Book Overview - Ephesians
by E.W. Bullinger
THE STRUCTURE OF THE EPISTLE AS A WHOLE.
Ephesians 1:1-2 EPISTOLARY. SALUTATION
Ephesians 1:3 - Ephesians 3:19 DOCTRINAL. AS TO OUR STANDING
Ephesians 3:20-21 DOXOLOGY.
Ephesians 4:1 - Ephesians 6:20 DOCTRINAL. AS TO OUR STATE.
Ephesians 6:21-24. . EPISTOLARY. BENEDICTION.
1. EPHESIANS is the second (see Structure, p. 1660) of the great text-books of doctrinal instruction for believers in this Dispensation. In Romans is set forth all the truth concerning the standing of the sinner in Christ, as having died and risen with Him. Now we are taken a further stage and taught that the sinner not only died and rose again in Christ, but that he is now in God""s sight and purpose seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Romans ends with a reference to the revelation of the Mystery (see note on the second postscript p. 1694); Ephesians takes up that subject and unfolds it to us. The doctrinal part of Romans -ends with the eight chapter, a chapter on which id built the foundation of the Ephesians truth.
2. The key-note is struck in the opening words, Ephesians 1:3, which prove that its sphere is heavenly. In it is revealed the "great secret" of this Dispensation of grace, viz. that individual sinners among Jews and Gentiles are being "called out" and formed into "the church which is His body", in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile. And that this church should be "to the praise of the glory of His grace" throughout eternity (Ephesians 2:7), and an object-lesson, so to speak, to supramundane rulers and authorities in the heavenlies (Ephesians 3:10), of the glorious purpose (hitherto hidden in God) of Him in "heading up" in one all things in this Dispensation of fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10), having Christ Personal as its glorified Head, and Christ Mystical, the glorified members together with Him in His Body.
This was the "secret" hid "from the ages and from the generations" (as Gr. of Colossians 1:26) which Paul was not permitted "to make known unto the sons of men" (Ephesians 3:6) until the period of Israel""s national probation was closed by the pronouncement of the decree in Acts 28:25-28 (p. 1694). But that decree once declared, he is authorized to communicate by "prophetic writings" the secret which had been revealed to him by the Spirit. As truly said by Chrysostom (died a.d. 407); -"these lofty thoughts and doctrines which...things which he scarcely anywhere else utters, he here expounds.
3. The STRUCTURE of the Epistle as a whole (above) shows that the greater part is occupied with doctrine, one-half as it concerns our standing, and the rest as it affects our state. Thus showing that sound doctrine is both the foundation and the source of right practice.
4. DATE. The Epistle was written from prison in Rome, probably about the end of A.D. 62, and according to Bishop Lightfoot, after the Epistle to Philippians. See Int. Notes to latter, and Appendix-180.
5. The TITLE. To whom addressed? In some of the oldest MSS. the words "at Ephesus" (Gr. en Epheso ) are not found. And the writings of some of the early Christian apologists show that these words were not in their copies, e.g. Origen (fl. A.D. 230) and Basil (fl A.D. 350). The explanation of the omission is probably that the Epistle was encyclical, and that the space now occupied in other of the MSS. by the words en Epheso was originally blank, so that the names of the various churches to which it was sent could be filled in. From Colossians 4:16 we learn that Paul wrote a letter to the Laodiceans. There can be little doubt that this is the one, as was believed by Marcion, an early Christian writer (but one much tinged by Gnosticism). If Ephesians is not the letter, then an epistle has been lost, which is unthinkable. Colossians was apparently a similar letter to be sent round the other churches (Colossians 4:16). We conclude that (1) no epistle has been lost:(2) Ephesians was addressed not only to "saints at Ephesus", but the other churches also, and therefore in a very special manner to us; and that (3) it comes to us as the second great text-book of believers"" doctrine in this Dispensation, and cannot be understood without our knowing the lessons taught by the Holy Spirit in Romans , for Ephesians is built on the foundation of the doctrinal portion of Romans , ending with the eight chapter.
6. The City of Ephesus was one of the great commercial centers of Asia Minor, and was situated on the river Cayster, at no great distance from its mouth. Ephesus was chiefly noted, however, for the magnificent temple of Astemis (Diana), one of the wonders of the world (see Acts 19:27). The site of the city is now covered with ruins, the only inhabited part being a small Turkish village.
Ephesians 1:3 - Ephesians 3:19. DOCTRINAL, AS TO OUR STANDING.
