Ephesians Study 1

Epistle to the Ephesians
STUDY 1
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Acts 19
Approximate Timeline:

52-56 AD: Paul's 3 year stay in Ephesus

61 AD: Paul's first imprisonment in Rome at which time he wrote Ephesians

It follows that this is a relatively young church even if there were believers there prior to Paul's visit.

Had Paul ever been to Ephesus?

Clearly the answer is yes - Acts 19:1-7. (Paul was actually there in Acts 18:19 telling them he would return if God willed it.)

Acts 18:18 And Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow. (Comment: Pricilla and Aquila stayed at best estimate some 4-5 years, long enough to establish a church in their home in Ephesus, for when Paul wrote the Corinthians from Ephesus -- most likely during his 3 year tenure described below -- he wrote "The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." 1Cor 16:19. This couple eventually returned to Rome sometime after Emperor Claudius death [in about 56AD, Claudius being the one who had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome], see Ro 16:3-5 - in this passage Paul says they "risked their own necks" for him, possibly alluding to the potentially dangerous time of the riot instigated by Demetrius as described in Acts 19).

19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. (Comment: "Reasoned with" is a verb found predominantly in Acts [10/13 uses] = dialegomai from diá = denoting = separation + légo = speak, meaning to engage in speech interchange, especially instructional discourse that frequently includes exchange of opinions. A reasoned discussion. It sometimes conveyed the sense of speaking to someone in order to convince)

20 And when they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent,

21 but taking leave of them and saying, "I will return to you again if God wills," he set sail from Ephesus.

Ephesus (see also Ephesus Tour; Ruins; Pictures; More pictures) the capital of proconsular Asia was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, some estimates placing the population as high as one-half million in the latter part of the first century AD. It had a huge library, a harbor that made it an active seaport (one of 3 major cities in the Roman Empire), a huge amphitheater (capable of seating 25,000), and the temple of Artemis (Diana) which attracted visitors from all over the Roman empire (as one of the seven wonders of the world and the center of worship of the idolatrous goddess, Artemis). Apparently by the time of Paul the harbor had been rendered virtually unusable as a result of accumulation of silt from the Cayster River, increasing the importance of the Temple of Artemis that attracted pilgrims from all over the empire.

Ancient Ephesus
Click Diagram to go to panoramic virtual tour

Acts 19:8-10

Acts 19:8 And he entered the synagogue (buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship) and continued speaking out boldly (imperfect tense - emphasizes the continual nature of his proclamation without fear of rejection or hostility) for three months (one of his longest periods in any synagogue), reasoning (dialegomai {Eng = "dialogue"} always in sense of mutual discussion, speaking back and forth - i.e., Paul did not merely lecture, but again was responding to their questions and challenges = he spoke to their mind) and persuading (present tense - continually trying to convince them by arguments to believe = he spoke to their wills) them about the kingdom of God (a spiritual aspect, a present physical aspect in believers in whom Christ is the King and a future eternal aspect - always refers to God's reign over His created and redeemed world and its believing inhabitants).

9 But when some were becoming hardened (skleruno - figuratively hardening of one's heart = stubborn, imperfect tense pictures the process of gradual hardening over 3 months. cf Hebrews 3:13, 15, 17) and disobedient (refusal to be persuaded), speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily (cf Eph 5:16) in the school of Tyrannus (famous lecture hall normally used by secular educators - one of the ancient copies of Acts, added that this facility was allowed to be used by Paul from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the hottest time of the day and siesta time when people rested before resuming work after the heat had subsided -- but this is conjecture and cannot be proven from Scripture. Some have written that you could find more people asleep in Ephesus at 1PM than you could at 1AM!)

10 And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks (Comment: Paul had disciples that he was undoubtedly sending out to teach others also - cf 2 Timothy 2:2 notes. Note that Paul says elsewhere as Paul addressed the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:31 he warned "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.").

What was Paul's experience in Ephesus? Where was the first place he went?

Jewish synagogue (he always went to the Jew first and also to the Greeks)

For example, in Romans 1:16 Paul wrote "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (see note Romans 1:16)

How long did he remain there?

