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Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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"Usually full-length commentaries devote much of their space to surveying and evaluating the secondary literature--a useful but rarely a fresh or exciting venture. Baugh's commentary is different. Every page reflects years of exacting study of primary sources--classical literature, inscriptions, the first-century historical context (especially the history of Ephesus, gleaned from both archaeological and documentary evidence), coupled with a profound commitment to biblical theology. This does not mean he spends so much time on the historical and literary contexts that he fails to study the letter itself: far from it. Rather, Baugh's impressive learning is in service of understanding Ephesians. Baugh's comments are invariably measured, judicious, the product of informed and careful scholarship, lightly worn. Mercifully, the excellent scholarship comes in readable prose, making this a thoroughly interesting and stimulating work. This is now unquestionably the best technical commentary on Ephesians."
--D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"We have a number of excellent commentaries on Ephesians, and so we might wonder if there is a need for another one. S. M. Baugh, however, has written a fresh and independent commentary on the letter. His expert knowledge of the Greco-Roman world shines through his exposition, as does his facility in Greek grammar. Students, pastors, and scholars will find Baugh to be a must read as they study the text and theology of one of Paul's most important letters."
--Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation
"S. M. Baugh is the exegete's exegete and this commentary is pure gold. Turning first to controversial passages I've preached or written on before, I discovered, sure enough, that I had more work to do! He doesn't just give us his answers, but shows us his work by thorough attention to ancient sources, contexts, literary practices, and engagement with the history of Christian interpretation. For the pastor-scholar intent on mining the mystery revealed in Ephesians, this commentary is indispensable."
--Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
"This is not just an outstanding commentary, it is an important one. Decades of study of Scripture and of many aspects of the ancient world come together to produce a fresh and enlightening study of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. The reader will learn, perhaps for the first time, what really constitutes an author's "style," with an introduction to rhythm, meter, cola, periods, rhetoric, and literary composition, that is, to issues that help us appreciate how ancient readers would have read and heard the text. Illustrations are copiously supplied from Biblical and classical literature and from ancient inscriptions. Baugh gives attention to actual manuscripts of Ephesians, to their characteristics and the ways they divide the text. One might expect the author of a NT Greek Grammar to treat all relevant aspects of the Greek language in the text of epistle, and this expectation is happily satisfied, to the benefit of the expositor of Scripture. Excurses at the end of the commentary enrich our understanding of various background issues based on Baugh's wide learning in ancient language and culture. All of these features that we might associate with an academic commentary are joined to a theological and devotional approach to the text as God's word for his people. Baugh's method of treating the text according to ancient ways of reading it and hearing it ought to form a model for much future work in Biblical commentary."
--Charles E. Hill, John R. Richardson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Reformed Theological Seminary
"S. M. Baugh's commentary on Ephesians is a model of how commentaries ought to be written and organized. The fruit of thirty years of study, Baugh's Ephesians is packed with exegetical insight, well-expressed in clarity of analysis and charity of argument. It is also filled with pastoral wisdom and helpful application. Baugh's defense of Pauline authorship of Ephesians in the context of his larger discussion of the composition of such first century epistles is compelling. If you plan on preaching through Ephesians (or Paul's letters in general), this is a 'must have' volume."
--Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, co-host of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast and author of The Lion of Princeton
About the Author
S. M. Baugh is professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary California. He is the author of A New Testament Greek Primer and A First John Reader.
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In the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series, “Each of the authors affirms historic, orthodox Christianity and the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures” (xi). The EEC series is also the first series to be produced in electronic form, so unlike physical copies, the Logos volumes can be updated by their authors 20 years from now (not to downplay the physical books too much).
S. M. Baugh didn’t set out to create brand new interpretations on Ephesians when he began working on this volume. Instead he used his particular interests and areas of study (the classics, ancient history, Greek grammar, textual criticism, Greek literary composition and rhetoric, and biblical theology) to illuminate the text for scholars, pastors, and students.
These interests come together to make a powerhouse of a commentary. As a technical commentary, this is one of the best (if not the best). But don’t think that this commentary was spit out to split hairs on Greek grammar. There is much to gain from this commentary for both the pastor and the student, not only the scholar.
Baugh agrees that Paul is the author of this epistle, and that there are “no serious problems or concerns with his addressees that led Paul to write Ephesians” (31). He believes the main theme of the letter “is easy to summarize with the phrase unity in the inaugurated new creation” (35). The church’s unity is rooted in the Triune God’s counsel and redemptive love. The Messiah has complete sovereignty over the old powers of creation, especially magic. The new creation is entering this world.
Those who have a handle on Greek will be the ones who benefit the most from this volume.
The only thing I would quibble about are production issues. The binding is like that of a high school textbook (BECNT and others have used this as well). I personally think they are an aesthetic insult to an academic work. The cover is a dark chocolate brown and burnt orange that brings one back to 1974. Not attractive. The font on the cover is lifeless and not suitable to a commentary series. The paper used will not hold up as well as the quality of stock typically used in other commentary series. Lastly, the leding (space between lines) in the text is a little too thick. These are unfortunate details that minimize the enjoyment of an otherwise excellent volume.
Ephesians, begins with the typical study into the introductory matters of this book of the Bible, this is common place in Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Series and at length (48 pages) discusses matters of great importance to the pastor and scholar alike, and enters the ranks as one of the best interactions with critical scholarship while giving evangelical conclusions. This works dives into history and recent scholarship, of epistle to the Ephesians so that the student of scripture can understand the book in it’s proper cultural and historical context.
The structure of the commentary on the text is unique, and highly desirable to those with a knowledge of Greek, yet it is not inaccessible to those without. Baugh gives a short introduction to each and every periscope of the text, giving a structural analysis of the Greek text, as well as giving a outline useful to teaching and preaching. Then Baugh tackles an analysis the Greek text itself looking at it from a textual criticism angle. Next there is a commentary on the periscope itself, which is very through and insightful. Lastly there is a section dedicated to application and devotional implications, which are not only practical but a gold mine for pastors and teachers. I recently used this commentary in preparation to teach sermon on Ephesians 6:10-20 and found this an invaluable tool.
With regard of recommending, Ephesians, to others I would whole heartily recommend this commentary to students of scripture, with one caveat. By this I mean I recommend this work to Pastors, Bible Teachers, Bible College Students, and to a limited extent educated Laymen looking to teach a Sunday school class, there is enough scholarly weight to this work to understand a particular issue in the text while giving aid to pastors in preaching the text. There are many commentaries about the Ephesians at this moment but, Ephesians, of the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary is a giant leap above all other commentaries on this book of the Bible. I look forward to each subsequent volume in this series.
This book was provided to me free of charge from Lexham Press in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary
© 2016 by S.M. Baugh
Publisher: Lexham Press
Page Count: 672 Pages