Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Exegetical Commentary on Ephesians

I had a nice surprise waiting for me when I arrived home yesterday. It was a mystery box from Zondervan. However, I had no idea what was inside because I did not order anything from them. Since it is always great to get random boxes from a great publisher, this was the sort of surprise you often hope for. When I opened the box, I found Clifton Arnold's new commentary on the book of Ephesians. This new volume is only the fourth in Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

At the outset, I want to state my appreciation for this series in general. I really like the way these commentaries have been done. At least two reasons come to mind: First, the ECNT commentaries use the Greek font, which I appreciate since I have always found transliterations to be useless. If you do not know Greek, then in what sense are transliterations even helpful? And if you do know Greek it is frustrating to read Greek in English characters. Second, to my knowledge, this is the first commentary series to use charts that show the relationship between clauses, which should be a very helpful feature.

Aside from the ECNT series itself, I do have some comments to make about this particular volume: The first thing that caught my eye was its immense size, which is a whooping 508 pages of raw commentary, not even including the index. This is one of the largest Ephesians commentaries on the market and the space is not wasted! Each section of Ephesians is examined from different angles: literary context, main idea, translation and graphical layout, structure, exegetical outline, explanation of the text, and theological application. The readers of this blog would also be interested to know that he does deal with Ephesians 1:3-11 in a very "Calvinistic" way.

All and all, I think this is a great addition to the corpus of commentaries on Ephesians and I look forward to using it in my future work on Paul in general and Ephesians in particular.

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