Best Colossians Commentaries | Updated for 2020

The best Colossians commentaries are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Colossians that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more.


Best-Reviewed Colossians Commentaries


The Letter to the Colossians and to Philemon (Pillar New Testament Commentary) by Douglas J. Moo

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Colossians Philemon Douglas Moo

Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Colossians; “the best all-around commentaries for pastors”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “an outstanding exposition for pastors”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Colossians and Philemon

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Colossians; “a close second place to O’Brien”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Moo takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is not technical. It offers application insights. Moo is well-known for writing the James commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the Pillar series combines “rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.” See more about the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.


Colossians, Philemon (NIV Application Commentary) by David E. Garland

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Colossians Philemon by David Garland

Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “an excellent exposition for pastors”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Colossians and Philemon

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Colossians; “offers great insight into the text and its contemporary application”

D.A. Carson: “do not avoid the volume on Colossians by David E. Garland”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Garland takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Baptist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. While there is significant help for pastor in this volume, Garland interacts with recent scholarship on Colossians as well. Garland is well-known for writing the 1 Corinthians commentary in the BECNT series. The publisher notes that the NIVAC “series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series. Also compare NIVAC and IVPNTC commentaries.


Colossians and Philemon (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by David W. Pao

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Colossian Philemon by David Pao

Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Colossians; “remarkably accessible…careful, understated, reliable, and nuanced”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Colossians and Philemon

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Pao takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Chair of the New Testament Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume offers help with applying the text. Pao revised the Luke commentary in the REBC series. The publisher notes that the ZECNT series “was refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the Greek text.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. Also see The Visual Aid Pastors Will Love in the ZEC commentary series.


Colossians-Philemon (Word Biblical Commentary) by Peter T. O’Brien

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Colossians Philemon by Peter O'Brien

Reviews and 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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: O’Brien takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. O’Brien is well-known for writing the Hebrews commentary in the Pillar series. The publisher notes that the WBC “series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.

Also see: Why Peter O’Brien’s Commentaries Aren’t Published Anymore


The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (New International Greek Testament Commentary) by James D.G. Dunn

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Colossians Philemon by James Dunn

Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a technical but very helpful interpretation”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Colossians and Philemon

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Dunn takes a moderately critical approach to Scripture. He is associated with the Church of Scotland and Methodism. This commentary will be maximized by those who have been trained in Greek. Dunn questions Pauline authorship. He is well-known for writing the Romans commentary in the WBC series. The publisher notes that “at a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGTC will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament.” See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.


The Epistles to the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Ephesians (New International Commentary on the New Testament) by F.F. Bruce

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Colossians Philemon by F.F. Bruce

Reviews and Accolades:

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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bruce takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Bruce is well-known for writing the Acts commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that NICNT series gives readers “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.” See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.


Colossians and Philemon (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) by N.T. Wright

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Colossians Philemon by N.T. Wright

Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “brief and insightful commentary”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Wright takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is an Anglican bishop. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the TNTC volumes approach “the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.


The Message of Colossians and Philemon (The Bible Speaks Today) by Dick Lucas

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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Lucas takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The distinctives of the BST 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.” See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.


Colossians and Philemon (Hermeneia) by Eduard Lohse

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a technical commentary”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Lohse takes a critical approach to Scripture. He is Lutheran. Lohse denies Pauline authorship. This commentary will be maximized by those who have been trained in Greek. The publisher notes that the Hermeneia series “has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work.” See more about the Hermeneia Bible commentary series.


Colossians and Philemon (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) by Murray J. Harris

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; helps “student with the Greek text”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Harris takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary will be maximized by those who have been trained in Greek. Volumes in this series are technical, but authors offer preaching help. Harris wrote the John commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the EGGNT series “closes the gap between the Greek text and the available lexical and grammatical tools, providing all the necessary information for greater understanding of the text.” See more on the Exegetical Greek Guide to the New Testament series.


Colossians (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a helpful exposition”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: The authors take a critical approach to Scripture. Markus was the son of theologian Karl Barth (d. 1994). This commentary will be maximized by those who have been trained in Greek. The authors hold to Pauline authorship. Barth wrote the Ephesians commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the Anchor series “vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.” See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.


Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


New: Colossians and Philemon (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by G.K. Beale

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Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with G.K. Beale on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Beale takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary. Those who have been trained in Greek will maximize this commentary. This volume has been well-reviewed for its exegesis and helpfulness to pastors. Beale also wrote the well-reviewed Revelation commentary in the NIGTC series. The publisher notes that the BECNT series “combines” scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness.” See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.


Colossians (The New Testament Library) by Jerry Sumney

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Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Jerry Sumney on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Sumney teaches at Lexington Theological Seminary, which is associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NLT series gives readers “fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text.” See more about the New Testament Library commentary series.


The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians (A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles) by Ben Witherington III

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Witherington takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Witherington wrote the Revelation commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that in the SRC series“the New Testament is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read—the rhetorical method makes use of ancient or classical writings and strategies of communication, while the social science method notes issues of cultures and customs.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series.


Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (New American Commentary) by Richard R. Melick Jr.

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Melick takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Baptist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NAC series “has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.” See more about the New American Commentary series.


Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by Arthur G. Patzia

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Patzia was a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the UCBS series “present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted…” See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.


Colossians (Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised) by Todd D. Still

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Still takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is a professor at Baylor University. The publisher notes that the REBC series reflects “scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.


Colossians (Concordia Commentary) by Paul E. Deterding

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Theology, Audience, Purpose: Deterding takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is evangelical and Lutheran. While not technical, the volumes in the Concordia Commentary series reflect seminary-level scholarship. The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers. The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers. According to the publisher, authors in the Concordia series “fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture as it emphasizes ‘that which promotes Christ’ in each pericope.” See more about the Concordia Commentary series.


Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary) Christopher R. Seitz

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Seitz takes a critical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the Brazos series “enlists leading theologians to read and interpret Scripture for the twenty-first century, just as the church fathers, the Reformers, and other Orthodox Christians did for their times and places.” See more about the Brazos Theological Commentary series.


Colossians and Philemon (IVP New Testament Commentary) by Robert W. Wall

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Wall takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Wall wrote the 1-2 Timothy commentary in the Two Horizons series. The publisher notes that the IVPNTC series is “informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.


Technical Commentaries


Ephesians and Colossians (Paideia Commentary on the New Testament) by Charles H. Talbert

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Talbert teaches at Baylor University. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Talbert wrote the Matthew commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that volumes in the Paideia series approach “each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Each sense unit is explored in three sections: (1) introductory matters, (2) tracing the train of thought, (3) key hermeneutical and theological questions. Graduate and seminary students, professors, and pastors will benefit from this readable commentary, as will theological libraries.” See more about the Paideia commentary series.


Classic Christian Commentaries


Colossians (Geneva Series of Commentaries) by John Davenant

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Synopsis: “C.H. Spurgeon, in his famous work, Commenting and Commentaries, placed Davenant on Colossians in the first rank of commentaries on this Pauline epistle and approvingly quoted the words of Charles Bridges about this volume: ‘I know no exposition upon a detached portion of Scripture (with the single exception of Owen on the Hebrews) that will compare with it in all parts…in depth, accuracy, and discursiveness.'”


Philippians and Colossians (Ironside Expository Commentaries) by H.A. Ironside

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Synopsis: “H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) was an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher and preacher, as well as the author of more than sixty books. His writings include addresses or commentaries on the entire New Testament, all of the Old Testament prophetic books, and a great many volumes on other biblical topics. For eighteen of his fifty years of ministry, Dr. Ironside was pastor of the historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Ill.”


Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) by Mark J. Edwards

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Synopsis: From the publisher: “This commentary offers an unparalleled close-up view of the fathers weighing the words and phrases of this panoramic charting of the Savior’s journey from preexistence, to incarnation, to crucifixion, to triumphant exaltation as universal Lord. This volume opens a treasury of resources for biblical study today. The expository voices of Jerome, Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrosiaster, Theodoret, Marius Victorinus and Theodore of Mopsuestia speak again with eloquence and intellectual acumen, some in English translation for the first time.” See more about the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series.


Are you a pastor?

On the page Colossians Commentaries for Pastors you find commentaries that uniquely designed for pastors in that they focus on application and spend less time on technical discussions.


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Compare 75 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart