Endorsements and Reviews


“Most commentaries rewrite earlier commentaries. The better ones, to the contrary, often go their own way. Talbert’s work happily is of the latter type. It regularly offers fresh readings and new comparative materials, especially from Greco-Roman sources. This is not a tired rehashing but a welcome contribution.”–Dale C. Allison Jr., Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

“In this stimulating reading of Matthew’s Gospel, Charles Talbert draws on his extensive learning to attend insightfully to various cultural, literary, and theological dimensions of the Gospel. Students will find his clear prose, insightful discussion, and theological reflections especially valuable. I will be adding this commentary to course bibliographies.”–Warren Carter, professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University

“With an impressive command of historical, textual, literary, cultural, and theological issues, Charles Talbert has produced a commentary on Matthew that is lucid, compelling, and eminently useful for interpretation and proclamation. In a crowded field of volumes on the First Gospel, this one stands out.”–Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“This is a remarkable book! In brief compass, Talbert provides a fresh reading of Matthew’s Gospel as a book that is grace-oriented from start to finish. His interpretations are lucid and compelling, arising from analysis of the text on its own terms and in consideration of its literary and historical contexts. Students and church leaders will value this book as either a first introduction to the Gospel of Matthew or a refresher volume that will update (and possibly correct) what they have read previously. Either way, all readers will come to a deeper appreciation of the Gospel of Matthew and its role in the life of the church.”–Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

“The purpose of the Paideia commentary series is to comment upon sense units rather than verse-by-verse analysis, and to highlight the theological concerns of the text under discussion. Talbert performs both of these tasks in an engaging and admirable manner, but without neglecting important historio-critical matters. . . . Each section of the commentary discusses a range of different aspects of the text. . . . This section is interspersed with tables outlining the narrative structure or related issues of interest . . . along with illustrations. . . . Such features, which occur throughout the commentary, ensure that readers will find its multimedia approach highly informative and usable. Talbert has produced a commentary on Matthew that offers new insights into the text and meets the goals of the Paideia series. This treatment deserves a place on bookshelves alongside the more substantial treatments of the Matthean text. Like Talbert’s previous volume in this series on Ephesians and Colossians, this commentary offers rich theological insights into the text it analyzes.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“Talbert comments on the ‘final text’ of the gospel (rather than on Matthew’s sources), and he does so very effectively.”–International Review of Biblical Studies

“What is striking in [Talbert’s] discussions is the large number of data (references, quotations, and so on) from the ancient world that are included in order to enable one to grasp the mindset of the ancient reader. This material, as well as outlines, parallels, and the discussion of some critical issues, is often included in sidebars. There is also a judicious use of pictures . . . and charts. . . . A helpful contribution.”–Peter H. Davids, Bulletin for Biblical Research

“[This] is no ordinary commentary. . . . In addition to the volume’s creative format, what makes it stand out is the combination of Talbert’s knowledge of ancient Greek and Latin literature, his theological sensitivity, and his skill at literary analysis. . . . The many sidebars include a large amount of historical background. On disputed issues . . . Talbert lays out the various interpretations in a balanced way while nudging readers toward what he regards as the more probable positions. His coverage of modern scholarship is unobtrusive yet thorough. . . . Happy are those students (and pastors and teachers) who will read Talbert’s commentary early in their formation. They will learn from a master teacher how to do biblical exegesis from historical, literary, and theological perspectives.”–Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“Volumes in the Paideia commentary series focus on the cultural, literary, and theological settings of the NT writings; treat larger rhetorical units rather than commenting verse-by-verse; and aim to address the needs of students in religion and theology. Charles Talbert . . . succeeds admirably in fulfilling this agenda with regard to Matthew’s Gospel. Text boxes, tables for comparison, and pertinent photographs and artistic renderings are sprinkled liberally throughout, focusing attention on relevant theological, historical, cultural, and methodological issues. Talbert’s lavish use of Jewish tradition and Greco-Roman philosophical materials draws particular attention to the rich cultural and literary repertoire upon which Matthew draws. . . . Talbert carefully locates each unit, section, and pericope within the structural flow of the Gospel. Larger units of the commentary conclude with extensive comments on ‘theological issues,’ which display Talbert’s command of an array of issues that have vexed Christian interpreters through the centuries as well as his own fresh questions that arise from reading Matthew in light of 1st-century cultural repertoires. This careful, illuminating, and often provocative insight into the ways Matthew’s first readers might have heard this story distinguishes this fine commentary in a crowded field.”–Stanley P. Saunders, Interpretation

“The intent of this fine commentary series is to take each biblical book as a whole (rather than a verse-by-verse approach) and, taking into account its literary, cultural, and social context, to unlock the theological and pastoral message of the text. Veteran biblical scholar Charles Talbert . . . provides an excellent contribution to the series in his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today


“Beavis brings to this commentary ample familiarity with the text of Mark and with ancient literature more broadly. Balanced in judgment and offering numerous astute observations, this work should prove highly useful, especially to serious readers seeking a reliable introduction and companion for their study of Mark’s account of Jesus’s ministry.”–Larry W. Hurtado, professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, New College, University of Edinburgh

“This is exactly the kind of commentary I would want to put in the hands of students who have taken my introductory course on the Gospels and are eager to go deeper. Mary Ann Beavis has already established herself as a careful reader of Mark’s Gospel, and here she skillfully guides less-experienced readers into an informed engagement with Mark’s dramatic story of Jesus as it unfolds from beginning to end. The guidance she provides into the narrative flow of the Gospel is enriched by a variety of other elements, including maps and sidebars, insights into the first-century world, carefully chosen excerpts from commentators ancient and modern, and bracing theological reflection. Warmly recommended.”–Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Wycliffe College, Toronto

“In this new commentary on Mark, Mary Ann Beavis focuses on the story told by the evangelist and what it would have meant for its earliest hearers. Building on her previous work on the Gospel, she concentrates on the ‘narrative flow’ as she traces the way in which Mark’s story develops as a story in five acts. Students just beginning their exploration of the Gospel will find this commentary especially useful, but every reader is certain to find in it something new and illuminating.”–Morna D. Hooker, Lady Margaret’s Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge

