I am very pleased to report that my Smyth & Helwys commentary on Colossians is now published and I received my author copies yesterday. Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t loaded it into their system yet, so for now the best way to order the commentary is through the publisher website. As most commentators will say, this was truly a labor of love. I enjoyed every single minute of it. S & H was wonderful to work with, editors polite and helpful, marketing staff capable and eager.
You can read an excerpt of the commentary here. Two of the endorsements can be found here. What makes this commentary unique or worth reading? Well, I will not say I came up with all new interpretations on key issues (though I do think I made a contribution to the “worship of angels” issue). I will say one thing – I tried very hard to engage in the text theologically (perhaps over-reaching at times, but with the best of intentions!). Also, I spent many hours (and pages!) wresting with “application” questions. I know some folks are sour on the idea of separating “exegesis” from “application” – I must admit it did at times feel a little “forced,” but you will notice how “theological” and “kerygmatic” my exegetical sections seem, so I tended to weave that through the exegesis anyway. In the “Connections” section (mostly intended to give counsel on application and advice for preaching), I took the opportunity to connect the exegesis to what’s going on in theology (Begbie, Barth, von Balthazar, Volf, Charry, Hauerwas, Mouw and more). The last thing I want to say about the commentary is that I appeal rather frequently to Bonhoeffer and his theological perspective. If the Colossians were acting very privatistic with their individual heads in the clouds, ignoring the life of the community and avoiding any hint of suffering, Paul told them this is absolutely not the way of Christ, the Son of God, the man from heaven, the revelation of the image of God. In a very similar way, Bonhoeffer rebuked the German church, even the confessing church, for singing chants in worship, but not being Christ-like enough to fight for dying Jews. While Bonhoeffer is most known for his interest in the Sermon on the Mount, he often appealed to Colossians in sermons and lectures precisely for its appeal to cruciformity (my word, not Bonhoeffer’s!) and rejection of isolationistic transcendence.
I hope I do get the chance to work on another commentary in the future, but for now I have a couple of other topic projects on my plate, including a dictionary article on the word “faith.” After the completion of a long project (2+ years?), it is nice to work on something rather short!