In this commentary on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, S.M. Baugh identifies the main theme as “unity in the inaugurated new creation.” He then walks the reader through the indicative first part of the letter, which sets forth various aspects of the Christian faith, and the imperative second part, which calls readers to a lifestyle based on these truths. Along the way, Baugh examines ancient sources to provide a first-century perspective, while also interacting with recent scholarship and ultimately asking what this letter means for the modern-day believer.
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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, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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
“Predestination to adoption is not some cold, abstract act of an impersonal God, but an act of love of an inexpressibly gracious kind ‘for the praise of the glory of his grace.’” (Page 83)
“It is typical to hear divine grace defined as ‘God’s undeserved favor,’ but this does not capture the idea communicated here in Eph 2 or in other places in Paul.339 As this whole passage shows, God’s grace, which is emphasized here by putting it first in the colon* (v. 8a), is actually God’s favor granted to those who deserve his wrath (v. 3). It is not just undeserved, as if the people whom God befriends were neutral. It is act of immense favor bestowed on those who lie under God’s just condemnation as transgressors and sinners. Hence, a better quick definition is: ‘God’s favor despite human demerit.’” (Pages 159–160)
“The Holy Spirit is himself the link between this world and the new creation so that his presence with the elect is the ultimate blessing and the guarantee of future heavenly blessings (see on vv. 13–14; so also 2 Cor 5:5 and Rom 8:23).” (Page 79)
“Neither does Paul tell women to be in submission to men—but wives to their own husbands only.” (Page 478)
“However, in Eph 1:3 (with 2 Cor 1:3 and 1 Pet 1:3) and other post-Pentecost references (Rom 15:6; 2 Cor 11:31; Rev 1:6 [‘his God and Father’]; cf. 1 Thess 3:11; Eph 4:6; 5:20), the name of God has been updated from his identity with theocratic Israel to ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ to signal the international character of the new covenant in contrast with the old. God is no longer exclusively the God of Israel but through the one mediator, Jesus Christ, is now the God of Jews and ‘Greeks’ from all nations (Rom 1:16; 2:9; 3:29–30; 1 Tim 2:1–8).” (Page 76)
The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC) series is a premiere biblical commentary rooted in the original text of Scripture. Incorporating the latest in critical biblical scholarship and written from a distinctly evangelical perspective, each comprehensive volume features a remarkable amount of depth, providing historical and literary insights, and addressing exegetical, pastoral, and theological details. Readers will gain a full understanding of the text and how to apply it to everyday life.
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S. M. Baugh is Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, California. He is the author of New Testament Greek for Interpreters and A First John Reader.