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Book of Ephesians
The book of Ephesians is a Prison Epistle (letter written while Paul was in prison). Paul wrote it about 60-62 A.D. The key personalities of Ephesians are the Apostle Paul and Tychicus. It was written to encourage believers to walk as fruitful followers of Christ and to serve in unity and love in the midst of persecution.
***** In chapters 1-3, Paul begins with the joyful truth that every believer has been chosen by God before the foundation of the world, "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will" (1:4-5). Paul then teaches that there should be unity of believers. These are the truths and blessings that all believers should have in common. He wrote that all Christians are “adopted as sons through Jesus Christ” (1:5). All believers are, “redeemed through His blood” (1:7), and “sealed by the Holy Spirit” (1:13). Paul then writes to clear up one of the most misunderstood and often ignored subjects even to this day, “Salvation by Grace”. Paul clearly tells us that salvation is by the “grace” of God and that it is through our “faith”, and that NO one can contribute anything to salvation, in any way, even with the best of good deeds: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast'' (2:8-9).
***** In chapters 4-5, Paul encourages the believer to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling”. Every believer has a responsibility to live as a servant of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that it is not easy to be in unity with others, and he tells us that we are to be “imitators of God” (5:1). He mentions vital truths and advice for families, including husbands and wives who upon the oath of marriage become as “one flesh” (5:31). Paul clarifies the idea of a biblical marriage. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (body of believers) and the way that Jesus Christ loved the church is the way that the husband must love his wife, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (5:25). Paul does not end there, but goes on to reinforce that husbands are to love their wives, "as their own bodies" and also to love their wives, "even as himself" (vss 28;33).
IF and when a husband learns to love his wife in this way, his wife usually has absolutely no issues fulfilling her role and even enjoys it, "the wife must see to it that she respects her husband" (vs 33).
***** In chapter 6, Paul instructs believers how to prepare for spiritual battle by dressing in the “full armor of God” (6:11). Prayer is the key weapon of the Christian soldier. He emphasizes his principle with the repeated statement “stand firm.”
Brief Summary: Doctrine occupies the biggest part of the Book of Ephesians. Half of the teaching in this Letter tells of our standing in Christ, and the remainder of it affects our situation. Far too often those who teach from this book bypass all the basic and foundational instruction and go directly to the closing chapter. It is this last chapter that emphasizes the warfare or the struggle of the saints, but to benefit totally from the contents of this Letter, we must begin at the beginning of Paul's instruction in this letter.
First, as followers of Christ, we must fully understand who God declares us to be. We must also become grounded in the knowledge of God's accomplishment for all humanity. Then we must consider our present walk in this life, and we must apply what is said and be strengthened by it. We must continue until we no longer wobble or stagger back and forth with every spirit of teaching and deceptiveness of men.
Paul’s writing breaks down into three main parts. #1. Chapters one through three introduce principles with respect to God's accomplishment. #2. Chapters four and five put forth principles regarding our present existence. #3. Chapter six presents principles concerning our daily struggle.
The primary link to the Old Testament in Ephesians is in the startling idea of the church as the body of Christ (Eph.5:32). This amazing mystery is a truth not previously revealed in the Old Testament . . . that being that of the church. Eph.3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (KJV) . . . This was a mystery totally hidden from the Old Testament saints (Eph.3:5, 9). The Israelites who were followers of God always believed that they alone were God’s chosen people (Deut.7:6). Accepting Gentiles on an equal standing in this new standard was very hard and caused many quarrels among Jewish believers and Gentile converts. Paul also speaks of the mystery of the church as the “bride of Christ” (Eph.5:23) a formerly unheard-of idea in the Old Testament.
There are Books of the Bible where the writer tells us why the book was written. John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV) . . . John tells us why he wrote his Gospel, while in other books, the writer does not tell us why he wrote the book. We have to read the book and then figure out the reason of the writer in writing it. This is the case with Ephesians. Nowhere in this letter does Paul clearly tell us why he wrote it. But, when we read the letter, his reasons for writing it become clear.
There are four main reasons why Paul wrote this letter:
#1. He wanted the church at Ephesus to understand that our salvation is something that God planned from eternity and that he planned it in such a way that it would show the glory of His grace.
#2. He wanted to teach them that as the saved people of God they were greatly blessed and he wanted to remind them of some of these great blessings they received when they accepted salvation in Christ.
