series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible advances the assumption that the Nicene creedal tradition, in all its diversity, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture. The series encourages readers to extend the vital roots of the ancient Christian tradition to our day.

In this addition to the acclaimed series, renowned scholar Christopher Seitz offers a theological exegesis of Colossians, bringing his expertise in canonical reading to bear on his interpretation of this Pauline letter. As with other volumes in the series, the book is ideal for those called to ministry.

The general editor for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is R. R. Reno (editor, First Things). Series editors include Robert W. Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry); Robert Louis Wilken (University of Virginia); Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto); Michael Root (Catholic University of America); and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas).

Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

R. R. Reno
(editor, First Things) on Genesis
Thomas Joseph White (Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome) on Exodus
Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Leviticus
David L. Stubbs (Western Theological Seminary) on Numbers
Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy
Paul Hinlicky (Roanoke College) on Joshua
Laura A. Smit (Calvin University) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola University Maryland) on Judges & Ruth
Francesca Aran Murphy (University of Notre Dame) on 1 Samuel
Robert Barron (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles) on 2 Samuel
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Kings
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Chronicles
Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary) on Ezra & Nehemiah
Samuel Wells (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, London) and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas) on Esther & Daniel
Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1-50
Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101-150
Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes
Paul J. Griffiths on Song of Songs
Robert W. Jenson (1930-2017; Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel
Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah
Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew
David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke
Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006; Yale University) on Acts
Kimlyn J. Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians
Kathryn Greene-McCreight (The Episcopal Church at Yale) on Galatians
Michael Allen (Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) on Ephesians
George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Philippians
Christopher R. Seitz (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Colossians
Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki) on the Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude
Douglas Harink (The King's University College) on 1 & 2 Peter
Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


"No one has spent more time than Christopher Seitz over the past generation writing about the relationship of the two testaments to one another and how that issue constitutes the defining feature of the Christian Bible. He is no doubt one of the best theological readers of the Bible. This is the first time he has dedicated himself to the interpretation of an entire book of the New Testament, and it will become a landmark volume in this prestigious series."

Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

"It is a real pleasure to commend this commentary on one of the jewels in the New Testament by one of today's leading Old Testament scholars. Colossians is sometimes the neglected Pauline epistle among preachers because of its similarities to Ephesians. Nevertheless, it contains some unique Pauline themes, including the way in which believers in Christ have in some sense already been resurrected in Him. Preachers, teachers, and thoughtful Christians will all appreciate Seitz's clarity, insight, and theological acumen as he navigates technical matters while pressing home theological and pastoral application."

Carl R. Trueman,professor of biblical and religious studies, Grove City College

"Over against the trend in many contemporary commentaries, Christopher Seitz refuses to treat Colossians as a single, isolated letter. Instead he views Colossians as embedded in the world of Paul, imprisonment, Christian fellowship, and the scriptural canon as a whole. What emerges from Colossians is the sound of a brave and confident Pauline voice, singing of grace, truth, and shared ministry, surrounded by the full and rich choir of Scripture. This is a powerful and deeply theological commentary."

Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"That Colossians comes to us as part of a collection of Letters of Paul is a fact everyone who opens an edition of the New Testament will immediately acknowledge. The more striking fact is that very few commentaries explore the reading instructions expressed in this simple observation. Christopher Seitz with his deep appreciation of the canonical context shows how an enigmatic text like Colossians will come to life when readers find the courage to listen to the voice of canonical Paul and not get lost in unsolvable historical riddles. Beautifully crafted, richly annotated, and an excellent example of meaningful narrative interpretation in a historical context."

David Trobisch, director of the Green Collection

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."

Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!"

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."

Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, is, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."

Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher's business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."

Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

"For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume."

Nijay K. Gupta, Portland Seminary

The Author

  1. Christopher R. Seitz

    Christopher R. Seitz

    Christopher R. Seitz (PhD, Yale University) is senior research professor of biblical interpretation at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario, and is an ordained Episcopal priest. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews and...

    Continue reading about Christopher R. Seitz


"[A] very fruitful examination of Colossians. . . . I particularly appreciated Seitz's unequivocal statement of his own positions on controversial matters ('in my view . . .'). His discussion of 'hidden-ness' and self-knowledge in 3:3-4 is both moving and of practical spiritual and pastoral importance. . . . Seitz provides careful explanation when his translations vary from major published versions. I enjoyed the closing fictional paraphrase: 'Paul in His Own Words,' with its reminder that we 'must allow the old word itself to do its new work, getting out of its way.'"

Bonnie Thurston,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"[Seitz's] theological interests shine brightly. . . . Seitz offers a wealth of canonical and theological commentary on the text of Colossians. . . . By and large, readers will be enriched both theologically and historically. . . . Seitz's commentary, while paying due attention to the history and importance of theological interpretation as represented in the Nicene tradition, seems to prioritize the scriptural text. Well done!"

