Snapshot view of Ephesians.
The account of Paul's work in Ephesus is recorded in Acts 19. Here the apostle spent three years and used is as a base to reach out into the interior. After beginning to preach in the synagogue, Paul moved to the lecture hall of Tyrannus to continue his work there. All the Greeks and Jews in the region heard the word of the Lord because of these efforts (Acts 19:10). Here, in Ephesus, was the temple of Dianna and conflict developed with the silversmiths who made silver shrines to Artemis. In Revelation, Ephesus is one of the cities receiving a letter (Revelation 2:1-7).
Early manuscripts, evidence from the Church Fathers and even internal evidence, seems to prove that the letter was a circular letter rather than addressed specifically to the church at Ephesus. The letter is different from Paul's other letters in that it has no personal references and does not deal with any problems in a local congregation. Rather it is a majestic sermon on God's eternal purpose with the Church. It deals with the theme of unity. Firstly unity between God and man, then Jew and Gentile and then man and man.
In this letter Paul explains the eternal purposes of God as revealed in Christ and the establishment of the one body, the church. God has broken down the barriers that divide people from each other and people from heaven. This is a letter that explains better than any other writing, the purpose of God in sending His Son to create a new world that extends from our earthly existence into the heavenly realm (1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12).
Although we as Christians are united with God in the heavenly realm, we still exist in the earthly world where we are part of the one body and where we function in different roles (4:1-16). The battle with Satan is fought on a daily basis requiring the full armour as soldiers of the cross. Only then can the victory be claimed, that in a sense has already been won (6:10-20).
In a sadly divided Christianity, this letter more than any other, calls for Christians to find unity in answer to Jesus' prayer in John 17:20-23).
Jesus uses several examples to illustrate the unity needed in Christianity including the building of a house and the unity of the human body. There is no place for the divisions that we as humans like to create.
Some great passages in Ephesians: 1. The Divine purpose (1:3-14) 2. Salvation by grace (2:1-10) 3.The basis for unity (4:1-6) 4. Relationship principles (5:21-6:90) 5. The armour of a Christian (6:10-18).
Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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Barclay, W. The Men, the meaning, the message of the books
New Illustrated Bible Dictionary.