We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Distinctive Features of Ephesians.

1.

In comparison with the other Pauline letters, however, Ephesians is something of a puzzle. Unlike all the others, it is not directed to a particular church or situation or person. The words ‘in Ephesus’ ( 1:1 ), which most modern translations still include, are not present in the earliest and best MSS; and second-century references to the letter do not know it as sent to Ephesus (see Best 1987 ). The lack of specified addressees in the original text and absence of Paul's normal list of greetings are confirmed by the absence of reference to particular situations or problems known or reported to the author. This raises the question whether it was intended as a circular or catholic letter, rather like James and 1 Peter, though in these cases particular recipients are still specified.

2.

The style of the letter (particularly chs. 1–3 ) is pleonastic, that is, marked by repetitions and redundancies. Note for example the long sentences which constitute 1:3–14 and 4:11–16 (single sentences in Greek), and the repetition and piling up of adjectives, phrases, and clauses such as we find in 1:17–19, 2:13–18 , and 3:14–19 . Anyone familiar with the other Pauline letters will recognize that Ephesians is exceptional on this point. If written at the same time as the other ‘prison epistles’ (including Philippians and Philemon), these differences become all the more striking. And if written by an unnamed amanuensis or secretary, the latter had far more scope for free composition than any of Paul's previous secretaries.

3.

In some way most striking of all is the exceptionally close relationship between Ephesians and Colossians (see Mitton 1951: 279–315). Compare particularly:

Such identical phraseology can be explained only if both letters were written at the same time, or, more likely (given the differences already noted), by one letter deliberately drawing upon the other. Most scholars have concluded that the character of the interdependence is best explained as Ephesians using Colossians, in part at least, as a model.

Given such features, it is hard to avoid the question: is Ephesians really a letter? Or is it better explained as a meditative and expansive summary of what Paul stood for, with his characteristic letter openings and closings added to preserve this homage to Paul appropriately in the most characteristic Pauline form?

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice