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

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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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 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
I have studied through two of Peter T. O'Brien's commentaries, this one and his Pillar New Testament Commentary on Ephesians. In both commentaries O'Brien comes across as a very capable scholar with a broad knowledge of primary and secondary resources and a strong grasp of the original Greek. His exegetical and syntactical insights have helped illuminate my understanding and appreciation of Colossians greatly. Even when I inevitably found that I agreed with another scholar on particular points, it was his fair and respectful treatment of that scholar's point of view that facilitated my decision. The format of this volume is the only reason I have withheld a five star rating. It is sometimes difficult to follow the authors stream of thought. The inline notes and references interrupting the main text so often do not help. Others have commented that this is the fault of the publisher and the WBC format. I agree to an extent, but have found the same trouble to a lesser degree with the other commentary on Ephesians. That commentary has footnotes and foot-references. At least some of the difficulty is his writing style. All in all though this is a great commentary and I am happy to have it on my shelf where I know I will refer to it again and again.
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