Ephesians- theme essay plans


Spiritual blessings/salvation ( chapters one and t

  • Intro: Paul left Ephesus= they lost their way. Paul again regains his authority in progloue= "Paul, an apostle"
  • O'brien, "the prologue of Ephesians follow the regular pauline pattern"- sender, recipients and a greeting
  • to the recipients- focus on spiritual blessings, "every spiritual blessing in christ" - praises God. Thielman, "all that God has done for them"- in three sections: father, son and holy spirit.
  • father: chosen people, "predestined us for adoption to sonship" son: Stott, "God's children enjoy free access to their heavenly father"- redemption via, "blood" of christ. i.e God's sacrafice
  • holy spirit:if they recieve it= eternal life Mgrath" the promise to give more in the future" 
  • thanksgiving and prayer, "I have not stopped giving thanks for you"- he asks God that they will recieve spirit of wisdom and prays they understand the inheritance of heaven
  • ch 2- they are made alive in christ- Stott's reference to "harmartia" "falling short of moral standard"- sin
  • "you were dead in your transgressions"- used to sin
  • his tone is negative then goes happy and states two characteristics of God= LOVE AND MERCY- "it is by grace you have been saved" 
  • the staus of the gentile- "at that time you were separate from christ"- circumcision had created a barrier between jew and gentile- "alienated from isreals scriptures"
  • God responded to salvation through jesus, "brought by the blood of christ"
  • they are no longer "foreigners or strangers"- jesus is the cornerstone O'brien, "the foundation and position of all the other stones in the superstructure" - they have been made into one whole new kingdom
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Chapter three- status of the gentiles equal to tha

INTRO: circumcision had divided the jews and gentiles for so long that gentile-christians felt inferior

  • Paul explains that God used his power to equalise them- "Gentiles are heirs toegther with isreal"
  • reveals the hidden mystery- gentiles were supposed to be a part of the church from the beginning- "he is reffering to God's plan for salvation""- williamson
  • paul then explains his role in promoting this mystery- although I am the least of all God's people"- paul used to persecute christians but God's grace chose Paul= god chooses outcasts
  • those who have faith can approach god with, "freedom and confidence" - Thielman, "the kind of relationship with God that friends have with eachother"- they should also not be put off by persectuion, "not to be discouraged because of my sufferings"- in prison/went blind
  • second half of ch 3- "I kneel before the father"- subission to God
  • asks that God give them strength- Hoehner, "prays to the father that they may be strengthened by the spirit". Paul wants them to know that faith= God living in their hearts and love of christ, "wide and long and high and deep" is the love of christ"
  • concludes with DOXOLOGY-praises God who can do, "immeasurably more then all we ask"
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Chapter 4 and some of five- living the christian l

  • Paul had already explained the inheritance gained in faith- but he needed them to know to carry it on through life- in the local church
  • Bruce, "those who have been chosen, must remember that the honour of christ is involved in their daily lives"
  • refers to status as prisoner= consequence of christian living
  • unity= people in the church should be, "completely humble and patient" towards eachother. "one lord, one faith, one baptism"- PAUL FOCUSES ON AGAPE
  • quotes from Psalm 68:18- god's power in raising jesus- Christians should frow into spiritual maturity- more mature= more resistent to evil they will become and they will be, "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of christ"
  • "we will no longer be infants"- will no longer be immature- Stott, "Paul eloborates four truths about the kind of oneness" god wants- CHARITY, UNITY, DIVERSITY, MATURITY- then moves onto discussliving in outer world- They should no longer live as gentiles do" as they are, "darkened in their understanding" Gilbride comments that gentiles are, "cut off from God" so they behave immorally. Then tells them how to live- "Put on the new self" in order to give up "greed and corruption"- gilbride- Hoehner, "what adam lost in the fall has been regained in christ"
  • Concludes with moral behaviouor- telling lies, anger, stealing, unwholesome speech, bitterness, brawling, slander and malice. Behaviour that would, "grieve the spirit of God" they should instead, "follow God's example"
  • continued in ch 5- "williamson, "darkness of surrounding society"- sexual immorality, greed, obscenitt, foolish talk and coarse joking"- Pagan converts doing these things- wars them of people with "empty words"i.e non-believers or judaisers - children of the light- BAPTISMAL HYMN
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CH 5- living the christian life continued

  • people with "empty words"- christians who say they are but do not act like it
  • "children of the light"- common biblical metaphor Paul, "everything exposed by the light vbecomes visible" Thielman, "training the light of the gospel"- sins of unbelievers illuminated and they can be trasnformed into new christians
  • concludes with a baptismal hymn- to support his argument
  • wise behaviouor- "not as unwise but as wise"- Paul's eschatological perspective here
  • e.g being drunk on wine leads to uncontrollable actions
  • we should be filled with the holy spirit, not wine.
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Ch 5+6- living in the CHRISTIAN HOUSEHOLD( househo

