the weblog of Alan Knox

Ephesians, here we come?

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in community, fellowship, scripture | 14 comments

Ephesians, here we come?

When we gather together with other brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday mornings, we study through a book of Scripture, or occasionally through a topic. Right now, we studying through 1 Samuel together. Usually, one person agrees to facilitate our discussion, while we all take part in working through the passage (usually a chapter or more at a time).

I love this kind of study with people who love God and love each other and seek to understand Scripture together. I’ve learned so much by studying Scripture with my brothers and sisters in Christ – both on Sundays and at other times, as the discussions on Sundays often carry over to other times when we get together at our homes, in coffee shops, even running trails around the lake.

So, like I said, we’re currently working through 1 Samuel, and David just spared Saul for the second time, which means that we’re near the end of Saul and the end of the book. We started talking about what book to study next. Almost everyone agreed that they would like to return to the New Testament for a while.

And, then I heard it – like music to my ears. Someone said, “What about Ephesians?” And, guess what, I didn’t even have to bribe her! Because, Ephesians is one of my favorite New Testament books! (It’s definitely in the top 27, anyway.)

But, seriously, I love Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, and, yes, I know all the theories about it being a circular letter and not specifically addressed to the Ephesians in a couple of older manuscripts. Still, I love the letter.

I love the structure and the flow and the focus and just about everything about it.

In fact, as I think about it, I haven’t studied Ephesians in a few years. Not too long ago, I was studying Ephesians with different groups of Christians on and off for a couple of years. It became a joke with some of my friends. “Alan, when are you going to start a study of Ephesians again?” wink wink nudge nudge

So, as I begin to think about Ephesians again, I thought I would throw this out to you. What do you like about Ephesians? Do you have a favorite passage? A favorite topic in the book? What do you wish you understood better? What do you struggle with the most in the book?


14 Comments

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  1. 8-7-2012

    I love me some Ephesians! Few books in the Bible pack so much deep theology and practical application in such a short book. Paul’s intro alone is worthy of lengthy study. I do think a lot of people have a hard time with this book because some of the teachings can be hard to swallow.

  2. 8-7-2012

    Alan, Ephesians is definitely one of my favorite books as well. While in one sense I hate to choose favorites from the Bible, Ephesians and 1 John have claimed a very prominent place in my mind.

    I like Ephesians so much that I took the theme for my blog from it (Ephesians 5:18). In particular, Ephesians 4 through 5 has really become the theme passage for my life, so to speak. There is just so much in there to absorb and apply.

    I love it! Enjoy your study, Alan, and be sure to keep us updated on the gems you come across as a group. :)

  3. 8-7-2012

    Oh, and you asked for a favorite topic in the book. Watch for all the times Paul uses the word “walk” (peripateo).

    Not walking according to the course of this world.
    Walking in the good works for which we were created.
    Walking in a manner worthy of our calling.
    Not walking as the Gentiles in the futility of their mind.
    Walking in love.
    Walking as children of the light.
    Walking as wise, not fools.

  4. 8-7-2012

    I love the first chapter. I love how Paul continually elevates Christ and gives us a huge picture of our Lord and Saviour. I love how immensely practical it is as well – real day to day stuff. This is how we do life – elevating Christ.

    Thanks for your blog, always a great read. Be blessed.

  5. 8-7-2012

    I love John’s Gospel, Galatians, and Ephesians. But what passages do I like most in Ephesians?

    All of it! If I’m forced to select a particular part of this amazing book, I’d go for Ephesians 3:14-4:16.

    This, for me, is what the Way is all about. Paul tells us about

    1 – Understanding the power and majesty and glory of the Father
    2 – Recognising how wide, long, high and deep is the love of the Son
    3 – Living a life worthy of our calling
    4 – How we have all that we need to grow and become one body
    5 – That we don’t need to be tossed around in worldly uncertainty and doubt
    6 – How we may be become mature by speaking truth lovingly

    HalleluYah!

  6. 8-7-2012

    Arthur,

    What parts of Ephesians do you think are “hard to swallow”?

    Chuck,

    I also like the metaphor of walking and the focus on living in the reality of the truths presented. Usually, when we work through a book, some of my blog posts will end up being a result of that study. :)

    Steve,

    “Immensely practical”… that’s a good way to put it. Thanks!

