I Can Read the Bible

About Ephesians

Matt Carter

Context of Ephesians

The epistle to the Ephesians was written by Paul during his first Roman imprisonment in AD 60-62. Paul had visited Ephesus during his second missionary journey, and he left Priscilla and Aquila there (Acts 18:18-21). During Paul's third missionary journey, he stayed in Ephesus for nearly three years (Acts 18:23-19:41).

The city of Ephesus was a commercial and religious hub in Asia Minor. Its temple of Artemis aka Diana was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple was famous and contributed significantly to the local economy. As the church grew in Ephesus, there was a significant decline in the temple's sales, which led to a big uproar in the Ephesian theater.

Central Theme in Ephesians

The central theme in Ephesians is about building the body of Christ. The letter focuses on the believer's responsibility to walk with spiritual maturity. The letter begins by locating the believer in Christ. The believer's entire life should be shaped by this new position in Christ.

Brief Overview of Ephesians

Unlike many of Paul's other epistles, Ephesians was not written to correct a set of specific errors in the church. Instead, it focuses on building up the church in spiritual maturity.

The first half of the letter lists the believer's status and possessions in Christ. Key words like adoption, redemption, inheritance, power, life, grace, and citizenship fill the first three chapters. With this focus on gifts, there are no commands or imperatives in the first half of this epistle.

There are, however, thirty-five directives given in the second half of Ephesians. There is a lot of emphasis on the responsibility of every believer to live out their calling in all areas of life. The letter may begin in heaven, but it ends at home.

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