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Review – Ephesians: Encouragement and joy in Christ

February 2008 | by Roger March
Ephesians: Encouragement and joy in Christ
Paul Gardner
Christian Focus; 192 pages; £8.99;
ISBN: 978-1-84550-264-5

Receiving this book for review raised the question in my mind whether the English-speaking world needed another commentary on Ephesians. The policies of Christian publishers are, however, no reflection on the quality or usefulness of this volume.

Dr Gardner makes the text of Paul’s letter easily accessible to the ordinary reader. He first gives a brief introduction, sketching the background of Ephesians. The exposition itself is arranged in two sections and thirteen chapters following the structure of the apostle’s thought. There is a summary of the teaching following each Bible chapter.

The Bible text [NIV] appears in the commentary and practical application is given as the text is examined. There is an extended treatment of the ‘husbands and wives’ passage. Both a subject and a scriptural index are included at the end of the book.

Paul Gardner differs from other commentators in two particulars. Firstly, the two ‘Fatherhood’ passages in chapters 3 and 4 are interpreted as God’s universal Fatherhood by virtue of his being the Creator – ‘All fatherhood is from God; a doctrine that should receive much greater respect than it does in our day’. Secondly, he suggests that the apostle Paul takes the ‘armour’ theme in chapter 6 from the Psalms and Isaiah.

Though its usefulness is much wider, this would be a suitable gift for a serious new believer wanting to get to grips with God’s Word. It is a pleasure to read.

Roger March
Wolverton
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