Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Book: Ephesians Big Greek Idea Commentary

So I still, from time to time, get books to review. It works like this: I get a free book and agree to review it. Then I beg for an extension of the due date for the review. Then I do the review. This is that review.

Ephesians is an entry in the "Big Greek Idea" series of Biblical commentaries from Kregel. The overall concept of this series is to provide a commentary based in New Testament Greek rather than from an English translation. However, the goal is not to create a commentary that is too academic and technical but rather to hit the pastoral and preaching-teaching needs of users who are functional in Greek but are not all-day academic workers.

The Ephesians volume is prepared by Benjamin L. Simpson, who is an Assistant Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds a PhD and serves with their Washington, DC, campus. 

The format of the volume is laid out by section, but rather than drawing from any English Bible translation, it's drawn from the paragraphing used in the NA28 Greek Text. That text is provided in a causal outline format for the reader, which is then followed with syntax explanations for the whole section before the verse-by-verse walkthrough is shared.

The verse-by-verse walkthrough primarily pulls out specific words, usually verbs, and highlights how they clarify the meaning in the passage. Scattered through this are highlight boxes giving more background on textual criticism and theology.

It is hard for me to find a flaw in the Big Greek Idea Ephesians volume. If there is one, it's in the Greek background work and I am not at a level to call it out. There are two dangers to avoid for the user, though. The first is that a first-year Greek student will get ahold of your copy and never really learn the skills to work with the Greek themselves. Keep it safe :)

Second is that, with the easily accessible format you might be tempted to put too much Greek forward into your presentation. Remember that, just because you've got this book, it doesn't mean anybody else does!

I would highly recommend, though, that pastors and Bible teachers pick up Ephesians. This will be a good resource to have on your shelf. And I would recommend it on the shelf and not in the device. The causal outlines work better, at least for me, in print.

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