Commentaries on the Book of Genesis are ten-a-penny. But some of them are too concerned with ANE parallels that they forget to teach the Book itself. Some are over speculative, while others too critical and unbelieving. The pastor who wants to get at the meat without spitting out too many bones might do worse than study the following:
1. Kenneth A. Mathews (NAC) – These two volumes are the best thing I have read on the text of Genesis. They are up to date, readable, and conservative. The writer pays attention to the NT uses and deals fairly with the literature. The book has a refreshing quality about it that makes it interesting to read.
2. Gordon J. Wenham (WBC) – This is the one most commentary lists will put first for Genesis, and with good reason. It is written by an expert, and it is clear that he is at home in the details. The style is terse and clear. Some critical stances bring this two volume work down a notch to second spot.
3. Victor Hamilton (NICOT) – Another two volume work at about the same level as Mathews and Wenham. I like Mathews better on the first chapters, but this is an excellent commentary. It provides a lot of background and linguistic material.
4. H. C. Leupold – Leupold’s work is older and more conservative than the above works. His comments are theologically sound and he is quite entertaining when he fences with the liberals. He makes a good complement to the three commentaries already mentioned.
5. G. C. Aalders – Quite hard to find, these volumes by a top Dutch OT scholar of the mid-Twentieth century are thought-provoking and theologically rich.
6. John D. Currid – Conservative and easy to read, but with plenty of solid teaching and good insights. If one is busy, this would be an excellent place to go to. I prefer it over the similar fine study by Kidner.
7. Allen P. Ross – Called “Creation & Blessing” this is an excellent contribution to Genesis, especially for the preacher. An additional plus is that it’s premillennial.
8. Philip Eveson – A really fine commentary by a Welsh evangelical scholar. Although absorbed a bit with covenant theology, the author’s sensitivity to the text makes it a meaty exposition.
9. W. H. Griffith Thomas – I realize that I should fill up this list with names like Brueggemann (liberal) and Hartley (evangelical), but I think this is a superb book for the busy preacher. It makes the student ask the right questions, and its character studies are rich.
10. Robert S. Candlish – Amid the howls of disappointment for Waltke’s absence I stand by this choice. Scholars like Longman don’t think much of it, but these “Studies in Genesis” are a great boon to the thinking pastor. Aside from the first chapter which promotes the Gap Theory, these lectures are very helpful for worldview thinking for the person who knows how to use them.
Good follow-ups include the great little work by Derek Kidner (TOTC) and the impressive one by John Hartley (NIBC). Waltke is good of course, but I was a bit disappointed with it. Henry Morris’s “The Genesis Record” is unique in its way and shouldn’t be ignored. He relies a lot on Leupold. John Calvin is certainly worthy of honorable mention, as is Andrew Fuller. Duane Garrett’s introduction “Reading Genesis” is very helpful.