Sunday, August 23, 2020

Ephesians by Scotty Smith

This book is an overview or an introductory level study of Ephesians. There are twelve lessons, basically two to a chapter of Ephesians. Each lesson covers around 10 to 20 verses, with lesson four covering 23 verses while lessons 10 and 11 cover just four verses each. The studies hit the highlights, not going into depth nor looking at the Greek (except for doulos). The lessons take about an hour of group time and require no homework nor preparation (except for the leader).

Smith draws attention to some good issues in Ephesians. One is the challenge to compare what our prayers look like against Paul's in Ephesians 1:15-19. I was impressed with Smith's insight that Jesus fulfills the promise of every piece of armor in Ephesians 6:11-17. “As we live in faith union and robust communion with Jesus, this entire armament is ours.” (1735/2144)

Of the studies in this series I have reviewed, this one contains the most personal content from the author. Smith writes of his experience needing a root canal, of growing up in the church in the South, of sitting next to his mother dressed in his Sunday best saying the Lord's Prayer, and includes a complimentary letter from a visitor to his church. He even shares the wrong concept of holiness he was taught as a child, writing “I don't want to project my story (and pain) on you, but...” (1050/2144) While Smith relates these personal experiences to a lesson from Ephesians, I found his personal experiences distracting from the incredible wealth of material in Ephesians itself. Including his childhood experience of holiness teaching that created fear and doubt in him was really unnecessary.

This is a good introductory level study on Ephesians for those who want no homework. It covers the highlights and will hopefully inspire participants to explore Ephesians in much greater depth.

My rating: 3/5.

Scotty Smith graduated from The University of North Carolina, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary (DMin). He planted and pastored Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, for 26 years. He worked on pastoral staff of West End Community Church as teacher in residence and also served as adjunct faculty for Covenant Seminary, Westminster (Philadelphia), RTS (Orlando), and Western Seminary (Portland, OR). He has authored several books. He and his wife live in Franklin, TN.

New Growth Press, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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