3 months - the three-month hearing the Jews allowed Paul was one of the longest teaching opportunities he had in any synagogue.

What was he doing there?

Speaking boldly, reasoning, persuading

How was he received? What is the progression?

Jews became hardened > disobedient > began to speak evil (enmity, hostility)

Have you ever experienced this reaction?

How did Paul respond to the opposition?

Withdrew to school of Tyrannus

How do you respond to opposition?

Do you "throw in the towel"? Or move on to other territory?

What did he do there?

Reasoned daily concerning the Word of the Lord.

How long?

2 years (actually 3 years from Acts 20:31)

Ephesus was his longest stay in any of Paul's missionary journeys.

What was the effect of one man zealous for God's Word?

All in Asia heard the Word of the Lord

Both Jew and Greek (Gentile)

Acts 19:11-20

11 And God was performing extraordinary miracles (literally, "miracles not of the ordinary kind") by the hands of Paul,

12 so that handkerchiefs (a face-cloth used for wiping perspiration) or aprons (work aprons used in his trade of tent making) were even carried from his body (idea that healing power could be magically transmitted was prevalent in ancient world) to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out (Comment: miraculous confirmation of Paul's message as authentic apostolic preaching - especially in absence of a written NT by which one could assess someone's teaching).

13 But (note the strong contrast) also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." (use of magical names in incantations to exorcise evil spirits was common in the ancient world)

14 And seven sons of one Sceva., a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (Satan's counterfeit versus God truth!)

15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (Comment: F B Meyer wrote "When the sons of Sceva started on the demon, he turned on them, and said, “You little dwarfs, you lilliputians, who are you? I know Paul! I don’t know you, I have never heard about you before; your name has never been talked about down in Hell. No one knows you, nor about you outside of this little bit of a place called Ephesus.” Yes, and there is the question that was put to me today: “Does anyone know of me down in Hell?” Do the devils know about us? Are they scared about us? Are they frightened by us? Or do they turn upon us? When we preach on Sunday, or when we visit in the streets, or take our Sunday School Class, the devil says, “I don’t know you, you are not worth my powder and shot; you can go on doing your work. I am not going to upset Hell to stop you.”)

16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

17 And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name (encompassing all that is true about Him) of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.

18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. (secret magic spells, which were generally believed to be rendered useless if they were divulged)

19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Comment: the phrase ‘Ephesian writings’ was common in antiquity for documents containing spells and magical formulae. William Barclay adds a pithy comment that "It is all too true that too many of us hate our sins but cannot leave them. Even when we do seek to leave them there is the lingering and the backward look. There are times in life when treatment must be surgical, when only the clean and final break will suffice.”)

20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

What was the religious climate like in Ephesus?

v12 Demonic Activity - Healing and Evil spirits coming out of men as result of handkerchiefs touched by Paul!

v13-16 Interest in Exorcism - Jewish exorcists attempt to counterfeit these miracles failed

Widespread Practice of Magic

(Note: Had this exorcism succeeded, it would have discredited the name of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the church in Ephesus)

Comment: Gaebelein writes that…

"The use of magical names in incantations to exorcise evil spirits was common in the ancient world, and it seems to have been especially prominent at Ephesus. In addition, Jewish practitioners of magic were highly esteemed in antiquity, for they were believed to have command of particularly effective spells. The great reluctance of the Jews to pronounce the divine name was known among the ancients and often misinterpreted according to magical principles. Moreover, those connected with the Jewish priesthood would have enjoyed great prestige in magical circles since they were the most likely ones to know the true pronunciation of the Ineffable Name and therefore most able to release its power. (cf. Bruce M. Metzger, "St. Paul and the Magicians," Princeton Seminary Bulletin , 38 [1944], 27-30). Some Jewish exorcists, on coming into contact with Paul and his preaching about Jesus, attempted to make magical use of this new name they had heard." (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)

What resulted from the Seven Sons of Sceva being beaten by a demon possessed man?

Fear fell upon all = Both Jew and Greek

Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified (instead of being disgraced and used as a "lucky charm")

How were new converts responding? What's a "theological" description of their action?

