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Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 44, Colossians-Philemon Hardcover – August 15, 1982


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Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 44, Colossians-Philemon + The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Pillar New Testament Commentary) + The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 15, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849902436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849902437
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Impeccable academic work.
Charlene McDonnough
I purchased this book on the recommendation of Dr. Roscscup and it has proved to be an excellent resource.
B. Miller
Many regard this to still be the best commentary on Colossians.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter Richert on August 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Much praise has already been laid down by others concerning this commentary. The five star rating I gave it should confirm to the reader my agreement. With this in mind, I'm going to focus on one particular aspect of the book.
If I could have any complaint about this commentary, it is that it is too scholarly and thorough. O'Brien interacts with so many sources and views, one can get a little too bogged down in all the reasoning. Some parts are hard to follow lucidly with so much material being compared and contrasted. The sheer number of inline references and sources can make following the text with your eyes rather difficult. This is my general complain of the Word Biblical Commentary series as a whole, and this one seems especially representative.
O'Brien commentary is a gold mine for those serious in academics, or pastors who are series about having a broad base. O'Brien offers a huge (indeed, perhaps exhaustive) bibliography of the different works dealing with the text. O'Brien could be you one stop source for all your researching needs. For the layman though (like myself), it might be a little too much.
That said, I wholly recommend this commentary for all those serious about study.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the best commentary available on Colossians. Like O'Brien's commentaries on Ephesians and Philippians, this work features in-depth exegesis, summaries and critiques of all exegetical options, interaction with the best contemporary scholarship, and clear writing. O'Brien argues for Pauline authorship, and his theological perspective is broadly in the Reformed tradition.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gontroppo on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
O'Brien's commentaries on the prison epistles have never failed to help me when I have consulted them to understand Paul's letters better than I had before. The author writes from a theologically conservative and complementarian viewpoint but is always prepared to evaluate other views, while also clearly articulating his own.
This is one of the most helpful of the Word Biblical Commentary series.
If you read commentaries to help you to understand the text, so that you can better serve Jesus Christ, you will really appreciate this one, as well as the author's commentaries on Philippians and Ephesians.
If you have not studied New Testament Greek, you may find some of his argumentation hard to grasp.
[If you are serious about understanding the New Testament, a couple of years studying the language it is written in will be enlightening, and will at the very least open up for you the majority of the best commentaries!]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This being his first commentary on his way to becoming one of the most respected commentary writers and scholars today should be consulted if doing any sermon or serious study on Colossians. His comments are usually profound with a clarity not often found in technical commentaries. I read this book straight through and sometimes didn't want to put it down. I've now dabbled into Douglas Moo's Pillar Commentary on Colossians which I find also to be great, but it gives me a fresh appreciation for the precedence that O'brien set with this work nearly 25 years ago. Many don't like the layout of the "Word Biblical Series" I find it to be helpful. O'briens Summary section at end of each segment is amazing, a perfect remedy for a tired brain after plowing through the rigorous exegetical section. He basically ties the translation, structure, and exegetical sections into a nice bow (explanation section.) Many regard this to still be the best commentary on Colossians.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The commentary on Colossians and Philemon by Peter O'Brien (number 44 in the Word Biblical Commentary Series) is a worthy endeavor, suitable for the biblical scholar and the layperson alike. His introductory material, which covers approximately 28 pages, is thorough yet concise. His defense of the Pauline authorship of the epistle is especially well-written and compelling. The commentary itself offers a detailed explication of each verse. Although frequent references are made to the Greek text, O'Brien is careful to translate whatever Greek he uses. So, although helpful, a knowledge of Greek is not necessary to put this to good use. Several years ago when I was doing a study of Colossians I used this commentary extensively and found it extremely helpful. (The comments made concerning Colossians apply to O'Brien's handling of Philemon as well.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aaron A. on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The commentary itself is excellent - O'Brien is consistently insightful and helpful - but the formatting of this commentary is absolutely atrocious. What do the editors of the WBC have against footnotes? Why did they think that three or four line parentheses separated by half a line of text was an acceptable way to handle O'Brien's style? Frequently a single sentence is interrupted by two or more parenthetical remarks which should have been placed in notes, and the reader struggles to follow the author's argument. If you can overcome this problem, the commentary is worth your time.
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By Derek Newbery on September 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It must be said that this is by far the #1 commentary on Colossians/Philemon according to bestcommentaries.com. This alone should steer you towards this commentary as one worth reading. Having worked my way through it I found it to be extremely helpful but didn't feel that it was substantially superior to Moo's, Dunn's or Pao's and personally enjoyed Wright's commentary the best.

This commentary is very thorough while not being overly wordy. At 261 pages for the book of Colossians it is significantly shorter than either Moo's or Pao's. Yet I didn't feel that the shorter length caused any detriment. O'Brien was able to cover all of the issues in the book, worked through the text well and particularly did a great job of defining words. I would say that his lexical work is easily the strength of this commentary. He consistently looks at word usage throughout the Bible, as well as in contemporary literature of the day to help us understand what Paul meant by his word choices.

One of the weaknesses in this commentary is the vast space spent on comparing O'Brien's views with other commentaries. I felt like I was sitting in the middle of a scholarly debate where the vast majority of participants were completely unknown to me. I appreciated knowing the diversity of viewpoints but felt like this could have been done in a much more succinct manner. Finally, the organization of this series frustrates people though in my opinion it is more redundant then frustrating.

Overall, I would highly recommend this commentary but feel that only one of Moo, O'Brien, Dunn or Pao would be sufficient.
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