Sunday, July 18, 2021

An Introduction to Ephesians

By Jeff Arnette

     Paul first arrived in Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18). He visited a second time during his third missionary trip (Acts 19) which proved to be a tumultuous time for the church. People were baptized, silversmiths were infuriated, and a riot even broke out. Paul’s relationship to Ephesus was interesting, to say the least.
     He wrote the letter to the Ephesians in the early 60’s while in a Roman prison. Three other letters were written at this time which includes Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Based on evidence within Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, Tychicus was the person who hand-delivered the letters.
     It is typically easy to determine a reason for the letter, but Ephesians is a little more challenging. From the topics discussed, it is clear that the church was dealing with false teachers which were something Paul had already warned the elders at Ephesus about (Acts 20:28-32). Despite these clear problems, Ephesians boldly declares and promotes the idea of reconciliation and unity of all things in Jesus Christ.
     Ephesians is a unique summation of Paul’s teachings on Christ, salvation, and the glorious role of the church in God’s plan for all mankind. It was the favorite letter of John Calvin and as one commentator claimed, only Romans has exercised more influence on Christian thought (Brown 1997).
     It continues to encourage Christians to glorify God for His magnificent work of reconciliation in Jesus and challenges us to share in supporting it through the unity the Holy Spirit has produced. Clearly, this is why William Barclay called it the “Queen of the Epistles,” because its main message is the glory of the church.
     The Letter to the Ephesians makes multiple important contributions to our understanding of Christianity, salvation, Jesus’ deity, and God’s plan.
     First, Ephesians speaks clearly on the subjection of all things to Jesus.
     Second, only Colossians can compare to the important emphasis on Jesus’ victory and the victory (salvation included) we enjoy because of Him.
     Third, Ephesians holds the most developed vision and purpose for the Lord’s church which stands as a herald of Christ’s victory and reconciliation.
     Fourth, Ephesians has a deeper understanding of the Spiritual warfare that every Christian becomes a reluctant but armored and prepared participant.
     As a clear result of these great blessings, we are encouraged to strive for unity, to walk as children of light, and embody all that it means to be God’s children.
     Twice in this short letter, Paul records his prayer for the church (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21). In Eph. 1:15-23, Paul prays for the Holy Spirit to empower with wisdom, revelation, and knowledge so that they can understand their blessed position in Christ and enormity of His love.
     In Eph. 3:14-21, Paul prays for the Spirit to strengthen them with power in their inner being, again which was to empower them to understand Jesus’ love which surpasses understanding. Let me encourage to spend time reading this powerful letter and let it change your heart and faith. If you only read the two prayers, it will make an impact on your heart and faith. Have a blessed day and enjoy this great letter which was meant to strengthen and empower you.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Brown, R.E. An introduction to the New Testament. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1997.

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