Coming, Confessing, Disclosing Practices

Magic practitioners were burning their books (50K in silver = 50K day's wages for average laborer - an incredible amount in that day = indicates how many were practicing magic in Ephesus = several million dollars worth of wages in present earning power)

Repentance - manifesting the fruit of a changed mind - turning from their sins

Comment: Gaebelein writes that…

"News of what happened spread quickly throughout Ephesus. All who heard were overcome by reverential fear (phobos) and held the name of Jesus in high honor. Negatively, they learned not to misuse the name of Jesus or treat it lightly, for it is a powerful name. Positively, many Christians renounced their secret acts of magic and several magicians were converted. Openly demonstrating the change in their lives, they brought their magical scrolls together and burned them in the presence of the gathered congregation (enopion panton or "publicly") (Ed note: literally "in the eyes of all"). (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)

What were the results of these miraculous/supernatural events?

Word of the Lord grew mightily and was prevailing

How would you sum up the spiritual battlefront in Ephesus?

Evil spirits on one hand

The Word of the Lord on the other ("spiritual warfare")

The satanic forces and magic practices were in a very real sense arrayed as an evil spiritual force against the Word of the Lord and yet could not overpower the truth - Paul's bold preaching, confirming miracles, defeat of exorcists, resultant awe and respect for the name of Jesus, and the convert's public repudiation of magic demonstrated the transforming power of the Word of God.

Acts 19:21-20:2:

21 Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while (cf First Corinthians written from Ephesus during this time period "But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."1Cor 16:8-9 ).

23 And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.

24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis (also known as Diana, a many-breasted fertility goddess), was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;

Artemis
Click to enlarge

25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. (Comment: The Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and was a magnificent structure with 127 columns 60 feet high standing on an area 425 ft long and 220 ft wide - bigger than a football field - and according to some sources taking 200 years to complete. The Temple stood about a mile northeast of the city and served as in effect the "first national bank of Asia", as a place of worship and as a center for the practice of cultic immorality, being served by hundreds of the priestesses of Artemis, whose "service" was as temple prostitutes in the name of "worship"! The temple could accommodate 50,000 people and was probably the largest Greek temple ever constructed, being about 4 times the size of the famous Greek Parthenon. Pilgrims flocked to the city from all over Asia and surrounding areas, especially during the annual festival to Artemis held each spring. Clearly, the trade generated by this influx of pilgrims was essential to the viability of the economy.)

26 "And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. (Comment: Paul is the example of influence one man can have on an entire city and even a whole region -- all related to his devotion to his Lord and to the Word of the Lord)

27 "And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute (Note that this is his first and undoubtedly his main concern - lost revenue), but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence." (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, took over 200 years to build, reputed to be the largest building in the ancient world)

Temple of Artemis
Click to enlarge

28 And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

29 And the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia. (Comment: The theater held some 25,000 and its ruins are well preserved - town meetings were usually held in the theaters)

30 And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him.

31 And also some of the Asiarchs (officers elected by the cities who at their own expense furnished festivals in honor of the gods) who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater.

32 So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly (Greek = ekklesia = called out company of people) was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together.

33 And some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly (ekklesia).

34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

35 And after quieting the multitude, the town clerk (equivalent of the mayor of a modern city) said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, and of the image which fell down from heaven (One cannot be absolutely certain what this represents but meteorites would be a reasonable possibility)?

36 "Since then these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash. (Comment: He was wrong! The idol was vanity and no god at all. Today the great Temple of Artemis is in virtual complete ruin except for one column still standing).

37 "For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess.

38 "So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another.

39 "But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly.

40 "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's affair, since there is no real cause for it; and in this connection we shall be unable to account for this disorderly gathering."

41 And after saying this he dismissed the assembly.

20:1 And after the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he departed to go to Macedonia.

2 And when he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece.

Acts 19:23: What is the main event Luke describes?

"No small disturbance" over the Way

What was the problem and ultimately who is behind it?

Goddess Artemis silver shrine sales were being threatened

Evil forces stirred up human agents to oppose the Way and the Word

Why?

Paul had persuaded them and considerable numbers had turned away from idolatry

In short, lives were being transformed as the word of God was prevailing and making a real difference in the Ephesian society, but not without opposition (it never does).

