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Ephesians - Introduction


This Epistle was addressed to the Ephesians during the early part of his imprisonment at Rome, immediately after that to the Colossians, to which it bears a close resemblance in many passages, the apostle having in his mind generally the same great truths in writing both. It is an undesigned proof of genuineness that the two Epistles, written about the same date, and under the same circumstances, bear a closer mutual resemblance than those written at distant dates and on different occasions. Compare Ephesians 1:7 Colossians 1:20 m.net/bible?passage=Eph+5:19">Eph 5:19 with Colossians 3:16 m.net/bible?passage=Eph+1:19,2:5">Eph 1:19 2:5 with Colossians 2:12 Colossians 2:13 with Colossians 2:19 ospelcom.net/bible?passage=Eph+4:22-24">Eph 4:22-24 with Colossians 3:9 Colossians 3:10 with Colossians 4:5 Ephesians 6:1-9 Ephesians 5:20-22 sent to Colosse, the former bearing the two Epistles to the two churches respectively, the latter furnished with a letter of recommendation to Philemon, his former master, residing at Colosse. The date was probably about four years after his parting with the Ephesian elders at Miletus ( Acts 20:6-38 A.D. 62, before his imprisonment had become of the more severe kind, which appears in his Epistle to the Philippians. From Ephesians 6:19 Ephesians 6:20 a prisoner, some degree of freedom in preaching, which accords with Acts 28:23 Acts 28:30 Acts 28:31 all inquirers. His imprisonment began in February A.D. 61 and lasted "two whole years" ( Acts 28:30

The Church of Ephesus was made up of converts partly from the Jews and partly from the Gentiles ( Acts 19:8-10 so addresses a Church constituted ( Ephesians 2:14-22 for its idol temple of Artemis or Diana, which, after its having been burnt down by Herostratus on the night that Alexander the Great was born (355 B.C), was rebuilt at enormous cost and was one of the wonders of the world. Hence, perhaps, have arisen his images in this Epistle drawn from a beautiful temple: the Church being in true inner beauty that which the temple of the idol tried to realize in outward show ( Ephesians 2:19-22 profligacy for which the Ephesian heathen were notorious. Many of the same expressions occur in the Epistle as in Paul's address to the Ephesian elders. Compare Ephesians 1:6 Ephesians 1:7 ; 2:7 Acts 20:24 Acts 20:32 God" [ALFORD]. Also, as to his "bonds," Ephesians 3:1 ; 4:1 Acts 20:22 Acts 20:23 Acts 20:27 possession," with Acts 20:28 "building up" the "inheritance," with Acts 20:32

The object of the Epistle is "to set forth the ground, the course, and the aim and end of THE CHURCH OF THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type or sample of the Church universal" [ALFORD]. Hence, "the Church" throughout the Epistle is spoken of in the singular, not in the plural, "churches." The Church's foundation, its course, and its end, are his theme alike in the larger and smaller divisions of the whole Epistle. "Everywhere the foundation of the Church is in the will of the Father; the course of the Church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the Church is the life in the Holy Spirit" [ALFORD]. Compare respectively Ephesians 1:11 ; 2:5 ; 3:16 (this part closing with a sublime doxology, Ephesians 3:14-21 made the ground of practical exhortations. In these latter also (from Ephesians 4:1 Church is represented as founded on the counsel of "God the Father, who is above all, through all, and in all," reared by the "one Lord," Jesus Christ, through the "one Spirit" ( Ephesians 4:4-6 respective graces to the several members. These last are therefore to exercise all these graces in the several relations of life, as husbands, wives, servants, children, &c. The conclusion is that we must put on "the whole armor of God" ( Ephesians 6:13

The sublimity of the STYLE and LANGUAGE corresponds to the sublimity of the subjects and exceeds almost that of any part of his Epistles. It is appropriate that those to whom he so wrote were Christians long grounded in the faith. The very sublimity is the cause of the difficulty of the style, and of the presence of peculiar expressions occurring, not found elsewhere.

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