“While deftly drawing on patterns of Greek tragedy to illuminate Mark’s Gospel, this commentary is a marvelous triumph! Thoroughly engaged with ancient sources and contemporary scholarship, Beavis offers a historically rich, literarily astute, and theologically sensitive exposition of Mark, chock-full of valuable information and insight for a wide range of readers. This work provides an immensely satisfying guidebook through Mark’s narrative for both introductory and more advanced students.”–F. Scott Spencer, professor of New Testament and preaching, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

“This valuable new commentary series is geared to students of the New Testament who are also interested in the theological dimension of the biblical text. . . . [Beavis] provides a rich and thoughtful commentary on Mark. . . . Her commentary is judicious and interacts with a wide variety of modern and classic interpretations. The intended readers will find this a reliable guide to Mark’s gospel and its challenging theology.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today


“This marvelous commentary is packed with substantive information and fresh insights. Brant draws on current literary approaches and an array of useful sources from antiquity to illumine John’s Gospel. She likewise makes the complexities of the Greek text intelligible for English readers. One may disagree with interpretations at points, but I find them consistently stimulating and well thought-out. As with other volumes in the Paideia series, this one is masterfully designed to provide optimum access for readers.”–Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Among the spate of commentaries published on John’s Gospel, Brant’s is distinctive and distinguished. Informed by Greco-Roman rhetoric and sources, archaeology, maps, and arresting sidebars, the commentary excels for the classroom. It may well become the text of choice for the university classroom and will enhance appreciation of the Bible as literature. The author and publisher merit commendation, especially for the layout and the inclusion of many illustrative figures that catch the eye and tables that facilitate grasp of content.”–Willard Swartley, professor emeritus of New Testament, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

“Brant skillfully mines the Greco-Roman literary, rhetorical, and social world of the Fourth Gospel and writes with brevity that moves the reader briskly along from one fresh insight to the next. The result is paideia–a wonderfully formative experience!”–R. Alan Culpepper, dean, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

“Jo-Ann Brant has written a commentary that thoughtfully leads the reader deeply into the Gospel of John as well as the Greco-Roman world that shaped it. Students who read carefully will be rewarded with not only with a profoundly enriched understanding of the Gospel but also a solid introduction to Greco-Roman literary, rhetorical, and dramatic traditions.”–Colleen M. Conway, professor of religious studies, Seton Hall University

“Jo-Ann Brant is attentive to both the background and the reception history of the Gospel. She first traces the narrative flow of each section of the Gospel and then explores some of the theological issues that emerge from it. Drawing on everything from Greco-Roman rhetoric to Shakespeare to modern American pop culture, Brant offers fresh perspectives on specific points in virtually every chapter, provides a coherent picture of the Gospel as a whole, and identifies resources for the reader to explore further. By any measure, a significant and welcome contribution.”–J. Ramsey Michaels, professor of religious studies emeritus, Missouri State University

“Jo-Ann Brant has written a commentary on the Fourth Gospel that is ideal for the classroom and the pastor’s study, while also proving useful to the scholar. She serves as an authoritative guide to the world of ancient literature and makes two major contributions. First, by paying close attention to the intricacies of the Johannine narrative, she demonstrates in considerable detail the sophistication with which the Fourth Gospel was constructed. Second, she gives attention to both the Jewish and Hellenistic backgrounds of the Fourth Gospel without overemphasizing one at the expense of the other. I recommend this commentary highly.”–Chris Keith, assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins, Lincoln Christian University

“Brant engages extensively with both ancient and modern sources in such a way that the student receives an introduction to major figures and currents in both the ancient world and modern scholarship on John. Her special focus on ancient rhetoric includes explanation of the terms and techniques, providing the student with a lively working introduction to this field of study. Her commentary is clear, concise, and engaging, with many insights that provide an important supplement to the more conventional and comprehensive commentaries.”–Rodney A. Whitacre, professor of biblical studies, Trinity School for Ministry

“This helpful series is designed for students who want to explore the New Testament writings in depth, including the cultural, literary, and theological dimensions of a particular New Testament book and its continuing significance for today. Brant . . . gives particular attention to the rhetorical and narrative features of John’s gospel, situating these dimensions within the context of first century Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

“Although commentaries on John abound, both the Paideia series in general and Brant’s commentary in particular add something fresh to the study of John’s Gospel in terms of the packaging of material and the content of the volume. . . . Brant’s commentary admirably fits the aims of the series to be accessible as a teaching tool, to draw upon relevant background materials, to inform the understanding of the text with newer methodological approaches, and above all to engage readers in the closer study of the New Testament text. In each of these areas Brant succeeds, and in the process makes a valuable contribution to Johannine scholarship.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“[Brant] clearly knows her way around the study of John as well as the ancient world. . . . She brings great wisdom from studying Greco-Roman literature, including social values, history, and the arts. . . . What I appreciated about the commentary is that she brings something fresh to the table of study. It is like the Gospel of John is treated as a play and she sits next to you as you watch and coaches you on how plays work in the Greco-Roman world and what you are supposed to ‘get’ as you watch it. She is your guide to the ins and outs of symbols, coded language, dramatic technique, and the identification of types in these settings. At the end of each section of commentary, there are short discussions of key themes and some pointers towards application. She does quite well here, dealing with thorny issues. . . . If you love all things Johannine (as I do!), this won’t disappoint. So many things in this book I never knew and it opens a window of study (the theatrical perspective) that is rather appropriate to this Gospel in particular.”–Nijay Gupta, nijaygupta.wordpress.com


“Parsons presents a masterful exposition both of the myriad strategies whereby the author of Acts attempted to persuade his original audience, and of the ways in which this ancient book continues to speak powerfully to Christian faith in our own day. Readers will find here a treasure trove of insights into Hellenistic rhetorical conventions and their usage in Acts.”–John A. Darr, Theology Department, Boston College

