And figuring out how to convey all the information in an attractive, intuitive, accessible way is no easy task.
Off the top of my head, I’d say that the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is one of the most successful—a great example of how important excellent typesetting can be in making a commentary successful.
The worst format has to be the Word Commentary series. I believe it was Don Carson who said that the layout alone is an opportunity for sanctification!
I now think that the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament is probably the best in terms of creative typesetting and a well thought-through approach for making available the kinds of materials that pastors in particular need in preparing messages. The format it clean and attractive and useful. Especially helpful is the use of Greek instead of transliteration, the sentence flows that look at the logical relationships between the clauses and propositions, and the application section at the end. It’s just the sort of thing I’m looking for when studying a passage, a chapter, or a book.
I’ve been dipping into Grant Osborne’s new volume in the series on Matthew, and I like it a lot.
You can read his entry on the 1:17 of Matthew to get a feel for the format.