Ephesians – Building the Body of Christ

ephesians

In this letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains the wonderful things that we have received through Christ and refers to the church as a body, a temple, a bride, and a soldier. These all illustrate the unity of purpose and show how each individual member is a part that must work together with all the other parts. In our own lives, we should work to eradicate all backbiting, gossip, criticism, jealousy, anger, and bitterness, because these are barriers to the unity of the church.

Writer of Ephesians

Written by Paul, “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1;1), having been commissioned of God with an apostleship (job) in the dispensation of grace to write a book.

Date Written

During the two years that Paul was in his own hired house (A. D. 61-63), continuing to preach the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). Written from Rome during his imprisonment there.

To Whom Written

To “all the saints, the ones being and believing in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1 TRV). The words “in Ephesus” are not in some manuscripts. This book may be the “epistle from Laodicea” that is referenced in Colossians 4:16.


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Purpose

The purpose of the book of Ephesians was to set forth God’s intention in the present dispensation of grace (Ephesians 3:6). With the apostolic conditions of the Acts period suspended, God’s administration of His will toward mankind (His “house law” for the new dispensation) was proclaimed in this book. Of Paul’s letters, only the book of Ephesians, the book of being “in Christ,” was written to all believers of today without exception. All the other letters after the dispensational divide, including Colossians, were written to specific believers of groups of believers at that time.

Theological Contribution

The theme of Ephesians is the relationship between the heavenly Lord Jesus Christ and His earthly body, the church. Christ now reigns “far above all principality and power and might and dominion” (1:21) and has “put all things under  His feet” (1:22). Exalted though He is, so fully does He identify with the church that He considers it His body, which He fills with His presence. The marriage relationship between husband and wife is a beautiful analogy for expressing Christ’s love, sacrifice, and lordship over the church.

Special Consideration in Ephesians

The term “heavenly places” is not the same as heaven, for in one instance Paul speaks of “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (6:12). “Heavenly places” implies the unseen, spiritual world beyond our physical sense. It is the region where the most difficult, and yet authentic, Christian discipleship is lived out-the world of decisions, attitudes, temptations, and commitments. It is the battleground of good and evil.


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