Doug Moo‘s The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon is hot off the press, and I enjoyed spending some time surveying it this morning. It’s another outstanding addition to the Pillar NT Commentary series. (See my review of the PNTC series, which also notes the authors slated for the forthcoming volumes.)
From D. A. Carson’s “Editor’s Preface”
For many years Doug Moo and I served on the same faculty. His move from Trinity to Wheaton, however much a gain for the latter, was a personal loss. Mercifully, we have continued to collaborate on various projects, and he is surely among the two or three scholars with whom I am most happy to work in close association. Readers of this series will already be familiar with his Pillar commentary on James—and that after writing, for another series, what is still the best English-language commentary on Romans.
Colossians and Philemon speak powerfully to many issues in the twenty-first century. What has consumed a great deal of energy in contemporary scholarship on these epistles, however, has often been the construction of plausible “backgrounds” that then determine (I almost said “domesticate”) the interpretation of the documents. These backgrounds are now so plentiful and so diverse that the corresponding interpretations are equally plentiful. One of the many strengths that Dr. Moo brings to this commentary is an ability to evaluate the relative merits of diverse appeals, and even to point out what one cannot know when the evidence is not all that secure—and then to work carefully through the text in an exegetical and theological manner to make clear what the text itself does say. All of this is couched in lucid prose with transparent hints as to the bearing of the biblical texts on today’s church. Anyone who reads through this commentary will emerge with a stronger grasp of what is disclosed in these two letters. I shall not be surprised if it becomes a “standard” among pastors for many years to come. And once again I am deeply indebted to a friend (pp. viii–ix).
From Doug Moo’s “Author’s Preface”
The first book I studied in Greek was Colossians, in a class in New Testament Exegesis at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1972. . . .
I dedicate this book to Murray J. Harris. He was my professor for that 1972 Colossians class, and his teaching in that class, elaborated and put into written form in his very useful exegetical commentary, has been foundational to my own thinking about Colossians. But he has taught me even more by his example as a scholar and a Christian gentleman. I am grateful to have studied under him and to have served with him (p. x).
Doug Moo has done it again! Just as his Pillar volume on James and his NICNT volume on Romans both rank, in my estimation, as the best available intermediate-level commentaries on those books, now he produced a comparable volume on Colossians and Philemon. Clear, judicious, abreast of all the relevant scholarship, yet not unnecessarily long, this book should be the first choice of most pastors and teachers for help with exegeting these delightful little Pauline letters.
-Craig L. Blomberg,
This fine Pillar commentary by Doug Moo not only matches his volume on James but also is in keeping with his masterly exposition of Romans in the New International Commentary series. His present work is characterized by insightful, sensitive exegesis and thoughtful interaction with the vast array of recent literature on Colossians and Philemon. A surefooted guide, Moo leads the reader to understand the meaning of the biblical text, to grasp its theological significance and thus to hear afresh the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that is “bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world.” Moo’s commentary is a must for every serious student of these two brief yet profound Pauline letters.
-Peter T. O’Brien,
Moore Theological College
Outstanding. . . . Doug Moo combines his exegetical skill and extensive knowledge of the nuances of Pauline theology into a compelling explanation of the meaning of Colossians and Philemon. Readers will appreciate Moo’s wise judgment as he navigates through a variety of interpretational issues. Very well written and richly informative, this commentary should be the textbook of choice for courses on these two letters.
-Clinton E. Arnold,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University