Epistle "Mid"-view: Ephesians
It's two days late, but here's some important information on Ephesians!
I've been enjoying reading the book of Ephesians so much. It stirs my spirit and excites my being.
Ephesus was an important port city on the west coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey). It's one of the seven churches that Jesus was concerned with in the letters of Revelation 2 and 3, all churches in approximately the same area near Ephesus. Ephesians is an "encyclical" letter, meaning that, instead of being written to a specific church addressing its needs, it was intended to be read and then passed along to other churches.
The letter of Ephesians was written after the letter of Colossians. Scholar and pastor Jack Hayford says that "after writing Colossians, Paul was deeply stirred by an expanding revelation about the church...as Christ's body and as God's instrument to confound and overthrow evil powers."
To recall a game that I discussed as a kid, if I were to be dropped on a deserted island and could only have one book of the Bible, it would doubtless be the letter to the Ephesians. It's the mystery letter of the New Testament, only it reveals the mystery of the church, the body of Christ on earth. The church is this beautiful "poem" of God, as the Passion Translation words it in the second chapter. The church transcends the two people groups of the Old Testament—Jews and non-Jews—and creates a "new man" in the form of the Christ Jesus.
In Ephesians, Paul reveals in incredible and passionate clarity how you, as a believer, should live.
In the first half, he defines your position as a believer in chapters 1-3; the buzzword here is "in Christ." In Christ, every spiritual blessing is ours. In Christ, God has gracefully formed a united people to become His temple, His dwelling place on earth. And in chapter 3, Paul declares that this mystery—the church—is revealed now. You get to witness and take part in its unveiling!
In the second half, Paul beautifully describes how we must walk "in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. Then he explains how. (It amazes me how God calls us and then enables us to fulfill that call.) Paul explains the "implications" of living a Spirit-lead life, and how walking into maturity brings growth and triumph in your life.
I've seen Ephesians called the Alps or the Grand Canyon of the New Testament. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp the wonderful truths, the earth-shaking realities divulged. Or as Paul puts it, "pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling." (Eph 1:18 TPT)
There's so much good stuff in this loaded letter, I just want to stay in it for a while!