Ephesians 1:3-14. The purpose of God in Himself concerning Christ Personal.
Ephesians 1:15-23. Prayer to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-22. Ourselves, the objects of these purposes.
Ephesians 3:1-13. The purpose of God concerning Christ mystical.
Ephesians 3:14-21. Prayer to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-14. THE PURPOSE OF GOD, &c.
Ephesians 1:3. All Spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 1:4. Measure.
Ephesians 1:5 -. Sonship.
-, Ephesians 1:5-6. Measure.
Ephesians 1:7 -. Redemption.
-, Ephesians 1:7. Measure.
Ephesians 1:9 -. Blessing. The Mystery.
-, Ephesians 1:9-10. Measure.
Ephesians 1:11 -. Inheritance.
-, Ephesians 1:11-14. Measure.
Ephesians 1:15-23. PRAYER TO THE GOD AND FATHER.
Ephesians 1:15-17. The cause ( their faith and love) and the sum (the knowledge of Him) of the prayer.
Ephesians 1:18-23. The effect (their enlightenment) and the elements forming the sum of the prayer.
Ephesians 1:18-23. THE EFFECT AND THE ELEMENTS OF THE PRAYER.
Ephesians 1:18 -. Knowledge of the hope of His calling.
-, Ephesians 1:18. Knowledge of the riches of His glory.
Ephesians 1:19-23. Knowledge of the greatness of His power.
Ephesians 2:1-22. THE OBJECT OF PAUL""S MINISTRY.
Ephesians 2:1-3. Past condition by nature.
Ephesians 2:4-10. Present condition by grace.
Ephesians 2:11-12. Past condition by birth.
Ephesians 2:13-22. Present condition by superabounding grace.
Ephesians 3:1-13. THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN CHRIST.
Ephesians 3:1. Paul. Imprisonment for their sake.
Ephesians 3:2-4. The SECRET revealed and committed to Paul""s stewardship ( oikonomia ).
Ephesians 3:5 -. The SECRET hidden before.
-, Ephesians 3:5-6. The SECRET now revealed to the church through apostles and the prophets by the Spirit.
Ephesians 3:7-9 -. The SECRET made known by Paul according stewardship ( oikonomia ) committed to him.
-, Ephesians 3:9. The SECRET hidden before.
Ephesians 3:10-12. The SECRET made known through the church heavenly beings by God.
Ephesians 3:13. Paul. Tribulations for their sakes.
Ephesians 4:1 - Ephesians 6:20. DOCTRINAL. THEIR WALK.
Ephesians 4:1-16. Among themselves; as worthy of their calling, being members of the Body. Ecclesiastical.
Ephesians 4:17 - Ephesians 5:21. Among others. Spiritual.
Ephesians 5:22 - Ephesians 6:9. Among themselves. Domestic.
Ephesians 6:10-20. Among others. Spiritual.
Ephesians 4:1-16. THEIR WALK:AMONG THEMSELVES. ECCLESIASTICAL.
Ephesians 4:1-3. Exhortation.
Ephesians 4:4-6. Unity of the Body
Ephesians 4:7-13. Gifts of the Body.
Ephesians 4:14-16. Exhortation.
Ephesians 4:17 - Ephesians 5:21. SPIRITUAL. WALK AMONG OTHERS.
Ephesians 4:17-19. The others.
Ephesians 4:20-32. Themselves. Negative and positive.
Ephesians 5:1-4. Themselves. Positive and negative.
Ephesians 5:5-21. The others.
Ephesians 5:22 - Ephesians 6:9. WALK AMONG THEMSELVES. DOMESTIC.
Ephesians 5:22-24. Wives.
Ephesians 5:25-33. Husbands.
Ephesians 6:1-3. Children.
Ephesians 6:4. Fathers.
Ephesians 6:5-8. Servants.
Ephesians 6:9. Masters.
Ephesians 6:10-20. THEIR WALK. AMONG OTHERS. SPIRITUAL.
Ephesians 6:10. Exhortation:be strong in the Lord.
Ephesians 6:11 -. The armour, or panoply, of God.
-, Ephesians 6:11-12. The purpose:that ye may be able to stand (Gr. stenai ).
Ephesians 6:13 -. The armour, or panoply, of God.
-, Ephesians 6:13. The purpose:that ye may be able to withstand (Gr.
anistenai ), and stand (Gr. stenai ).
Ephesians 6:14-17. The armour:defined and explained.
Ephesians 6:18-20. Exhortation to prayer for all the saints and for himself.
the Second Week after Epiphany