Commentaries on Ecclesiastes

On this page you will find Bible commentaries on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Ecclesiastes 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. See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.

Top Reviewed Commentaries on Ecclesiastes



The Book of Ecclesiastes (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Tremper Longman III


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Ecclesiastes

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Ecclesiastes, “Like many, Longman argues that the monologue by Qohelet (the main speaker in the book) is framed by the words of a narrator.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “All of the NICOT volumes combine superior scholarship, an evangelical view of Scripture as the Word of God, and concern for the life of faith today. Each volume features an extensive introduction treating the biblical book’s authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. The author’s own translation of the original Hebrew and verse-by-verse commentary follow. The commentary itself carefully balances coverage of technical matters with exposition of the biblical text’s theology and implications.” See more about the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series.



Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (New International Version Application Commentary) by Iain Provan


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “one of the most interesting commentaries…the theme of the book proclaims that true love resists coerced legal love”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Ecclesiastes, “Provan offers helpful insight into the meaning of the book and its relevance today. This work will prove especially helpful to preachers.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.



The Message of Ecclesiastes (The Bible Speaks Today) by Derek Kidner


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: “well written and sensible…shows application to life as well”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Ecclesiastes, “It is a popular level work, accessible to any reader, yet it still contains profound insight and application. Highly recommended.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: 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.”



Ecclesiastes (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) by Michael A. Eaton


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Ecclesiastes, “Eaton views Ecclesiastes as an apologetic essay. It defends the life of faith in God by detailing how terrible the alternative is.”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “The most helpful of the evangelical commentaries.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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.”



Ecclesiastes (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) by Craig G. Bartholomew


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “excellent commentary, especially strong in history of interpretation and biblical theology”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Respected Old Testament scholar Craig Bartholomew, coauthor of the well-received Drama of Scripture, provides a careful exegetical reading of Ecclesiastes in this addition to the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series. Along with helpful translation and commentary, Ecclesiastes considers the theological implications of the text and its literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions. Footnotes deal with many of the technical matters, allowing readers of varying levels of interest and training to read and profit from the commentary and to engage the biblical text at an appropriate level. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find here an accessible commentary that will serve as an excellent resource for their study.”



Ecclesiastes (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary) by Peter Enns


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4.5 out 5 stars, “Enns carefully and insightfully interprets the book and shows its immense relevance”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Two features distinguish The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary series: theological exegesis and theological reflection…The result is a paragraph-by-paragraph engagement with the text that is deliberately theological in focus.”



Ecclesiastes and Song Of Solomon (The Preacher’s Commentary) by David A. Hubbard


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Ecclesiastes, “Between Hubbard and Provan, preachers should be able to help their people understand more clearly this difficult portion of God’s inerrant Word.”

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New King James Bible has been chosen for the Preacher’s Commentary because it combines with integrity the beauty of language, underlying Hebrew and Greek textual basis, and thought-flow of the 1611 King James Version…Readers who are more comfortable with another translation can readily find the parallel passage by means of the chapter and verse reference at the end of each passage being exposited. The paragraphs of exposition combine fresh insights to the Scripture, application, rich illustrative material, and innovative ways of utilizing the vibrant truth for his or her own life and for the challenge of communicating it with vigor and vitality.”



A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Rereading of Ecclesiastes by Michael V. Fox


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “Fox’s idea of Ecclesiastes as a framed monologue is very provocative”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Pervaded as it is with pessimism, paradox, and a multitude of contradictions, Ecclesiastes has long been one of the most difficult books of the Bible to understand. As this study demonstrates, however, it is precisely these contradictions that make Ecclesiastes so meaningful and so powerfully relevant to life in the world. By looking carefully at the language and thought of Ecclesiastes, as well as at its uses of contradictions in probing the meaning of life, Fox confronts the problems that have confounded interpretation of this biblical book. He shows that by using contradiction to tear down holistic claims of meaning and purpose in the world and rebuilding meaning in a local, restricted sense instead, the author of Ecclesiastes shapes a bold, honest-and ultimately uplifting-vision of life. Based on solid scholarly insight yet readable by all, Fox’s work provides some of the best commentary available on this challenging section of Scripture.”



Ecclesiastes (The JPS Torah Commentary) by Michael Fox


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “contains a helpful history of interpretation”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The JPS Torah Commentary series guides readers through the words and ideas of the Torah. Each volume is the work of a scholar who stands at the pinnacle of his field. Every page contains the complete traditional Hebrew text, with cantillation notes, the JPS translation of the Holy Scriptures, aliyot breaks, Masoretic notes, and commentary by a distinguished Hebrew Bible scholar, integrating classical and modern sources. Each volume also contains supplementary essays that elaborate upon key words and themes, a glossary of commentators and sources, extensive bibliographic notes, and maps.”



Ecclesiastes (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Choon-Leong Seow


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “readable yet scholarly…the theological notes are often insightful”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

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.”



Ecclesiastes (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition) by Jerry E. Shepherd


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out 5 stars, “helpful short commentary on the book…very readable”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written primarily by expositors for expositors…its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible…the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical – namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.”



More Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Ecclesiastes (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Douglas Sean O’Donnell


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

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.” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.



Ecclesiastes (Preaching the Word) by Philip Graham Ryken


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.”



Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs (Teach the Text Commentary Series) by Edward M. Curtis


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: The Teach the Text series utilizes “the best of biblical scholarship” and provides “the information a pastor needs to communicate the text effectively. By keeping the discussion of each carefully selected preaching unit to six pages of focused commentary, the volumes in this series allow pastors to quickly grasp the big idea and key themes of each passage of Scripture. The text and its meaning are made clear, and sections dedicated to effectively teaching and illustrating the text help pastors prepare to preach.”



Ecclesiastes (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by William P. Brown


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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.”



Ecclesiastes (Christ-Centered Exposition) by Daniel L. Akin,‎ Jonathan Akin, and‎ Tony Merida


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

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



Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (New American Commentary) by Duane A. Garrett


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New American Commentary is introduced to bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This new series has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.”



Ecclesiastes (Abingdon Old Testament Commentary) by Julie Ann Duncan


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries series offers compact, critical commentaries on all the books of the Old Testament. In addition to providing fundamental information on and insights into Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical exegesis so as to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed engagement of the biblical texts themselves. These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theology students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders.”



Ecclesiastes (Focus on the Bible) by William D. Barrick


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “These commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.”



Ecclesiastes (A Mentor Commentary) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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



Ecclesiastes (Word Biblical Commentary) by Roland Murphy


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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.”



Ecclesiastes (The Old Testament Library) by James L. Crenshaw


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.”



Ecclesiastes (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) by Daniel C. Fredericks


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Apollos Old Testament Commentary (AOTC) aims to take with equal seriousness the divine and human aspects of Scripture. It expounds the books of the Old Testament in a scholarly manner accessible to non-experts, and it shows the relevance of the Old Testament to modern readers. Written by an international team of scholars and edited by David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, these commentaries are intended to serve the needs of those who preach from the Old Testament, as well as scholars and all serious students of the Bible.”



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



Ecclesiastes (Geneva Series of Commentaries) by Charles Bridges


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Charles Bridges’ commentary on Ecclesiastes shows that this neglected book of Scripture is relevant for today. Our land needs to be awakened to the futility of seeking happiness without God.”


Also see:

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