Have you been experiencing opposition as you seek to carry out the Lord's will in your life, your family, your job? Indeed all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (see note 2 Timothy 3:12)

Acts 19:26 What were they turning away from?

Gods made without hands = no gods at all

Acts 19:27: What was the Demetrius' great fear?

Trade would be in disrepute = decreasing revenues, failed business venture

Temple of Artemis would be regarded as worthless

Artemis would be dethroned of her magnificence

"By the time of Paul, Ephesus' position as a center of trade was lost because the harbor became unnavigable. From that point on the worship of Artemis became the city's means of economic survival. The tourist and pilgrim trade associated with Artemis made many people in Ephesus wealthy. Silversmiths made their living selling images of this goddess and her temple. Innkeepers and restaurant owners grew rich from the large influx of worshipers who traveled great distances to see the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world. The temple treasury even served as a bank, loaning large sums of money to many, including kings. And since Artemis was the patroness of sex, prostitutes sold their bodies without condemnation in the two-story brothel on Marble Street." (Adapted from the introductory comments to Ephesians in the International Inductive Study Bible/New American Standard Bible - this resource is highly recommended)

What was the reaction when Alexander (a Jew) began to speak?

Crowd lost control and shouted for 2 hours "Great is Artemis" - this event highlights the "tension" that existed in the ancient world between Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), a "tension" (enmity, hostility) that Paul deals with in believing Jews and Gentiles in the book of Ephesians.

How was it resolved?

Mob dispersed from the theater without harming the believers when convinced by the town clerk the Jews had done nothing wrong and the city was in danger of being accused of a riot (which might threaten loss of privileges Rome accorded to the city of Ephesus).

As you study Ephesians keep this historical context in mind, specifically recalling that the original recipients of this letter were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to light and from lifeless idols to the living God. Watch for Paul's exhortations and instructions to the Gentile believers that have their basis in this historical and cultural context.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: EPHESUS

Summary from Acts 19

EPHESUS…

Paul lived and taught the Word of the Lord in Ephesus for 2 years (actually 3 years according to Paul's statement in Acts 20:31).

All in Asia heard the Word of the Lord

Ephesus was a city characterized by…

Overt demonic activity
(demon possession)

Overpowered
by God

Practice
of magic

Converts transformed
by the Word Repented

Major center
of idol worship

The Word exposed
idols as no gods (vain, empty)

Spiritual Dynamic:
Word Proclaimed > Grows and Prevails > Lives Transformed > Opposition Rises

Epistle to the Ephesians
THE RECIPIENTS

Eph 1:1 Who are the recipients in general terms? Where are they?

Saints (set apart from the world and unto God for His use)

At Ephesus (some modern manuscripts delete this "address")

Faithful in Christ Jesus (they were saints were were truly acting saintly!)

(Note: They had two "addresses" an earthly one, in Ephesus, and a heavenly one, in Christ Jesus).

Eph 1:13 How had the Ephesians become saints?

1) Listened to the message of truth = Gospel of salvation

2) Believed (cf Ro 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ)

3) Sealed in Him (Christ) with the Holy Spirit of promise

Note: As background remember that Paul had taught in Ephesus about 3-5 years earlier (this is an approximation). The point is that the Ephesian believers were generally "young" in the faith. And yet did Paul consider this profoundly doctrinal treatise to be "too deep" for them? Who should be studying Ephesians in the modern church?)

(How did they demonstrate the reality of their conversion? burning magic books)

Eph 1:15 What do we learn about the saints in Ephesus?

Paul had heard - implies others had told him - indicates they were "living epistles"

(But how could Paul have known since he was in prison? Acts 29:30 says Paul was "welcoming all who came to him" so undoubtedly he had heard good reports.)

1) Their faith in the Lord Jesus

2) Their love for all the saints (It is interesting that some 35 years later John wrote Jesus' scathing rebuke directed at the church at Ephesus "I have this against you, that you have left your first love"! Rev 2:4)

Eph 2:1-2 What does Paul remind the readers they were prior to listening to and believing the Gospel?

Dead in trespasses and sins ("were dead" = past tense)

How did they walk (live, conduct themselves in everyday life)?

