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(19101990) The Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England. During his distinguished career he wrote numerous widely used commentaries and books and served as the general editor of the New International Commentary on the New Testament series from 1962 to 1990.
F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester in England. During his distinguished career, he wrote more than forty bestselling commentaries and books, including several titles published by InterVarsity Press, A Mind for What Matters and Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free. He also served as general editor of The New International Commentary on the New Testament.
As a practicing pastor who tries to develop sermons from the Greek text, I've been working through Ephesians. When I started my series a couple pastor friends recommended Stott's commentary on Ephesians, which I purchased. I also picked up about four or five other commentaries including this one. Then I've borrowed about a dozen more commentaries. As I have worked through the text (I'm now in chapter 5) I've found that Bruce is more accurate in his handling of the Greek text than Peter O'Brien or John Stott. One case is Ephesians 2:1 where Bruce correctly identifies trespasses and sins as synonyms. Stott & O'Brien come up with various theories which sound good but don't hold water with the lexical entries or scholars I've been interacting with online. I've found this repeated again in Ephesians 4:22-24 where Bruce identifies aorist infinitives not as past tense verbs, but as verbs that tilt towards imperatives (as most translators agree). However, Stott unconvincingly argues that these aorist infinitives must be past tense, even though he is flying in the face of Greek grammars on aorist tense and most biblical translators.
For these reasons I've learned to turn to Bruce first before I check my other commentaries. And if I don't have time to read several versions I tend to go to this one first.
I guess I would recommend preaching pastors/teachers to use Bruce to make sure that any great sounding phrases or things that might preach well from other commentators are really accurate.
If Bruce has a drawback it is in the very area that I love Stott for the most. Bruce doesn't always come up with great sounding phrases that would preach well. Stott does that all through his commentary.Read more ›
In these admirable but relatively brief commentaries on Colossians and Ephesians (each is 190 pages or so) the late, great F.F. Bruce manages to say a great deal. Verse by verse, with discernment and economy of words, he weaves a web of exposition and theology. Brevity is achieved by applying in general what he writes specifically in connection with Eph. 3:18, that "it would be pointless to examine all the interpretations that have been offered." He does not dwell much on critical questions, either; but with a mature understanding of the texts Bruce has focused his attention on expounding their essential meaning. Satisfactory detail is provided by the footnotes, which treat textual issues, Greek words and phrases, the (often divergent) viewpoints of other scholars, and give Biblical and bibliographic references. The introduction to the commentary on Colossians includes good background information on the "Colossian heresy." One notable feature of the main text is Bruce's drawing parallels throughout to the other writings of Paul; it is remarkable how often he finds occasion to refer to Romans, for example (specially in the case of Ephesians). As he rightly points out (p. 326), "Paul is his own best interpreter." While many scholars doubt that Paul was the author of Ephesians and, to a lesser degree, of Colossians, Bruce's cited parallels of thought and language leave little doubt that these letters are thoroughly Pauline, whoever the actual author(s) may have been if not Paul himself. There are recognizable similarities between Colossians and Ephesians, but which one depends on the other and to what extent is not clear and has been the subject of much debate.Read more ›
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F.F. Bruce's commentary on the epistles to Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians in the New International Commentary series is a valuable asset to any student of biblical theology, pastor, or layman. The late author's own admission was to study and write so that he should gain a better understanding of "what is involved in the interpretation of Colossians." He felt a great value in the inclusion of Philemon due to its close connection with the history of Colossians and also included a fresh commentary on Ephesians due to its theological connection with Colossians. Of the 442 pages, 188 are devoted to the book of Colossians (36 to introductory issues). The next 37 pages explain the text of Philemon (14 on introductory matters). The Ephesians commentary comprises 189 pages (21 for book introduction). The final 25 pages are subject and scripture indices.
Each commentary is a superb example of Bruce's classic writing ability. Each sentence and paragraph is used to clearly convey specific points. The text is thoroughly documented, but quotations are concise. Fine details of the text are addressed along with broader themes of the passage or book at hand. Bruce's ability to explain the nuances of the Greek language (terms, declensions, and uses) significantly aids the reader in the interpretation of the books. The nature of the work is scholarly and does deal with the Greek language and complex details of the text. The purchaser should be aware that an attentive layman (one without formal seminary or Greek instruction) will understand and find about 75-80% of the work applicable for use in personal or didactic study. Greek words are not transliterated and a basic understanding of current theological dialogue is anticipated by the author.Read more ›
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