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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Ephesians

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6

Book Overview - Ephesians

by Gary H. Everett

STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Using a Theme-based Approach

to Identify Literary Structures

By Gary H. Everett

THE EPISTLE OF EPHESIANS

January 2013Edition

All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.

All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.

Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.

Foundational Theme - The Doctrines of the New Testament Church

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,

that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Ephesians 3:8

Structural Theme - The Foreknowledge of God the Father in Bringing Redemption to Mankind

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,

according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:3-5

Imperative Theme - We Walk a Worthy Walk and Join Together in Spiritual Warfare

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,

beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Ephesians 4:1

INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE OF EPHESIANS

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Message of the Epistle of Ephesians - The epistle of Ephesians is found within a collective group of Pauline writings formally called the "Prison Epistles." The books of Ephesians ,, Philippians ,, Colossians , and Philemon are grouped together under this title because of the fact these four letters were all written while Paul was in prison. They were occasioned by the fact that while in prison, Paul had time to reflect upon his previous missionary work and how it played a vital role in God's redemptive plan for mankind. Although the Roman government was able to imprison Paul the apostle, it was not able to imprison the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Within the context of Paul writing these epistles in prison, Matthew Henry says the epistle of Ephesians is a testimony that when Paul's "tribulations did abound, his consolations and experiences did much more abound." 1]

1] Matthew Henry, An Exposition, With Practical Observations, of the Epistles of St. Paul to the Ephesians , in Matthew Henry"s Commentary on the Whole Bible, New Modern Edition, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1991), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

Regarding the occasion of the Ephesian letter, Paul the apostle spent his longest stay during his three missionary journeys in the city of Ephesus. Thus, these believers were very mature in their Christian faith and were able to comprehend the most profound truths recorded in Scripture. This is one reason the book of Ephesians contains some of the deepest insights into the divine purpose and plan of God the Father and of the Church's role in response to His plan of any book in the Holy Scriptures. It reveals God's plan to bring all things together in Christ Jesus, with the inclusion of the Gentiles being revealed for the first time as the "mystery hidden from the ages." For this reason some commentators note that it has been called "The Heavenly Epistle" and "The Alps of the New Testament" because it takes us from the depths of man's sins to the greatest heights of God's redemptive plan for man not seen in any other place in the Holy Scriptures. 2] This epistle emphasizes divine sovereignty and human responsibility. It reveals our need to serve the Lord because of His grace bestowed upon us and not in order to earn this grace.

2] Edward R. Roustio, The Epistle to the Ephesians , in The KJV Bible Commentary, eds. Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow M. Kroll (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1994), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Introduction."

It was the two lengthy prayers contained within this great epistle of Ephesians that lifted Kenneth Hagin out of the pastorate and into a new phase of ministry in the field to become one of the greatest Bible teachers in the body of Christ. This transition from the pastorate into the field ministry was one of the most significant periods in his life as he knelt in the last church he pastored and prayed the two prayers out of Ephesians a thousand times for himself and for his church members. The revelations that he received as a result have blessed the body of Christ by teaching us how to walk in our rightful authority as believers over the powers of darkness. For this reason he opens his book The Authority of the Believer by discussing three lengthy passages out of the epistle of Ephesians. 3]

3] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer's Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1984, 1992), 1-4.

Some of the greatest riches in God's Word that any man has ever taught have been taught out of this epistle. For example, the book of Ephesians teaches us about spiritual warfare better than any other book of the Scriptures. In December of 1986, the Lord spoke to me one morning and said these words, "You will never walk in victory in your life unless you spend two hours a day praying in tongues." Three days later, I was alone in church praying, when the Lord quickened to me Ephesians 6:18, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" The phrase in this verse about praying in the Spirit jumped out at me with such clarity that I suddenly understood what the Lord had meant when speaking to me a few days earlier. Praying in tongues is a part of our spiritual warfare, and without it, we will suffer defeat in the hands of the enemy.

I had been struggling for several years as to whether I had ever received tongues or not. As a young pastor of a new charismatic church, I had gone over to a local Assembly of God church and asked the pastor how I could be sure about the experience of speaking in tongues. However, this issue had never been settled with me, until this time when the Lord spoke to me about this issue. I then began to pray for long periods of time in tongues. At first, it did not seem natural. This was because it was supernatural. At first, my mind told me that I was just making up words. But as my spirit man became edified and strengthened while praying in tongues, I knew that this was real. After a while, praying in tongues became as natural as speaking in English. Areas of my life began to prosper as a result. I did not face as many hindrances in life. Things seemed to work out easier. This word from the Lord forever changed my life. I later learned that some of the greatest Pentecostal leaders in modern times, such as Smith Wigglesworth, 4] Kenneth Hagin, 5] and Oral Roberts, 6] credit the success of their ministry to baptism of the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues.

