Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book.
Orientation Ephesians is book #10 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of Paul's letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis Paul writes a letter to the church in Ephesus. Unlike his previous letters, this one comes as a pleasant surprise - this letter is entirely positive. He is not defending himself, correcting false teachings, or reprimanding anyone.
God's plan is for all of creation to be holy (1:3-23). God has made all people - both Jews and gentiles - an important and vital part of this plan (2:1-22). Paul has been sent to especially bring this good news to the gentiles (3:8). He encourages the Ephesians (3:14-21). Each believer has a job to do (4:11), and we must grow spiritually - we cannot afford to remain as infants in the faith (4:14). He offers practical advice for daily living (4:25-32) and for wives and husbands (5:22). He urges us to be imitators of Christ (5:1) and above reproach in all matters (5:3). His advice on master/slave relationships (6:5) may also be read as employer/employee relationships.
Christians should use God's armor as protection to defeat evil forces aligned against them (6:10), for our battle is not against humans, but against the forces of darkness (6:12).
Activity List ways in which we can be effective Christians as Paul encourages. How, specifically, can we:
- Live in unity (4:2)
- Mature spiritually and serve others (4:11)
- Seek spiritual renewal (4:23 and 5:18)
- Put others ahead of ourselves (5:21)
- Resist evil spiritual forces (6:12).
Discussion points Consider the direction of wives submitting to husbands (5:22-24). How does the meaning change when considered in context, by including 5:21 and 5:24-33?
Consider the armor of God passage (6:14-17). It is figurative language. How can we practically put this armor in place? Which pieces of the armor are defensive? Which are offensive?
Connections Colossians is very similar to Ephesians, in both teachings and writing style.
Paul urges us to be imitators of Christ (5:1). This was the inspiration for Thomas à Kempis' book 'The Imitation of Christ', considered the most influential Christian book in the world after the Bible - available free online at www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1653.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 11 2014
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