A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
IVP continues to update the popular TNTC commentary series, and this volume is the latest, replacing the previous volume by N.T. Wright. Alan J. Thompson is senior lecturer in New Testament at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Croydon, New South Wales, Australia. Our readers may recognize his name primarily from his outstanding volume in D.A. Carson’s NSBT series, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus (NSBT). He is also the author of One Lord, One People, and Luke (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament).
I have not read the commentary through completely—I have only scanned and spot-checked, but it is already clear that this will be a valuable resource for many.
Thompson’s introductory section is unusually helpful. The identity of the false teaching in Colosse is notoriously difficult to state with precision. Thompson’s survey of the evidence provides clarity, and he carefully avoids overstepping the evidence. He concludes “that the teaching was a localized form of ‘legalism’ (in the sense of a reliance upon certain ‘rules’ as the means to be spiritually advanced) that included elements of asceticism from teachers who boasted of their superior (mystical?) spiritual status.” His outline of the epistle and analysis of its developing theme provides helpful clarity also and sets the reader well on the way for the commentary that follows.
One characteristic of the TNTC series is relative brevity—the authors work with certain space limitations. This can be a good thing in that it forces precision, and Thompson is up to the challenge. His treatment of the more “thorny” passages (e.g., 2:11-12), for example, leaves no important stone unturned and consistently provides clear exposition. More concise than some, but pound for pound, with this commentary the reader gets more than usual for his money.
Just released today, this is just a heads up. We hope to provide a fuller review soon. This volume is an excellent addition to the series and will doubtless be useful for pastors, Bible teachers, Bible study leaders, and any serious Christian reader who looks to learn from this important epistle. Highly recommended!