Lesson 02
Col. 1:3-8
Rhetorical Issues
last revised: 1/24/08
To display the Greek text contained in this page, download and install the free BSTGreek True Type fonts from Bible Study Tools. The Greek text is based upon the United Bible Societies The Greek New Testament, fourth revised edition. By rhetorical issues is intended the internal literary scructure of the pericope, along with some attention to the literary setting of the pericope. The above hyperlink takes you to the page "Steps to a Literary Structural Analysis of the Greek Text," in which you will want to take note of the section "Semantic Diagraming" that grows out of the Block Diagram of the pericope. This provides the starting point for the consideration of rhetorical issues present in the pericope. Don't forget the iPreach online material for GWU students; see the above hyperlink. This is a very important initial source of online secondary sources.

External Literary Issues

1. What is the role of a letter Proem?
     Begin with the analysis of my discussion in New Testament Genre under Letter Proem. Continue with the discussion (pdf format) of Steve Manness, who submitted a PhD seminar paper on this topic to me in New Testament Critical Methodology several years ago. Then check Bible dictionaries looking under one of the following topics: Letter, Proem, or Thanksgiving. Don't forget the iPreach online material for GWU students.

2. How does the Proem in Colossians compare to those in the other Pauline letters?
    Begin with my tentative proposal in The List of Epistolary Divisions with Text. Compare this with various commentaries. Base your comparison on the Greek text of these letters.

3. Trace the theme of "thanksgiving" in the Bible, segmenting it into Paul, NT, and OT. Use a Bible concordance both English and Greek text based, such as the online Bible Study Tools, along with the summaries in Bible Dictionaries, such as the online Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology and the iPreach Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, as starting points. Then compare the content of 1:3-8 to your larger findings.

Internal Literary Issues

1. What constitutes the Proem for the Letter to the Colossians?
     Begin with my tentative proposal in The List of Epistolary Divisions under Prison Letters. Compare this with various commentaries. Identify the interpretative struggle here. Note especially the helpful discussion of literary boundaries by Peter T. O'Brien in Colossians, Philemon, vol. 44 in the Word Biblical Commentary series, pp. 18-30.

2. From the Block Diagram of 1:3-8, summarize how the secondary ideas are developed from the core affirmation.
    Supplement your analysis with commentary study.

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