The Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews

The Epistle to the Hebrews

in New International Greek Testament Commentary

by Paul Ellingworth

4.52 Rank Score: 7.06 from 13 reviews, 8 featured collections, and 30 user libraries
Pages 862
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 1993
ISBN-13 9780802824202

The study of the Epistle to the Hebrews has traditionally been hampered by a number of factors. For example, for most of Christian history, the attribution of Hebrews to Paul has made it more difficult for readers to hear this epistle's distinctive voice. Among Gentile Christians, it has also been wrongly assumed that Hebrews is of interest only to Jews. And it has sometimes been thought that Hebrews represents a compromise or halfway stage between Judaism and Christianity, in contrast with the pure message of the Gospels and the radical Christianity of Paul. These and other factors have tended to combine to give Hebrews an undeserved reputation for obscurity.

This excellent commentary by Paul Ellingworth adeptly removes such barriers to the meaning of Hebrews, revealing the value of this complex but immensely important New Testament epistle for all readers, past and present. Ellingworth begins with a detailed study of the Greek text before working outward to consider the wider context, linguistic questions, and the relation of Hebrews to other early Christian writings and to the Old Testament. Nonbiblical writings such as Philo and the Dead Sea Scrolls, though less directly related to Hebrews, are considered where appropriate.

Unveiling the discourse structure of this carefully written letter, Ellingworth's commentary helps make coherent sense of the complexities of Hebrews. As a result of his exhaustive study, Ellingworth finds Hebrews to be primarily a pastoral, not a polemical, writing. Showing how Hebrews beautifully emphasizes the supremacy of Christ, Ellingworth concludes that the essential purpose of the epistle—which maintains the continuity of God's people before and after Christ—is to encourage readers to base their lives on nothing other and nothing less than Jesus.


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G Ware G Ware February 15, 2018
A beast of a commentary. Though I find the technical details of linguistics overshadow the interpretation, it's hard to fault the author, since that is a major focus of the series. This commentary is specifically authored for a scholarly audience. It does what it is intended to do extremely well. The introduction is outstanding, and doesn't overreach what can be understood about authorship, date, recipients, etc. But does weigh in on what is the best of the options available. With Hebrews, this level of caution is definitely best.
Tim Challies Tim Challies October 7, 2013
Ellingworth’s commentary is widely considered among the strongest commentaries on Hebrews—perhaps even the strongest for scholars and well-trained pastors. Because it is a volume in the NIGTC, you will need some knowledge of Greek to enjoy it to the full. Those who studied the language and who are interested in a very technical commentary will find that this one deals very well with the Greek text and that it provides insightful commentary. Everyone warns, though, that it is not for the feint-of-heart. [Full Review]
Phillip J. Long Phillip J. Long July 10, 2012
I am impressed by all the commentaries in the New International Greek Text series in terms of exegetical nuance and depth. Ellingworth provides 85 pages of introduction in addition to some 77 pages of bibliography. With respect to authorship, this commentary provides a comprehensive list of suggestions current to 1993, and settles on Apollos as the “least unlikely of the conjectures” (21). The commentary is comfortable with letting the author remain anonymous. He argues that the first readers were “predominately but not exclusively Jewish-Christian” (27), although it is only aimed as a particular group in Rome known to the writer. Like all the commentaries in this series, Ellingworth proceeds through the Greek text in a phrase-by-phrase fashion with all references cited in-text. This makes for a tough read since the language is quite technical. Commentaries on Hebrews necessarily must deal with the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint, Ellingworth demonstrates mastery of both. He regularly places the text of Hebrews in the context of Second Temple Period Judaism. [Full Review]
Scot McKnight Scot McKnight December 18, 2009
Paul Ellingworth's commentary on Hebrews is a massive technical commentary on the Greek text. For those doing in-depth study of the book, it is invaluable. It is, however, not for the faint of heart. Some knowledge of Greek is required simply to follow the comments. A good reference work to have. [Full Review]
Jim Rosscup Jim Rosscup September 20, 2008
Unattributed-m Unattributed-m May 26, 2008
D. A. Carson D. A. Carson May 26, 2008