one-quarter words, it attempts to treat the entire text of the Old and New Testaments on a phrase by phrase basis. In addition, summaries of the major sections of each Biblical book generally appear in the text in connection with the main headings in the outline. Thus, the reader is permitted an overview and a detailed discussion of a passage of Scripture at the same time.

In the commentaries on the various books the writers present the results of their own careful, personal Bible study. But also they have preserved some of the best work of the older commentators and have utilized the insights of contemporary scholarship. While they infuse the whole with a fresh spirit, at the same time they manifest their unflinching belief in the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture…

The basic aim of this volume is to determine the meaning of the text of Scripture. It is therefore, strictly speaking, neither a devotional nor a technical exegetical treatment. It seeks to present the Biblical message in such a way that the serious Bible student will find extensive help within its pages.

If you’re looking for a single-volume commentary on the Bible, then the Wycliffe Bible Commentary may be just for you.


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