Introduction to the Book of Ephesians
I asked and you voted, so welcome to the study of Ephesians!
Have you ever wondered how so much heretical teaching infiltrated the early church?
Several years ago, a couple started coming to our church. Right away, they were interested in helping with our children’s ministry. We needed more volunteers, so they were integrated effortlessly and seamlessly. After a while, we started getting unsettling reports on what they were teaching. Many of the parents were questioning their ideas because they were slightly skewed from what the church taught.
While this whole scenario played out in a matter of weeks, the result was critically dangerous. First, because what they were teaching was slightly off and seemed harmless enough, it could have gone unnoticed for a lot longer. Second, because this teaching was aimed at the children’s ministry, it could have had long-term devastating effects on the health of the church.
Thankfully, the leadership became aware of the situation and addressed it quickly and quietly. After that, the couple moved on, as they were no longer interested in being a part of our church.
The same issues that plagued the early church, are still prevalent today. This is why letters such as the one to the Ephesians are incredibly important. They give usan arsenal forremaining true to the pillars of our faith. It is importantto learn from the past.
I am so thankful that these letters, such as this Letter to the Ephesians, have been carefully preserved and passed down to us.
Here’s Some Background
Did you know that the Apostle Paul was in prison at the time he wrote this Letter to the Ephesians? It is one of the four books that are commonly referred to as the prison epistles (the others being Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). This letter was probably composed and sent around the same time as the Letter to the Colossians. You might even notice that as you read the letter as it shares many similarities with Colossians in terms of content.
Although the letter was meant to be circulated widely throughout Macedonia, it was originally sent to Ephesus. This church had most likely been planted by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:24, 26) and later pastored by Paul and then Timothy. We get a detailed look of what was happening in this church by looking at the Book of 1 Timothy, which is a personal letter written from Paul to Timothy to encourage the young pastor and to help him navigate the situations he faced.
In this church in Ephesus, one of the main issues was the distorted teachings by a few individuals, who were spreading false things and barraging the church with endless discussions about myths and genealogies (1 Tim 1:3-4, 20). They were wanting to be teachers of the law but had no clue of what they were talking about (1 Tim 1:7). As a result, they engaged in fights and quarrels instead of unity and edification. It’s interesting that their exact teachings still exist today!
Here’s the Main Theme
The main theme of the Letter to the Ephesians is to explain the mystery of the Church. The idea behind the word for mystery is that this truth was not something that could ever be discovered unless God revealed it. The concept was too awesome to comprehend and in reality the Church didn’t exist before Christ’s resurrection, which is one of the reasons that this letter is such a powerful gift. We get to see and understand first-hand the mystery of Christ’s Church, as revealed by the Apostle Paul. We’ll look at God’s purpose for it and how He’s equipped it with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Then, how as individuals, as local bodies, and as the global Church we are to faithfully live it out.
The other major theme of this letter includes the riches of spiritual blessings for the believer. According to the MacArthur Bible Commentary, “The word riches is used five times in this letter; grace is used twelve times; glory eight times; fullness or filled six times; and the key phrase in Christ (or in Him) some twelve times.”
I don’t know about you,but the thought of studying that further excites me!
Here are the topics covered:
- Spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus
- The work of the Godhead in our salvation
- The profound mystery of Christ and the Church
- God’s purpose for the Church
- New life in Christ
- Unity in Christ
- Walking in love
- Living as children of light
- Being filled with the spirit
- Authority and submission
- The believers’ warfare and weapons
- …and much, much more!
Join Me on This Journey
As you can see, this letter is an important revelation for the Church. Please join me as I start this journey verse by verse through Ephesians over the next several months! It will be a wonderful, life-changing adventure.
God bless you as you seek Him and may the truth of Christ Jesus continue to penetrate your heart. May everything change because of it!