A commentary is an explanation of a passage or book of the Bible. Because commentaries are written by men, they are not infallible and perfect like the Word itself, but rather are opinions and interpretations of the Scripture. However, they can be very useful.
Of course, it is important to know the author. A Catholic or LDS commentator would not prove helpful to us as Bible-believing Christians. But a fundamentally sound, conservative preacher, pastor, professor, or other Bible scholar can explain many things from God’s Word for us. Their education and experience give them insights that we might not have on our own. Simply an understanding of Greek and Hebrew gives them an advantage in interpreting and applying the Bible.
To use a commentary, choose a commentator whom you trust. Some of the commentators that I have found helpful are Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, J Vernon McGee, Warren Wiersbe, and John MacArthur. Your husband or pastor will likely have some good suggestions for you.
After you have read your chosen Bible passage and done your best to decipher all that God is communicating through it, then read the commentator’s notes on that same passage. More often than not, the main idea you have gotten from the text will be reiterated there, but he may say it in a way that settles the matter in your mind more firmly. Occasionally, the writer will offer a different perspective. He may shed light on something you missed or did not fully understand.
He may make applications that you hadn’t thought of. In any case, you will have new ideas to think on, pray about, and study further.
Using commentaries in your Bible study time will further your understanding of God’s Word and help you be able to express that understanding more clearly as you share Him with others.