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Ephesians (New Testament Library | NTL)

ISBN: 9780664221256

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Even though it was written some two millennia ago, Ephesians still speaks to Christians today in themes quite familiar to the modern reader. In a predominantly Gentile context, the Christian community needed to be reminded of the priority of Israel and the astonishing work of reconciliation that God willed to accomplish in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This new volume in the highly acclaimed New Testament Library series reveals the great theological promises of Ephesians while discussing issues of context, authorship, and style.

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Key Features

  • Offers commentary on and exploration of New Testament themes
  • Provides insight from one of today’s prominent New Testament scholars

Top Highlights

“In designating the congregations he addresses as ‘saints’ or ‘holy ones,’ Paul is indicating that they are a people set apart, not because of their moral perfection, but by the work of God. At the same time, this phrase indicates the end for which God sets people apart: holiness.” (Page 33)

“Rather, ‘spiritual’ here refers to the fact that God’s blessing is related to and sustained by the work of the Spirit.” (Page 37)

“If Christ’s lordship is to have any material reality in the present, then there must also be a community of people whose faith and practice, whose hopes and desires, whose very life and death—all are shaped by their allegiance to their Lord.” (Page 34)

“It is very easy to read this discussion of the armor of God and then to assume that this is a set of instructions to individual believers to take up the armor of God. That is not really the way the text reads. Rather, the command to take up the armor of God is a summons to the community as a whole. Taking up the armor of God is a communal practice integrally tied to the unity of the church and the church’s witness to the powers. In this respect, 6:10–20 continues the emphasis on the common life of the church that began in 4:1.” (Pages 200–201)

“In Ephesians the emphasis is not on the individuals or groups who receive ‘apostleship’ as a gift. Rather, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are themselves the gifts given by the ascended Christ through the Spirit.20 This shifts the focus from discerning which individuals have which gift to understanding the proper function of these gifts. As it becomes clear that the chief role of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to enable the church to better grow into the unity and maturity that Christ desires for the church, there is no sense in which these offices compete with each other.” (Page 140)

Praise for the Print Edition

Stephen Fowl’s rich volume on this rich letter displays his careful reading of the text that yields a truly theological commentary. It focuses on the triune God, the drama of salvation, and the church’s internal unity and faithful witness; it situates the letter within the canon and within the context of Christian theology; it engages ancient as well as recent interpreters, from Irenaeus to Aquinas to Andrew Lincoln; and it imitates Ephesians itself by calling its readers into the fullness of life in Christ. For all these reasons, I enthusiastically commend it

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University

Stephen Fowl brings his considerable gifts in theological interpretation to the profound theological message of the Letter to the Ephesians. The result is a refreshingly irenic commentary that reflects a thorough knowledge of the critical discussions while eschewing lengthy debate. Fowl is willing to live with exegetical uncertainties and interpretative ambiguities in order to focus on the text’s illumination of Christian identity formed by God’s actions in Christ, lived out in the church and the world. Achieving this in a clear and highly readable style makes Fowl’s contribution a very worthwhile addition to the commentary literature on Ephesians

Andrew T. Lincoln, Portland Professor of New Testament, University of Gloucestershire

Reading Stephen Fowl’s work is always a wonderful experience. His prose is tight and clear, his thinking fresh, and his commentary on Scripture always targets the sacred text and what it may teach the church about its relationship with God and one another. The importance of his NTL commentary on Ephesians is not merely that it details the letter’s history of interpretation or its critical prolegomena (although his discussion of its authorship is a thing of intellectual beauty); others have already done this work for us. Rather, Fowl’s contribution is to provide us with a fine example of how careful exegesis and theological interpretation are of a piece, the one funding the other for a reading of Ephesians that will benefit both church and academy.

Robert W. Wall, Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, Seattle Pacific University

Stephen E. Fowl is the chair of the department of theology at Loyola College in Maryland. He is the author of several books, including Engaging Scripture: A Model for Theological InterpretationReading in Communion: Scripture and Ethics in Christian Life with L. Gregory Jones, and the Two Horizons commentary on Philippians.


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Digital list price: $35.99
Save $8.00 (22%)