Paul and the Ephesians

The letter to the Ephesians is different than those we have studies thus far.  In previous letters,  we have Paul writing to defend his Apostleship and to teach against heresy that was being perpetrated at the time.  Ephesians seems to be more of an outline about the “important practices and doctrines for believers to keep in mind.” [1]  The letter lays out truth about the church, unity, and the walk of a Christian [2].  “Instead of pastoral surgery, then, Paul gives the Ephesians a dose of preventative medicine, hoping that a deeper appreciation of God’s blessings will lead them to a more mature commitment to the Gospel.” [3]  This firmer commitment applies as much today as it did back then.

The original recipients of the letter were those Gentile converts who resided in Ephesus.  Though this has been disputed, there are a couple interested things to point out.  The better the Apostle Paul knew a congregation the fewer personal greetings it contained [4].  This can be seen when contrasting Ephesians with other books such as Romans.  Ephesians has  practically no personal greeting, but Paul spent around three years there previously.  Paul had not yet visited Rome, and there are a ton of personal references in the letter.  This was done to establish his authority.  This was not needed in Ephesus because they respected his authority.  Another example is when Paul tells the Ephesians to stop getting drunk (Ephesians 5:18).  “ It is quite an interesting view of the fact that the worship of the god of the vine (Dionysius) was prevalent in Ephesus.” [5]

As mentioned previously this letter is different as it does not attack any opponents.  Paul is taking the time to write a church that he spent roughly three years with to tell them to stay strong in the faith.  He emphasized the role of the church, church unity, spiritual warfare, and the home life.  These are all things that we can here in any church in our own time as they are great ways to live our faith and help manage our own families.

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[1]  Lea, Thomas D., and Black.  The New Testament: Its Background and Message.  2d ed.  Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003, 439.

[2]  Ibid, 439.

[3]  Ignatius Study Bible New Testament.  San Francisco, CA :  Ignatius Press, 2010, 343.

[4]  Lea, Thomas D., and Black.  The New Testament: Its Background and Message.  2d ed.  Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003, 438.

[5]  Ibid, 438.

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  1. Thank you William for sharing this it is very important for the church today to hear out the message’s Paul wrote to the churches. He cared so deeply about their deep relationships with the Lord.

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