Scriptures

Complete Study Of The Book Of Ephesians

Introduction

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the most encouraging letters he wrote, which is full of deep spiritual truths and a major source of rich blessings for the Christian today.

Within it, he reminds us that all Christians are united with Christ, no matter our gender, our race or our backgrounds. The law of Moses couldn’t and can’t save anyone from their sins, we’re all saved by the grace of God, if we remain in Christ.

Ephesus

Ephesus was a large important city on the west coast of Asia Minor where the apostle Paul planted a church. There were several factors which contributed to the importance of Ephesus. The first factor was economics, Ephesus was the most favourable seaport in the province of Asia and the most important trade centre west of Tarsus.

Another factor was size, Ephesus was the largest city in the province, having a population of perhaps 300,000 people. There were people from many cultures and nationalities, and it was a very immoral place. In Acts 19:8-9 we read there were also many Jews were who lived there and in Acts 19:32-34 we read about the tension between the Jews and others.

A third factor was culture, Ephesus contained a theatre that seated an estimated 25,000 people.

A fourth factor was Ephesus was politically important, it was a free city, in other words, they governed their own affairs, the city had a clerk, Acts 19:35, the city had officials who paid for the public games, Acts 19:31 and the city had courts and proconsuls, Acts 19:38.

Temple Of Diana

The fifth, and perhaps most significant, reason for the importance of Ephesus was religion. The Temple of Artemis or Diana, at Ephesus ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. If you were around in Biblical times and thought of Ephesus, your mind would automatically think about the city where you would find the ‘temple of Diana.’

The Temple of Diana was 127 meters x 66 x 18 meters high, it had 127 pillars, each a gift of a king, 36 of them were overlaid with gold and were studded with precious stones. In the inner shrine was the image of Diana. The Ephesians thought she had fallen from heaven; she had many breasts, which was a sign of fertility and people though it was the most sacred thing in the world.

Priests of the temple were Eunuchs and women in temple were Melissa that is religious prostitutes. They had very emotional, sensational worship using the flute whilst dancing. There was an area of temple which was provided, the criminals could live in that area without being pursued from justice. The Ephesians liked their magic charms, they would use letters from some ‘official’ as they travelled, like a kind of lucky charm.

In Acts 19 we find in Ephesus, a silversmith by the name of Demetrius who made a living out of idol making, he was causing all sorts of trouble for Paul and the other disciples. And we have recorded in Acts 19:27 that Diana was loved and worshipped by people from all over the world. The original temple of Diana crumbled into the dust many centuries ago but when it was rebuilt, it became one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

And it was to this temple that Alexander the Great came too. He wanted his name carved on one of the 127 pillars and so he offered all the riches of his eastern campaign for the privilege, but the city fathers turned down the offer.

And so even the mightiest mortal on earth of the time, couldn’t even buy the privilege to have his name on a pillar in the temple of a god. No wonder years later the apostle Paul would write to the Ephesian church and tell them in Ephesians 2:19-22 that they were the temple, not of any old god but of Almighty God Himself.

History Of Christianity In Ephesus

The history of Christianity at Ephesus began around A.D. 50, perhaps as a result of the efforts of Priscilla and Aquila as we read in Acts 18:18. Paul came to Ephesus in about A.D. 52, establishing the church and stayed there for at least three years as Acts 20:31 tells us.

It was during that time that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and was faced with many opportunities to share the Gospel but also faced many problems as Acts 18:23-41 tells us. We also know that it was in Ephesus that Paul baptised believers who apparently came to know the Gospel through disciples of John the Baptist, Acts 19:1-5, and he opposed the strong influence of magic, Acts 19:11-20.

By the time that John penned his words in Revelation 2:1-7, the church at Ephesus was busy working for the Lord but had no sincere love for Him. They had all the church programs but had no passion. They were a busy church with great statistics, but they were a church that was drifting away from their heartfelt devotion to Christ.

Ephesus was a busy church with high spiritual standards, the work had been difficult, but they had not collapsed. Looking from the outside, in every way this church is what we would call a successful church. And from the outside people would look in and think that this is a church that deeply loves their God.

Sadly, they would learn that Christ is more concerned about what they were doing with Him, rather than what they were doing for Him. To everyone else this was a greatly successful church but to Christ who is now walking amongst them, this church is in the process of falling.

The Letter

It’s never been really questioned as to whom wrote the letter to the Ephesians, it’s generally been accepted that the author was Paul. It was probably written around 61-21 A.D. and is known as a prison epistle. Ephesians 6:21-22 mentions Tychicus, he probably carried the letter. The letter itself was a circular letter, probably copied and send to other congregations.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians is very similar to his Ephesian letter, but they are still different, because they were written for different reasons. Colossians speaks about the Deity of Christ, Colossians 1, in Colossians 2:8-18 we read of warnings against Gnosticism and Judaism, and Colossians 4 we read his personal greetings.

In Ephesians 1:3-14 we read about divine election and what it means to be ‘in Christ’. In Ephesians 3:40-41 we read about the power of spiritual prayer, in Ephesians 5:23-33 we read about marriage and union of Christ, in Ephesians 6:13-17 we read about how Christians are soldiers who need to arm themselves with the armour of God.

Purpose Of The Letter

Paul’s main aim in this letter was to highlight the oneness of the church, which was the result of Christ’s work on the cross and to present Jesus as the head over all things, especially His church.

First of all, he reminds the Ephesian Christians of God’s eternal redemptive purpose through the church, Ephesians 1:4 / Ephesians 1:5 / Ephesians 1:9 / Ephesians 1:11 / Ephesians 1:13 / Ephesians 1:20 / Ephesians 2:4 / Ephesians 2:6 / Ephesians 2:10 / Ephesians 3:11.

Secondly, he reminds this largely Gentile church of the many blessings they have as a result of being in Christ, because of God’s grace, Ephesians 1:3 / Ephesians 2:1-10. God’s plan of salvation is summed up in the church which He will bring into eternal dwelling after the conclusion of the world when Jesus comes again.

Outline

Introduction and greeting. Ephesians 1:1-2
Paul illuminates the blessings we have in Christ, praise to God. Ephesians 1:3-14
A prayer for enlightenment of the readers of the book. Ephesians 1:15-23

Life from the dead. Ephesians 2:1-10
Remainder speaks about reconciliation in Christ. Ephesians 2:11-22

Privilege, mission, and the message. Ephesians 3:1-13
Prayer Ephesians 3:14-41

Unity in body of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-6
Unity in diversity. Ephesians 4:7-16
Off with the old, on with the new. Ephesians 4:17-5:20

New social relationships. Ephesians 5:21-6:9

Christian soldier, the armour of God. Ephesians 6:10-20
Final conclusion and greetings. Ephesians 6:21-24

Themes For The book

The theme for the letter is fairly straightforward, ‘in Christ’, what does it mean to be ‘in Christ’? ‘In the heavenly places’, what does it mean to be ‘in the heavenly places’?

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Complete Study Of The Book Of Ephesians  

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