Phil has posted a good quote from Brevard Childs on what makes for a good commentary:
- Does the commentator do justice to the coercion of the biblical text, or does the author’s private agenda overshadow the text itself?
- Does the creative imagination of the commentator lead the reader back to the biblical text or away from it?
- Does the interpretation reflect the needed patience and empathy to wrestle with the elements of the Bible that at first seem strange, distant, and even offensive to modern sensibilities?
- Has the commentator learned enough from the history of interpretation to retain a sense of modesty regarding his or her efforts and a critical respect for those who have illuminated the way in the past?