Colossians and Philemon Commentary – G.K. Beale Interview

colossians commentary g.k. bealeGregory K. Beale is the author of the Colossians and Philemon volume in the highly-praised Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. Rev. Dr. Beale (PhD, Cambridge) holds the J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament and is Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Dr. Beale’s academic interests include the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, the book of Revelation, the biblical-theological theme of temple as the dwelling place of God, and the topic of inerrancy, among others.

Dr. Beale is the author of several books, including the well-reviewed Revelation volume in the New International Greek Testament Commentary series and the 1-2 Thessalonians volume in the IVP New Testament Commentary series. He is also, along with D.A. Carson, co-editor of Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

Dr. Beale is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

7 Questions with G.K. Beale on Colossians and Philemon in the BECNT Series

Dr. Beale recently agreed to answer my questions about his new Colossians and Philemon commentary. This is the second time Dr. Beale has given me his time. A few years ago, he answered my questions about his Revelation commentary in the NIGTC series. I am very grateful for his kind willingness to participate in another Q & A.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Colossians/Philemon?

I wrote an essay on the use of the OT in Colossians in G. K. Beale and D.A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, and I developed this further in the commentary on Colossians. Generally, many of my past publications and my past teaching has been focused on the New Testament use of the Old Testament, and this also prepared me to write the commentary.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

Pastors, students, and scholars. I put English in parentheses after Greek words so non-Greek readers can follow the Commentary discussion (Greek is also transliterated into English).

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of Colossians/Philemon?

Use of the OT in Colossians; I explore the OT background of Colossians more than any other commentary, which is interesting, since there are not OT quotations but only allusions in Colossians. I also study the importance of the idea of the temple in Colossians, something which other commentaries do not focus upon.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

Col. 1:9-10, Col. 1:19, Col. 2:9-10, and Col. 2:18, the first of three verses in which I found allusions to Christ or the church as the temple and the last passage referring to the false teachers wrong view of the temple. Paul first presents Christ as the true temple in which the church stands as a temple in contrast to the false concept of the temple held by false teachers.

Also, Col. 1:24 was a difficult but finally satisfying text to interpret, especially seeing that Paul’s suffering apostolic ministry was an extension of Jesus’ suffering ministry as the Isaianic Servant of God to the Gentiles.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

Seeing the centrality of Christ in all of life and that this is an ever fresh truth by which Christians should live.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Colossians/Philemon?

Douglas Moo (Pillar Commentary series); David Pao (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series); N. T. Wright, Colossians and Philemon (TCNT); Christopher Beetham, Echoes of Scripture in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians (Leiden: Brill, 2008).

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

I have a book coming out in November on Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom (Short Studies in Biblical Theology, Crossway); also appearing in November is The Story Retold: A New Testament Introduction (co-authored with Ben Gladd; Inter Varsity Press). This is a New Testament introduction which, while discussing issues of authorship, occasion, date, and contents of each NT book, this Introduction focuses on the main OT background of each NT book (for College and beginning seminarians).

I am also beginning to work on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series (co-authored with Christopher Beetham). I am also working on a sequel to my earlier New Testament Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011).

Own Dr. Beale’s Colossians and Philemon commentary in the BECNT series