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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Colossians by Christopher Seitz

Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible
Christopher R. Seitz
Brazos Press, 2014

ISBN 9781587433016

This is the latest contribution from the Brazos theological series of commentaries. Revd Christopher Seitz, senior research professor of biblical interpretation at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, and OT scholar, was asked to write the commentary on Colossians. The choice of an OT scholar seems a surprising choice, though of course Paul would have been seeped in the Old Testament so this may be an advantage rather than disadvantage.

Seitz rightly sees Colossians as a coherent part of the Pauline corpus, as a stable collection, and as part of the canon of Scripture, and not as an isolated single letter of Paul. Colossians is viewed as a letter written to 'correct and shepherd a flock, yet one he does not have first hand knowledge of and has never visited'. He sees Colossians as containing Paul's mature theological reflections on his vocation as an apostle, an apostleship that has developed from being a church planter.

As the series subtitle suggests the emphasis is on the theological rather than historical, exegetical or philological. In particular Seitz pays special attention to Paul's use of the Old Testament. He contributes his own translation - interspersed in bold with the commentary. There are a number of valuable 'Excurses' within the text - these have a different typeface so they stand apart. These include discussions on the phrase 'By the will of God', 'Prison apostleship and fellowship', 'The knowledge of God', an extended on on 'The transition to Colossians 1:15-20', 'Brief theological postscript', 'Garmenting the New Adam in Christ', and 'The finale and the question of Paul as author'.

An appendix provides a free translation and amplification of the text.

This might not be the first commentary I'd go to when looking at Colossians, that would usually be Tom Wright's IVP commentary, but I would certainly want to consult it if preaching from Colossians. Seitz's commentary with its distinct emphases provides a good complement to Wright, Bruce, Moo and O'Brien.

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