Michael Bird’s commentary on Colossians and Philemon pays close attention to the socio-historical context, the flow and dynamics of the text, their argumentative strategy, theological message, and the meaning of Colossians and Philemon for the contemporary church today. Bird situates Colossians in the context of Paul’s Ephesian ministry and describes how Paul attempts to persuade a congregation in the Lycus Valley to remain firm in the Gospel and to grasp the cosmic majesty of Jesus Christ over and against the views of certain Jewish mystics who have thrown the Colossians into confusion. He shows how, in the letter to Philemon, Paul intercedes for a slave estranged from his master through a carefully crafted feat of pastoral persuasion from a missionary friend of Philemon.
This book combines exegetical insight, rhetorical analysis, theological exposition, and practical application all in one short volume. Bird shows Paul at work as a theologian, pastor, and missionary in his letters to the Colossians and Philemon.
Introduction to Colossians and Philemon
Fusing the Horizons: The Global Church
Fusing the Horizons: Christological Assertions
Fusing the Horizons: Common Faith
Excursus: Colossians and the Roman Empire
Fusing the Horizons: Doctrine and Life
Fusing the Horizons: Christian Leaders
Fusing the Horizons: Ministerial Formation
Endorsements and Reviews
Every generation needs to grapple anew with the Bible, and every pastor needs a series that pushes the text into the community and this commentary series accomplishes these tasks.
Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
Michael Bird’s treatment of Colossians and Philemon is incisive, informative, and independent. He guides readers with a light touch, accurately setting out competing positions, but judiciously weighing the merits of each of these alternatives. The commentary is built on a foundation of mature, balanced, and sane exegesis – and from this firm foundation Bird draws weighty theological implications. This is a masterpiece of succinct writing and an auspicious start to the New Covenant Commentary Series.
Paul Foster, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh
Bird’s commentary is readable and informative. Clear translations of Colossians and Philemon assist readers, and Greek words are transliterated. He keeps to the [New Covenant Commentary Series] principle of focusing on larger units and this works will. I particularly liked his use of archaeology, social and historical aspects. Moreover, the relationship between the NT text and current faith communities is well balanced, valuable and engaging.
Robert S. Dutch, in Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Vol 34 (5)