I am currently writing a small group series for our congregation on Paul’s prison letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). Here are the resources I am currently using. Anything I am missing that you have found useful?
- IVP – Dictionary of Paul and His Letters
- Paul: Apostle of a Heart Set Free by F.F. Bruce
- NICNT on Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians by F.F. Bruce
- Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters by N.T. Wright
- Word Biblical Commentary on Colossians and Philemon by Peter O’Brien
- Anchor Bible Commentary on Philemon by Joseph Fitzmyer
- NICNT on Philippians by Gordon Fee
- Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians by Ben Witherington
- Interpretation Commentary on Philippians by Fred Craddock
- Pillar Ephesians Commentary by Peter O’Brien
What else should I consult?
Colossians Remixed by Walsh and Keesmaat?
I’ve found it helpful to print or display maps and pictures of these cities Paul was writing to. I’m sure some of the books you’ve listed have some good images but there are others online in places such as
Blessings on your ministry of preparing material to teach!
You should be good with those bro. But when are you gonna eat and/or sleep??
By way of bibliography, it looks like you’ve got plenty to keep you busy. I’m curious; how many lessons in all are you putting together. How many on each letter? One more: Do you think that all four letters come from Paul’s house-arrest at the end of Acts?
For my classes, I’m trying to put together material that requires the students to actually read the biblical book first (what a concept!) and answer a few questions about basic content. That way, when we deal with that book in class, it’s more of a discussion than a lecture. I think they actually learn and retain a lot more that way. The class sessions clarify something that they’ve already encountered.
It is going to be roughly 18 lessons. I have decided to deal with Colossians and Philemon first as it seems to me they were probably written first and from Paul’s C.P. imprisonment. Then we will cover Ephesians and Philippians from his Roman imprisonment. There is speculation when it comes to these things no matter how you cut it but that is the track I have decided to take. Any input is welcome.
One of the things I always do when teaching a text is to read the entire text out loud prior to teaching through it. I figure the text speaks best for itself and it is better to have the whole text read even if that means a few minutes less discussion.
I always enjoy William Barclay’s Daily Bible Study Series. His strength is in background and word studies. He is not so strong on overall message and development of the argument. Yet, I find him very useful and easy to follow.
Hmm . . . didn’t see anything by the standard coC writers of yesteryear! 🙂
Shhh….I am really going straight out of the Lipscomb/Shepherd commentary GA commentary.