Yesterday I found another wonderful gift from the people over at IVP. In my mailbox was a copy of Timothy G. Gombis’ The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God. It has been a while since I gave the Epistle to the Ephesians sufficient attention but it has been one of my favorite portions of Scripture to study. Now I have a good reason to rethink my approach to the epistle.
One anti-commentary I greatly enjoyed a few years ago was Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire by Brian Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat. It wasn’t mere commentary. It wasn’t relegated to being simply pragmatic. It somehow told the story of the epistle while grounded its message both in history and in the world of the reader. That is an impressive feat!
I see Gombis’ book as being similar. He states in the opening chapter (yes, I’ve already jumped into it) that, “Ephesians is not a doctrinal treatise in the scholastic sense of that term. It is, rather, a drama in which Paul portrays the powerful, reality-altering, cosmos-transforming acts of God in Christ to redeem God’s world and save God’s people for the glory of his name. A narrative approach to Paul’s letter, therefore, is far more appropriate than a scientific approach.” (p. 15). Something inside me says, “Amen”! I enjoy verse-by-verse approaches to Scripture but we added the verses. These letters are organic wholes that tell a particular story and my way of reading leaps for joy when someone writes on Scripture this way.
Once I finish I will say more, but don’t be surprised if I share a little along the way!