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Ephesians - Introduction

Book Introduction - Ephesians

Read first chapter of Ephesians

WRITER: The Apostle Paul ( 1:1 )

DATE: Ephesians was written from Rome in A.D. 64. It is the first in order of the Prison Epistles. Acts 20:1-27:44 . (See Scofield "Acts 28:30") and was sent by Tychicus, concurrently with Colossians and Philemon. It is probable that the two greater letters had their occasion in the return of Onesimus to Philemon. Ephesians is the most impersonal of Paul's letters. Indeed the words, "to the Ephesians," are not in the best manuscripts. Colossians 4:16 mentions an epistle to the Laodiceans. It has been conjectured that the letter known to us as Ephesians is really the Laodicean letter. Probably it was sent to Ephesus and Laodicea without being addressed to any church. The letter would then be "to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus" anywhere.

THEME: The doctrine of the Epistle confirms this view. It contains the highest church truth, but has nothing about church order. The church here is the true church, "His body," not the local church, as in Philippians, Corinthians, etc. Essentially, three lines of truth make up this Epistle: the believer's exalted position through grace; the truth concerning the body of Christ; and a walk in accordance with that position.

There is a close spiritual affinity between Ephesians and Joshua, the "heavenlies" answering in Christian position to Canaan in Israel's experience. In both there is conflict, often failure, but also victory, rest, and possession Joshua 21:43-45 ; Ephesians 1:3 ; 3:14-19 ; Ephesians 6:16 Ephesians 6:23 . As befits a complete revelation, the number seven is conspicuous in the structure of Ephesians.

The divisions are, broadly, four:

  1. The apostolic greeting1:1,2
  2. Positional; the believer's standing "Christ" and "in the heavenlies" through pure grace, 1:3-3:21.
  3. Walk and service, 4:1-5:17
  4. The walk and warfare of the Spirit-filled believer, 5:18-6:24.