  • also known as the" household code"
  • three relevant truths- dignity, equality, unity- WIVES AND HUSBANDS- gilbride, "Paul emphasises the need to avoid sexual immorality" He provides practical advice and theological teaching. 
  • "wives submit to your husbands"- Williamson , "theses verses are the hardest to understand" from a modern perspective 
  • marriage is= sacrafical-only mentions agape, not eros or philos- compares christ death to washing away of bride on wedding day
  • involves care and respect-"he who loves his wife loves himself"
  • permenant and exclusive-"a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife"Hoehner ,"marriage should not be divisive" christ and the churches unity reflected in the married couple. marriage is not to please oneself.
  • CHILDREN AND PARENTS: "honour your father and mother"- commandment
  • fathers- do not exasperate your children"- it is interesting that paul does not mention mothersObrien believs that paul assumed local congregations consistet of "whole families who come together"
  • SLAVES AND MASTERS- "slaves, obey your earthly masters"-m not relevant today maybe, they are all equal in heaven so should obey - mastersm "be judged for how you treat others"
  • advice here more practical overall- must remember the time of paul's writing 
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  • Paul knows that avoiding sin is not easy- so tells the ephesians how to prepare themselves
  • "be strong in the lord and put on the full armour of God"- to avoid evil
  • belt of truth- truth of gospel will protect you
  • breast plate of righteousness-williamson, "conduct onseself justly in a manner consistent with the new self"
  • feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel- we casn strengthen our own faith by sharing it with others
  • shield of faith-"Williamson, "believe firmly in God and his sword"
  • helmet of salvation- a soldier feels more safe with this on.confidence to defy the devil
  • sword of the spirit- everything is defensive except this one- gilbride
  • the importance of prayer- above all things- "pray in the spirit on all occasions" and , "pray also for me" O'brien, "prayer is given greater prominence. 
  • final greetings, "grace for all who love our lord jesus- TYCHIUS is addressed- he delivered the letter to the ephesians church( an elder)
  • paul ends with encouragement and love-.
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Background to Ephesians- historical context

samuel Taylor coleridge, "the divinest composition of man"

Williamson, "the most eloquent of the letters"

written nearly two centuries ago!

  • Asia minor- an important trade centre for roman empire 
  • centre of worship for greek goddess Artemis- fertility
  • visited ephesus on 2nd missionary journey and was, "well recieved there"- hoehner
  • prmised, "i will come back if it is God's will" and came back on thrid missionary journey and stayed for three years
  • had to leave- parting speech, "they all wept as they embraced him"
  • "they would never see his face again"
  • paul was imprisoned and killed
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Background to Ephesians- Authorship

  • he identifies himself as author- we should believe this unless there is, "strong evidence to the contrary"
  • clements of alexandria approved pauline authorship
  • german theologians challenged the traditional view in the 19th century and now scholarly opinion is divided 
  • language and style- Thielman comments there are, "a high number of long sentences" and , "grammatical ambiguities" - not how paul usually writes but stott argues this is not a valid enough reason for declining pauline authorship 
  • Impersonal tone "there are no references to people by name in Epesians"- gilbride 
  • "I heard about your faith in the lord"- not right for someone who is supposed to have known them for three years 
  • content- the theological concepts are different to the other letters: stott comments there is an interest in , "heavenly places" and a stronger focus on love. some believe ephesians was therefore written by an unknown author trying to replicate Paul's style. Thielman argues that it is missing the, "fast-paced" style of the other letters. But paul could probably write in many styles and he had more time to write well being in prison and not rushing. 
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Background to Ephesians- recipients

  • "to the saints in Ephesus"- some argue that he writes specifically to the church established during his third missionary journey
  • "in ephesus" are not included in many of the earliest manuscript, posing potentially issues 
  • bruce, "most acceptable view is that it was intended for all the churches in the province of Asia" i.e not intended to be read by just the one church at all. 
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Background to Ephesians - evidence written from ro

  • he had liberty to recieve visitors and preach in prison
  • "prison epistles"- the letters that paul wrote in prison
  • there are references to paul as, "prisoner of christ" and "ambassador in chains"
  • Epaphras- his visitor who brought the news to paul about the false teachings and divisions
  • there is much literary relationship betwee Colossians and Ephesians
  • both were delivered by TYCHICUS
  • he wrote ephesians during his two year imprisonment.
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The purpose of Ephesians

  • Mcgrath, "the letter does not deal directly with any false teaching"
  • Paul had little oppurtunity to revisit the churches he had established but he had heard that they were, "discouraged by their suffering" so this is a response to that
  • moreover, thielman comments that, "he probably learned that most christians in the city were... disunified" Paul's themes therefore focus on the unity brought by the body of christ and the church as a whole
  • He reminds christians of the grace of GOD 
  • explains the role of the church in bringing all people to faith in christ 
  • calls christians to love a life that reflect what God has done for them
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