Best 14 Ruth Commentaries You Should Start With

By | 2018-02-02T09:40:06+00:00 June 6th, 2017|0 Comments
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The book of Ruth reflects a time of peace between Israel and Moab (contrast Jdg 3:12–30). Like 1Sa 1–2, it gives a series of intimate glimpses into the private lives of the members of an Israelite family. It also presents a delightful account of the remnant of true faith and piety in the period of the judges, relieving an otherwise wholly dark picture of that era.1Source

Ruth shows how God’s people can experience his sovereignty, wisdom, and covenant kindness. These often come in hard circumstances and are expressed through the kindness of others.2Source

Best Commentaries on Ruth Commentaries

Best Ruth Commentaries


The Book of Ruth (New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT)

One of the Bible’s best-known and beloved stories, this important commentary by Robert L. Hubbard Jr. shows how the author of Ruth artfully used the story of Ruth and Naomi to convey important theological themes.

Hubbard discusses the text, canonicity, literary criticism, authorship, date, purpose, setting, genre, legal background, themes, and theology, concluding with an outline of the book and a thorough bibliography.  Taking the best from recent research on Ruth, Hubbard gives the story’s rich literary, grammatical, and theological dimensions a careful, rigorous treatment.

Readers will find this commentary accessible, scholarly and insightful.


Judges, Ruth: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary)

Daniel I. Block – a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois – is the primary author of Judges, Ruth: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary). Highly regarded as a go-to for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound their understanding of the Scriptures, this series is readable and scholarly simultaneously. Key features include: commentary based on the new international version, sound scholarly methodology that reflects research in the original languages, NIV text printed in the body of the commentary, interpretation emphasizing the theological unity of each book, and readable and applicable exposition.


Ruth-Esther (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 9)

Dr. Frederick Bush’s tour-de-force commentary on Ruth and Esther fills a void in Old Testament studies. Before his wise words, Ruth and Esther were among the most neglected books in the canon of Holy Scripture (no early church fathers on Esther and serious contemporary analyses of Ruth and Esther are few).

Bush draws upon recent study to show how the loving loyalty of Ruth, the kindness of Boaz and Naomi, and God’s selfless giving of fruitfulness for field and womb provided a son to reverse the death and void that had afflicted Naomi.

Additionally, Bush deals at length with the challenging question of the role that the social customs of the levirate law and the redemption of the land play in this powerful story. This is a careful linguistic study that sheds new and needed light on these two books.


Esther and Ruth (Reformed Expository Commentary)

Iain M. Duguid, PhD – a professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary – pens Esther and Ruth for the Reformed Expository Commentary.  He asks the main message of the two books: does God help those who help themselves? Duguid’s understanding of the Old Testament, coupled with his ability articulate it in such an accessible manner, makes this commentary a pleasure to read. He’s masterful at drawing implications for believers today from Old Testament passages and his writings on Ruth and Esther add a new dimension to Old Testament understanding.


Judges, Ruth (The NIV Application Commentary)

By K. Lawson Younger, Jr. PhD – a professor of Old Testament, Semitic languages, and ancient near eastern history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois – this volume represents clarity in two ancient and often puzzling texts. It cuts to the chase, bringing this ancient and powerful Word of God into today’s time so that it can he heard and believed with all the freshness and necessity of a new day. Younger works through the books passage by passage and eloquently and soundly demonstrates the timeless relevance of Judges and Ruth. And why are they? Judges, because it reveals a God who employs human deliverers but refuses to ignore their sins; and Ruth, because it demonstrates the cosmic impact of a righteous character.


Judges & Ruth (The Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series)

The premier shorter-length commentary series throughout the English-speaking, the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries presents Judges and Ruth by Arthur E. Cundall and Leon L. Morris.  The duo join forces in this introduction and commentary to the books of Judges and Ruth.  The introduction to each Tyndale volume gives a concise but thorough description of the authorship, date and historical background of the biblical book under consideration. Tyndale commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. Additionally, it comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The original, unrevised text of Judges and Ruth has been completely retypeset and printed in a larger, more attractive format with the beautiful new cover design for the series.


Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth

By Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson – Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia – writes Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth in a very readable and insightful manner.  His heart is on display as he helps those who seek to better understand the Scriptures.

Dr. Ferguson ends his commentary on Ruth with this beautiful quote from Joachim Neander:
“Praise the Lord who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shieldeth thee gently from harm, and when fainting sustaineth,
Hast thou not seen,
How thy heart’s wishes have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?”


The Message of Ruth: The Wings of Refuge (Bible Speaks Today)

The story of Ruth is a story about God’s providence – something David Atkinson demonstrates clearly in his passage-by-passage exposition The Message of Ruth: The Wings of Refuge.  This beautiful addition to the best Ruth commentaries shines a light on the book as a tale of charm and delight.

Atkinson (a retired assistant bishop in Southwark Diocese) presents a great commentary for devotional work.


From Famine to Fullness: The Gospel According to Ruth

Dean R. Ulrich, PhD – pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wexford, Pennsylvania – gives us a read that is part commentary and part devotional in From Famine to Fullness: The Gospel According to Ruth.  Ulrich’s book does a wonderful job of interacting with a diverse range of biblical scholarship in a precise and thoughtful way. This volume is part of the ‘Gospel According to the Old Testament’ series


Judges & Ruth (Focus on the Bible)

Author Stephen Dray shares his thoughts on Judges and Ruth in this Focus on the Bible series.  A short, 100 page read, it highlights the lawless period of the history of Israel between the invasion of Canaan and the establishment of the Monarchy.  The major lesson highlighted is God’s faithfulness to his people even when they turn away in repentance.  A nice addition to the top Ruth commentaries.


Ruth and Esther: God Behind the Seen (Focus on the Bible)

Dr. Barry C. Davis – Associate Professor of Bible and Hebrew at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland Oregon- and A. Boyd Luter team up to tell the tragedy and triumph in the books of Ruth and Esther.

Their unique and fascinating study provides a practical commentary on the lives of two women.  It also shows readers the universal love God has for his people – not only in past history, but in our day as well.  Pastors and teachers of Bible study groups will find this volume from Focus on the Bible to be a rich source of insight into the text and a real inspiration for living.


WCS Judges and Ruth: Even in Darkness (Welwyn Commentary)

As Gordon Keddie – minister of Grace Presbyterian Church in State College, Pennsylvania- shows us in Even in Darkness, the time of the Judges was an evil one. God was rejected by the people of Israel and they rebelled against his laws. However, even in this time of unbelief, God raised up men and women to call his people back to a personal faith in the living God.

As he walks us clearly through the book of Judges and Ruth, Keddie challenges readers to live consistently in their faith and offers a message of hope and victory to those who do.


Ruth (Concordia Commentary)

The book of Ruth tells the story of a destitute foreigner who came to believe in Israel’s God and was welcomed into God s people.  Dr. John R. Wilch – emeritus professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – shares the rich Gospel message of Ruth and its relevance for the church today. Wilch’s international perspective and decades of service as a pastor and professor have given him unique insights into the beautiful message of this often neglected book.


Judges and Ruth (New Cambridge Bible Commentary)

This volume from the New Cambridge Bible Commentary gives life to the world portrayed in the stories in Judges and Ruth. After first establishing a cultural and literary context, author Victor Matthews gives readers an “insider” perspective on the narratives and analyzes each story separately and as a whole.



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