Commentaries on Philemon

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Order of Contents  15

Best  5
Commentaries  6
Early & Medieval  8



The Best Commentaries on Philemon


Attersoll, William – A Commentary upon the Epistle to Philemon  (London: Jaggard, 1612)  ToC  Doctrines  Index

***  “A long comment upon a short epistle.  The pious author labors to keep to his text, and succeeds in bringing out of it a mass of quaint practical teaching.” – Spurgeon

Dickson, David – ‘…Philemon Analytically Expounded’  in An Expositon of all St. Paul’s Epistles…  (London: Eglesfield, 1659), pp. 183-84

Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘Dickson is a writer after our own heart.  For preachers he is a great ally.  There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head.  In this volume the observations are brief.’

Jones, William – ‘A Commentary upon the Epistle of St. Paul to Philemon’  in A Commentary upon the Epistles of St. Paul to Philemon & to the Hebrews…  (London: Allot, 1635), pp. 1-46

Jones was reformed.

***  “Very lively, sprightly, colloquial lectures, by a Suffolk divine, who thinks the Brownists and Dissenters were not persecuted.  “Christ was whipped, that was persecution; Christ whipped some out of the temple, that was no persecution.”  Despite his intolerance he says some uncommonly racy things.” – Spurgeon


Intermediate, 1800’s

Cox, Samuel – ‘The Epistle to Philemon’  in The Private Letters of St. Paul & St. John  (1867), pp. 3-60

***  “Such exposition as this adds interest to the epistles, and makes their writers live again before our eyes.  Mr. Cox delivered this work in public on certain week evenings.  Happy are the people who are thus instructed.” – Spurgeon


Advanced, 1800’s

Lightfoot, J.B. – Epistle to Philemon  ToC  in St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians & Philemon: A Revised Text, with Introductions, Notes & Dissertations  (London: Macmillan, 1890), pp. 301-46

***  “Deservedly regarded as a standard work.  The more instructed student will appreciate it.”  “…Lightfoot writes for scholars.” – Spurgeon



Commentaries on Philemon


Luther, Martin – Lectures on Philemon  in Luther’s Works, ed. Pelikan  (Concordia, 1968), vol. 29: Lectures on Titus, Philemon & Hebrews, pp. 91-108



Dyke, Daniel – ‘A Commentary upon the Epistle to Philemon’  in Two Treatises: The One a Most Fruitful Exposition upon Philemon; the other, the School of Affliction  (London: G.P., 1614), pp. 1-324

Dyke was a reformed puritan.

**  “Dyke’s remarks are memorably practical and full of common sense.  He abounds in proverbs.  The work is not very valuable as an exposition of the words, but excels in making use of them.” – Spurgeon


Simple, Practical & Devotional

Moule, H.C.G. – ‘The Epistle to Philemon’  in Colossian & Philemon Studies: Lessons in Faith & Holiness  (Revell, 1861), pp. 276-318

“Moule was known for his saintliness and evangelical fervor.  These studies bear testimony to his ability as an expositor.  They deal adequately with the text and deftly apply the message of these epistles.” – Cyril J. Barber

Scroggie, William G. – A Note to a Friend: Paul to Philemon  (London: Hulbert [1927?])  170 pp.  no ToC

“A rewarding and in-depth study.” – Cyril J. Barber




MacLaren, Alexander – ‘The Epistle to Philemon’  in Colossians & Philemon  in The Expositor’s Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll  (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1902), pp. 415-93

This is different than MacLaren’s expositions on the whole Bible.



Robbins, John – Slavery & Christianity: Paul’s Letter to Philemon  (Trinity Foundation, 2007)  84 pp.  ToC

Robbins, the late editor of the Trinity Review, comments on the book of Philemon and argues from it that American, Southern slavery was wrong.



The Early Church on Philemon


ed. Gorday, Peter – Ancient Christian Commentary: Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon  (IVP Academic, 2007)  380 pp.  ToC



Ambrosiaster – Commentary on Philemon  in Commentaries on Galatians-Philemon  trans. Gerald Bray  in Ancient Christian Texts  Pre  Buy  (IVP Academic, 2009), pp. 161-64

Ambrosiaster (c. 366-384)

Chrysostom – Homilies on Philemon  ToC  in NPNF1, vol. 13, pp. 545-57  HTML

Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407)

**  ‘Enough of solid truth and brilliant utterance will be found here to justify this father’s title of ‘Golden Mouth’; but still all is not gold which fell from his lips, and to modern readers Chrysostom is not so instructive as he was to his own age [A.D. 349-407].’ – Spurgeon

Jerome – Commentary on Philemon  in Commentaries on Galatians, Titus & Philemon  trans. Thomas P. Scheck  (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), pp. 351-82

Jerome (c. 342–347 – 420)

Theodore of Mopsuestia – ‘On Philemon’  in Theodore of Mopsuestia: The Commentaries on the Minor Epistles of Paul  trans. Rowan Greer  in Writings from the Greco-Roman World  Pre  (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010), pp. 773-806

Theodore (c. 350 – 428) was a bishop of Mopsuestia and is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate. He is the best known representative of the middle Antioch School of hermeneutics.

Theodoret of Cyrus – Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, vol. 2: Galatians–Hebrews  Ref  (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007)

Theodoret (c. 393 – c. 458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch, biblical commentator and bishop of Cyrus.



The Medieval Church

Ishodad of Merv – On Philemon  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Ishodad (fl. 850) was a bishop of Hdatta during the Abbasid Caliphate (near current-day Mosul, Iraq) and prominent theologian of the Church of the East, best known for his commentaries on the Syriac Bible.

Aquinas, Thomas – Commentary on Philemon  at Isidore

.Aquinas (1225 – 1274)




Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries