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Best Bible Commentaries on Philemon

Philemon is the eighteenth book of the New Testament. Authorship is traditionally attributed to the Apostle Paul. The letter is addressed to the church at Colossae, which met at Philemon’s house. Paul is writing to Philemon about his former slave, Onesimus. He is encouraging reconciliation between the men. Commentaries on Philemon are often coupled with commnetaries on Colossians, since they were written at approximately the same time to the same church. Commentaries often address the relationship between Philemon, the slave owner, and Onesimus the runaway slave.

Colossians and Philemon (PNTC) by Douglas Moo

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Accolades:

  • D. A. Carson: a "best buy" on Philemon; "the best all-around commentaries for pastors"
  • Craig Blomberg, etal: a "priority" commentary on Colossians and Philemon
  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; "an outstanding exposition for pastors"
  • Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Colossians; "a close second place to O’Brien"

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Colossians, Philemon (NIVAC) by David E. Garland

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Accolades:

  • Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Colossians; "offers great insight into the text and its contemporary application"
  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; "an excellent exposition for pastors"
  • D.A. Carson: "do not avoid the volume on Colossians [and Philemon] by David E. Garland"

Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians (NICNT) by F.F. Bruce

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Accolades:

  • Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Colossians; a "unique combination of scholarship and readability"

Audience:

From the publisher: "Written for scholars, pastors, and lay readers alike...undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God."

Colossians and Philemon (ZECNT) by David W. Pao

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Accolades:

  • D. A. Carson: a "best buy" on Philemon; "remarkably accessible...careful, understated, reliable, and nuanced"
  • Craig Blomberg, etal: a "priority" commentary on Colossians and Philemon

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Colossians-Philemon (WBC) by Peter T. O'Brien

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Accolades:

  • Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Colossians
  • Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Colossians; "all students of Colossians and Philemon should consult O’Brien"

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Colossians and to Philemon (NIGTC) by James D.G. Dunn

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Accolades:

  • Craig Blomberg, etal: a "priority" commentary on Colossians and Philemon
  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; "a technical but very helpful interpretation"

Audience:

From the publisher: "At a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGNT will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament... the volumes of the NIGNT are for students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary... the supreme aim of this series is to serve those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word of God and thus glorify God's name."

Colossians and Philemon (Preaching the Word) by R. Kent Hughes

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking devotional aides
  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Colossians and Philemon (TNTC) by N.T. Wright

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Accolades:

  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; "brief and insightful commentary"

Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking devotional aides
  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
The Message of Colossians & Philemon (BST) by Dick Lucas

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Accolades:

  • Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Colossians; "emphasizes the big picture and the overall flow of the text"

Audience:

The "the three distinctives of The Bible Speaks Today series are (1) "BST authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity," (2) that "expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past" but suggest application for living, and (3) "each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size."

Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians (SRSC) by Ben Witherington III

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Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (NAC) by Richard R. Melick Jr.

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Audience:

From the publisher: "The New American Commentary is introduced to bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This new series has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power."

Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT) by Murray J. Harris

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Accolades:

  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; helps "student with the Greek text"

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Colossians and Philemon (MNTCS) by John MacArthur

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking devotional aides
  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (NIBC) by Arthur G. Patzia

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Colossians and Philemon (Herm) by Eduard Lohse

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Accolades:

  • Tom Schreiner: recommended; "a technical commentary"

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
The Letter to Philemon (AB) by Joseph A. Fitzmyer

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Accolades:

  • Craig Blomberg, etal: a "priority" commentary on Philemon

Audience:

  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Scholars/professors doing research
  • Scholars/professors teaching advanced courses
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (For Everyone) by N.T. Wright

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking devotional aides
  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon (Interpretation) by Ralph P. Martin

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians (HNTC) by Max Anders

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Audience:

  • Any Christian seeking devotional aides
  • Any Christian seeking Bible study aides
  • Pastors/preachers seeking interpretation help
  • Pastors/preachers seeking application help