Ephesians - Bibliography
I have chosen to list below only commentaries on Ephesians with which I am personally familiar. However, inclusion in this list does not entail endorsement of their contents. Those volumes that I encourage you to purchase for your library are marked by an asterisk (*).
Abbott, T. K. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1968 . This volume in the ICC (International Critical Commentary) series has recently been replaced by Best (see below). Although dated (1897), Abbott often provides helpful insights. Intended for the Greek student.
Barth, Marcus. Ephesians (The Anchor Bible Series). 2 volumes. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1974. Barth, the son of the famous Swiss theologian Karl Barth, has written what is perhaps the most in-depth commentary on Ephesians. Although not always conservative in his interpretations, Barth is almost always helpful and occasionally offers brilliant insights. Accepts Pauline authorship.
Best, Ernest. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Ephesians. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998. This recent replacement volume in the ICC series is superb. It is technical and intended primarily for the student of Greek, but the English reader can still profit greatly by it. Speaking of profit, it is very expensive! Best denies Pauline authorship. *
Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Ephesians. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1974 . This is a much shorter volume than the one listed next. It is intended for English readers and is more devotional in nature.
_________. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984. This commentary is in the NIC series and is excellent. Bruce keeps most of his comments on the Greek text in the footnotes, thus making it a helpful volume for the English reader. Favors Pauline authorship. *
Caird, G. B. Paul's Letters from Prison: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976. This brief volume is helpful, though not always conservative. Caird has a knack for capturing the essence of a Pauline argument or thought in a few brief, poignant, and often powerful statements.
Calvin, John. The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965. Calvin's commentaries are always good. Non-technical, and intended for the English reader.
_________. Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians. Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1973 . These are sermons of Calvin on selected texts in Ephesians. His prose isn't the smoothest, but his theological and practical insights are incomparable.
Eadie, John A. A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Kregel, n.d. Although Eadie is somewhat out of date and thus out of touch with contemporary scholarship, he is always good for a helpful insight or quotation for preaching. I used Eadie extensively the first time I taught Ephesians.
Foulkes, Francis. The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d. This volume in the Tyndale New Testament commentary series is non-technical. It is brief, somewhat un-exciting, but still solid. It was recently (1989) revised and updated.
Hendriksen, William. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967. Hendriksen is pretty much the same in all his commentaries on the NT: stable, Calvinistic, a little boring at times, but can always be counted on for reliable, mostly traditional, interpretations.
Hodge, Charles. Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d. Although Hodge is known primarily as a systematic theologian, his commentaries are often quite good. Very Calvinistic.
Hoehner, Harold. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2002. Hoehner was my NT professor at Dallas Seminary and is an excellent Greek scholar. He is a highly respected dispensationalist whose work is technical and thus oriented for the reader of Greek.*
Hughes, R. Kent. Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990. Primarily devotional and practical in nature, Hughes is one of the better commentaries for those who do not read Greek.
Liefeld, Walter L. Ephesians. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove: IVP, 1997. Like most of the volumes in this series, comments on the Greek text are kept to the footnotes. This volume is similar to the shorter one by Bruce, with the commentary itself only @ 140 pages in length. Occasional good insights, but if you purchase only one commentary on the English text, let it be Stott's.
Lincoln, AndrewT. Ephesians. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word Books, 1990. This volume in the is excellent. It is technical but still accessible to the English reader. Probably stands with O'Brien as one of the best available. Denies Pauline authorship, but takes a generally conservative and evangelical approach to the book. *
Lloyd-Jones, Martyn. Exposition of Ephesians. 8 volumes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, n.d. Lloyd-Jones is verbose but worth the effort it takes to read him. Non-technical but deeply theological and great for sermon preparation.
Mitton, C. L. Ephesians. New Century Bible. London: Oliphants, 1976. Although Mitton denies Pauline authorship, his commentaries are almost always helpful. This one is no different.
Morris, Leon. Expository Reflections on the Letter to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1994. Similar to his reflections on John's gospel, this is a solid work by a solid and spiritual NT scholar. Designed for the English reader, it is less a verse-by-verse commentary and more a collection of theological and sermonic observations.
O'Brien, Peter T. The Letter to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. This work is in the Pillar series and is, in my opinion, the best commentary available. Although O'Brien interacts extensively with the Greek text, the commentary is extremely helpful to all readers. Solid theologically. Argues convincingly for Pauline authorship. Get it! *
Robinson, J. Armitage. Commentary on Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1979 . An older work, based on the Greek text, that I have often found insightful.
Schnackenburg, Rudolph. Ephesians: A Commentary. Translated by Helen Heron. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1991. Not always conservative in his interpretations, Schnackenburg is still helpful. Accessible only to those with a working knowledge of Greek. Schnackenburg is Catholic and rejects Pauline authorship.
Simpson, E. K., and Bruce, F. F. Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973 . Simpson wrote the commentary on Ephesians. It is rather strange and unlike Bruce's contribution on Colossians. Simpson's prose is elaborate and illustrative. Although you won't find much exegetical or theological depth here, Simpson is always good for a powerful quotation.
Snodgrass, Klyne. Ephesians: The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996. Snodgrass, a Baptist and an Arminian, has written a helpful, non-technical commentary for the English reader. As much space is devoted to application and contemporary significance of Paul's letter as to exegetical and theological interpretation. Favors Pauline authorship. *
Stott, John R. W. The Message of Ephesians: God's New Society. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1979. As always, Stott has written an excellent work. It is exegetically sound and always has excellent illustrations and applications for today's audience. This is the best commentary available for those who do not read Greek. *
Turner, Max. Turner's commentary will be part of the New International Greek Testament Commentary series published by Eerdmans. Although no date is projected for its release, when it is available, get it! Turner is not only an excellent Greek scholar, he has also written an excellent book on the validity and operation of all spiritual gifts for the church today. *
Westcott, B. F. Saint Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978 . Westcott was one of the premier Greek scholars of the church. Technical, but good even for the English reader.
Although not commentaries, two works by Clinton Arnold are worthy of note (and purchase). Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul's Letters (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992) is an easy-to-read treatment of the role of the demonic in Paul's letters. It contains numerous insightful comments on the nature of spiritual warfare, then and now. A somewhat more technical work that focuses on the nature of power and spiritual warfare in Ephesians alone is his Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989, 1992).