“Mikeal Parsons deftly shepherds the reader through Acts of the Apostles in this rich and illuminating commentary. Along the “Way,” he lifts up a treasure-trove of ancient rhetorical techniques employed by the author of Acts to persuade the narrative’s original audience(s) to his theological vision of Christianity’s beginnings. At the same time, Parsons is mindful of the need for contemporary Christians to discover the theological and moral implications of Acts for the twenty-first century. This book will be an ideal companion for students navigating Acts for the first time and a helpful resource for seasoned Acts scholars.”–William Sanger Campbell, The College of St. Scholastica

“Mikeal Parsons’s commentary on Acts takes an overt rhetorical approach to the text, while not losing sight of its important theological implications. I commend him for focusing his commentary on the final form of the text as it was read by the first readers and recognizing the author as a theologian in his own right. Parsons also provides useful supplemental comments to aid those unfamiliar with the terminology of ancient rhetoric. A number of Parsons’s assumptions and conclusions will no doubt prompt significant further discussion.”–Stanley E. Porter, president and dean, and professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College

“Mikeal Parsons has been on the forefront of reading the Lukan writings with strategies that combine the best of ancient literary criticism with social-world analyses and socio-rhetorical expertise with biblical-theological acumen. His Acts Paideia commentary is his most recent integrative tour de force!”–David P. Moessner, professor of biblical theology, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and faculty associate, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria

“[Parsons] traces the rhetorical shape of the book as a whole and in its parts and devotes special attention to identifying and describing the rhetorical devices used by Luke; this slant makes his commentary distinctive over against most previous work and gives it special value. The focus on the final text and what it intended to convey to Luke’s implied audience is to be welcomed. . . . This commentary contains frequent items of historical and theological interest. But beyond this is the methodical identification of the very numerous rhetorical devices that Parsons finds in the text. . . . I have not been able to do justice to the wealth of helpful, interesting, and discussable material in this commentary, but I trust that I have said sufficient to indicate its great value for an understanding of how Acts ‘works.’ Many besides the students who are the target audience will want to turn to it for its important contribution to Lukan studies.”–I. Howard Marshall, Review of Biblical Literature

“Preachers will find helpful insights in [this volume] as they do their own expositional studies.”–PreachingNow

“With more than 20 years of scholarly expertise in Luke-Acts, Mikeal C. Parsons provides readers with a thorough and engaging commentary. . . . [It] includes an extensive bibliography, a comprehensive set of indices, and sidebars that draw the reader’s attention to items of interest. . . . Parsons unveils the historical and literary world of Acts. . . . We are invited into this world through Parsons’ clear writing and concise explanations. . . . This commentary is an excellent addition to the library of anyone seriously interested in understanding the historical and literary context of Acts.”–Frederick S. Tappenden, Bible Study Magazine

“This study is firmly rooted in the conventions of ancient rhetoric. Students who are unfamiliar or new to this territory will find that the book’s structure comes to their aid. Key terms, figures of speech, and rhetorical concerns are addressed in separate panels and boxes which summarise clearly and succinctly their functions and purpose. These make the work particularly valuable for those wishing to introduce students to the conventions of ancient rhetoric as part of their New Testament studies. This volume will be useful for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and would make a worthwhile addition to any theological library. It would make a good purchase for those beginning to explore single volume Bible commentaries and is a fine advertisement for the Paideia series.”–Fergus King, Theological Book Review

“This volume is a very helpful and rich treatment of the texts of Acts. It advances the aims of the Paideia series and should be of great benefit to students and scholars alike.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“Parsons, a well-known and accomplished scholar of Acts, has performed a difficult task in preparing this commentary. It is accessible to serious nonexpert readers but informed by Parsons’s mastery of a wide range of scholarly studies, both ancient and contemporary. . . . Parsons’s commentary is dominated by an analysis that, in the end, convinces the reader that Luke was well trained in the ancient art of rhetoric. Readers unfamiliar with such rhetorical conventions will find here a rich mine of references that illuminate many passages in Acts. Parsons also includes a number of sidebars that explain and illustrate various figures of speech. . . . Parsons’s commentary is an impressive analysis. . . . With this publication, Parsons draws on his extensive studies of Greco-Roman literature and ancient concepts of physiognomy to provide a useful and illuminating commentary.”–Joseph B. Tyson, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“The book of Acts is . . . wonderfully suited for the kind of exegetical venture the Paideia series promises, and Parsons is one of the scholars best equipped to lead such an expedition. His commentary’s greatest strength lies in its close attention to the rhetorical dynamics operating in the overall narrative logic of Acts, in particular narrative episodes, and in characters’ speeches. . . . This book’s thoroughgoing ability to contextualize Acts makes it belong not only in the collections of university and seminary libraries but also in the hands of all who study Acts and its theological contributions.”–Matthew L. Skinner, Religious Studies Review

“[Parsons] is particularly good at noting Old Testament quotations and allusions and gives significant attention to the flow of the narrative. He also pays serious attention to the rhetoric used in Acts, not just naming devices but explaining what they are and how they are used.”–Ray Van Neste, Preaching

“The book of Acts . . . is here explained in a straightforward yet scholarly way, with much information given in boxed inserts that give outlines of the biblical text or explain subjects. . . . The help of tables and plates is also enlisted to make this a very useful and accessible work. Bibliography, index of modern authors, and index of scriptural passages are included and enhance the work’s value for scholars.”--International Review of Biblical Studies

“Parsons is a well-known Acts scholar who has studied the book for more than twenty-five years. . . . Each chapter opens with a useful sidebar that shows where the text fits into the narrative flow of the book. Thus the reader can easily follow the rhetorical development. . . . Parsons’s commentary is filled with numerous insights on Acts. He clearly knows the literature related to the book and has spent many years considering its interpretation. His focus on individual narrative units helpfully forces the reader to attend to the text at hand. . . . This is an important commentary by an authority on Acts.”–Mark Wilson, Pneuma

