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Colossians & Philemon

Author: Marianne Meye Thompson
Published By: Eerdmans (Grand Rapids/Cambridge)
Pages: 287
Price: £11.99
ISBN: 0 8028 2715 2

Reviewed by Alun Brookfield.

This commentary by the Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary is a further addition to The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary series. The two horizons in question are those of biblical studies and systematic theology which this series of commentaries attempts to bridge.

Like the other volume in this series also reviewed in this edition of Ministry Today, I warmly commend the narrative style of writing and the avoidance of glib headings for each section of the scriptures under consideration. These two factors combine to make the commentary highly readable while allowing the biblical text to speak for itself within its own terms and context.

Sadly it also shares with its companion volume the weakness that the text is small and uses a rather old-fashioned font.

In compensation, the bibliography is excellent, as are the indices.

This is a commentary for preachers, being long on exegesis and short on attention to the kind of microscopic detail loved by some commentators.  The author is clear in her understanding that the precise terminology used by the writer of Colossians is carefully chosen to refute the false teaching which was undermining the church at Colossae. In Philemon she addresses head-on the 21st century issue of Paul’s apparent condoning of slavery, and rebuts the accusation with formidable grace.

As with its companion volume, this is a valuable addition to any preacher’s bookshelf, entirely commendable in its efforts to exegete Scripture through theological spectacles. And at a price of £11.99, it is highly affordable.

Alun Brookfield

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You are reading Issue 38 of Ministry Today, published in November 2006.

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