Who are we in Christ? Grab your travel planner for flight fifty-two as we look at the book of Ephesians, Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus. In this book, Paul explains how we are the bride of Christ, a temple, and a soldier for the gospel. The unity that Paul emphasizes is described as a body working together for a common goal. The key chapters to review are Ephesians 1-6.
Second only to the book of Romans, the book of Ephesians is the most thoughtfully written work of Christian theology in the New Testament. It is addressed to a group of believers who are ignorant of their wealth in Jesus Christ, so they are living as impoverished beggars. Paul wrote to motivate them to draw upon that wealth in their daily living. The themes of this letter have to do with spiritual bodybuilding in the Body of Christ. Paul speaks of the purpose of God, Jesus as the center of everything and the focus of history, the Living Church, the New Family, and Christian conduct.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 62 A.D.
Paul imprisoned in Rome
c. 63 A.D.
Paul writes Ephesians
Paul explains the awesome things we have in Christ. He speaks of the body being a bride, a temple, and a soldier. This shows unity and how the whole body must work together in order to achieve a common goal. As a part of the body we should try to help and not hinder. We should try to eliminate all backbiting, gossip, negative criticism, envy, anger, and bitterness, because these things hurt the body.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Ephesus - The strategic commercial center of Asia Minor (Turkey), and a religious center famous for the temple of Diana (Artemis).
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
Paul - The apostle formerly known as Saul, who persecuted the Christians before he met the risen Jesus Christ. Tradition has it that Paul was beheaded outside the walls of Rome in 69 A.D.
Tychicus - Paul's "beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord" whom he sent to Ephesus to update them on Paul's affairs.
Ephesians is one of four "Prison Epistles," along with Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Paul probably wrote all four of these epistles during his first Roman imprisonment.
Some scholars have debated whether this epistle was specifically written to the Ephesians or if it was written as a circular letter intended to be circulated throughout the churches of Asia, but there is no way to be sure.
On his third missionary journey, Paul stayed at Ephesus for nearly three years, longer than anywhere else he stayed. His ministry flourished there and hurt the local economy, which trafficked in idols and magic, in turn causing an uproar at the huge Ephesian theater.
The church in Ephesus was the first church Jesus spoke to in Revelation 4.