Colossians and Philemon (ZECNT) by David Pao

book colossians

The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ZECNT) series rings the bell again with this fine volume on Colossians and Philemon by David Pao. The more volumes in this series I peruse, the more I like the ZECNT format. The scholarship is conservative and the outlook warmly in sympathy with the biblical text. Pao holds his own with the other great scholarly writers in the series.

The Introduction to Colossians is ideal. He argues beautifully for traditional conclusions while succinctly sharing various viewpoints. Still, he doesn’t let this volume drown in the weirder scholarly drama that we sometimes find in modern exegetical commentaries. He agrees with the long-accepted conclusion that Paul is the author and feels that Rome is the most likely location of the letter’s origin. He describes well the audience in Colossae and explains the circumstances behind the text. He sees both a Jewish legalism and syncretism at play in Colossians. He provides a helpful outline and bibliography.

The commentary on Colossians follows the usual format of discussing literary context, offering up the main idea, diagramming the text, discussing the structure, providing an exegetical outline, followed by substantial commentary on the text along with a section on theology in application. This format really serves up exactly what the pastor needs and is helpful throughout. I found his comments perceptive.

Philemon is given a similar Introduction followed by the same type of commentary format. Though I do not really agree with his rejection of seeing Onesimus as a runaway slave, it’s all still very helpful. I’m more in sympathy with his conclusions on Colossians, but this is still a superb choice for Philemon.

This commentary ranks up there with Douglas Moo  and Peter O’Brien and is newer than either of them. Add to its high rating its economical price and you have a winner here. I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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