4] Smith Wigglesworth, Smith Wigglesworth: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings, ed. Roberts Lairdon (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1996), 67-79.

5] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Purposes and Pursuits (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1988, 1993), 29. Kenneth Hagin, Bible Prayer Study Course (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1991, 1999), 85.

6] Oral Roberts, A Daily Guide to Miracles and Successful Living Through SEED-FAITH (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Pinoak Publications, c 1975, 1976), 252-64.

Why would a soldier put on his armour and not go to war? In the same sense, why would we put on our spiritual armour in Ephesians 6:10-17, then not go to battle in Ephesians 6:18? When we pray in tongues, we then enter into spiritual warfare. It is only by spiritual warfare that God's purpose and plan will be fulfilled on this earth. The epistle of Ephesians teaches us how to put on our armour and go to war in the heavenlies so that we can fulfil our destinies for which we were created within God's greater plan of redemption for His creation.

Introductory Material- The introduction to the epistle of Ephesians will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 7] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.

7] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).

HISTORICAL SETTING

"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture

if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."

(J. Hampton Keathley) 8]

8] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the epistle of Ephesians will provide a discussion on its historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that the Paul the apostle wrote his epistle to the Ephesians along with his other Prison Epistles during his first imprisonment in Rome that took place between A.D 60 to 62.

I. Historical Background

Its Location- The ancient city of Ephesus was located in western Asia Minor near the shores of the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, which river served as the beginning of the Lycus valley that reached far into the interior of this Roman province. It was established by the Romans as the capital of the province of Asia and became the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire during the time of Paul the apostle. Pliny referred to it as the other light of Asia, 9] with the neighbouring city of Miletus being the first light. 10] Proconsular Asia was the wealthiest and most peaceful region of all the Roman Empire. Ephesus was the chief of twelve cities in the Roman province of Ionia and rose to become a metropolis during the time of Paul.

9] Pliny the Elder writes, "But to Ephesus, that other great luminary of Asia, resort the more distant peoples known as the fugitives, as its name implies and that of Marathesium." (Natural History 531) See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol 1, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn's Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 467-468.

10] Pliny called Miletus "the capital of Ionia." (Natural History 531) See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol 1, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn's Classical Library (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 466-467.

Its History and Culture- There were several factors that contributed to the success of this famous city. First of all, because Ephesus was located near the mouth of a river, it became a popular seaport and perhaps the most popular city of trade west of Tarsus. The Roman network of roads led into and out of this city. Thus, it was one of the most accessible cities of the Roman Empire both by sea and by land, thus, giving it great commercial value. Another factor that contributed to its success was the fact that it had one of the largest populations in the region, with perhaps 300 ,000 inhabitants. With its favorable climate, Ephesus became the seat of the Roman proconsul and the seat of the courts of justice in Asia Minor. This gave it a political advantage. A third factor was the fact that it was a cultural center with an open-air theater that seated 25 ,000 people and a magnificent stadium. Thus, its cultural contribution to the Empire was well known. The final reason was that the city of Ephesus was a religious center, boasted the shrine of Serapis (an Egyptian divinity) as well as the great Temple of Artemis, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Discovered in 1870 by Mr. J. T. Wood, this temple was 425 feet long and 220 feet wide. There were ten flights of stairs built to reach the main floor. It boasted 127 columns, each being 60 meters in height. 11] The Greek goddess Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo and was known as the moon goddess, the goddess of hunting, and the patroness of young girls. We learn from Acts 19:21-41 that the Ephesians were very proud of their great Temple and of their goddess Artemis, whom they called by the name of Diana in this passage of Scripture. Because of its mythological heritage, Ephesus hosted a vast number of religious pilgrims annually. The local craftsmen found much profit in manufacturing images of the goddess Diana, which they sold to these pilgrims and other strangers. This gained Ephesus its religious role in the Greek society, so much so that an ancient Roman coin was stamped "Diana of Ephesus." This is why Ephesus stood above its neighboring cities in its commercial, political, cultural, and religious importance. Because of these factors, it stood as an influential city in the midst of the center of Greek culture and learning.

11] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Ephesus"; E. J. Banks, "Ephesus," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Ephesus in the Time of Paul- Paul first visited this city while returning from his second missionary journey in his haste to go to Jerusalem for the annual feast of Passover ( Acts 18:19-21). During this first visit, Paul primarily visited the Jews in their synagogue. After they compelled him to stay, he promised to return if God permitted. But he did see the importance of leaving behind his two loyal companions, Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus upon his departure to Jerusalem.

During his third missionary journey, Paul did find the time to return to Ephesus. It was in this key city that Paul the apostle felt the need to spend between two and three years teaching and training his disciples, perhaps during the years of A.D 54to 57. On his missionary journeys, Paul apparently focused his efforts in key cities of influence in the Roman Empire. It was from the city of Ephesus that Paul was able to effectively reach out to all of Asia with the Gospel, as we read in Acts 19:10.

Acts 19:10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."

Paul comments on the effect of this work in his letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 16:8-9, "But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."

It was most likely during this period of Paul's third missionary journey that other churches were planted in surrounding cities, such as the seven churches listed in Revelation 2-3. We know from the New Testament writings that the cities of Troas, Assos, Adramyttium, Miletus, Trogyllium, and Hierapolis were as well impacted. Paul's success in evangelizing this region was the reason that Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen were so eager to stop his ministry. Their wealthy livelihood became threatened and their reputation as a city that worshipped their goddess Diana was being spoiled. If word spread abroad that the people of Ephesus were turning to this new religion called Christianity, its commercial, political, cultural, and religious importance in the Roman Empire would be diminished. Therefore, these craftsmen, who stood the most to lose, felt compelled to react and try to stop the ministry of Paul and his fellow workers. But since Paul had done nothing unlawful, the town clerk was forced to stop the madness of the riot that these craftsmen started.

Although Paul was forced to leave town, he kept his fellow workers there to continue the work that he had started. We know from Scripture that Timothy became its first bishop. Even in his haste to reach Jerusalem by Passover at the end of his third journey, Paul took the time to stop over and minister to the elders of the church in Ephesus.

The Church of Ephesus After the Time of Paul- After Paul's death around A.D 64John the apostle took up residence in the church of Ephesus from which he became the overseer of the churches of Asia Minor. It was from Ephesus that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos and later returned and lived until the day of his death. During the following centuries of the early church, the church of Ephesus became important as a leading voice for the churches of the East.

II. Authorship and Canonicity

In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the epistle of Ephesians: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1st and 2nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4th century).

A. Apostolic Authority- Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which "the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice." He says the "elements of the Catholic faith" were established during this period in Church history. 12] At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew ,, John , Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke , the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude , the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book's apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.

12] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, "The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time." (Fragments of Caius 33) (ANF 5); Corey Keating says, "In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority' was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing." See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

The fact that Paul declares himself the author of the epistle of Ephesians , along with its internal characteristics that are distinctly Pauline, with its historical illusions that coincide with the book of Acts and other Pauline epistles, and with the fact that all of the church fathers universally accepted this epistle as genuine together make a case for Pauline authorship that no one has been able to tear down in the last two thousand years. Thus, internal and external evidence gives strong support to Pauline authorship for Ephesians.

1. Internal Evidence- Internal evidence overwhelmingly supports Pauline authorship of the epistle to the Ephesians. There are three traditional arguments for its authenticity to be found within its internal evidence: its declaration of authorship, its style, and its theology.

a) The Author Reveals His Identity- The author's identity is clearly identified within the epistle to the Ephesians.

i) His Name is Paul- The opening salutation and a verse within the body of the epistle declare Pauline authorship.

Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,"

This is typical of Paul who introduces his name in every one of his New Testament epistles and ascribes his apostolic authority to God's will in a number of them ( Ephesians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Colossians 1:1). The fact that he refers to his apostolic office in this opening verse further confirms the letter as Pauline.

ii) His Indirect Identity - The epistle to the Ephesians is full of first person statements that indirectly identify the author as Paul. Donald Guthrie notes several of these statements. The author claims apostolic authority, of which few people in the New Testament could claim ( Ephesians 1:1). He has personally heard of their faith and love for the brethren ( Ephesians 1:15). He was a man that prayed for the saints ( Ephesians 1:16), which is stated in practically every Pauline epistle. He describes himself as a "prisoner of Jesus Christ" ( Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 4:1). He says that God supernaturally revealed to him the "mystery" of the Gospel ( Ephesians 3:3 f). He refers to his divine appointment as a minister to the Gentiles ( Ephesians 3:7). He humbly describes himself as "less than the least of all saints" ( Ephesians 3:8). He tells his readers about his present suffering ( Ephesians 3:13). He requests prayer as an ambassador in chains ( Ephesians 6:19-20). He refers to his co-worker named Tychicus who he has sent to them ( Ephesians 6:21). 13] All of these indirect references fit the profile of Paul's life and ministry as we know it from the book of Acts and the other Pauline epistles. There is nothing in Ephesians that contradicts what we know about Paul.

13] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 496-497.

b) Its Style and Structure is Pauline- The style of Ephesians appeals to Pauline authorship.

i) The salutation, thanksgiving, doctrinal exposition, application of that doctrine, closing remarks and benediction are all typical of the other Pauline epistles. The author opens his epistle exactly like he did the epistles of 2Corinthians and Colossians.

ii) As mentioned above, he often uses the first person singular throughout his letters with many personal references to events that he shares in common with the recipients of his epistles.

iii) The two-fold structure of this epistle is typical of all Pauline Epistles; with the first part emphasizing doctrine while the second part emphasizes practical application.

iv) The Pauline epistles have the characteristic parenthetical digressions. This is where Paul is discussing a thought and elaborates on a particular word or idea before returning back to the main thought. Two examples of these digressions can be found in Ephesians in Ephesians 4:8-11 and Ephesians 5:12-15.

v) The fact that the epistles of Ephesians and Colossians are so similar in content testifies that they bear the same author.

vi) There are many words and phrases that are clearly Pauline in the book of Ephesians. For example, Adam Clark gives us the following list that shows the phrase "riches of" as being uniquely Pauline:

"the riches of his glory," "his riches in glory," "riches of the glory of his inheritance," "riches of the glory of this mystery," Romans 9:23; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:27; "riches of his grace," twice in the Ephesians , chap. Ephesians 1:7, and Ephesians 2:7; "riches of the full assurance of understanding," Colossians 2:2; "riches of his goodness," Romans 2:4; "riches of the wisdom of God," Romans 11:33; "riches of Christ," Ephesians 3:8. In a like sense the adjective, Romans 10:12, "Rich unto all that call upon him," Ephesians 2:4, "Rich in mercy;" 1 Timothy 6:18, "Rich in good works." Also the adverb Colossians 3:16 : "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." 14]

14] Adam Clarke, Epistle to the Ephesians , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

Adam Clark remarks that the use of these phrases in Ephesians clearly marks it as Pauline. There are enough vocabulary words and phrases within this epistle to mark it as distinctly Pauline.

vii) Guthrie notes that this epistle contains the distinctive quotes from the Old Testament ( Ephesians 4:8-11) as well as marks of "adaptations of Old Testament language" ( Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:17; Ephesians 4:25; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 6:1-3). 15]

15] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 498.

We can therefore conclude that the epistle of Ephesians has a distinct Pauline style and structure when comparing it to non-Pauline epistles of this period in history.

c) Its Doctrinal Themes are Pauline- The doctrinal positions taught within the epistle of Ephesians are clearly Pauline with its characteristic emphasis upon justification by faith and the theology of the Cross. Although it contains some unique insights into the doctrines of the Church, there are sufficient references common to other epistles, especially Colossians , to distinguish it from the other New Testament writers. Guthrie notes that the doctrinal concepts of God as glorious ( Ephesians 1:17), powerful ( Ephesians 1:19 ff) and merciful ( Ephesians 2:4 ff), the verses describing the believer's identity of being "in Christ" ( Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:10-11, etc), the preaching of the Cross ( Ephesians 2:13 ff), the office and work of the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18), the doctrine of divine election and predestination ( Ephesians 1:5 ff) are all distinctly Pauline. 16]

16] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 498.

G. G. Findley notes that one of the Pauline attributes of Ephesians is the intellectualism found within its pages. When compared to the writings of the early Christian fathers, it stands far above in it supreme thought. In addition, its attitude towards Judaism is unique. As a Jewish writer, no other church leader of this era was able to weave and unify these two faiths of Judaism and Christianity together into such a marvelous story. For Paul himself still carried the hope of the Jewish nation while looking for its fulfillment in Christ. His teachings on the Cross, the old and the new Prayer of Manasseh , the Church as the body of Christ and the believer's life in Christ are all uniquely Pauline. Thus, the logic, the thoughts, the theology, the history, the Jewish flavor, and the concepts found within the epistle of Ephesians are Pauline through and through. 17]

17] G. G. Findlay, Ephesians , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

2. External Evidence - The Church fathers were in universal agreement as to the Pauline authorship of the thirteen epistles New Testament epistles authored under his name. Thus, external evidence supports Pauline authorship of the book of Romans without exception.

