The format of Ellicott's The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul consists of the Greek text, a synopsis of the contents of each paragraph, special notes on the textual criticism of passages that require more than just a list of authorities, and a series of footnotes containing various readings together with the author's own exegesis with alternative interpretations, including the reasons for and against each interpretation. At the end of the volume is new translations of the epistles commented upon, with footnotes indicating all important deviations from the established version, including numerous citations from other versions. The translation is not a paraphrase, but is designed to give the precise English words and idioms which the author regards as synonymous, or nearly synonymous, with the words and idioms of the original.
[Ellicott’s Pauline Commentaries] are among the most valuable contributions to Pauline criticism that now exist in the English language... As a commentator Ellicott deserves… emphatic commendation.
—The North American Review, 1866