Recommended Books for Preaching Philippians

Philippians - Unexpected JoyI just finished preaching through the book of Philippians two Sundays ago, which was the first time that I’ve ever really been able to work my way through an entire book of the Bible. In the end, it took 28 messages delivered over the course of about a year to finish the whole thing up. You can listen to all of the messages on iTunes or through our church’s media player. They start in July 2010 and run through July 2011.

Through my study on Philippians I was able to read through some great commentaries that offered a lot of insight. Here are some of the top commentaries that I used, along with a brief description of each.


MacArthur’s Commentary on Philippians

As with all of MacArthur’s commentaries, this one is based on his preaching and as such it reflects a pastor’s heart. What’s unique about this sermon based commentary is it’s simultaneous exegetical value. It isn’t a replacement for a solid exegetical commentary like the NIGTC, but it does give you a great jumpstart on your exegesis.

"The Message of Philippians" by J.A. Motyer in The Bible Speaks Today series.

This is an excellent commentary on Philippians. It seems to be based on a sermon series, which is really one of it’s strengths because the author provides a tremendous amount of fodder for applications and illustrations. I wasn’t as impressed with the last couple of chapters as I was with the first, but even so I still found enough material in those last chapters to make them worth reading.

Expositors Bible Commentary Series

This is an old stalwart commentary that does a great job of giving you as much relevant information as possible in a short amount of space. It’s one of those commentaries that I simply had to refer to in order to be sure that I wasn’t missing anything.

HD Philippians Commentary in Logos

I pre-ordered this commentary as soon as I heard about it, but sadly it wasn’t ready until I was well over half way done with the series. Nonetheless, I still found a tremendous amount of help here. Much like Motyer’s work, the help wasn’t as much in the exegetical arena as the practical application and the author’s own unique take on the book. The commentary comes with a number of different PowerPoint files that can be used in sermons as well.

Calvin’s Commentary

I didn’t read all the way through Calvin’s Commentary on Philippians, but I did reference it enough to find a lot of value there. The value is found more in some of the random comments that Calvin makes about life and ministry than anything else, although his handling of the text is superb.

The Epistle to the Philippians – NIGTC

While the NIGTC is very lengthy, it also served as one of the strongest authorities for me when it comes to Exegesis. You definitely have to have a working knowledge of the original language in order to benefit from this commentary, but if you do have that training you will ifnd a goldmine of insights there. The work is exhaustive, to say the least, and well reasoned in it’s conclusions.

Philippians – NAC #32

This was a good supplementary work, it wasn’t a primary source for me but I did reference it frequently.

Hendriksen on Philippians

Hendriksen was excellent from an exegetical and expositional standpoint. I found Hendriksen referenced frequently in the other commentaries I read and that was for good reason; he’s pretty much a must read.


As usual, Barclay was a mixed bag. At points he is nothing short of outstanding and at other times you wonder if he had any kind of editorial staff working for him at all. Fortunately, his work was very short so it was easy to discern if he was going to be helpful or not based on the section I was preaching.

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July 20 2011 03:21 pm | Blog

One Response to “Recommended Books for Preaching Philippians”

  1. Shepherd's Notes » Recommended Books for Preaching Philippians « Calvinism « Church Leadership on 20 Jul 2011 at 5:42 pm #

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