It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to Pauline authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing's apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.

B. Church Orthodoxy- The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, "To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment." 18] The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church's Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth. 19] This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.

18] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 12.

19] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 331.

1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy-- External evidence from the early Church fathers reveals that the epistle of Ephesians was in wide circulation by the middle of the second century. We know that its origin was undisputed by A.D 140 when the heretic Marcion listed it in his canon. All of the fathers support a Pauline authorship without exception.

The earliest Church fathers, including Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and even Gnostic Valentinus, and heretic Marcion, all supported Pauline authorship. The early Church fathers make direct statements declaring Pauline authorship, as well as direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. Although we find possible allusions to Ephesians within the writings of Clement of Rome, Hermas, Barnabas, Ignatius, there are very clear quotations within the writings of Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen. Thus, it is possible to say that we can find support for Pauline authorship back to the late first century without being inaccurate. No other Pauline epistle has such an early, unbroken stream of testimonies. By the end of the second century it was well attested to by the early Church fathers, as were all of the Pauline epistles. It was not until the eighteenth century that its authorship was brought into question by a liberal school of scholars. Thus, the epistle of Ephesians was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.

Here are a few of the earliest quotes from the epistle of Ephesians. 20]

20] There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).

a) Clement of Rome (A.D 96) - Clement of Rome makes some possible allusions to the epistle of Ephesians.

"Moreover, ye were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it…" (1Clement 2)

Ephesians 5:21, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."

"By Him are the eyes of our hearts opened. By Him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms up anew towards His marvellous light." (1Clement 36)

Ephesians 1:18, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,"

"Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ?" (1Clement 46)

Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

b) The Epistle of Barnabas (A.D 70-100) - The Epistle of Barnabas makes several allusions to the epistle of Ephesians.

"For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Lord." (The Epistle of Barnabas 6)

"But it shall be built, observe ye, in the name of the Lord, in order that the temple of the Lord may be built in glory. How? Learn [as follows]. Having received the forgiveness of sins, and placed our trust in the name of the Lord, we have become new creatures, formed again from the beginning. Wherefore in our habitation God truly dwells in us…his is the spiritual temple built for the Lord." (The Epistle of Barnabas 16)

Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

Ephesians 2:21-22, "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

c) Ignatius of Antioch (A.D 35 to 107) - Ignatius of Antioch alludes to Ephesians 5:1, but clearly quotes from Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 6:12.

"Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God…" (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 1)

Ephesians 5:1, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"

"And ye are, as Paul wrote to you, ‘one body and one spirit, because ye have also been called in one hope of the faith.' Since also ‘there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.' Such, then, are ye, having been taught by such instructors, Paul the Christ-bearer, and Timothy the most faithful." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6)

Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

"For we wrestle not against blood and flesh, but against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 13)

Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

"…of conversing with ‘the saints which are at Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.'" (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 1)

Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

He makes a possible allusion to Ephesians 2:20-22.

"…as being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father…" (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 9)

Ephesians 2:20-22, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

c) Polycarp (A.D 69 to 155) - Polycarp quotes from or alludes to the epistle of Ephesians.

"…into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that "by grace ye are saved, not of works," (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 1)

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

"‘Wherefore, girding up your loins,' ‘serve the Lord in fear.'" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 2)

Ephesians 6:14, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"

"…let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness." (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 4)

Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

"For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted. It is declared then in these Scriptures, ‘Be ye angry, and sin not,' and, ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.'" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 12)

Ephesians 4:26, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"

d) Valentinus (A.D 120) - Hippolytus tells us the Gnostic theologian Valentinus quotes Ephesians 3:14-18 by referring to it as "the Scripture."

"This, he [Valentinus] says, is what has been written in Scripture: "On this account I bend my knees to the God and Father and Lord of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God would grant you to have Christ dwelling in the inner Prayer of Manasseh ," —that Isaiah , the natural (man), not the corporeal (one),—" that you may be able to understand what is the depth," which is the Father of the universe, "and what is the breadth," which is Staurus, the limit of the Pleroma, "or what is the length," that Isaiah , the Pleroma of the Aeons." (see Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies 629)

e) The Shepherd of Hermas - The Shepherd of Hermas makes weak allusions to the epistle of Ephesians.

