Ernest Best


Book Details

Series: International Critical Commentary
Categories: Ephesians
Tags: Technical

Book Information

Pages: 686
Publisher: T&T Clark
Published: 1998
ISBN-10: 0567085651
ISBN-13: 9780567085658


To review this book, please Login or Register.

4.54285717010498 out of 5 based on 7 user ratings
Princeton Seminary December 2, 2017 5 5
Phillip J. Long June 19, 2012 5 5
Best’s commentary on Ephesians is an excellent replacement to the classic ICC volume by T. K. Abbot (Ephesians and Colossians, available free at Google Books). Best is more or less agnostic on authorship, called the author AE (author of Ephesians). This exegetical comments on the Greek text are excellent, perhaps the best example of how a Greek text commentary ought to work. Best does not stop at reading the Greek, however, his comments draw out implications for the theology of the letter. T&T Clark published a Shorter Commentary on Ephesians which reduces the exegetical detail, this version of the commentary would be more helpful for the busy pastor. [Full Review]
Scot McKnight August 2, 2009 4.80000019073486 5
If you've got some funds, buy Ernest Best's volume in the ICC series. [Full Review]
John Glynn September 20, 2008 5 5
Marcus Maher August 20, 2008 4 5
The International Critical Commentary Series is renowned for its careful, critical scholarship. For the most part, the volume on Ephesians by Ernest Best fits the mold. The commentary is geared towards those with strong skills in Greek. It is helpful to the pastor, but not the commentary to choose if a pastor only wants to buy one (O’Brien would be much better). However, Best does reflect on theology more than some academic commentaries do (e.g., Jewett on Romans in Hermeneia) especially on soteriology and ecclesiology. For those with an academic interest in Ephesians, this commentary is in the category of must own.

Things I liked:

The key to a top notch academic commentary is fairness to opposing views. While not afraid to dismiss irrelevant views, Best does fairly represent his opponents and attempts to show (mainly through grammatical arguments) why their view is, in his opinion, defective. His commentary often proved to be a refreshing corrective to some of the overblown analysis of Lincoln, who sees preformed material seemingly in every section.

Best showed the structure of each section in his translation to help the reader clearly see Paul’s (or AE’s as Best likes to put it) flow of thought. This was very helpful as a quick reference when doing my exegesis. The rest of the commentary served as a defense of the translation and diagram. I also enjoyed his witty writing style. I even found myself chuckling at the way he would phrase things sometimes.

Best almost always takes the plain sense of the text, even when he doesn’t like the conclusions. This is especially clear in his discussion of the household code. In particular, I found Best’s analysis of chapters 1-4 to be very insightful. His arguments were clear and often persuasive. Particularly excellent were his discussions of the spiritual powers that are mentioned from time to time in Ephesians. I also liked his analysis of 2:1-10. I think he gives the best one sentence summary of the section that I have read when he says, “The new position of believers is a result only of the nature and activity of God.”


Evangelicals will be bothered by his approach to chapters 5 and 6. He borders on contempt for the text at times, especially when he disagrees with it or finds it lacking, which is often.

While mounting as formidable a case as is possible, his argument against Pauline authorship is inadequate. He must be credited though with avoiding the specious argument of dependence of Ephesians on Colossians (or vice versa) and using the criteria of hapax legomena for determining authorship. Still, his insistence (along with many other scholars) on the existence of a Pauline school is baffling, and the differences in vocabulary, content, and style are not as significant as Best seems to believe. See O’Brien and Hoehner for outstanding defenses of Pauline authorship.

Overall Evaluation:

We have come to expect excellence from the International Critical Commentary and this commentary meets those expectations. It is the work of a careful scholar who labored over Ephesians for decade after decade. It provides a wealth of information that would benefit anyone doing a thorough study of Ephesians who knows at least a little bit of Greek. The commentary is overly critical at times, but that is not surprising given the series it’s in. I rate it four stars out of five.

Goodreads Reviews

Google Book Preview


Top Commentaries by Book Top Commentaries by Series Forthcoming & Unreleased Commentaries
Pentateuch History Poetry Prophets Minor Prophets
Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1/2 Samuel 1/2 Kings 1/2 Chronicles Ezra/Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
OT Primary Source Material OT Canon OT Textual Criticism OT Hermeneutics OT Introductions OT Theology OT Theological Dictionaries OT Archaeology Hebrew Lexicons Hebrew Grammars (Introductory) Hebrew Grammars (Intermediate) Hebrew Grammars (Advanced) OT Backgrounds OT Dictionaries / Encyclopedias OT History and Religion Ancient Near Eastern Histories Israelite Religion OT Extra-Biblical Literature Studies Documentary Hypothesis Deuternomic History Other OT Studies and Issues
Gospels/Acts Pauline Epistles General Epistles
Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1/2 Thessalonians Pastoral Epistles Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter/Jude Johannine Epistles Revelation
NT Primary Source Material NT Canon NT Criticism NT Textual Criticism NT Hermeneutics NT Introductions NT Theology NT Theological Dictionaries NT Archaeology Greek Lexical Analysis Greek Lexicons Greek Grammar (Introductory) Greek Grammars (Intermediate) Greek Grammars (Advanced) NT Backgrounds NT Dictionaries / Encyclopedias NT History and Religion NT Near Eastern Histories NT Church History / Apostolic Period NT Extra-Biblical Literature Studies Jesus and the Gospels Synoptic Gospels and Surrounding Issues The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting Pauline Studies Johannine Studies Petrine Studies Lukan Studies Other NT Studies and Issues
Systematics Subjects
Systematic Theology Bible/Bibliology Doctrine of God/Theology Humanity/Anthropology Sin/Harmartiology Jesus Christ/Christology Holy Spirit/Pneumatology Salvation/Soteriology Angels and Demons/Angelology The Church/Ecclesiology End Times/Eschatology Israel/Israelology Rewards/Misthology Other Systematics Biblical Theology Biblical Hermeneutics Biblical Canon Scriptures and Revelation Narrative Themes Prolegomena Trinitarianism Sacraments Providence/Soveriegnty Heaven and Hell Worship Theology Ethics Origins Apologetics Worldviews/Philosophies Biblical Archaeology Environmental Issues Ancient Near Eastern Theology Modern Near Eastern Theology Judaism Messianic Judaism Church History (incl. Post Apostolic) Historical Theology Second Temple Judaism Eternal Security / Assurance Israel and Church - Supersessionism Other Theological Subjects
Christian Life Ministry
Workplace Home Anxiety / Depression etc. Technology Prayer / Intercession Bible Study Cultural Issues Other Life Issues Mission / Evangelism Church Growth Preaching Church Leadership Discipleship Pastoral Care Biblical Counseling Worship Praxis Teaching (Biblical and Rabbinic) Other Ministry
Controller: 00:00:00 ; Template: 00:00:00.0312500