Commentaries on Philippians

On this page you will find Bible commentaries on the New Testament book of Philippians. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Philippians that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the text, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more.

Top Reviewed Commentaries on Philippians



The Epistle to the Philippians (NIGTC) by Peter O’Brien


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Philippians, “the best technical commentary on the Greek…theologically rich”

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “technical but enormously useful”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Philippians; “the best commentary on the epistle to the Philippians,” “very highly recommended”

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “At a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGNT will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament… the volumes of the NIGNT are for students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary… the supreme aim of this series is to serve those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word of God and thus glorify God’s name.”



Philippians (WBC) by Gerald F. Hawthorne and Ralph P. Martin


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “helpful Greek exegesis”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

D.A. Carson: “equally accessible to students and pastors”

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Philippians; “for those who would like to consult another resource after checking O’Brien and/or Silva”

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology.”



Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (NICNT) by Gordon Fee


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a clear and excellent commentary”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

D.A. Carson: “the zest of his prose makes him exciting to read”

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written for scholars, pastors, and lay readers alike…undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.”



Philippians (NIVAC) by Frank Thielman


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “outstanding exposition for pastors”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Philippians; “useful in the preparation of sermons and lessons”

D.A. Carson: “one of the more substantive entries in the series”

Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.”



Philippians (BECNT) by Moises Silva


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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians; “the commentary is excellent…he is not so much trying to master the text as to be mastered by it”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “insightful brief exposition”

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Philippians; “less technical, yet still very thorough”

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the Publisher: “The chief concern of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) is to provide, within the framework of informed evangelical thought, commentaries that blend scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness. We hope thereby to attract the interest of a fairly wide audience, from the scholar who is looking for a thoughtful and independent examination of the text to the motivated lay Christian who craves a solid but accessible exposition.”



The Epistle to Philippians (BNTC) by Markus Bockmuehl


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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Philippians; “very good…he is as able to wrestle with theological issues as with historical matters”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a helpful exposition”

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Black’s New Testament Commentary has been hailed by both scholars and pastors for its insightful interpretations and reliable commentary.”



Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary by Ben Witherington III


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: From the publisher: “Using sociorhetorical criticism, the New Testament is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read—the rhetorical method makes use of ancient or classical writings and strategies of communication, while the social science method notes issues of cultures and customs.”



The Letter to the Philippians (PNTC) by G. Walter Hansen


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Designed for serious pastors and teachers of the Bible, the Pillar commentaries seek above all to make clear the text of Scripture as we have it…[the authors’] ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.”



The Message of Philippians (BST) by J.A. Motyer


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Philippians; “his love for the word of God and for God who gave His word always shines”

Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: The “the three distinctives of The Bible Speaks Today series are (1) “BST authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.”



Philippians (Story of God) by Lynn H. Cohick


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Philippians

Best for: Anyone

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Story of God Bible Commentary is a new commentary for today’s world. It’s the first commentary series to explain and illuminate each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. This “story-centric” approach makes SGBC a fruitful resource for pastors, students, Sunday school teachers, and everyday readers.”



Philippians (REC) by Dennis E. Johnson


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Reviews and Accolades:

World Magazine: 2017 “Series of the Year”

Best for: Anyone

Purpose: The REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical…Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal…Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical…Fourth, these commentaries are practical…” All authors are “pastor-scholars.”



More Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (For Everyone) by N.T. Wright


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Best for: Anyone

Purpose: From the publisher: “N.T. ‘Tom’ Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the end of each volume.”



Philippians (Interpretation) by Fred Craddock


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Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible. It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.”



Philippians (CCEC) by Tony Merida and Francis Chan


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Best for: Anyone

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.”



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



Philippians (IVPNTC) by Gordon Fee


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Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues… Preachers, teachers, students and other individuals who want to dig deep into the heart of the New Testament will find an indispensable companion in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series.”



Philippians (TNTC) by Ralph P. Martin


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Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: From the publisher: This series is “designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means…[each commentary] examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.”



Philippians (UBCS) by F.F. Bruce


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Best for: pastors, laypeople with significant biblical and theological knowledge

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated. Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper.”



Philippians (TH) by Stephen E. Fowl


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Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Seeking to bridge the existing gap between biblical studies and systematic theology, this distinctive series offers section-by-section exegesis of the New Testament texts in close conversation with theological concerns. Written by respected scholars, the THNTC volumes aim to help pastors, teachers, and students engage in deliberately theological interpretation of Scripture.”



Philippians (Mentor) by Matthew Harmon


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Best for: pastors, teachers, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “Mentor books are written at a level suitable for Bible College and seminary students, pastors, and other serious readers.”



Exegetical Commentaries



Philippians and Philemon (Paideia) by James W. Thompson and Bruce W. Longenecker


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Best for: pastors trained in the original languages, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “This commentary, like each in the series, approaches each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Each sense unit is explored in three sections: (1) introductory matters, (2) tracing the train of thought, (3) key hermeneutical and theological questions. Graduate and seminary students, professors, and pastors will benefit from this readable commentary, as will theological libraries.”



Philippians (EGGNT) by Joseph H. Hellerman


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Best for: pastors trained in the original languages, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series incorporates the latest in critical biblical scholarship, yet each volume is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective. The authors explore the context and meaning of the biblical books while showing the value and truth of the texts in ancient times and today. These commentaries present historical and literary insights for understanding the text within the Bible’s larger story and applying it to everyday life.”



Technical and Critical Commentaries



Philippians (Hermeneia) by Paul A. Holloway


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Best for: pastors trained in the original languages, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Hermeneia commentary series seeks to offer authoritative interpretation of the earliest texts of the biblical books… The name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work. Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible…The editors of Hermeneia impose no systematic-theological perspective upon the series (directly, or indirectly by selection of authors).”



Philippians (ECC) by Mark Keown


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Best for: pastors trained in the original languages, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series incorporates the latest in critical biblical scholarship, yet each volume is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective. The authors explore the context and meaning of the biblical books while showing the value and truth of the texts in ancient times and today. These commentaries present historical and literary insights for understanding the text within the Bible’s larger story and applying it to everyday life.”



Philippians (Anchor) by John Reumann


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Best for: pastors trained in the original languages, scholars

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Anchor Yale Bible Series, previously the Anchor Bible Series, is a renowned publishing program that for more than 50 years has produced books devoted to the latest scholarship on the Bible and biblical topics.” The series “vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.”



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



Philippians (MNTC) by John MacArthur


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Best for: Anyone

Purpose: From the publisher: “If you’re familiar with John MacArthur’s in-depth Bible teaching, you have an idea of what you’ll find in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary takes you deep into each passage, verse by verse—sometimes word by word. It’s like having a Bible teacher sitting next to you as you study Scripture.”



Philippians by James Montgomery Boice


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Best for: Anyone

Purpose: From the publisher: “James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) was senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also president and cofounder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, the parent organization of The Bible Study Hour on which Boice was a speaker for more than thirty years… Boice has created a unique blend of scripture insight, rich devotional application, and vivid illustration in this commentary.”