Mark Meynell is the author of the Colossians-Philemon volume in the For You commentary series.
He worked in Uganda, training pastors, and at All Souls, Langham Place.
He now works with Langham Partnership Europe.
He is married with two children.
1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Colossians/Philemon?
My academic background is in Classics, and when for my theology masters, my thesis was on the hermeneutical challenges of slavery, with specific focus on Colossians & Philemon. So the letters had always held a particular fascination for me.
2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?
The series is clearly designed for a thoughtful lay Christian readership. The publisher stipulated quite strict guidelines for chapter length and balance between exegetical textwork and application. So the hope and prayer is that it will have a devotional use, without dumbing down the engagement with the text of Scripture.
3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of Colossians/Philemon?
It is designed to be accessible without being superficial or only loosely textual. The constant aim is to discern the ‘melodic line’ of a text/chapter/book and thus ensure that the explanations and applications are always consistent with the content of the Bible (rather than verses functioning solely as springboards into other areas).
4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?
Drawing from the insights of others (especially Douglas Moo, NT Wright, and the innovative if controversial Colossians Remixed by Walsh and Keesmaat), it was especially exciting to see the letter in contrast to its Roman Imperial setting, in particular the way Paul sets up Christ’s triumph as a delicious subversion of the empire’s military triumphs (in Col 2:9-15).
5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?
It’s hard to work on Colossians in particular without deepening one’s understanding and love for Christ. He is the still point in the letter, both in his identity and his mission. The famous mountaintop of 1:15-20 is the foundation for the rest of the letter—everything hangs on the fact that he is God’s revelation personally and that he made the world and saves the world — and we get to be part of that! What’s not to like?
6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Colossians/Philemon?
Walsh/Keesmaat’s Colossians Remixed is gripping and unusual – definitely worth reading, even if not all their speculations and conclusions stand up, It is refreshing to find risk-taking creativity in commentary-writing. On the slavery question, Murray J. Harris’s Slave of Christ (in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series) is very helpful and a good launchpad into deeper study.
7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?
I continue on as Director of Langham Preaching for Europe and the Caribbean – we seek to develop grassroots expository preaching movements for every country we’re working in (Langham.org). I have also written a number of other books (details here: markmeynell.net) and would love to build on those. To that end, I’m working on a distance DMin at Covenant Seminary in St Louis.
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