Recommended Resources for Studying I Corinthians

The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.

We are nearing an end to preaching through the book of I Corinthians at Wichita Bible Church, and I have decided to offer my recommendations and/or awards for the best resources for a study of I Corinthians. If you are looking to teach through this book, study it on your own, or simply build your library, here are some books on I Corinthians worth mentioning.

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“The Most Underrated Resource Award”1 Corinthians (Crossway Classics) by Charles Hodge. Even though this commentary is much briefer than the others I used, this was the most pleasant surprise in the bunch. If I had to recommend only one commentary to a member of my congregation, it would be this one. It is concise, accurate and simple.

“The Not As Good As Usual Award”1 Corinthians by John MacArthur. This commentary was written early in his ministry (published in 1984), which may explain the reason it wasn’t your typical MacArthur type of depth and exposition. Really, I could have lives without this commentary until Ch. 12. His explanation of spiritual gifts (Ch. 12, 14) and love (Ch. 13) are worth “the price of admission.”

“The Sound and Steady Award”Barnes Notes: I Corinthians. Albert Barnes is probably one of the most accessible and used commentators in the world. This American theologian from the 1800’s gives another word-by-word commentary on I Corinthians. If you like something to said about every iota, then you will want to read Barnes.

“The ‘Wow, That Was Deep’ Award”Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards. This is not a commentary on the entire book but only on the love chapter of I Corinthians 13. The depth and profundity of Edwards as he mines the treasures of truth in this 13 chapter will keep you mediating well past studying the chapter.

Other Works Worth Mentioning

  • The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) by Gordon D. Fee. While Fee and I do not agree on the subject of miraculous gifts, even on that section in his commentary, he is rigidly exegetical in his comments and conclusions. He is rightly critical of most Charismatic/Pentecostal abuses. Fee is very strong in helping keep the flow and context of each passage and setting it in the larger picture of the book.
  • 1-2 Corinthians by R.C.H Lenski. I continue to be amazed and thankful for Lenski’s ability to be a Greek-driven commentary that anyone who doesn’t know Greek can use. He is a great teacher of the original languages and any Christian can use his technical commentary.
  • Understanding Spiritual Gifts by Robert L. Thomas. This short commentary that only explains Ch. 12-14 is a carefully crafted defense of Cessationism.
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