Book of Ephesians:
What does the ideal Christian church look like? How should Christians behave?
These important questions are answered in the book of Ephesians. This instructional letter is packed with practical advice, all given in an encouraging tone. Ephesians also contains two of the most memorable passages in the New Testament: the doctrine that salvation comes by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, and the metaphor of the Full Armor of God.
Today, 2,000 years later, Christians are still debating a controversial passage in Ephesians commanding wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Author of the Book of Ephesians:
The Apostle Paul is credited as the author.
Ephesians was written about 62 A.D.
This epistle is addressed to the saints at the church in Ephesus, a prosperous port city in the Roman province of Asia Minor. Ephesus boasted international trade, a thriving silversmith guild, and a theater that seated 20,000 people.
Landscape of the Book of Ephesians:
Paul wrote Ephesians while under house arrest as a prisoner in Rome. The other prison epistles are the books of Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Some scholars believe Ephesians was a circular letter distributed to several early Christian churches, which may explain why the reference to Ephesus is missing from copies of some manuscripts.
Themes in the Book of Ephesians:
Christ has reconciled the whole of creation to himself and to God the Father.
People of all nations are united to Christ and to one another in the church, through the working of the Trinity. Paul uses several word pictures to describe the church: body, temple, mystery, new man, bride, and soldier.
Christians should lead holy lives that give honor to God. Paul issues specific guidelines for right living.
Key Characters in the Book of Ephesians:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (NIV)
Ephesians 5:22, 28
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord...In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (NIV)
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (NIV)
Outline of the Book of Ephesians:
- Opening salutation - Ephesians 1:1-2.
- Christ redeems all things - Ephesians 1:3-14.
- Paul gives thanks and prays for the Ephesians - Ephesians 1:15-23.
- Redemption has been accomplished - Ephesians 2:1-3:13.
- Prayer for Ephesians' strength, praise to God - Ephesians 3:14-21.
- Specific instructions for Christian living - Ephesians 4:1-6:10.
- Putting on the Full Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-20.
- Conclusion and blessing - Ephesians 6:21-24.