The word “thorough” well describes this lengthy commentary on the short, often-neglected Epistle of Philemon. Nordling, assistant professor of classics at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, addresses numerous questions that emerge from a study of this book. Under what circumstances did Paul write this letter? Who was Philemon and what positions did he and Onesimus occupy in the church that met in Philemon’s house? In what sense was Onesimus a slave? What circumstances led to his leaving Philemon? And what circumstances led to his conversion?
After an extensive discussion of slavery in the ancient world (70 pages), and of the theological implications of slavery in the New Testament (31 pages), Nordling presents a detailed commentary. His hundreds of footnotes give evidence of his thorough research. Here is a reliable, in-depth look at an important, though brief, book in the New Testament canon.