    Chris,

    So you picked about 20% of the letter as your favorite part? That sounds like me now… :)

    -Alan

  7. 8-7-2012

    I have recently been reintroduced to Ephesians 5 by Margaret Mowczko at newlife.id.au. She has illuminated the chiastic poetry structure, and shown the importance of this passage. Especially important to me, since I have recently left a heavily complementarian church. They all think I’m a heretic.

    There are many scripture passages I need to revisit. My current desire is to read something good about Revelation. I consider myself amillenial, but the church I am currently attending are dispensationalist. Can anyone recommend a good, balanced version? Thanks!

  8. 8-7-2012

    Alan,

    I think the passages in the intro dealing with predestination are hard for some people and of course the submission passages in chapter 5 & 6.

  9. 8-7-2012

    I love this book! How do I pick a favorite verse or even a phrase? It’s the whole thought and intent I love: the mystery of the gospel made known to Paul by special revelation, not known to other generations, and now revealed to us.

    What is this ‘mystery of the gospel’, or ‘the mystery of His will’? Isn’t salvation the greatest gift there is to know? No! Neither was salvation a mystery not revealed to other generations. Is it that by grace we have been saved and not of works? No! Far from it! Rather, it is what is now available to those who are saved in this church age.

    Through salvation, we already have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. It can’t be that. Through salvation, we are already seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It can’t be that. Through salvation, we already have redemption in His blood, forgiveness of our trespasses. It can’t be those either.

    Then what?! What could possibly be more than salvation by grace while we’re still on earth and awaiting our heavenly bodies and inheritance?! Is it merely that we love each other and worship God? What a privilege, but no, it is not those either.

    This is what… and it is far MORE abundantly than ALL we could possibly ask, think, or imagine! It is the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and fullness of God! It is to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge! It is that Christ will dwell in our hearts through faith, and we will be filled with His indwelling Spirit. It is that He will manifest Himself in us!

    Perhaps all these things are summed up in this verse: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32 ESV)” It is through this profound mystery that we grow up in Christ, that we mature and move beyond the milk of the word and sink our spiritual teeth into the meat of the word. If it were just salvation, it wouldn’t be profound unless we artificially inflated it.

    Don’t take the verses out of context. Don’t read the verses in this book quickly and say, “I know that already.” Instead, let us humble ourselves and be as nothing, so that He may exalt us at the right time. It’s ALL about Him! Let Christ and His Father come and make their home in our hearts! Amen!

  10. 8-7-2012

    If I were ever to have a piece of Scripture tattooed upon my body, it would be Ephesians 1. It screams “Listen to Me and what I say about Myself and you as my sons!”

  11. 8-8-2012

    Ephesians is no doubt my favorite book in the Bible! I love Chapter 1 where he talks about who we are in Christ. We are blessed, lavished upon, sealed in Him, enlightened!
    Then of course, the salvation verses in Chapter 2. Esp 2:4 He’s rich in mercy and made us ALIVE!
    And 3:14:20! Esp vs 20, He is able to do immeasurably MORE than we can ask or imagine! What a God we serve!
    And I don’t mind the command for wives to submit (5:22). The biblical definition of submission actually is so freeing, despite what the world says.

    Dwight – love your post! Love Ephesians! Love Jesus!

    Susan – What is a complementarian church?

  12. 8-8-2012

    MamaT,

    There are two schools of thought here. One is ‘complementarian’ and the other is ‘egalitarian’. In a nutshell, here’s the difference between the two.

    Complementarian: Men and women are equal in The Church, but only men can hold Church-governmental positions of authority.

    Egalitarian: Both men and women are equal in ministry and in Church government.

    This thinking has also come into the arena of husband/wife, as egalitarians do not believe the husband is the head of the wife, since they are both equals in Christ. Egalitarians use Galatians 3:28 as their basis for their thinking.

    Hope that helps you! :)

    (And if I am wrong, whoever has more info on this, please feel free to correct me!)

  13. 8-8-2012

    Thanks again for the comments everyone. I’m sorry that I’ve been away from commenting lately.

    -Alan

  14. 8-11-2012

    Here’s a project to give fresh eyes on Ephesians. Read the book twice, each time to answer one question.

    First time, first read: What does Ephesians say is true of us simply because we are in Christ? (Or, “What became the truth about you when you believed?)

    Second time, second read: What does Ephesians say ought to be true about us because we have believed?

    Notice where each question gets most of its answer from.

    Enjoy

    Marty