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Readable and Meaty - Great for Pastors and Laymen
on July 30, 2010
If you're looking for a readable but meaty commentary that bridges the gap between popular commentaries and scholarly ones, Stott's The Message of Ephesians is an excellent choice. In fact, I find the whole series "The Bible Speaks Today" very valuable for both pastors and laypeople.
In this commentary on Ephesians, Stott does a great job of bringing out the larger themes, as well organizing and presenting Paul's teaching in each chapter. Stott organizes each chapter into their major sections, and then he breaks these down into subsections that are all related in thought. In this way, Stott helps the reader and student see the connections in Paul's thought, something essential to reading Paul properly.
Because of the way Stott has organized his interpretation of Ephesians, and because of his readable way of writing, his commentary is very useable for a wide variety of readers. Preachers will find that is just the kind of commentary suited to sermon preparation. I found it very useful in helping me prepare for a series of sermons I gave over the book of Ephesians several years ago. In part because of this commentary, the book of
Ephesians has stuck in my soul better than other books of the New Testament.
The educated laymen looking for something more than self-help books masquerading as Bible study will also benefit from this volume. The Message of Ephesians can even be used by who are interested in some deeper devotional reading, because Stott is easy to understand and leaves the reader with memorable ways of letting Paul's writing become of a part of the reader's life.
Thankfully, Stott, in spite of his Evangelical background, highlights the ecclesiological implications of Ephesians. As he says early in the commentary, "Ephesians is the gospel of the church." Stott organizes Ephesians into 4 main sections dealing with "God's New Society"
1:3 - 2:10 New Life
2:11 - 3:21 New Society
4:1 - 5:21 New Standards
5:22 - 6:24 New Relationships
One reviewer correctly pointed out a sloppy interpretation of the Greek by Stott. This is true, but it doesn't affect any major point in Stott's theology as presented in this particular volume. Stott does make use of the original Greek, but uses it lightly and where important. If you're looking for a more academic commentary, then there are better choices out there.
But if you're looking for a commentary that will help you understand, remember, and apply Ephesians to your life, this one's a great place to start.