“Clear, informative, this welcome addition to work on Acts firmly sets ‘Luke’ in a cultural, educational context. . . . This commentary fits many a niche: one hopes that not only students, but preachers and leaders of study-groups will welcome this accessible volume for companionship in walking with Luke through Acts.”–Peter Doble, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

“Parsons’ command of ancient rhetorical strategies as discussed and employed by ancient writers will enhance his own rhetorical ethos with readers. His command of the secondary literature pertaining to Luke and Acts, reaching far beyond rhetorical strategies, is equally impressive. Readers will know that they are engaging Acts under the tutelage of a very competent and knowledgeable guide. . . . Students, teachers, and pastors looking for thoughtful guidance and well-mapped inroads into the world of the ‘authorial audience’ will benefit from this excellent work.”–J. Bradley Chance, Interpretation

“The commentary begins each section with a sidebar that places the section in the larger context of Acts. . . . Then, as each unit within that section is treated, another sidebar shows where that unit fits within the narrative flow of the section. This helps readers deal with a common challenge in using commentaries, namely, that it is sometimes difficult to see a given set of verses within the larger context, missing the forest for the trees. There are many other brief sidebar topics. . . . The feature that sets this commentary apart from other moderate-sized commentaries is the focus on the rhetorical features of Acts. . . . Noting Luke’s purpose as moral and theological formation of his audience is a helpful emphasis. . . . For those with interest in rhetorical criticism, the commentary could be quite helpful.”–Kenneth D. Litwak, Covenant Quarterly


“Matera wisely distills and dispenses the massive scholarship on Romans. Students will find here an excellently organized, clear, and substantial description and discussion of this important and complex letter. Matera’s personal passion for Paul’s magnificent convictions in Romans energizes this fine introductory commentary.”–L. Ann Jervis, professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

“Matera has produced a remarkable commentary that is simultaneously nuanced and accessible. He is in clear conversation with the best biblical scholarship, but there is not a pedantic word in his lucid writing; rather, this commentary is unusually engaging. Attending to the literary, historical, and theological dimensions of Romans, Matera judiciously guides his readers in a careful study of the biblical text. All who are interested in Romans will be grateful to Matera for this fine work. I recommend it with enthusiasm!”–Marion L. Soards, professor of New Testament studies, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“Frank Matera’s commentary focusing on God’s saving righteousness revealed in the gospel is a lucid exposition of Romans. It introduces the major interpretive options for key issues, provides careful exegesis in conversation with other interpreters, and both highlights and engages the letter’s profound theological claims. It is therefore a great gift not only to students but also to seasoned interpreters of Paul.”–Michael J. Gorman, professor of Sacred Scripture and dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University

“An admirable addition to the Paideia series. . . . The author is an experienced teacher and respected scholar, well equipped by virtue of his previous publications on Paul and NT theology to take on the challenging task with which any interpreter of Romans is confronted. In guiding readers through his dense and complicated letter, Matera proves himself a masterful pedagogue: his exposition of the text is careful, comprehensive, systematic, and lucid. He ahs a gift for offering understandable explanations of complex matters without resorting to oversimplification. His original translation is felicitous, consistently well crafted, and informed by a good knowledge of textual evidence, the most significant of which he discusses to good effect. He is always fair in representing the varied positions that scholars propose concerning disputed issues, and he is unfailingly modest in stating his own conclusions. . . . On a writing as consequential as Romans, there is probably always need for another commentary–if it is a good one. And this commentary is not only good; it is excellent.”–Victor Paul Furnish, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“This excellent commentaryon Paul’s letter to the Romans is the latest addition to the Paideia series, which is geared for graduate students of the New Testament and strives to present solid biblical scholarship in commentaries that inform their readers about the meaning of the text.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

“Treating Paul’s Epistle to the Romans theological[ly] is hardly an innovation. . . . The challenge is to compress that voluminous discussion into a single volume in a way that still gives the reader a sense of the letter’s overall message, while saying something new and coherent. On the whole Matera achieves these objectives. . . . In relatively small compass he provides readers with a careful scholarly overview of the text and discusses the major interpretive issues that it has occasioned. This is a highly informative and user-friendly commentary on a hugely influential text.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“Matera’s work certainly merits attention. This series as a whole aims at M.A.-level students, seminarians, and upper-level undergraduate students interested in biblical and theological studies, and Matera provides a marvelous volume for students just beginning to seriously engage the book of Romans. . . . Matera writes with a gracious balance that resists the parochial tribalism that tends to infect much biblical scholarship. . . . What stands out above all in this commentary, however, is its clarity. In a scholarly universe in which abstruse syntax and difficult-to-trace reasoning are often mistaken for erudition, Frank Matera refuses to play such games. He marvelously attains Calvin’s supreme literary goal of ‘lucid brevity.’ Bible students young and old are in his debt. . . . For students just beginning to build their libraries and their understanding of Paul’s most magnificent letter, . . . [this work] will prove clarifying and rewarding.”–Dane Ortlund, Themelios

“The sheer glut of new commentaries on the market can make one’s eyes glaze over at the thought of yet another. But a work by veteran NT scholar Frank J. Matera on an important text like Romans should make even the most jaded scholar or pastor take notice. . . . The book is sprinkled with numerous sidebars; contains an 11-page introductory bibliography; and has indices of subjects, modern authors, and Scripture and ancient sources. These features make it highly user-friendly for its intended readers. Matera highlights key points of disagreement, presents options succinctly and clearly, and treats positions with which he disagrees charitably–all important features for an introductory commentary. . . . This is an even-handed, readable commentary, well-suited to its target audience. I am already recommending it to students.”–James C. Miller, Interpretation

First Corinthians

“Professor Perkins has produced a commentary on 1 Corinthians that has the merit of being both learned and concise. She provides readers with a wealth of information about the cultural and historical background of the text without neglecting its theological meaning and significance. This is an ideal commentary for students and pastors seeking a reliable guide to one of Paul’s most important letters.”–Frank J. Matera, Andrews-Kelly-Ryan Professor of Biblical Studies, Catholic University of America

