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Walk Worthy: A Study of Ephesians

Listen each Sunday at 11 am as Pastor Glen preaches verse-by-verse on the Book of Ephesians. To gain a better understanding of this Epistle, the following background information will be helpful.

EPHESIANS BACKGROUND

The book of Ephesians contains doctrinal teachings (chapters 1-3) followed by practical application (chapters 4-6). Commentators have used several words to try to describe these two sections. Here are just a few:

Doctrine (chapters 1-3)
Duty (chapters 4-6)                                           
Our Privilege (chapters 1-3)
Our Practice (chapters 4-6)                              
Revelation (chapters 1-3)
Responsibility (chapters 4-6)
Blessings (chapters 1-3)
Behavior (chapters 4-6)
How God sees us (chapters 1-3)
How the world should see us (chapters 4-6)

When theologians, seminary professors, and pastors try to capture the essence of Ephesians in just a phrase they reach for the best superlatives they can find.

  • William Barclay: “The queen of the Epistles”
  • James Montgomery Boice: “The most majestic expression of [the gospel]”
  • William Hendricksen: “The divinest composition of man”
  • Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones: “There is no greater privilege in life than to be called to expound [the book of Ephesians].”

BACKGROUND:

  • Ephesus was the capital city of the province of Asia…on the mouth of the Cayster River on the east side of the Aegean Sea.
  • It was best known as the home to the Temple of Diana (Roman), Artemis(Greek) and is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • It boasted the largest open-air theater in all the Roman Empire—25,000 seats
  • Ephesus was a city of 250,000 people and a major port and a hub of industry
  • Paul visited here briefly on his second missionary journey and stayed for 2½ years on his third missionary trip.
  • Ephesus became the missionary base from which all the churches in the surrounding area were started. These churches were in Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

BOOK:

  • Ephesians is 1 of 4 “prison” epistles (Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome (60-62 AD).
  • It was written as a circular letter to all the churches in Asia. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 the churches are addressed in a “circular manor” starting with Ephesus and going clockwise.
  • The book of Ephesians is a “doctrinal feast.” B.F. Westcott, a18th century Greek scholar, found 27 distinct doctrines.
  • Ephesians is not a personal letter. There are no personal greetings or salutation. Only Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21) is mentioned by name.
  • This book is not a “problem-solving letter.” Galatians dealt with issues with the Judaizers; Philippians addresses issues of disunity between Euodia & Syntyche; and Corinth had problems galore.
  • This was not Paul’s first letter to the church in Ephesus for Ephesians 3:3 says, “as I have already written briefly.”

KEY THEMES:

  • The sovereignty of God
  • The mystery of the church
  • The riches of God’s grace

Paul will introduce all three of these themes in just the first two verses of chapter one.