Formerly walked according to…

World - course of this world (the way the lost world thinks and does things)

Devil - according to the prince of the power of the air

Flesh - Eph 2:3 ("we") lusts of the flesh

Eph 2:5, 8 What happened that made these spiritually dead men and women into saints who were faithful?

Grace -- by grace you have been saved

Through faith

Not of works

Eph 2:11-12 How does Paul specifically identify his readers? What was their spiritual status when they were dead in their trespasses and sins?

Gentiles

Formerly

Separate from Christ

Excluded from the commonwealth of Israel

Strangers to the covenants of promise

Having no hope

Without God in the world

Eph 2:13 What is the of contrast and how does Paul explain it?

Formerly far off <BUT NOW> brought near

Brought near by the blood of Christ (the Cross)

Eph 2:14, 15, 16 What does Paul repeatedly state is now the relationship between Gentile and Jewish believers (note: "both" ~ Jew and Gentile)?

Both in one body (v16)

Eph 2:17 What did the preaching of Christ accomplish for those "far away" (Gentiles) and those who "were near" (Jews)?

Peace (with God) - those far away (Gentiles)

Eph 2:19, 22 What was now true for the Gentile believers?

No longer strangers and aliens

(But)

Fellow citizens with the saints

Of God's household

Dwelling of God

Eph 4:1,17 What is Paul's charge to the Gentiles?

Walk in a manner worthy of your calling

Don't walk like the (unbelieving) Gentiles

Eph 5:1-3 What is the quality of the walk Paul is calling for in the Gentiles?

Walk in love

Not in immorality, impurity, or greed

Eph 5:8 What does Paul remind them they once were by way of contrast?

Formerly darkness (spiritual darkness = dead in trespasses and sins)

(Now) Light in the Lord

Walk as children of light (shining forth, exposing the deeds of darkness).

Epistle to the Ephesians
THE AUTHOR

Eph 1:1, 3:1 Who wrote this letter? How do you know?

1:1 Paul

3:1 "I, Paul"

How does he describe himself?

Apostle of Christ Jesus

(How?) By the will of God

Who is he an apostle to (who is he sent to)?

Saints at Ephesus (to the Gentiles)

Eph 3:1, 4:1, 6:20 What was his current condition? Of whom?

Prisoner

Acts 28:11-31: What do we learn about Paul's status that parallels Ephesians?

He is in prison in Rome

What does Paul say in Acts 29:20 that parallels Ephesians?

He was wearing the chain for the hope of Israel

Cf "ambassador in chains" (Eph 6:20)

Note: In Eph 6:20 Paul also mentions "chains" which could allude to the custom of the Romans, who according to secular writers (Josephus, Seneca, Athenaeus), would confine prisoners not only by shutting them in prison, but also by chaining their right arm to the left arm of the soldier guarding them. Can you imagine being a pagan chained for a 8 or 12 hour shift to the the apostle Paul?

How does Luke describe Paul's conditions?

By himself with a Roman soldier (Acts 28:16) - see note above.

Free to preach the Kingdom of God - which he did to the Jews

Stayed in his own rented quarters

Welcomed all who would come

Preached openly, unhindered for 2 full years

What was the result of Paul's prison "sermon series" to the Jews? What was the source of his teaching material?

Some were persuaded but others would not believe

Paul explained and solemnly testified of the Kingdom of God and Jesus, trying to persuade them from the Law and Prophets (Old Testament)

When they did not believe Paul told them the salvation would be sent to the Gentiles who would listen.

Eph 3:2 What had God given Paul?

A stewardship of God's grace for the Gentiles

Eph 3:3 What did he remind them about?

He had written before in brief

Eph 3:4 What was Paul's desire for the Gentile believers?

To understand his insight into the mystery of Christ (to understand what he understood about this truth)

Eph 3:6 What was the mystery he wanted them to understand?

That the Gentile believers are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body (the church) (Note: "Mystery" is not that which is mysterious but in the NT represents a truth previously hidden and thus not but now revealed by God)

Eph 3:8 How does Paul describe himself?

The very least of all the saints (Remember Paul had seen the glorified Christ and was never the same!)