“This relatively concise and accessible commentary helpfully situates Paul’s letter in its first-century context through its valuable discussions of key background issues and its generous use of sidebars with quotations of relevant material from ancient sources. Pastors and students will benefit from the contextual focus as well as from Perkins’s informed approach to theological interpretation, even if they reach some different conclusions along the way.”–Roy Ciampa, professor of New Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“Pheme Perkins is renowned for her independence of mind and the focus and precision of her thinking. Here she combines these rare qualities in an account of 1 Corinthians that is thoroughly up to date on the best scholarship and elegantly brings its intended readership into the central questions of the letter–cultural, literary, and theological.”–Troels Engberg-Pedersen, faculty of theology, University of Copenhagen

“This relatively new series is aimed squarely at students of the New Testament (e.g., seminarians, theology majors, graduate students). The goal is for the reader to understand the context and content of the particular New Testament book under consideration. Rather than present a verse-by-verse exposition, the commentators consider each cohesive segment of the biblical book. All these goals are well accomplished by Pheme Perkins. . . . In her introduction to the letter and in the body of the commentary she provides a thorough exposition of Paul’s theology and its relationship to the wider context of Judaism and the Greco-Roman world. Numerous and informative sidebars provide the reader with ample quotations from ancient authors and observations about the social, political, and religious context of Paul’s world; these are accompanied by various outlines, maps, and apt black and white photos of pertinent sites. All of this makes this commentary on 1 Corinthians a valuable resource for the intended audience.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

Ephesians and Colossians


“Charles Talbert initiates Baker Academic’s new Paideia series, which promises a fresh approach beneficial especially to beginning students but of value to the more advanced as well, with an accessible, user-friendly commentary on Ephesians and Colossians. Talbert’s contribution shines forth as a concise yet comprehensive gem illustrating his mastery of the present state of research. His vast erudition enlightens readers with new insights into not only the theological content but also the cultural and literary contexts to facilitate an appreciation of the contemporary relevance of two closely related but sometimes neglected Pauline letters.” —John Paul Heil, professor of New Testament, Catholic University of America

“The Pauline letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians are extraordinarily rich texts. Drawing on his many years of distinguished teaching and scholarship, Charles Talbert is a most trustworthy guide (paidagogos), for students and all who love Scripture, to the literary, historical, and theological treasures in these marvelous early Christian writings.”–Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, professor of New Testament, Weston Jesuit School of Theology

“Here is a commentary that has about everything you really want and almost nothing you don’t want! Talbert is clear, concise, informative, and interesting, providing solid exegesis and exhibiting judicious and balanced wisdom throughout. This is a most auspicious beginning to a new commentary series. I recommend it very enthusiastically.”–Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

“This commentary is vintage Talbert. He is an expert at summarizing in a clear but comprehensive manner interpretations of biblical books that serve the intended audience (especially students) well. The attempt to address ‘rhetorical units’ of these two letters, rather than each verse, helps readers comprehend more easily the message of the biblical text. The presence of some illustrations, sidebars, and outlines is also a great help. They provide a convenient and useful supplement to the detailed explanation of the text. If subsequent volumes in this new series are done as well as this inaugural commentary, this series will indeed be very attractive to students, seminarians, and pastors.”–Ronald D. Witherup, SS, Provincial of the US Province of Sulpicians

“This offering on Ephesians and Colossians does fill a gap for these two epistles. . . . Talbert’s strengths are in a close reading of the text, careful attention to structure, and his catalogues of relevant background texts. . . . There is a wealth of helpful insights in this volume and, unlike many commentaries, one doesn’t have to wade through voluminous amounts of less necessary information to find them. The commentary is a model of brevity and clarity, yet with sufficient detail to fulfill the editors’ stated purposes of the series. . . . Sidebars that address select issues in greater detail are scattered throughout the book and generally well chosen. . . . The layout of the volume is well conceived, visually pleasing, and almost entirely free from typographical errors. . . . This work is a welcome addition.”–Craig L. Blomberg, The Denver Journal

“This is the first of a projected eighteen-volume commentary series addressed expressly to students of theology and related disciples. Veteran and highly respected biblical scholar and teacher Charles Talbert is a fine choice to lead off this new series. . . . The clear and theologically rich exposition of these letters is enhanced by numerous graphs and illustrations, a thorough bibliography, and full indexes.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

“[Talbert offers] sure-footed comments and knowledge of the wider social context of the ancient world. His justification for studying these letters together, along with the tables of synoptic comparisons between Ephesians and Colossians, is of great benefit. . . . One feature that deserves recognition is the use of maps, photographs of inscriptions, and primary texts highlighted in text-boxes–this not only makes the book more visually appealing, but functions to highlight important material. . . . Talbert sequentially highlights important interpretational issues without any sense of skimming over material in the text. . . . Talbert has written a hugely impressive commentary on these two epistles. His comments offer close historical-critical exegesis, coupled with insightful theological reflections and a superb marshalling of the Greco-Roman and Jewish background material. This is a first-rate treatment of these texts and it should definitely become a key reference for students and scholars alike. It is to be hoped that forthcoming volumes in this series are able to maintain the excellent standard that has been set by Talbert.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“A serious work for serious students of the New Testament. . . . The commentary’s great strengths lie in Talbert’s familiarity with ancient literature, and in his ability to set the letters to the Ephesian and Colossian churches in literary and historical context. . . . Incredible insights about ancient literature, biblical backgrounds and history [are] available in this volume.”–Ken Camp, Baptist Standard

“The commentary examines each paragraph according to three categories: introductory matters, tracing the train of thought and theological issues. This format is very helpful, and I found that it answered more of my questions than many other formats. Talbert provides a good overview of interpretations making sane observations. This will be helpful for preachers.”–Ray Van Neste, Preaching

