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Bible Commentaries

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker


- Ephesians

by Joseph Parker


(Rome, a.d. 62)

Note. "The Epistle to the Ephesians was written by the Apostle St Paul during his first captivity at Rome ( Act 28:16 ), apparently immediately after he had written the Epistle to the Colossians, and during that period (perhaps the early part of a.d. 62) when his imprisonment had not assumed the severer character which seems to have marked its close.

"This sublime Epistle was addressed to the Christian Church at the ancient and famous city of Ephesus, that Church which the Apostle had himself founded ( Act 19:1 seq., comp, Act 18:19 ), with which he abode so long ( τριεταυ , Act 20:31 ), and from the elders of which he parted with such a warm-hearted and affecting farewell ( Act 20:18-35 ).... The Epistle thus contains many thoughts that had pervaded the nearly contemporaneous Epistle to the Colossians, reiterates many of the same practical warnings and exhortations, bears even the tinge of the same diction, but at the same time enlarges upon such profound mysteries of the Divine counsels, displays so fully the origin and developments of the Church in Christ, its union, communion, and aggregation in Him, that this majestic Epistle can never be rightly deemed otherwise than one of the most sublime and consolatory outpourings of the Spirit of God to the children of men. To the Christian at Ephesus dwelling under the shadow of the great temple of Diana, daily seeing its outward grandeur, and almost daily hearing of its pompous ritualism, the allusions in this Epistle 10 that mystic building of which Christ was the cornerstone, the apostles the foundations, and himself and his fellow-Christians portions of the august superstructure ( Eph 2:19-22 ), must have spoken with a force, an appropriateness, and a reassuring depth of teaching that cannot be over-estimated.

"The contents of this Epistle easily admit of being divided into two portions, the first mainly doctrinal (ch. 1-3), the second hortatory and practical.

"The doctrinal portion opens with a brief address to the saints in Ephesus, and rapidly passes into a sublime ascription of praise to God the Father, who has predestinated us to the adoption of sons, blessed and redeemed us in Christ, and made known to us his eternal purpose of uniting all in him ( Eph 1:3-14 ). This not unnaturally evokes a prayer from the Apostle that his converts may be enlightened to know the hope of God's calling, the riches of his grace, and the magnitude of that power which was displayed in the resurrection and transcendent exaltation of Christ, the Head of his body, the Church ( Eph 1:5-23 ). Then, with a more immediate address to his converts, the Apostle reminds them how, dead as they had been in sin, God had quickened them, raised them, and even enthroned them, with Christ, and how all was by grace, not by works ( Eph 2:1-10 ). They were to remember, too, how they had once been alienated and yet were now brought nigh in the blood of Christ; how He was their Peace, how by him both they and the Jews had access to the Father, and how on him as the cornerstone they had been built into a spiritual temple to God ( Eph 2:11-22 ). On this account, having heard, as they must have done, how to the Apostle was revealed the profound mystery of this call of the Gentile world, they were not to faint at his troubles ( Eph 3:1-13 ): nay, he prayed to the great Father of all to give them inward strength, to teach them with the love of Christ, and fill them with the fulness of God ( Eph 3:13-19 ). The prayer is concluded by a sublime doxology ( Eph 3:20-21 ), which serves to usher in the more directly practical portion." Smith's Dictionary of the Bible."]