Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord.
7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. 8 You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness.
Besides the usual features of this series, Witherington offers an innovative way of looking at Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon as inter-related documents written at different levels of moral discourse. Colossians is first order moral discourse (the opening gambit), Ephesians is second order moral discourse (what one says next after the opening salvo to the same audience), and Philemon is third order moral discourse (what one says to a personal friend or intimate). Witherington successfully analyzes these documents as examples of Asiatic rhetoric, explaining the difference in style from earlier Pauline documents. He further shows that Paul is deliberately engaging in the transformation of existing social institutions.
As always, Witherington's work is scholarly and engaging, and will be welcome on any shelf.