Ephesians

6 Chapters, 155 verses, 3,039 words.


    

Vital Statistics


 Purpose:  To strengthen the believers in Ephesus in their Christian faith by explaining the nature and purpose of the church, the body of Christ  
 Author:  Paul
 Original audience:  The church at Ephesus, then circulated to neighboring local churches 
 Date written:  Approximately A.D 60, from Rome, during Paul's imprisonment there 
 Setting:  The letter was not written to confront any heresy or problem in the churches. It was sent with Tychicus to strengthen and encourage the churches in the area. Paul had spent over three year with the Ephesian church. As a result, he was very close to them. Paul met with the elders of the Ephesian church at Miletus (Acts 20:17-38) – a meeting that was filled with great sadness because he was leaving then for what he thought would be the last time. Because the letter contains no specific references to people or problems in the Ephesian church and because the words "in Ephesus" (1:1) are not present in some early manuscripts. Paul may have intended this to be a circular letter to be read to all the churches in the area 
 Key verses: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (4:4-6)
 Key people:  Paul, Tychicus 



Author, Date and Place of Writing


    The author identifies himself as Paul (1:1; 3:1; cf 3:7,13; 4:1; 6:19-20). Some have taken the absence of the usual personal greetings and the verbal similarity of many parts to Colossians, among other reasons, as grounds for doubting authorship by the apostle Paul. However, this was probably a circular letter, intended for other churches in addition to the one in Ephesus (1:1,15; 6:21-23). Paul may have written it about the same time as Colossians, C. A.D. 60, while he was in prison at Rome (3:1; 4:1; 6:20).



The City of Ephesus


    Ephesus was the most important city in western Asia Minor (now Turkey). It had a harbor that at that time opened into the Cayster River, which in turn emptied into the Aegean. Because it was also at an intersection of major trade routes, Ephesus became a commercial center. It boasted a pagan temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana (Greek Artemis); cf. Ac 19:23-31. Paul made Ephesus a center for evangelism for about three years (Ac 19:10), and church there apparently flourished for some time, but later needed the warning of Rev 2:1-7.



Theological Message


    Unlike several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God's eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church.

    The letter opens with a sequence of statements about God's blessings, which are interspersed with a remarkable variety of expressions drawing attention to God's wisdom, forethought and purpose. Paul emphasizes that we have been saved, not only for our personal benefit, but also to bring praise and glory to God. The climax of God's purpose, "when the times will have reached their fulfillment," is to bring all things in the universe together under Christ (1:10). It is crucially important that Christians realize this, so in 1:15-23 Paul prays for their understanding (a second prayer occurs in 3:14-21).

    Having explained God's great goals for the church, Paul proceeds to show the steps toward their fulfillment. First, God has reconciled individuals to himself as an act of grace (2:1-10). Second, God has reconciled these saved individuals to each other, Christ having broken down the barriers through his own death (2:11-22). But God has done something even beyond this: He has united these reconciled individuals in one body, the church. This is a "mystery" not fully known until it was revealed to Paul (3:1-6). Now Paul is able to state even more clearly what God has intended for the church, namely, that it be the means by which he displays his "manifold wisdom" to the "rules and authorities in the heavenly realms" (3:7-13). It is clear through the repetition of "heavenly realms" (1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) that Christian existence is not merely on an earthly plane. It receives its meaning and significance from heaven, where Christ is exalted at the right hand of God (1:20).

    Nevertheless, that life is lived out on earth, where the practical daily life of the believer continues to work out the purposes of God. The ascended Lord gave "gifts" to the members of his church to enable them to minister to one another and so promote unity and maturity (4:1-16). The unity of the church under the headship of Christ foreshadows the uniting of "all things in heaven and on earth" under Christ (1:10). The new life of purity and mutual deference stands in contrast to the old way of life without Christ (4:17-6:9). Those who are "strong in the Lord" have victory over the evil one in the great spiritual conflict, especially through the power of prayer (6:10-20; 1:3).      




Outline



I. Greetings (1:1-2)


II. The Divine Purpose: The Glory and Headship of Christ (1:3-14)


III. Prayer That Christians May Realize God’s Purpose and POwer (1:15-23)


IV. Steps Toward the Fulfillment of God’s Purpose (chs.2-3)

A. Salvation of individuals by Grace (2:1-10)

B. Reconciliation of Jew and Gentile through the Cross (2:11-18)

C. Uniting of Jew and Gentiles in One Household (2:19-22)

D. Revelation of God’s Wisdom through the Church (3:1-13)

E. Prayer for Deeper Experience of God’s Fullness (3:14-21)

V. Practical Ways to Fulfill God’s Purpose in the Church (4:1-6:20)

A. Unity (4:1-6)

B. Maturity (4:7-16)

C. Renewal of Personal Life (4:17-5:20)

D. Deference in Personal Relationships (5:21-6:9)

  1. Principle (5:21)

  2. Husbands and wives (5:22-33)

  3. Children and parents (6:1-4)

  4. Slaves and masters (6:5-9)

E. Strength in the Spiritual Conflict (6:10-20)

VI. Conclusion, Final Greetings and Benediction (6:21-24)







Ephesians Horizontal



1:1 - Paul-apostle of Christ



1:2 - Grace & peace

Chosen


1:3 - He chose us

by the


1:11 - Destined & appointed

Father


1:15 - Remembering you in prayers


Our

2:1 - Made alive

Made Alive

Position

2:11 - Made one

in Christ

In

3:1 - Mystery made known

Divine Mystery

Christ

3:7 - Preach to Gentiles

Reveled


3:14 - Love which surpasses knowledge  

The Love


3:20 - To him be glory

of Christ


4:1 - Lead a life worthy

Walk Worthy


4:17 - Put on new nature

Walk


4:25 - Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving

In True


5:1 - Be imitators of God

Walk in Love

Our

5:3 - Children of light

Walk as Children of Light

Walk

5:15 - Walk as wise


In

6:1 - Honor father & mother

Walk Wise

Chist

6:5 - Doing from the heart



6:10 - Armor of God

Be


6:21 - Tychicus sent

strong in the


6:23 - Peace & grace

Lord





Notes