“The Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament series is designed to be used, in particular, by students and to provide them with a theological understanding of the text in its final form, placing it firmly in its ancient context, while addressing the interests of the contemporary readers. This first exponent of the type provides an excellent model. . . . A desire to be accessible and the aim of dealing with the text in larger blocks make for a readable and flowing commentary. . . . Throughout the commentary, the reader is provided with illustrative examples and parallels drawn from Jewish or Greco-Roman literature, or inscriptional and artefactual evidence. Thus students are led easily into the ancient world that forms the context for these letters. . . . Students, pastors and scholars will be well served by this commentary to understand the ancient context of these letters with fresh clarity and insight. They will find here clear discussion of the scholarship and theological exposition to fuel and enliven their own reflections on the text and its application to their lives and their world.”–Derek Tovey, Colloquium

“Talbert draws on his long experience of teaching students, writes clearly and accessibly, summarizes scholarly debates helpfully, and presents material in a user-friendly manner. . . . Talbert generally proves to be a sure-footed guide, and students should emerge from their reading with a clear impression of the thrust of the letters’ arguments and of the main interpretative issues. . . . [Talbert] comment[s] succinctly on issues of translation, syntax, and exegesis of key words, phrases, and sentences, suppl[ies] a rich amount of comparative material from ancient sources, and ensur[es], through the use of boxed outlines, especially in the case of Ephesians, that the overall flow of the unit’s argument and its place in the letter is kept in view. . . . The commentary’s bibliography is relatively comprehensive and up-to-date and will make students aware of a wide range of secondary literature. . . . Talbert has provided a fine resource with which serious students will be able to explore these two letters within their first-century setting. Use of his commentary will give them a very valuable orientation for their own further study of and reflection upon these canonical texts.”–Andrew T. Lincoln, Review of Biblical Literature

“For each section of text, [Talbert] begins with introductory matters, follows with a lengthier section called ‘Tracing the Train of Thought,’ and draws to a close with a discussion of theological issues. . . . In each case there are no wasted words; each discussion is fitted to the need of the moment. The benefit of this format is the model for students of moving from the shape of the text and the flow of the argument to theological reflection. . . . There is also, included throughout, a healthy number of charts and boxes in which other issues are covered. . . . The layout is visually attractive and Talbert is consistent in keeping the information contained therein succinct and relevant. . . . Talbert’s commentary is impressive for combining succinct expression of thought, thorough examination and treatment of most major interpretive issues, subtle grasp of the flow of argument, and brilliant articulation of the theological impulses in Ephesians and Colossians. Talbert’s work succeeds wonderfully in fulfilling the vision for the Paideia commentaries–the seasoned work of a scholar-teacher made accessible for theological students–and if subsequent volumes match the standard set here, this series will indeed be one to watch in coming days.”–Timothy G. Gombis, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

“Written for students of religious and theological studies, the commentary contains helpful information about the ancient cultural setting of Ephesians and Colossians, as well as a short theological reflection at the end of each thought unit. . . . Talbert’s knowledge of parallel ancient literary sources provides a valuable resource for students who may be unfamiliar with these works as they relate to Ephesians and Colossians. He successfully utilizes these texts in a way that will not overwhelm the student who has had little exposure to this area of research.”–Justin G. Winzenburg, Religious Studies Review

“This first volume [in the Paideia series] by one of the [series] editors, a highly respected senior American New Testament scholar, is exemplary. . . . The issue of pseudepigraphy is fairly and squarely faced and sensible critical conclusions reached. The author’s extensive knowledge of the classical world is deployed to good effect, always illuminating and never obtrusive. There is an excellent bibliography and good indices. The Commentary itself is comfortable to read and deserves to be very widely used. All theological libraries at whatever level should regard this as a priority.”–Robert Morgan, Theological Book Review

“This book is outstanding. It should appeal to its target audience [advanced undergraduate and seminary students] and be a useful resource in the classroom. Talbert’s knowledge of Greco-Roman culture is extensive, and his grasp of Second Temple Judaism is good. . . . I found this a very helpful commentary.”–Thomas B. Slater, Interpretation

“To help today’s reader there are outlines of the whole of each letter, and then of each discerned section, followed by useful reminders of the train of thought so far, which also assists part consultation. Each section ends with clear and sensitive wider theological reflections that still stay in touch with the text. . . . Here is a fine succinct commentary on each text.”–F. Gerald Downing, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

“An original feature of the [Paideia] series is the illustration of how NT texts are shaped by educational categories and ideas, leading to new insights about Ephesians and Colossians and their theological and moral visions. . . . Talbert’s work reveals mastery of both ancient literature and previous scholarship. Careful explanation of difficult concepts and worldviews of the documents will assure a large audience among the students to whom this commentary series is primarily aimed. The use of charts, images, and primary sources set apart from the main commentary assist with this didactic goal.”–Margaret Y. MacDonald, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“The Paideia commentary series aims to explore the final form of New Testament writings by focusing on the social-cultural settings to which they are initially addressed. Talbert’s combined commentary on Ephesians and Colossians meets that aim in a highly satisfying way. . . . The results are fresh readings that offer new insights into the messages of each letter. . . . The commentaries’ major contribution is their ongoing engagement with primary sources that illumine the letters’ points. . . . Well researched, with a 21-page bibliography, and well organized, with subject, author, and primary-source indexes, the joint commentary provides a useful tool for in-depth study of Ephesians and Colossians. Scattered throughout each commentary are handy tables and insets that summarize important data or quote at length relevant primary sources. The commentary could serve capably as one of the textbooks for a specialty course exploring either of those epistles. The combined commentary is a definite must-read for those studying Ephesians and Colossians.”–Peter W. Gosnell, Bulletin for Biblical Research

“Contributors to this series comprise scholars of international reputation. . . . If successful, this series will be helpful not only for theological students but also for anyone who is interested in the final form and theological interests [of] the New Testament. It may also prove to be useful for lay teachers and preachers in the church. While this series is aimed at students, it is hope[d] that seasoned scholars will also find this series engaging.”–Kar Yong, myhomilia.blogspot.com

