Scot McKnight – Colossians and Philemon

Episode: Scot McKnight is back, bringing a cosmic Christological vision and wisdom about how the church should handle the topics of slavery and racial reconciliation. Last time he and Dennis Venema were talking Adam and the Genome. This time Scot shares what he learned while penning two exciting new commentaries, The Letter to Philemon and The Letter to the Colossians, for the beloved NICNT series. You also get to hear him sing. Maybe. Hosted by Matthew W. Bates.

Guest: Scot McKnight is Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary. He has written more than fifty books and blogs regularly at Jesus Creed. Scot is a much-sought-after conference speaker and a renowned expert on early Christianity. He has written both academic and popular titles, including The Jesus Creed (Christianity Today’s book of the year in 2004); The Blue ParakeetThe King Jesus Gospeland most recently Open to the Spirit. The most important thing he has written though is the foreword for Salvation by Allegiance Alone–at least that is how most people see it. Like my mother and I.

The Books: Scot McKnight, The Letter to the Colossians  (New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018). The Letter to the Colossians offers a compelling vision of the Christian life; its claims transcend religion and bring politics, culture, spirituality, power, ethnicity, and more into play. Delving deeply into the message of Colossians, this exegetical and theological commentary by Scot McKnight will be welcomed by preachers, teachers, and students everywhere.

Scot McKnight, The Letter to Philemon ( New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017). Paul’s letter to Philemon carries a strong message of breaking down social barriers and establishing new realities of conduct and fellowship. It is also a disturbing text that has been used to justify slavery. Though brief, Philemon requires close scrutiny. In this commentary Scot McKnight offers careful textual analysis of Philemon and brings the practice of modern slavery into conversation with the ancient text. Too often, McKnight says, studies of this short letter gloss over the issue of slavery—an issue that must be recognized and dealt with if Christians are to read Philemon faithfully. Pastors and scholars will find in this volume the insight they need to preach and teach this controversial book in meaningful new ways. (Descriptions from the publisher’s website) 

The OnScript Quip (our review): Discover how Paul’s cosmic vision for holistic reconciliation begins with Jesus the king’s work in the household. Fresh, up to date, independent. Some commentaries are stale rehashes that have already expired before printing. Not McKnight’s on Colossians and Philemon. Pastors and scholars are guaranteed to benefit from McKnight’s scholarly expertise and heart for the the church for many years to come. — Matthew W. Bates, Quincy University, OnScript

Help Support OnScript: Click through one of the links above to purchase one of Scot’s books (or others, while you’re in there), and the OnScript Podcast gets a whopping 2.5% or so (at no loss to you). Each bit helps us keep this operation going. Or visit our Donate Page if you want to join the big leagues and become a regular donor. Don’t let us stop you from doing both.

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2 thoughts on “Scot McKnight – Colossians and Philemon

  1. I really appreciated Scot’s breakdown of the authorship issue for Colossians, and I completely agree regarding the group discussion basis for authorship. The spread and variation in terminology and style is readily explained by the contribution of others, in a collaborative writing of the letter.

    To the point where I’m going to have to BECOME a scholar to prove it.

    Seems to me that a professional, or even an educated, amateur scribe, would assist the person creating the letter in both structure and correct grammar.

    Where would be a good place to start with looking at the role of letters and scribes in the ancient world? What was the syllabus for training? How much did parchment cost and how easily was it obtained? What was it like being an emissary carrying a letter? Was it common practice to make multiple copies, or was that too expensive? How long did it take done properly vs done hurriedly?


  2. I am hugely comforted by Scot’s summary of what the church should take away from Colossians: that Jesus is the cosmic ruler. Simply, Jesus is Lord. But that is a message, I might add, not just for the evangelical churches in America. It is a message for the church everywhere – in the BREXIT world of the UK, or for those living with and confronting the poverty, suffering and corrupt systems in many parts of our world. That Jesus is Lord, is the reality that should underlie and inform our engagement/responses to what we see as the real world. There is a greater reality: JESUS IS LORD. Thanks Matt(s) and Scot.


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