#3. He wanted to remind them, and us that in Christ the middle wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles had been brought down, so that now in Christ there are NO racial or tribal distinctions. Salvation is available for ALL people!
#4. He wanted to encourage them to live their lives worthy of the calling they had received. He wanted to show them that those who are saved must now live distinct lives here on Earth. In this Letter, Paul gives very specific teaching on how we are to live our lives in the local church, in the world and in the home.
The Letter to the Ephesians is really divided into two divisions. Chapters 1-3 contain mainly doctrinal teaching on how God planned our salvation from before the foundation of the world and what some of the consequences of this plan are. Then in chapters 4-6 Paul applies this doctrinal teaching by giving very detailed and specific applications on how we are to live as the people of God. This is a broad outline of its contents.
Part I, Doctrinal
#1. A description of the grand plan of salvation (1:3-14). We often think of salvation from our own point of view: how we came to Christ in repentance and faith and how we received forgiveness for our sins and were adopted into the family of God as His beloved children. But Ephesians looks at our salvation from God’s point of view. Paul starts by teaching us that our salvation did NOT begin with us, it began when God elected us and planned our salvation. These verses in chapter 1, follow a Trinitarian pattern: election and predestination by God the Father (vs. 3-6), redemption and forgiveness through God the Son (vs. 7-12) and sealing by the Holy Spirit (vs. 13-14). At the end of each section (in vs. 6, 12 and 14) we have the words “to the praise of his glorious grace” or “to the praise of his glory” which reminds us that the primary purpose in our salvation is the glory of God and of His grace.
#2. Paul’s first prayer for the Ephesians (1:15-23). A correct understanding of theology will do three things: (a) it will move us to pray, (b) it will inspire us to live a godly life and (c) it will encourage us to reach the lost. Paul wrote great doctrine in vs. 1-14 and this immediately moved him to pray for the church at Ephesus. This is a model prayer that all pastors should study carefully and to pray for their members. Paul knows Christians will only understand great spiritual truths when the Spirit of God enlightens them; for these things are not discerned naturally but spiritually. Paul’s first prayer for his readers is that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know Him better.
#3. Paul shows that the work of salvation is the work of a gracious and loving God (chapter 2). He uses the example of the Ephesians themselves to show the sheer power and beauty of the Gospel. This city was full of idolatry and sin because her people were dead in transgressions and sins. There was NO way they could save themselves since they were spiritually dead. When Paul came to the city to preach, the power of God came upon the Ephesians and they were made alive and created in Christ Jesus for good works. The Ephesians themselves knew well enough that their salvation could only be ascribed to the grace, mercy and power of God. Having been saved, they were reconciled to God and were brought into His Kingdom where there are NO racial or tribal walls, for all such walls have been destroyed by Christ through the Gospel.
#4. Paul was the preacher of the mystery of God (3:1-13). In this Passage Paul explains to the Ephesians the ministry that he has been given by Christ. He says that he was called to preach the mystery of God to the Gentiles, that they, the Gentiles, are heirs together with Israel and are members together of one body (3:6).
#5. Paul’s second prayer for the Ephesians is in (3:14-21). Having reminded his readers of God’s wonderful wisdom in the plan of salvation, Paul prays that his readers would be strengthened, that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith and that they would grasp the great love of God.
Part II, Practical
Having explained to the Ephesians the great plan of God in salvation, Paul now gives them practical instructions on how they are to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. Broadly speaking, this part of the letter falls into four parts:
#1. Living the Christian life in the local church (4:1-16).
#2. Living the Christian life in the world (4:17-5:21).
#3. Living the Christian life in the home (5:22-6:9).
#4. Putting on the full armour of God (6:10-20).
The letter to the Ephesians is one of the most encouraging, instructive and inspiring books in the Bible. The Passages which describe God’s great plan of salvation reach to the highest places in Heaven, and the Passages which instruct us on how we are to live godly lives here on Earth speak in great detail our lives here on Earth. While Christians have a man-centred doctrine of salvation, this letter will bring correction, where there are tribal or class divisions among Christians, this letter will bring unity, and where there is confusion with regard to day to day holy living, this letter will bring light and hope. The pastor or teacher who studies it carefully will find great benefit for his own soul, and when he preaches or teaches it he will feed his people rich food from God’s Holy Word.
Book of Ephesians
Eph. ch.1 . . Eph. ch.2 . . Eph. ch.3 . . Eph. ch.4 . . Eph. ch.5 . . Eph. ch.6 . . Ephesians Special Comments