Eph 3:8-9 What was Paul given the privilege to preach to the Gentiles?

The unfathomable riches of Christ

To bring to light the administration of the mystery

I read in a commentary that we don't see any of the personal concern by Paul in this letter -- is that true? What do you observe in Eph 3:13, 6:21-22?

Did not want them to lose heart at his tribulations - it was for them and their glory

Sent Tychicus to let them know of his circumstances so their heart would be comforted

What else do we see Paul doing in this letter that reflects his concern for the Gentile believers?

He does not cease to pray for them in Eph 1:16-18 and 3:14-21 (Would it encourage you to know the apostle Paul was praying for you? Do you let others know you are praying for them?)

Eph 6:19 What do we learn about Paul from this verse?

He asked for prayer to be able to proclaim the mystery of the gospel with boldness (even in prison -- does this make you think of his exhortation in Ephesians 5:16?)

He was aware of his own weakness and inability, knowing that he stood in need of divine enablement at all times.

Do you ask others to pray for you without hesitation?

Or does pride and a sense of self-sufficiency keep you from asking others for prayer?

What would you have ask the saints in Ephesus to pray for? … for release from prison? … or for release of the gospel message?

Why did Paul write this letter to the Gentile believers (purpose of the letter)? What truth did he want them to understand?

He wanted them to understand the mystery that had been revealed that believing Jews and Gentiles are both part of one body, the church, in a real sense now representing Christ's spiritual, earthly body and to walk accordingly in unity, love and power to the praise of the glory of His grace!

Epistle to the Ephesians
THE "OUTLINE" AND THEMES

Ephesians 1:1-2 Introduction of Author and Recipients

Ephesians 1:3-14 Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ

Ephesians 1:15-23 Prayer for Enlightenment and Power

Chapter 1 Theme: Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Ephesians 2: Were Dead in Sin, Now Alive and in One Body in Christ

Chapter 2 Theme: Gentiles and Jews One in Christ

Ephesians 3:1-13: Mystery of the Church Made Known

Ephesians 3:14-21: Paul's Prayer for Inner Power and Love

Chapter 3 Theme: Mystery of Gentiles as Fellow Members of the Church

Ephesians 4:1-6: Walk in Unity of the Body

Ephesians 4:7-16: Gifts for Equipping of the Body

Ephesians 4:17-24: Don't Walk Like the Gentiles (Like you used to walk)

Ephesians 4:25-32 How to Not Walk Like Gentiles

Chapter 4 Theme: Walk Worthy of Your Calling Not Like the Gentiles

Ephesians 5:1-21: Walk in Love, Light, Wisdom and the Spirit

Ephesians 5:22-33: Walk as Submitting Wives and Loving Husbands

Chapter 5 Theme: Walk in Love and the Spirit

Ephesians 6:1-9: Walk Worthy in the Family and at Work

Ephesians 6:10-17: Be Strong in the Lord and Stand Firm in His Truth

Ephesians 6:18-20: All Prayer at All Times for All the Saints

Ephesians 6:21-24: Comforting News and God's Grace to Make It

Chapter 6 Theme: Stand in the Lord's Strength and Pray in the Spirit

EPHESIANS
Segment Divisions

EPHESIANS 1-3 EPHESIANS 4-6
SPIRITUAL WEALTH SPIRITUAL WALK
PRIVILEGE PRACTICE
BELIEF BEHAVIOR
DOCTRINE DUTY
DOCTRINAL PRACTICAL
CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR
OUR POSITION IN CHRIST CHRIST'S PERSON LIVING IN US
OUR HERITAGE IN CHRIST OUR LIFE IN CHRIST
WORK OF CHRIST WALK OF THE CHRISTIAN
HEAVENLY STANDING EARTHLY WALK
PRIVILEGES OF THE SAINT RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SAINT
POSITION OF THE CHRISTIAN PRACTICE OF THE CHRISTIAN
THEOLOGICAL PRACTICAL

Other possible segment divisions:

Ephesians 4:17-5:21: Walk No Longer Like Gentiles

Ephesians 5:22-6:9 Spirit Filled Families and Work

From your overview of Ephesians, is this a letter that has practical application in our lives as believers today?

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