According to tradition, Ephesians was written by Paul when he was a prisoner in Rome, around AD 62. However, Ephesians is generally believed not to be by Paul – it is a ‘deutero-Pauline’ epistle. There is no reference to Ephesus, or to any individuals, despite Acts recording that Paul spent a long time there.
A major theme unity in Christ despite – in the church, in Jew/Gentile relations, and in marriage and other family and social relationships. This unity occurs despite apparent heterogeneity.
Paul to the saints in Ephesus. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ. We are redeemed through Christ’s blood. Through the mystery of God’s will, we have obtained an inheritance. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our inheritance. Paul prays that they know God, and understand what he has given them. God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great power, putting all things under his feet, including the church.
He made you alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. You once walked according to the prince of the power of the air, but we have been raised up to sit in the heavenly places in Jesus Christ. You have been saved by faith, the gift of God, and not works. We are God’s workmanship. Jesus Christ reconciles Jew and Gentile, now fellow citizens in the household of God. The apostles and prophets are the foundations, and Christ is the cornerstone.
Paul is a prisoner. Gentiles are fellow heirs. Paul preaches the hitherto hidden mystery of God, who created all things through Jesus Christ. Paul’s role in revealing this mystery is part of God’s eternal purpose. Paul’s tribulations are the Ephesians’ glory. From Christ, we become part of a family of heaven and earth. Paul prays that Christ may be known to the Ephesians, and dwell in their hearts. God is above all we do or think; to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations.
Walk worthy of your calling, with gentleness and lowliness, to keep the unity of the Holt Spirit in the bond of peace. Christ’s spiritual gifts to the church – some are prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, working together in the unity of faith and in the body of Christ. Do not walk as the other gentiles walk, in darkness of understanding and lewdness. The old man is put off, and the new man is put on. The conduct of the new man is ethically scrupulous – do not let the sun go down on your wrath, do not steal, speak corrupt words, or be bitter to each other.
Be imitators of God, and walk in love. Avoid fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthy or foolish talking. Those who do not have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Do not be sons of disobedience. Walk as children of light, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Walking in the light means walking in wisdom. Do not be drunk with wine, but filled with the Spirit. Speak to each other in holy songs. Wives must submit to their husbands, as to the Lord. As the church is subject to Christ, so is the wife subject to the husband. Husbands must love their wives, as Christ loves the church, cleansing and purifying her (note gender). The mystical union between Christ and the church is replicated in the mystical union of marriage. A husband must love a wife as himself.
Children must obey their parents in the Lord. Parents must bring up their children in the Lord. Bondservants must be obedient to their masters, as to Christ. Masters have a duty of care also. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God: we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation etc. Paul speaks the gospel boldly. Paul sends Tychius to the Ephesians. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.