Philippians and Philemon: A Commentary
Cousar’s commentary is my first read in the New Testament Library series and it was a good commentary. The old adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is pertinent here. This book is a mere 112 pages long, including index. Because I was unfamiliar with the NTL series I wasn’t sure what to expect from such a thin commentary. Most commentaries this lean are usually quite slim on the scholarly engagement and substantial offering of exegetical insight, but I was surprised to find this was not so with Cousar’s work. To be sure, it is not on par with my favorite commentaries on Philippians (Fee in NICNT and O’Brien in NIGTC), but Cousar does provide a solid treatement of these letters. His interpretation of the letters is conservative and reaches said interpretation based upon an honest dealing with the text and the literature. I will say here that this is one of the drawbacks of shorter commentaries such as this–the authors must be very selective in choosing which works with which they will interact, and unfortunately, that holds true here. However, for those who are looking for a shorter treatment of these books (perhaps for personal study, small group, or Sunday School Bible study), this commentary will be well-suited for them.
I would definitely recommend this volume to someone looking for a fair treatment of Philippians and Philemon, especially to those who are looking for something a little easier work through. Advanced students would not likely glean much from Cousar as from more substantial volumes, though they would possibly find occasional bits worthy of their consideration. In summary, Cousar’s contribution to the Philippians and Philemon conversations is not memorable, but neither is it forgettable. It is another voice in the room, though it will not command the attention that other commentaries will.
Αυτω η δοξα,