This is probably the most detailed modern English commentary on the Greek text of Ephesians, combined with a thorough defense of its Pauline authorship and its Ephesian destination. Every facet of the text is examined with great care and exegetical skill, and the range of scholarly literature surveyed and assessed is encyclopedic. Despite the wealth of information and discussion, the material is presented with clarity and simplicity. The careful considerations of each exegetical possibility make this a work that will be indispensable for all serious students of Ephesians.
The late Dr. Harold Hoehner, professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary for over three decades, has written what may be the most thorough treatment in modern times of Paul’s letter to the believers at Ephesus. At almost 1,000 pages in print, Hoehner’s commentary on Ephesians will remain his lasting legacy to New Testament scholarship for generations to come.
As many know, Dr. Hoehner was a longtime Accordance user, and as he mentions in his preface, Accordance Bible Software was instrumental in the development of his Ephesians commentary. We have to believe that Dr. Hoehner would be pleased to see his commentary finally find a place in the Accordance Library. And although he passed away in 2009, a year before the release of the iPad, no doubt he would recommend Accordance Mobile as the easiest way to carry his massive treatment on Ephesians on-the-go for use in any context.
In the commentary itself, Hoehner begins with a helpful introduction to the letter of Ephesians in which he addresses issues of authorship, structure and genre, historical setting, purpose, and theology. At the end of the introduction, the author includes a detailed bibliography for further reading. Hoehner then delves into the text of Ephesians verse by verse, offering the Greek text, English translation, and detailed commentary. He interacts extensively with the latest scholarship and provides a fair and thorough discussion of every disputed point in the book.
The exhaustive nature of the commentary should not be misunderstood as assuming it to be either dry or difficult reading. Pastors, students, and scholars looking for a comprehensive treatment on Ephesians will be interested in this commentary. Hoehner's interaction with the latest scholarship combined with his detailed exegesis and personal faith commitments will make this commentary a primary resource when studying or teaching Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Click on the image above for a larger view of Hoehner's Ephesians Commentary in Accordance.
Hoehner’s Ephesians commentary fully integrates into the Accordance Library. It can be used in parallel with the Greek New Testament or any Bible translation. Users can also use it as a reference for amplifying words in other texts, and it will be invaluable for inclusion in the Accordance 11 Research window.
Accordance developers have painstakingly examined the entire text of Hoehner’s commentary and have meticulously tagged the content according to the following fields: Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Translation, Manuscripts, Bibliography and Page Numbers. Such detailed categorization allows for quick and accurate access to the precise content needed.
Some other members of the team and myself are currently in Minneapolis demonstrating Accordance at the Desiring God Pastor's Conference. Since the exhibit hall is basically deserted during the main teaching sessions, I slipped out last night and listened to the first speaker. Early in his message, he made an oft-repeated observation about the book of Ephesians: namely, that it is clearly divided into two parts. The speaker asserted that in the first three chapters, Paul uses verbs in the indicative mood—that is, verbs that make a statement or convey information. In the last three chapters, Paul switches to imperative verbs. Thus, he moves from theology to application, from instruction to exhortation.
It's certainly an interesting point, but is it accurate? Is the book of Ephesians really so clearly divided between indicatives and imperatives? I'm glad you asked! Because it is just these kinds of patterns that Accordance is perfectly designed to reveal.
If you have a tagged Greek New Testament such as the GNT-T or the new NA27-T, click the Words button, then hit the tab key to select the contents of the search entry box. Now go to the Search menu and choose Verb… from the Enter Tag submenu. In the dialog box that opens, select indicative from the Mood pop-up menu, then hold down the shift key and choose imperative. (Holding the shift key enables you to select multiple items within the same category.) When you're finished, click OK to dismiss the dialog and return to the Search tab. You'll notice that Accordance will insert the proper search syntax for you.
Before we run this search, let's limit it to the book of Ephesians by selecting Define Range… from the range pop-up menu at the top of the Search tab (the pop-up that usually reads [All text]). In the dialog box that appears, click the New button, then set both the Range Name and the Range Definition to "Ephesians." When you click Update and close the dialog, your new Ephesians range will be selected in the Range pop-up. (Of course, if you've previously defined an Ephesians range, you only need to select it from the pop-up menu without having to go through the Define Ranges dialog.)
When you hit Return to perform this search, Accordance finds every indicative and imperative in the book of Ephesians. Now we just need to analyze the distribution of these two forms throughout the book. To do that, click the Graphs and Stats menu to the left of the Compare checkbox and choose Analysis Graph.
The Analysis Graph lets you choose the criteria you want to have graphed from the pop-up menu at the bottom right. Choose Mood from this pop-up to see a comparison of indicatives and imperatives.
The Analysis Graph graphs the frequency of occurrence in a particular sample size. The default sample size is hits per 1000 words, which is perfect for a large range like the entire New Testament, but too large for a small range like the book of Ephesians. To see more detail, we'll need to customize the graph to use a smaller sample size. While we're at it, we'll also customize the look of the graph to make it a little slicker.
To customize the look of anything in Accordance, you can always use the keyboard shortcut command-T. With the Analysis Graph selected, use command-T to open the Set Analysis Display dialog. In that dialog, change the Words per hit to 100, select Areas rather than Bars, Overlay rather than Stack, and check the Use black background.
When you click OK, your Analysis Graph should now look like this:
From this we can see that it's true that imperatives don't really begin until the latter half of Ephesians. However, it's not as if indicatives drop out completely. In fact, the highest concentration of indicatives comes right in the middle of the imperative section, and at that point the imperatives drop off dramatically. What point is that in the text? It's the instructions to husbands and wives at the end of Ephesians 5. You would think this section would include lots of imperatives, but there are really only two, followed by a long discussion of the relationship between Christ and the church.
The graphs and statistical breakdowns Accordance provides are designed to enable you to see patterns like this in all their complexity, including the parts which run counter to the general trend.
What other interesting observations can you make from looking at this graph?