“Talbert’s approach is excellent. He acknowledges that to understand Ephesians (and by implication, the entire New Testament) it is important to determine as much as possible the context in which the letters were written. . . . The volume includes many helpful sidebars, which often contain outlines or highlight specific topics. . . . Talbert deals effectively with many major issues and gives a clear interpretation of the text. If this volume is representative of commentaries in the Paideia series, the forthcoming volumes promise to be helpful tools for interpreting the New Testament.”–Joseph D. Fantin, Bibliotheca Sacra

“Talbert offers a masterful account of how the social-cultural elements of the first century are reflected in the two letters. . . . He successfully combines close attention to the two letters with appreciation of numerous historical-theological concerns. Thus, Talbert’s work contributes significantly to the understanding of the formation of the theological convictions of the text. Moreover, his adhering to the final form of the text helps us to appreciate the text in terms of its larger rhetorical units. . . . This is a very useful commentary for those who want to expand their approach to looking at the text. Many tables, charts and pictures are especially useful in acquainting the reader with both the socio-religious features and the developing historical-theological issues of the world of the first readers of Ephesians and Colossians. The easy style without footnotes makes it approachable and the wide-ranging bibliography is very helpful to readers as well. For many reasons, therefore, Talbert’s work deserves to be read widely.”–Byung Pill Choi, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism


“With a firm grasp on the theological, ecclesial, historical, social, and literary issues, James W. Thompson has produced a commentary on Hebrews that is clear, compelling, and helpful. In Thompson’s hands, this often difficult biblical book breaks open with new power and meaning.”–Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“A carefully crafted work like Hebrews deserves a commentary that concentrates on the text itself, not on opinions and arguments about it; that provides necessary historical information reliably and concisely (here, ancient rhetoric); that stimulates the user to think about matters raised by the text. Thompson’s commentary does all these things well because he has thought about Hebrews judiciously and deeply.”–Leander E. Keck, emeritus professor of Biblical Theology, Yale Divinity School

“Preachers will find helpful insights in [this volume] as they do their own expositional studies.”–PreachingNow

“[A] fine commentary. . . . Thompson . . . delivers a wealth of insight into the text and its context. . . . Thompson skillfully explores the homily–not a letter, and not necessarily addressed to ‘Hebrews’–against the backdrop of Greek philosophy. While scholars will profit from Thompson’s insight, graduate and undergraduate students comprise the primary audience. For these readers, the clear exposition and the dozens of sidebars explaining various terms and topics essential for understanding the densely packed exegesis . . . make this an especially useful volume.”–Patrick Gray, Religious Studies Review

“[Thompson] is a long-standing and reputed Hebrews scholar. . . . This is a clear and useful introduction to the Philonic approach to Hebrews. . . . The series . . . seem[s] best suited to undergraduates.”–Michael Tait, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

“Thompson focuses especially on the Greco-Roman background, frequently relating the text to social, rhetorical, and philosophical movements and issues in the wider world of Hebrews’s readers. This focus fills certain gaps that sometimes appear in other commentaries that focus mainly on the OT and Jewish background of the letter. . . . Thompson writes clearly, accurately, and engagingly, hitting his target audience of students quite accurately.”–Douglas Moo, Bulletin for Biblical Research

“Thompson’s Paideia commentary on the book of Hebrews balances readability with depth. . . . The strength of this commentary is its ability to make biblical scholarship accessible. Couple this with Thompson’s rhetorical analysis, which keeps the reader’s focus on the text of Hebrews, and this commentary provides an excellent tool for serious Bible study. . . . Though this academic commentary will undoubtedly appeal to university and seminary students, it will also benefit anyone interested in enriching their sermons and/or devotional reading with a more studious perspective.”–Frederick S. Tappenden, Bible Study Magazine

“The commentary’s simple framework is useful. With regard to each biblical section, the author presents introductory matters, traces the train of thought and considers key hermeneutical and theological questions. One of the ways that this commentary, like others in the Paideia series, avoids the thicket and keeps readers on the path is the frequent use of breakout boxes. . . . Over and over, as questions and curiosities arose, I turned the page to find that the author was ahead of me, anticipating and satisfying my questions with a brief, enriching sidebar. . . . Thompson’s tour of Hebrews is no cakewalk. . . . This respect, even demand, for serious study is a strength not only of the commentary but also, as Thompson persuasively argues, of the book of Hebrews itself. . . . The serious student should find this Paideia commentary a trustworthy companion and welcome resource.”–Linda King, Christian Chronicle

“Veteran Hebrews’ commentator James W. Thompson unlocks the secrets of Hebrews in this excellent commentary. . . . Who better to write on what is perhaps the most difficult New Testament book to understand than this accomplished scholar and teacher? This commentary is so well done that even experts in the field can benefit from reading it. . . . Thompson’s masterful commentary on Hebrews will be a boon to students, preachers, and experts alike. Its clear, readable style, accompanied by a wealth of sidebars and charts, makes one of the most obscure books of the New Testament easily accessible. His exposition of Hebrews places the homily’s theological meaning firmly within its ancient social and cultural context, serving as a reminder even in our own day that these spheres need not be kept separate and distinct but can beneficially inform one another.”–Alan C. Mitchell, Review of Biblical Literature

“Like other volumes in the series, this commentary also has helpful boxed sections of text which summarise issues of structure, rhetorical and philosophical terminology, and background information. This makes the volume particularly helpful for students who are beginning to study using single volume commentaries and who may not have a detailed knowledge of the classical world, its philosophy, and rhetoric. . . . It will be a useful commentary for students in first degree work, particularly because of the boxed sections. Students at postgraduate level will also find it is a volume which adds to their study of the letter. Highly recommended as such for all seminaries offering courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level on Hebrews.”–Fergus King, Theological Book Review

