Check out these newly-released biblical commentaries
1-2 Thessalonians, by Andy Johnson, Two Horizons (Eerdmans, 2016). There are a number of very good volumes in the THNT series including Marianne Meye Thompson on Colossians and Stephen Fowl on Philippians. Johnson’s work on 1-2 Thessalonians meets that high bar of excellence. Perhaps what drew my interest the most is the way that Johnson puts together the ideas of sanctification/holiness and the Missio Dei, and how both of these drive Paul’s theological message in these short letters. He also happens to agree with me that we need a big re-think about how we approach pistis, and that in 1-2 Thess it is certainly appropriate to translate it in most cases as “loyalty” or “fidelity.”
Colossians, by Paul Foster, BNTC (Bloomsbury, 2016). Hot of the press, this volume on Colossians offers a penetrating exposition of the letter. Foster takes the position that Colossians is mostly likely pseudonymous, written not long after Paul’s death to a community that is probably geographically close to Colossae. Some distinctives of this commentary – attention to text-critical issues, early reception of Colossians, and socio-historical contextualization. It is not a foot-note heavy commentary, but it will be clear to readers that Foster has invested much in understanding scholarship on Colossians.
Philippians and Philemon, by J.W. Thompson and B.W. Longenecker, Paideia (Baker, 2016). I have really enjoyed the Paideia commentaries, some good volumes already from Peter Oakes, Frank Matera, Charles Talbert, Mary Ann Beavis, Jo-Ann Brant, and others. Thompson wrote the material here on Philippians, and Longenecker on Philemon. As for Philippians, Thompson shows his expertise in Greco-Roman context, and in his comments on the “theological issues” in Philippians he gives attention to the reception of Philippians, esp in the Patristic period (e.g., Chrysostom). Thompson is also interested in how Paul shapes his converts morally. Longenecker brings to the study of Philemon his expertise in Roman social history, particularly his knowledge of Roman economics and Roman slavery. Truth be told, there are already a number of very good commentaries on these Pauline texts, but Thompson and Longenecker are able to engage the reader with the Greco-Roman world in an attractive and accessible manner.
Acts of the Apostles, by James D.G. Dunn, 2016 reprint (Eerdmans, 2016). OK, this is not a “new” commentary, but rather a reprint of a 1980’s commentary. But what I love about this book is that Dunn focuses squarely on the text and does not get bogged down into the minutiae of academic scholarship. There are no footnotes, just Dunn’s mature exposition and judgment on the flow and understanding of the text. As far as I can tell, the commentary is 99% the same as the original version, but now with a foreword by Scot McKnight. If you want to get some of Dunn’s more recent thoughts on Acts (though clearly in line with his earlier work), check out his Beginning from Jerusalem (also Eerdmans).