Robert Gundry,

Books & Culture

"Seitz's Colossians gives new expression to the canonical approach to biblical interpretation begun by Brevard Childs and carried on by Seitz. This is its first and primary contribution to the burgeoning literature on the theological interpretation of Scripture. Seitz's canonical approach, grounded in the biblical theology movement, will certainly satisfy readers appreciative of his earlier work. On the other hand, readers who assume a fundamental break between biblical theology and the theological interpretation of Scripture will likely find themselves wishing that Seitz had brought Colossians, an imprisoned apostle's reflection on his vocation, into conversation with relevant theologians ancient and modern. . . . Even these readers, however, will certainly benefit from Seitz's singular ability to connect Colossians with the rest of the canon."

Devin L. White,

Review of Biblical Literature

"This new volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary series is a welcome addition, and, within the parameters of the series, it admirably fulfills its aims. . . . [It] very helpfully open[s] up new theological horizons that historio-critical commentaries can sometimes skim over. It is in that area that it makes its unique and valuable contribution to the continued study of Colossians."

Paul Foster,

Expository Times

"There are many fresh insights in this book and much of value to pastors and scholars alike."

Scott D. Charlesworth,

Religious Studies Review

"Well-known Hebrew Bible scholar Christopher Seitz contributes this accessible commentary in a series intended to interpret biblical texts within the framework of the church's theology, especially as seen in the early creeds. Seitz, however, more often sets Colossians within the context of the canon. . . . Those who adopt canonical criticism will find this work helpful. . . . The parallels and themes that Seitz draws from the Hebrew Bible provide insights into the message and theology of this letter."

Jerry L. Sumney,


"Seitz's commentary on Colossians represents the kind of contribution that the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible envisions: a refreshing interpretation of the letter that is informed by multiple interpretive horizons and also makes several suggestive advances in Pauline studies. As Seitz memorably orients his readers, 'At some point the canonical portrayal sits there before us and requests that we take it seriously as a factor in interpretation.' This commentary will surely prove fruitful for those who are serious about pursuing this particular task."

Ched Spellman,

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Noted biblical scholar and theologian Christopher Seitz . . . offers a rich exposition of the letter to the Colossians. . . . He concludes with an illuminating paraphrase of the letter, putting into his own words what he thinks Paul wanted to say."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"This commentary features Seitz's interpretive expertise alongside his concern for reading in view of the canonical whole. . . . Neither simplistic nor overbearing, Seitz's commentary shines by its engagement with the text, perceptive interpretation, and familiarity with Colossians. These virtues reflect the author's training as a biblical interpreter. More distinctive, Seitz emphasizes the influence of Israel's scriptures more than Greco-Roman culture. . . . Colossians dialogues a fair amount with major modern interpreters. The commentary will appeal to readers interested in canonical interpretation, the Old Testament in the New, and traditional Pauline authorship. . . . The final product is a commentary that is canonically-informed, more traditional than critical, and certainly distinctive."

Troy M. Troftgruben,

Lutheran Quarterly

"Seitz defends Pauline authorship and provides good, sensible discussion of each passage of Scripture with theological reflection. The introduction is worthy of close reading as Seitz lays out an argument for reading Scripture as a whole and, in particular, reading Colossians as part of the Pauline corpus."

Ray Van Neste,

Preaching (2015 Survey of Bibles and Bible Reference Works)

"There can be no doubt that [Seitz's commentary] is certainly different--sometimes strikingly so--from the standard commentaries on Colossians. The results are often as refreshing as an ocean breeze sweeping through a seaside cottage that has been shut up for far too long. . . . Seitz's commentary is a good example of how [canonical criticism] can illuminate the Scriptures. . . . Seitz's unique approach coaxes a number of fresh insights from the text and therefore deserves a hearing."

Joel White,


"Colossians is a beautiful piece of mind-stimulating and soul-edifying Christian scholarship, and as such actualizes the noble intentions of the Brazos series. This is a commentary for the church, largely due to its reading of the Bible as Christian Scripture; but it is at the same time authentically academic, given its clear (often cogent) argumentation and robust engagement with a wide range of scholarship (patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern). Seitz appropriates several evidences (grammatical, historical, and canonical) at relevant points to support his preferred interpretation and/or translation of different parts of the book; most of these evidences are given extensive treatment as excursuses. This commentary therefore will benefit pastors, theologians, and biblical scholars in their reading of Colossians."

Isuwa Y. Atsen,

Trinity Journal

"[Seitz] has written broadly and his extensive knowledge of the Old Testament is used consistently throughout the volume. . . . His canonical and theological approach in many areas made for a fresh and interesting means to discuss this material. This was a nice surprise from such a brief commentary. . . . For those already familiar with Colossians and more technical commentaries, this volume will provide a different approach to Colossians specifically and to Paul generally. Its emphasis on the Old Testament is a welcome contribution to the study of Colossians."

Joseph D. Fantin,

Bibliotheca Sacra

"A fresh reading of Paul's letter. . . . I find myself drawn to the canonical approach of Seitz and others. . . . However, I have seen much discussion about method, but less of the payoff, so I highly enjoyed how this commentary put the concepts into practice. . . . As a volume that attempts to chart its own course inspired by a theological interpretation, Seitz's Colossians does not disappoint. I would highly recommend it be read alongside any more 'traditional' (read: modern!) commentary. . . . I certainly found it stimulating and provocative. There's nothing quite like it."

Lindsay Kennedy,

My Digital Seminary blog