Book of the Week 49: Ephesians

Greek Name: PROS EPHESIOUS

Human Author: Paul                                               

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 6

Basic Facts

  1. Ephesians is the forty-ninth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, the book of Ephesians is classified as an epistle, or letter.
  3. The Greek name for the book of Ephesians is PROS EPHESIOUS, which means “to the Ephesians” or “for the benefit of the Ephesians.”
  4. The book of Ephesians may have originally been a circulatory letter, intended to be read to the church in Ephesus and other churches in the surrounding region.
  5. Ephesians, among all the letters of Paul, seems to give more general advice rather than admonitions which are specific to the church in Ephesus.

Story of the Book

The book of Ephesians begins with a brief greeting by Paul, followed by a longer synopsis of the atoning work of Jesus which brought salvation. (Ephesians 1:3-14, originally one sentence in Greek.) Paul then expresses his gratitude for the Ephesian church in his prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-23) He then proceeds to remind the Ephesians that they were once sinners without God in the world, stressing that it is Christ who has reconciled them to God through His blood. This salvation is expressly by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:1-22) Paul appeals to the Ephesian church as a prisoner for Christ, asking them to persevere in Christ and to welcome their gentile believing brethren as equals. (Ephesians 3:1-13) Paul then gives a prayer for the church, asking God to sustain them in their walk with Christ. (Ephesians 3:14-21) He urges the Ephesian church to walk in a manner worthy of their calling in Christ and to grow into full maturity. (Ephesians 4:1-16) He also encourages believers to walk in newness of life in Christ, forgiving one another for past wrongs. (Ephesians 4:17-32) Paul spends the rest of the letter giving advice on how believers should conduct themselves in various interpersonal relationships including: being believers who are imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1-20), husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:21-33), parents and children (Ephesians 6:1-4), and servants and masters (Ephesians 6:5-9). Paul closes his letter by calling the church to equip themselves for bold kingdom service through an analogy called the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). The epistle closes with a few personal greetings Paul gives to particular individuals. (Ephesians 6:21-23)

Jesus Revealed in Ephesians

Jesus is revealed in Ephesians as the one who has reconciled believers back to God through His blood shed on the cross. The completed work of reconciliation that Jesus brought between God and believers is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10), which also entails a call to full maturity in Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-16) This call to maturity involves a transformation of interpersonal relationships including: husbands and wives who are called to be a picture of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:21-33), children living in obedience to parents (Ephesians 6:1-4), and servants serving masters wholeheartedly and masters treating servants with kindness knowing both will be held accountable before God for their treatment of one another (Ephesians 6:5-9). Finally, walking in full maturity in Christ involves a bold life of Christian service in which believers are thoroughly equipped for following Christ through an analogy of the soldier.  Believers are called to stand firm in faith by putting on the full armor of God, resisting the enemy and following Christ faithfully throughout their lives (Ephesians 6:10-20).