The bottom line: A concrete general reference that provides a broad overview of the Bible’s books and its general themes.
The HarperCollins Bible Commentary covers all of the Old Testament and the New Testament as well as the books of the Apocrypha.
In addition to the commentaries on the individual books of the Bible, there are general essays that locate the books within their particular context (e.g., sociological, historical, cultural, and literary). This adds several degrees of depth that facilitates understanding what the text “really means.”
Generally speaking, individual commentaries are written by different authors, many of whom have written separate full-length commentaries. Hence, the reader is given a “highlight reel” of condensed analysis in this volume. Readers will also benefit from a cross-analysis of different themes as they apply between different books, a benefit rarely seen in single-book commentaries. From this emerges a common thread that can be seen to bind the Bible’s books together.
It goes without saying that when assessing Bible commentaries there is a large degree of subjectivity and personal preference contingent upon what you’re looking for. This commentary isn’t biased in any particular direction and has something for everyone. So, for example, regardless of your denominational affiliation, or if you’re largely concerned with historical or sociological concerns, this commentary covers all the bases. Of course, in putting together a commentary for the entire Bible, breadth will invariably be favored over depth.
Accordingly, the HarperCollins Bible Commentary should not be purchased as a one-stop final solution to suite your needs but as a supplemental reference to guide you in the right direction.
I have been using this book in my sermon and lesson prep for quite some time and in my opinion this truly is a valuable, treasured resource.