I’ve begun a personal Bible study in Ephesians. Posting it here will help me do it more regularly than just keeping it in my notebook.
Background and Authorship
The Epistle to the Ephesians was written by Paul the Apostle. It appears to have been intended for the church at Ephesus, but it was subsequently circulated to the church universal. Some manuscripts even omit “in Ephesus.” Probably written during Paul’s house arrest in Rome in A.D. 60-62.
The letter lacks some of the personal elements that show up in other letters by Paul, indicating a broader audience. Some believe that the “letter from Laodicea” mentioned in Colossians 4:16 refers to the epistle to the Ephesians.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Eph. 1:1-2 ESV
Paul claims to be an apostle of Christ “by the will of God,” a testimony that is repeated for us three times in Acts and once in Galatians. God’s will was such that a devout Jew and murderer of Christians should become his foremost messenger to the Gentiles. Amazing. I often wonder what is “the will of God” for my life. Then I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”. God’s will for my life, just as it was for Paul’s life, is holiness. Sanctification.
In another sense, though, I too am called to be an “apostle,” or messenger, of Christ Jesus. I ought to carry the message of Christ to all. This is a hard saying for me, who too often hides behind the comfort of my cushy American life rather than obeying the call of Christ to “go and make disciples.” Holy Spirit, empower me to speak your word to those with whom I come into contact as I go through life. Help me to be bold for the sake of Christ, just like Paul was. Thank you for the blessings of living in a nation such as the United States of America.
Paul concludes his greeting by asking that grace and peace be given to the saints. It’s a curious part of Paul’s letters, how he begins by sending grace and peace, and often ends by saying, “Grace be with you.” Thus, the effect is that Paul’s letter brings grace to the reader. I hope to partake of this grace as I read this letter and study it further in depth. May my mind be renewed to the effect that my life is transformed.
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