Peter O'Brien has given us a masterly commentary. It's the kind of work that's always the first to be pulled off the bookshelf. The kind of work to which others are compared. Why is this book so helpful? Becuase it does what a commentary should do - it gives well worked out exegesis which helps us understand Paul's purpose in writing, without being dry or stuffy. O'Brien has managed to engage with the text and contemporary thinking and helps the reader apply the text. He does this without making the mistake of going directly to the current reader without thinking how it applied to it's first century readers and their situation. Thus it will help any Bible student or preacher who wants to see what the Bible said as well as what it says. He doesn't spend too long on controversies, but neither does he ignore them. And he comes with the vital stance of treating Paul's letter as the Word of God and not just some piece of literature to pull apart. Adding to his impressive theology is the helpful way the text is laid out. Sections are divided up in a way that makes one confident that O'Brien understands the focus and meaning of the letter. Footnotes are at the bottom of the page, so you don't have to endlessly turn to the back of the chapter or book (a real drag, don't you find?). Practically speaking the typesetting is excellent, making this easy to read. The paper isn't too bright, neither is it yellow or dull. All in all, hats go off to this Australian academic. Oh that more were like this!
This is an important commentary on a wonderful letter from Paul. It completes O'Brien's trilogy of commentaries on the prison epistles. It was a rare privilege to be able to attend his Ephesians class just before the commentary was due to be published. I find that in each of his commentaries Dr O'Brien discusses the issues fairly, while still presenting clearly, and even forcefully, his own points of view. [This is so much better than those books which present several views without ever giving away what the author thinks!] The author is theologically conservative and presents the arguments for Paul's authorship and a compassionate, complementarian approach to the roles of men and women convincingly. Highly recommended.
O'Brien deals with the text, raising points in the Greek where necessary and seeking to enhance the readers understanding of the letter. The book is a useful tool whilst not doing all the work for those seeking to prepare a Bible study or sermon. His writing incorporates and makes references to other material on the book and traces the theology within the letter with clarity. O'Brien also makes reference to the circumstances in which the Church in Ephesus found itself, whilst not allowing this to cloud the books message. In short a thoroughly readable and useful tool for those wanting to understand Paul's letter to the Ephesians better.