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Ephesians: Encouragement and Joy in Christ

By Paul Gardner
February 2008 | Review by Roger March


Ephesians is a letter to a church very like yours. Paul is obviously commended that this young church gets its foundations right. It is intriguing that later, when writing to Timothy, he says that there are some there promoting 'false doctrines'. The leadership was in revolt! Yet in the Revelation given to John, Jesus commends the Ephesian church that they have thrown out the false teachers and are a congregation who have staying power despite their setbacks. So a church that had been through the mill but back out the other side! What was their secret? You will find out as you explore this letter to the church, ably expounded by Paul Gardner.

  • Publisher: Christian Focus
  • ISBN: 978-1845502645
  • Pages: 192
  • Price: £8.99
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Book Review

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.

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