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» » Philippians and Philemon (2009): A Commentary (New Testament Library)
Philippians and Philemon (2009): A Commentary (New Testament Library)


Charles B. Cousar


Philippians and Philemon (2009): A Commentary (New Testament Library)


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Westminster John Knox Press; First Edition edition (April 2, 2009)




Bible Study and Reference



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Philippians and Philemon (2009): A Commentary (New Testament Library) by Charles B. Cousar

Paul's letter to the church at Philippi is a moving insight into early Christianity. No letter displays Paul's fondness for a church as much as Philippians, and this passion is accompanied by a profound sense of thanksgiving for the church and its generosity. In this letter, Paul reminds the church of the first day they heard the gospel, the present persecution that they experience in their imperial context, and their true reality as citizens of heaven. Jesus Christ grounds this eschatological framework as the one whom God has lifted up. But in Philippi Paul also faced opponents, and the interpretation of the letter requires that the reader understand these people whose vision of Jesus was other than Paul's.

The short letter to Philemon tells the story of a Christian slave named Onesimus. Through this appeal on Onesimus's behalf, Paul illustrates how the moral vision of social hierarchies, such as the one between slave owner and slave, are dismantled in Christ. He calls Philemon and Onesimus into a reconciliation that points to their shared participation in Christ.

Together, these two letters show Paul's vital passion for the church and the bonds that held early Christians together in their faith. This volume is now available in a new casebound edition.

The New Testament Library offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, as well as classic volumes of scholarship. The commentaries in this series provide fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, offer critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, pay careful attention to their literary design, and present a theologically perceptive exposition of the text.

It has been a great commentary necessary to build sermons and bible studies. Thank you!
Charles Cousar taught for almost 40 years at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. A gifted teacher he was a cherished advisor for many, many class's at CTS. Humble, but devout he was a favorite among students. Get anything he wrote, because it is among the best scholarship you will find-wedded to a sincere faith. This commentary is a boon to the busy preacher.
This volume by Charles Cousar in the New Testament Library (NTL) series covers Philippians and Philemon. I’ve read some unfavorable reviews on this book mostly owing to its brevity. While that charge is true, I came away rating this book better than I expected. It does hold to the familiar NTL pattern, is less critical than I anticipated, and provides insight.

After a bibliography, we have an Introduction to Philippians. He begins by acknowledging the theme of joy. (How could we trust any book on Philippians that ignored the theme of joy?) He introduces us to both the city and the church at Philippi. Its history in the Roman Empire, as well as its significance, are clearly reviewed. He refers, as he has at other times, on the fondness Paul has for this congregation. When he moved to the subject of authorship and integrity of the letter, he admits that the Pauline authorship is rarely questioned. Though he mentions a few absurd prognostications about authorship, he seems comfortable with Paul. As to place and date of writing, he presents briefly the evidence for Rome, Caesarea, and Ephesus before cautiously choosing Ephesus for this commentary. He explains Paul sending this letter as a thank you to the Philippians. He discusses structure and suggests an outline. As with any of these Philippian commentaries, he discusses the opponents. I thought he provided his best observations when he discussed the message of the letter. In less than 70 pages, he provides a commentary on Philippians that is worth consulting.

I felt the Introduction to Philemon was simply too short and discussed too little. What he did discuss, though, was some of the things that you wrestle with in such an introduction. The commentary on Philemon was unacceptably brief.

While this volume may not rate as highly as some in the series, it’s by no means a throwaway volume, at least on Philippians. If you are filling out your NTL collection, there is still value here as this author does his best work in providing nuggets for the preacher.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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