Colossians & Philemon (BECNT) by G.K. Beale

book col phi bec

Veteran commentator G. K. Beale strikes gold in this commentary on Colossians and Philemon in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) series. From the onset, Beale explains that he hopes to make a distinct contribution to Old Testament allusions in Colossians (Philemon has too few to really qualify). Strangely enough, though he handles those allusions with care and thoughtfulness, it is the exegesis itself that compels me to rate it highly. The well-reasoned conservative conclusions, the passion for Scripture, and the guidance offered throughout are what most stands out in this newly released commentary. He will tell you what other scholars have thought yet has a knack for interacting without endlessly droning on. At 500 pages it is not as bulky as some of the modern exegetical commentaries but it still delivers everything that you’re looking for regarding exegesis. Scholars will be quoting it in the future while pastors can use it practically for real help with the text.

His introduction to Colossians first addresses authorship. As you are probably aware, a certain segment of scholarship has been attempting to take Colossians away from Paul for many years. I loved how Beale fairly addresses the arguments for all non-Pauline positions while knocking the props out from under them with the skill that only a seasoned commentator could muster. To my mind, he could be a template for any of the Pauline epistles that are questioned or attributed to pseudonymity.  Next, he well explains the background both of the letter and its historical setting. He proves that he is, in fact, going to be dedicated to working out all the Old Testament allusions to be found in the letter. He mentions the relationship of Colossians to Ephesians and provides a detailed outline of the book. Perhaps the weakest aspect of this introduction is that of structure. Pretty much he just shares the divisions that some other prominent scholars propose.

The commentary itself is excellent. Again, there’s real help on every passage. Just in case you’re not as interested in his beloved Old Testament allusions as he is, he kindly provides those as additional notes at the end of every section.  I checked several passages that I had either studied a great deal or knew might be controversial and really appreciated his contributions.

Though I preferred his Colossians to his Philemon, he did offer some real help both in the short introduction and commentary on Philemon.

This commentary immediately becomes a Top-3 commentary for what’s available today on Colossians and Philemon.

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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