JOURNEYS THROUGH THE BIBLE

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1 JOURNEYS THROUGH THE BIBLE #11. THE LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS 1. Paul s letter t the Ephesians is written in rder t explain the nature and purpse f the Church, which is the Bdy f Christ. Many schlars believe it was an encyclical letter, written t several churches within a regin. Supprting this view is the fact that sme f the earliest manuscripts d nt have the name Ephesus in the text. The suppsitin is that the letter was intended fr each f the churches in Asia Minr. This explains the lack f persnal infrmatin in the greeting and farewell, (except in regard t Tychichus, wh delivered the letters). The cpy f the letter delivered t the church at Ephesus is ne f the extant cpies used in ur cann f Scripture. 2. Authrship and date - Paul wrte the letter accrding t 1:1 and 3:1. It was prbably written frm a Rman prisn in 60-62AD. Alng with Philippians, Clssians and Philemn, Ephesians is cnsidered ne f the Apstle s Prisn Letters. T sme degree, 2 timthy is als cnsidered a prisn epistle, while it is generally categrized as a Pastral letter. The first three chapters are highly thelgical, while the final three chapters fcus n the Christian standard f behavir and hly living. 3. Paul s emphasis centers n helping the Ephesians understand their identity in Christ. 4. Key Chapter It is difficult t identify key chapters since each ne is cnsidered f vital imprtance, but chapter six is perhaps the best knwn sectin as Paul discusses the dynamic f Christian Armr and spiritual warfare. In it he discusses: The helmet, which symblizes salvatin in a general sense. The breastplate, which symblizes bth ur psitinal righteusness in Christ, and the practical righteusness f embracing a hly lifestyle. The belt reminds us f truth, upn which ther pieces f armr hand r cnnect. Dr. J. Stephen Chitty 1

2 The shes represent the message f the Gspel and the life f peace which is based n recnciliatin t Gd. The shield represents faith; the spear represents the pwerful, living Wrd f Gd. 5. Key Verses Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV - Fr it is by grace yu have been saved, thrugh faith, and this is nt frm yurselves, it is the gift f Gd - nt by wrks, s that n ne can bast. Fr we are Gd s wrkmanship, created in wrist Jesus t d gd wrks, which Gd prepared in advance fr us t d. Ephesians 2:13-16 NIV - But nw in Christ Jesus yu wh nce were far away have been brught near thrugh the bld f Christ. Fr He Himself is ur peace, wh has made the tw ne and has destryed the barrier, the dividing wall f hstility, by ablishing in His flesh, the law with its cmmandments and regulatins. His purpse t create in Himself ne new man ut f the tw, thus making peace, and in this ne bdy t recncile bth f them t Gd thrugh the Crss, by which He put t death their hstility. Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV - It was He wh gave sme t be apstles, sme t be prphets, sme t be evangelists, and sme t be pastrs and teachers, t prepare Gd s peple fr wrks f service, s that the bdy f Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knwledge f the Sn f Gd and becme mature, attaining t the whle measure f the fullness f Christ. Ephesians 6:10 NIV - Finally, be strng in the Lrd and in the pwer f His might. 6. Key Peple Paul - The funding pastr f the churches in Suthern Galatia. The stry f Paul s ministry there is fund in Acts 13 and 14. Under the tutelage f Rabbi Gamaliel, a yung Paul had received intensive training in the Scriptures and Jewish traditins while living in Jerusalem (Acts 23:3-6 and Philippians 3:5, 6). Tychichus - an assciate f Paul wh prbably delivered the letters t the respective churches. 7. Key Place Ephesus - the capital f the Rman prvince f Asia Minr (mdern Turkey). Dr. J. Stephen Chitty 2

3 8. Key Themes Gd s eternal purpse - Gd s purpse is the unin f all His peple, Jew and Gentile alike, int ne new creatin. The Church - is the result f this unin. Christian Behavir - as members f Gd s family we are t live hly, peaceful lives, wrthy f His calling and Name. 9. The Cntents f Ephesians - The idea f unity is such strng emphasis in this letter that sme have suggested a simple utline centering n that idea: There is unity between Christ and His peple (1:1-3:21). This affects ur standing befre Gd. There is a resulting unity within the family f Gd (4:1-6:24). This affects ur cnduct in the wrld. A mre detailed utline falls alng these lines Greetings t the Church (1:1,2) The Mystery f the Church (1:3-3:13) Our eternal standing in Christ (1:3-6) Our redemptin thrugh Christ (1:7-10) Our Inheritance Because f Christ (1:11-14) Our Resurces in Christ (1:15-23) Our Unity in Christ (2:11-3:13) Dr. J. Stephen Chitty 3

4 The Destiny f the Church (3:14-21) The Lifestyle f the Church (4:1-6) The Building f the Church (4:7-16) The Life f the Church (5:1-21) Walk in Lve (5:1-7) Walk in the Light (5:8-14) Walk in Wisdm (5:15-18) Walk in the Hly Spirit (5:18-21) Authrity and Submissin in the Church (5:22-6:9) Husbands and Wives (5:22-33) Parents and Children (6:1-4) Emplyers and Emplyees (6:5-9) The Armry and Battle f the Church (6:10-20) Our Warfare (6:10-13) Our Weapns and Armr (6:14-20) Farewell t the Ephesians (6:21-24) Wrth nting abut Ephesians: There is a strng emphasis n unity bth in the narrw sense (with each ther there in Ephesus), and in the brader sense (the wall between Jew and Gentile has been brken dwn). Dr. J. Stephen Chitty 4

5 Christians are ne in spiritual bdy. Christians are ne in spirit. Christians are ne in ur eternal hpe. Christians are ne in a cmmn faith. Christians are united under ne Lrd. Christians experience ne prcess f baptism. Christians serve the ne true and living Gd. The cncept f Mystery is part f the message f Ephesians. Paul s use f the wrd desn t imply there is smething that needs t be slved, but rather it cnveys the idea f a previusly hidden truth that is nw penly revealed. The wrd is used fur times in Clssians, twice in Rmans, and nce each in 1 Crinthians and 1 Timthy, but is used six times in Ephesians (1:9; 3:3, 4; 4:9; 5:32; 6:19). Paul s emphasis revlves arund the plan fr Gd s church; the true symblism f marriage, and the revelatry dynamic f the Gspel. We must remember that the truest, deepest and richest understanding f the Gspel can nly be received by the revelatry assistance f the Hly Spirit (1 Crinthians 2:6-9; 1:18-31). When reading Ephesians: Tychichus is prbably als delivering tw letters t the cngregatin in Clsse (the letter t the Clssians, and the persnal crrespndence knwn as Philemn). Remember that Paul is specifically cncerned with cmmunicating the fact that Gd has fully integrated Gentiles int His family. Nt nly are Gentiles included, but Gentiles and Jews have been fused tgether. There is a sense in which Gd will perfrm additin wrk in the lives f the Jews (Rmans 9, 10, 11), but fr all intents and purpses, we are eternally united as ne peple in Christ Jesus. We will see the idea f unity scattered thrughut this brief letter. Never underestimate Gd s lve fr His church and the value He places upn her. She is mre than an rganizatin, she is an rganism - the Bride f Christ. Dr. J. Stephen Chitty 5

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