NTS012 Ephesians

Ephesians 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Author: Paul

Type of literature: Epistle or Prison Epistle

Audience: Believers in Ephesus

Possibly other churches in Asia Minor.
This is called a “circular letter” view.
Some of the earlier manuscripts leave out “in Ephesus”.
There are not specific church issues addressed.
Tychicus is the only specific person mentioned.
Paul spent over 2 years there previously so this would be unusual.
(3:2) Could be taken to think Paul didn’t personally know his recipients.
Ephesians 3:2 ESV
2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
There are good reasons to believe it was written to Ephesus specifically.
“In Ephesus” or “at Ephesus” is found written in the margins of all the oldest manuscripts.
Most of the early church fathers called this “The Epistle to the Ephesians”.
Ephesus is mentioned 17 times in the New Testament.

Paul’s reason for writing.

Acts 20:15–16 ESV
15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 20:17 ESV
17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
Acts 20:22 ESV
22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,
The elders in Ephesus knew they would not see Paul again.
Other than this it had been about 4 years since they heard from Paul.

Paul’s purpose was to reconnect with a church he had invested so much in.

Paul’s purpose was to encourage spiritual maturity.

Paul did this by providing clear instruction on the redemptive work of Christ through three themes:

1. Christ has reconciled all creation to himself.
2. Christ has united all people from all nations to himself and one another in His church.
3. Thus christians must live as new people.

The setting of the book.

Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the world at Paul’s time with a population of around 300,000 people.

Ephesus was a wealthy port city.

Ephesus was home to the largest theater in the world seating up to 30,000 people at a time.

Due to the temple of Diana being in the city, idol making became prominent in Ephesus.

Ephesus was the center of learning.

Ephesus was near several key land routes making one of the easiest cities to access during its time.

Paul visited Ephesus during his 2nd missionary journey.

taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.
While he was there, he preached in the Jewish synagogue, but only stayed a short time during this visit.
Acts 18:18–21 ESV
18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.
He left Priscilla and Aquila behind, and it is believed that they started the church at Ephesus soon after.
Some would say that he planted the church on his 3rd journey.
Acts 19:1 ESV
1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.

From the church in Ephesus, the gospel went to the entire region of Asia Minor reaching over 8 million peoples in two years.

The phrase “In Christ” is used 30 times in the book.

The church in Ephesus is called out in the Book of Revelation.

Even though no specific problems were mentioned in Paul’s letter.
Revelation 2:1–3 ESV
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
Look at Paul’s letter...
Ephesians 1:15 ESV
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

Outline of Ephesians

Paul’s greeting (1:1-2)
The believer’s standing “in Christ”. (3)
Our walk and service. (4:1-5:17)
The warfare of a Spirit-filled believer. (5:18-6:24)
The position of the Christian. (1-3)
The practice of the Christian. (4-6)
One more outline...
1. Seated (1-3) - You have been seated with Christ.
2. Walk (4-6:14) - Walk worthy of your calling.
3. Stand (6) - Stand firm against spiritual opposition.
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