“The Paideia commentary series is . . . making a strong impact both in terms of the overall approach of the series and the quality of the . . . individual volumes that have been published thus far. . . . The commentary sections are not only full of rich exegetical insights, but they are carefully fashioned into a ‘user-friendly’ form through the use of illustrations, tables, highlighted summaries and asides, and a division of each block of material into three sections: introductory matters, tracing the train of thought, and theological issues. . . . Thompson packs an impressive amount of insight and scholarship into just over three hundred pages. Although the series states that it is aimed primarily at students, there is much here for readers at all levels. This is a fine commentary which brings to life the message of the epistle to the Hebrews.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“Thompson provides a helpful theological reading of the book [of Hebrews], obviously informed by the latest scholarship. The emphasis on theology and literary form make it useful to the preacher.”–Ray Van Neste, Preaching

“This is a detailed and scholarly, though not overly technical commentary on Hebrews, drawing upon a wealth of recent scholarship, especially on studies of the epistle’s rhetorical structure and argumentation. Illustrations and inserted boxes with outlines or brief factual information make this an attractive tool for students. . . . A valuable commentary.”–International Review of Biblical Studies

“Thompson skillfully guides readers through a wide array of ancient sources and ideas as well as contemporary interpretations with the result that the forest is not lost but ever more appreciated for the trees. Thompson’s own views, though present, are never forcefully made. . . . This restraint serves the pedagogical purpose of Hebrews well, simultaneously affording students a more than adequate foundation for understanding the document while allowing space for their professors, or the students themselves, to stake out particular claims. . . . Thompson’s treatments of theological issues are by no means perfunctory but rather are consistently salient and subtle suggestions about what Hebrews is saying to today’s readership. All along, helpful sidebars and insets provide information students might otherwise need to look up in reference works. . . . With every turn of the page, it was apparent that this is a successful distillation of decades of research, reflection, teaching, and ministry in a form that is accessible, very well-informed but not overburdened by scholarly debates, judicious in its scope and focus, and consistently meaningful for the believer who wishes to seriously engage Hebrews intellectually and spiritually.”–Ronald Cox, Restoration Quarterly

“Thompson’s work is very readable and will be useful for both scholar and layman. I think that this commentary might be the ‘first off the shelf’ for the busy pastor. The commentary does an excellent job with the rhetoric of the letter, attempting to read the letter in the light of Greco-Roman homiletical tradition which was popular in the Hellenistic synagogue. He treats much of the writer’s use of the Hebrew Bible as midrash, a decidedly Jewish way of treating scripture. . . . Thompson is also at home in the literature of the Second Temple Period. . . . There are numerous sidebars and occasional photographs in the commentary.”–Phillip J. Long, Reading Acts blog

James and Jude

“I can think of no one more qualified than John Painter and David deSilva to write on James and Jude respectively. They have produced an admirable work, both in its scholarly integrity and in its literary clarity. They have adhered to the goal of the Paideia series in not writing a detailed exegetical commentary but rather ‘attending to the cultural, literary and theological settings of the final form of the text’ and bringing out the rhetorical strategies employed. This increases rather than limits the value of the work, allowing for a focus and clarity that might not otherwise be possible. I recommend this work; no future work on these two letters will be complete without using it.”–Peter Davids, Houston Baptist University

James and Jude makes an excellent contribution to the impressive Paideia commentary series. John Painter’s commentary on James exhibits all the traits of a master interpreter. The introductory material is rich without being dense or convoluted. The commentary itself is concise and loaded with insight. David deSilva’s commentary on Jude is a gem. Who knew that so much of interest could be extracted from such a brief epistle? Students will benefit greatly from this well-written volume. Veteran scholars are also encouraged to add it to their library.”–Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada

“Painter and deSilva are to be congratulated for taking their readers and the biblical text seriously. They do not dumb down their discussions, but neither do they make brute historical, linguistic, and sociological facts the centerpiece of what they say. In these pages, thoughtful and practical reflection (‘Theological Issues’) always follows a close analysis of the Greek text (‘Tracing the Train of Thought’). The authors teach that understanding is not an end in itself; they insist that a robust faith is alien in any culture and that it is lived.”–James Riley Strange, assistant professor of religion, Samford University; author of The Moral World of James: Setting the Epistle in Its Greco-Roman and Judaic Environments

First and Second Peter

“Duane Watson and Terrance Callan have written a solid, rhetorically informed commentary that fulfills the aspirations of the Paideia series–namely, a work that will be readable, informative, and serviceable for students of the New Testament. Their depth of scholarship on these works, gained from years of study and teaching, is now made accessible in one place. I look forward to recommending this work to my own students.”–Peter H. Davids, visiting professor in Christianity, Houston Baptist University

“Watson and Callan’s commentary on 1 and 2 Peter provides a helpful combination of attention to the biblical text, ancient sources and context, and theological issues. This clearly written work will be appreciated by both pastors and students who want to learn more about these biblical texts, the contexts in which they arose, and their theological implications for the church today.”–Ruth Anne Reese, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Duane Watson and Terrance Callan, each of whom has written significantly on Second Peter, team up here to provide a fresh and coherent exposition of both letters–a most welcome contribution to Petrine studies and a valuable tool for reassessing the difficult question of the relationship between the two canonical letters bearing Peter’s name.”–J. Ramsey Michaels, professor of religious studies emeritus, Missouri State University

“In an age of overly large volumes that easily swamp students with detail, Watson and Callan’s tome on the Petrine Epistles offers the best of contemporary scholarship with concise precision. A masterful and complete commentary full of sound and sober interpretive judgment combined with blocks of contextual and theological insights, this accessible text will also aid the busy pastor concerned for faithful biblical exposition.”–Gene L. Green, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

“[Watson] demonstrate[s] a profound understanding of both the text of 1 Peter and the environment in which it came into being. . . . Watson’s entire contribution is engaging and intelligent. Callan’s too, for his exposition of 2 Peter is just as nicely and competently done as Watson’s of 1 Peter. . . . The bibliography which concludes the volume is extensive and up to date and the indices are very complete. . . . This is a quite impressive achievement both in terms of the contents of the book and the way in which that content is presented to the reader. This is a commendable, well written, enjoyable addition to any library.”–Jim West, Zwinglius Redivivus blog