When it comes to pastoring, some of the most popular resources are in the area of leadership and other practical ministry tools. But I would suggest that pastors, especially those just beginning their ministry, work toward building their commentary library.
Preaching and leading Bible studies are key activities for pastors. While some pastors feel comfortable just with their Bible and their own interpretation, I believe it is good to let other voices into the conversation. Commentaries are also helpful for filling in the historical and cultural context.
Pastors should know that not all commentaries are the same. Some are aimed at devotional reading, others for pastors and others for academic research. It is probably good to have good variety, but spend less time with the devotional commentaries.
Collecting commentaries can be expensive and so pastors should be strategic in their collecting. Pick a few areas to focus on. Don’t feel the pressure to get multiple commentaries on every book of the Bible. Try some from different perspectives, to stretch your understanding.
Here are some suggestions of what to consider. If you are looking for an affordable set on the entire Bible, I recommend the Expositor’s Bible Commentary. This commentary does not go as deep as you might want but it is a good place to start and I still use mine.
Another commentary set that I have come to appreciate is the NIV Application Commentary. In addition to giving an interpretation of the original text, the author wrestles with the application of the text. This gives the preacher plenty of material to work with.
What commentary sets have you found most helpful as a pastor?