Saturday, December 2, 2017

Best Commentaries: Reviews and ratings of Biblical, theological, and practical Christian works

Best Commentaries: Reviews and ratings of Biblical, theological, and practical Christian works
As Qoheleth put it so long ago:
The writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. (Ecc. 12:12)
And this has led to most common question I heard in seminary:
What's the best commentary on Mark (or Genesis or 1 John...)?
Some professors give student their own lists and some have even published their list (notably D. A. Carson, Tremper Longman, III, John Glynn, and Jim Rosscup), but these are not available in one place. has collected these scholarly reviews and averaged them along with reviews from other ministries like John Piper's Desiring God Ministries, R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries, and the Denver Seminary Journal as well as users of the site. The individual reviews are still extremely valuable, but together they can help ible students at all levels to make good, informed decisions about which commentaries they should purchase.
Of course, scores and ratings alone cannot determine the best choices for an individual pastor or student, but we hope the combined resources available through this site points them in the right direction.

Scoring Method

A numerical rating can never fully capture the value of a work. It is only included here as a guide to help students of the Scriptures know where to start.
The scoring algorithm is currently under development. Here are some of the criteria:
  • Average rating - ratings from users and journals are the starting point.
  • Total number of reviews - the more reviews a book receives and the more reviews submitted by a reviewer, the weight of those reviews will increase.
  • Internal modifier - for some reviewers, a behind-the-scenes modifier may be added that will give their reviews more or less weight. The reason for this is to be able to give more weight to credible academic sources that may not have many reviews.
  • Libraries - libraries are curated lists of books and being included in a library increases a book's overall rating
Right now the algorithm looks something like this:
score = (weighted average) + (# of times in a library / 10) + (# of overall reviews / 10).
The highest rated commentary in the entire database is currently Carson, Donald A. The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Eerdmans, 1990. with a computed score of 14.91. This score is converted to a 100 and then all other commentaries are averaged down from this work on a scale of 60-100.

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