Ephesians Introduction

The Writer:

In Ephesians 1:1, we are told that the writer of the book of Ephesians is the Apostle Paul.

The Recipients:

Also, in Ephesians 1:1, we are told that the letter was written to “the saints in Ephesus.”  If you look at a map of the area in Bible times, you will find the city of Ephesus located at the west end of what was referred to as Asia.  This was the name used by the Roman government to describe this providence.  If you look on a present-day map, you will see that Ephesus is located on the western side of the country of Turkey.  There is not a city at this location today.  However, archeologists have found the ruins of where this city used to be and have excavated much of it.

The Occasion of the Writing:

You can read about Paul’s first visit to Ephesus in Acts 18:18-21.  This was at the end of his second missionary journey and, evidently was a short visit.  He left them with a promise that, “I will return to you if God wills.” (Acts 18:21).

 On his third missionary journey Paul spent a significant amount of time at Ephesus.  He mentions in Acts 20:31 that he had spent more than three years with them.  You can read about some of the major events that happened while Paul was there by reading the nineteenth chapter of Acts.  These include Paul’s:

  • Teaching and rebaptizing a group of disciples – Acts 19:1-7
  • Teaching in synagogues and in the school of Tyrannus – Acts 19:8-10
  • Success in teaching in the city – Acts 19:11-20
  • Conflict between the pagans who worshipped the goddess Artemis and the apostle Paul – Acts 19:21-41
  • Speech and exhortation to the elders of the city – Acts 20:17-38

After Paul’s third missionary journey, he went to Jerusalem, got into conflict with the leaders of the Jewish religion and was sent to prison in Rome, Italy.  You can read more about this in Acts chapters 21 through 28.  It was while he was in prison in Rome, about 60 A.D., that he wrote the letter to the Ephesians.  About the same time he also wrote the letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.  These three books, plus Ephesians, are often referred to as “the Prison Epistles.”  You are encouraged to read all four of these books before you begin your study of Ephesians.  You should also read the letter to the Ephesians in Revelation 2:1-7.

Main Thoughts of the Book of Ephesians:

One of the main themes of the book of Ephesians is unity.  This is seen in Paul’s declaration that the work of Christ was to “…reconcile us both (that is Jews and Gentiles) to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:16) and his emphasis on the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by providing one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Ephesians 4:3-6).

Other important concepts include:

Being “in Christ” – Ephesians 1:1, 3, 6, 12, 15, 20, 2:10, 13, 3:11, and 4:21

Being “in heavenly places” – Ephesians 1:3, 20, 2:6, and 3:10

The “riches:”

o   Of grace – Ephesians 1:7 and 2:7

o   Of glory – Ephesians 1:18 and 3:16

o   Of Christ – Ephesians 3:8

Review Questions

Question One:  The writer of the book of Ephesians was:

  1. The Apostle Peter
  2. The Apostle Paul
  3. The Apostle John
  4. The Evangelist Timothy

Question Two:  The city of Ephesus is a thriving city today.

  • True
  • False

Question Three:  Things were going well for the apostle Paul when he wrote this letter.  That is why he is so positive and upbeat.

  • True
  • False

Question Four: Paul was in prison in what city?

  1. Ephesus
  2. Phillipi
  3. Philemon
  4. Rome

Question Five: What are the themes to the book of Ephesians? Highlight correct answers:

  1. Unity of believers
  2. The heavenly places
  3. Being “in Christ”
  4. The riches of grace, glory and Christ provided believers

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