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Daniel Rodriguez
Daniel Rodriguez

The Epistles To The Colossians And To Philemon:...


An evangelical student or pastor deciding on a commentary on Colossians would find Bruce a worthy candidate for his choice; on Ephesians there is simply no competitor, at this level, worth mentioning. As a single volume on the three epistles together it is of outstanding value.




The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon:...


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J.B. Lightfoot's classic commentary on the Greek versions of letters of Colossians and Philemon. Contains extensive verse-by-verse exegetical commentary, as well as dissertations on the history and setting of the epistles, the Colossian Heresy, various versions and major variant readings, the Epistle from Laodicea, and several articles on the Essenes.


During the first generation after Jesus, Paul's epistles to various churches helped establish early Christian theology. According to Bruce Metzger, it was written in the 60s while Paul was in prison. Colossians is similar to Ephesians, also written at this time.[6] Some critical scholars have ascribed the epistle to an early follower of Paul, writing as Paul. The epistle's description of Christ as pre-eminent over creation marks it, for some scholars, as representing an advanced christology not present during Paul's lifetime.[7] Defenders of Pauline authorship cite the work's similarities to the letter to Philemon, which is broadly accepted as authentic.[3]


However, as with several epistles attributed to Paul, critical scholarship disputes this claim.[10] One ground is that the epistle's language doesn't seem to match Paul's, with 48 words appearing in Colossians that are found nowhere else in his writings and 33 of which occur nowhere else in the New Testament.[11] A second ground is that the epistle features a strong use of liturgical-hymnic style which appears nowhere else in Paul's work to the same extent.[12] A third is that the epistle's themes related to Christ, eschatology and the church seem to have no parallel in Paul's undisputed works.[13]


Colossians is often categorized as one of the "prison epistles", along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon. Colossians has some close parallels with the letter to Philemon: names of some of the same people (e.g., Timothy, Aristarchus, Archippus, Mark, Epaphras, Luke, Onesimus, and Demas) appear in both epistles, and both are claimed to be written by Paul.[40]


The Prison Epistles were all written at about the same time. They were also written to congregations or individuals in the same area. Therefore, they are alike in many ways. Tychicus, Paul's companion, was the bearer of the epistles of Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7, 8). Ephesians and Colossians are called "twin epistles" because they are so much alike. About one half of the verses in Ephesians are also found in Colossians in very similar language.


From the depths of a Roman prison, words of encouragement and instruction from the great Apostle Paul were sent in a series of letters to communities throughout the Roman Empire. St. Paul may have been fettered and shackled to a series of Roman guards, but the Word he preached remained unfettered and free. This volume contains commentaries on the epistles that St. Paul wrote while in prison to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon.


TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING: Colossians is one of Paul's four "prison epistles" (Col 4:18; cf. Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon). The general consensus is that these epistles were written during Paul's imprisonment at Rome (cf. Ac 28:16,30-31). If such is truly the case, then Paul wrote Colossians around 61-63 A.D. from Rome. The indication is that the epistles to the Colossians, Philemon and the Ephesians were carried to their destination by Tychicus and Onesimus (cf. Col 4:7-9; Phile 10-12; Ep 6:21-22).


Several ancient texts purporting to be the missing "Epistle to the Laodiceans" have been known to have existed, most of which are now lost. These were generally considered, both in antiquity and by modern scholarship, to be attempts to supply a forged copy of a lost document.[2] The sole version that survived is a Latin Epistola ad Laodicenses ("Epistle to the Laodiceans"), first witnessed in Codex Fuldensis. The Latin epistle is actually a short compilation of verses from other Pauline epistles, principally Philippians. It too is generally considered a "clumsy forgery" and an attempt to seek to fill the "gap" suggested by Colossians 4:16.[3]


Paul, the earliest known Christian author, wrote several letters (or epistles) in Greek to various churches. Paul apparently dictated all his epistles through a secretary (or amanuensis), but wrote the final few paragraphs of each letter by his own hand.[4][5] Many survived and are included in the New Testament, but others are known to have been lost. The Epistle to the Colossians states "After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea."[6] The last words can be interpreted as "letter written to the Laodiceans", but also "letter written from Laodicea". The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translates this verse in the latter manner, and translations in other languages such as the Dutch Statenvertaling translate it likewise: "When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter (that is coming) from Laodicea."[7][8] Those who read here "letter written to the Laodiceans" presume that, at the time that the Epistle to the Colossians was written, Paul also had written an epistle to the community of believers in Laodicea.[9] 041b061a72