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Getting to Know the Bible: Ephesians Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Ephesians. But before we get to Ephesians 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Ephesians. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Ephesians, as we prepare to behold and discern Ephesians, beginning with Ephesians 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: Pauline Epistle. One of four Prison Epistles, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. One of the apostle Paul’s 13 books, 10th book of the New Testament.

Authors: Paul

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 60–62

Audience: Ephesians is written to a group of believers whom Paul served alongside Aquila and Priscilla. This was during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18–19). During his third missionary journey he ministered in this city for about at least two years, with the gospel spreading throughout the area (Acts 19:10).

Theme: Unity; New Life

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Title: Prison Epistle

Purpose of Writing: Paul intended that all who long for Christ-like maturity would receive this writing. Enclosed within the Book of Ephesians is the discipline needed to develop into true children of God. Furthermore, a study in Ephesians will help to fortify and to establish the believer so he can fulfill the purpose and calling God has given. The aim of this epistle is to confirm and to equip a maturing church. It presents a balanced view of the body of Christ and its importance in God's economy.

Summary: The apostle Paul wrote Ephesians to the churches around Ephesus (Acts 19) to display the scope of God's eternal plan for all humanity-for Jews and Gentiles alike. This is the mystery of God, hidden for ages but now made known in Jesus Christ. The first three chapters focus on what Christians should believe, unfolding the glorious riches of God's grace in Christ. Dead sinners are made alive and gain eternal salvation "by grace... through faith" (2:8). The last three chapters explain the implications of God's grace for the church, for individuals, and for families. This second section comes to a climax with a command to stand with the armor of God against the devil.

Overview: The focus of Ephesians is on growing the church of Jesus Christ. Important themes include predestination (Ephesians 1:3–14), Christ’s leadership over the church (Ephesians 1:22–23), the church as God’s building and temple (Ephesians 2:21–22), the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:1–21), spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7–16), the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25–33), and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Chapter 1 includes a brief introduction (Ephesians 1:1–2) followed by two key sections. First, Paul describes the spiritual blessings in Christ believers have (Ephesians 1:3–14). Second, he focuses on thanksgiving and prayer for his readers (Ephesians 1:15–23).

Chapter 2 emphasizes the theme of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. First, Paul describes the process of salvation coming as the result of God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1–10). Second, Paul transitions to a focus on unity in Christ (Ephesians 2:11–22). This includes tearing down the previous divide between Jews and Gentiles who are now one family in Christ.

Chapter 3 speaks about the mystery of Christ revealed (Ephesians 3:1–13). The second part of this chapter emphasizes Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength for the Ephesian church (Ephesians 3:14–21).

Chapter 4 describes both the unity of believers and the new hope Christians have in Jesus. The first part of the chapter begins with Paul’s mention of his imprisonment and his focus on Christian unity (Ephesians 4:1–16). The second part develops the concept of the new life believers have in Jesus (Ephesians 4:17–32).

Chapter 5 covers two important themes: love and the relationship between husbands and wives. First, Paul discusses how believers are to be imitators of God and focus on the love of Christ (Ephesians 5:1–21). Second, wives and husbands are given clear biblical teaching regarding mutual love and submission in relationship to Christ (Ephesians 5:22–33).

Chapter 6 consists of four major sections to complete Paul’s brief letter. First, he provides instruction regarding children and parents (Ephesians 6:1–4). Second, he provides instructions for the relationship between masters and servants (Ephesians 6:5–9). Third, Paul discusses the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–20). Fourth, Paul concludes with final greetings to his readers (Ephesians 6:21–24).

Application: 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).

Key Verses (ESV):

Ephesians 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

"Ephesians 2:8–10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

"Ephesians 4:4–6: " There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

"Ephesians 5:21: "…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

"Ephesians 6:10–11: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."

*Note: 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 (see map, p. 2429), which in turn emptied into the Aegean Sea (see map, p. 2599). 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 (see note on Ac 19:10), and the church there apparently flourished for some time, but later needed the warning of Rev 2:1-7.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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