"For the tower was founder on the word of the almighty and glorious Name and it is kept together by the invisible power of the Lord." (The Shepherd of Hermas: Third Vision 3)

Ephesians 5:26, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"

He goes, then, to the empty, and finding a way of entrance, into them, he produces in them whatever he wishes, and they become his servants. (The Shepherd of Hermas: Twelfth Commandment 5)

Ephesians 4:27, "Neither give place to the devil."

"And then the Son of God will be exceeding glad, and shall rejoice over them, because He has received His people pure." (The Shepherd of Hermas: Ninth Similitude 18)

Ephesians 5:27, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

f) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Irenaeus quotes Ephesians 5:32 as the words of Paul the apostle.

"They declare also that Paul has referred to the conjunctions within the Pleroma, showing them forth by means of one; for, when writing of the conjugal union in this life, he expressed himself thus: ‘This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.'" (Against Heresies 185)

Irenaeus again declares Paul as the author of Ephesians and quotes Ephesians 5:30.

"When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist of the blood and the body of Christ is made, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which [flesh] is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him?--even as the blessed Paul declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that "we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." (Against Heresies 523)

Irenaeus also quotes Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:15.

"If, then, any one allege that in this respect the flesh of the Lord was different from ours, because it indeed did not commit sin, neither was deceit found in His soul, while we, on the other hand, are sinners, he says what is the fact. But if he pretends that the, Lord possessed another substance of flesh, the sayings respecting reconciliation will not agree with that man. For that thing is reconciled which had formerly been in enmity. Now, if the Lord had taken flesh from another substance, He would not, by so doing, have reconciled that one to God which had become inimical through transgression. But now, by means of communion with Himself, the Lord has reconciled man to God the Father, in reconciling us to Himself by the body of His own flesh, and redeeming us by His own blood, as the apostle says to the Ephesians , ‘In whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins;' and again to the same he says, ‘Ye who formerly were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ;' and again, ‘Abolishing in His flesh the enmities, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances.' And in every Epistle the apostle plainly testifies, that through the flesh of our Lord, and through His blood, we have been saved." (Against Heresies 5143)

g) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria refers to Paul by name as the author of Ephesians while quoting from the epistle.

"Wherefore also in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is written, ‘Subjecting, ourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Husbands, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh.'" (The Stromata 48)

"Let wives be subject to their own husbands, as to the Lord. And let husbands love their wives as Christ also hath loved the Church?" (The Instructor 312)

"And writing to the Ephesians , he has unfolded in the clearest manner the point in question, speaking to the following effect: ‘Till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of God, to a perfect Prayer of Manasseh , to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we be no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the craft of men, by their cunning in stratagems of deceit; but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up to Him in all things'…This the blessed Paul most clearly pointed out when he said…" (The Instructor 15)

h) Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225) - Tertullian, in his apology against the heretic Marcion, states that Paul wrote this epistle to the Ephesians.

"I here pass over discussion about another epistle, which we hold to have been written to the Ephesians , but the heretics to the Laodiceans." (Against Marcion 511)

"We have it on the true tradition of the Church, that this epistle was sent to the Ephesians , not to the Laodiceans." (Against Marcion 517)

i) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen mentions Paul's letter to the Ephesians as one of Paul's epistles.

"And we say to those who hold similar opinions to those of Celsus: ‘Paul then, we are to suppose, had before his mind the idea of no pre-eminent wisdom when he professed to speak wisdom among them that are perfect?' Now, as he spoke with his customary boldness when in making such a profession he said that he was possessed of no Wisdom of Solomon , we shall say in reply: first of all examine the Epistles of him who utters these words, and look carefully at the meaning of each expression in them--say, in those to the Ephesians , and Colossians , and Thessalonians, and Philippians , and Romans ,--and show two things, both that you understand Paul"s words, and that you can demonstrate any of them to be silly or foolish." (Against Celsus 3221)

j) Gregory Nazianzen (A.D 329 to 389) - Gregory Nazianzen, one of the Cappadocian Fathers, supported Pauline authorship and quotes Ephesians 1:17.

"And an indication of this is found in the fact that wherever the Natures are distinguished in our thoughts from one another, the Names are also distinguished; as you hear in Paul"s words, ‘The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory.' The God of Christ, but the Father of glory. For although these two terms express but one Person, yet this is not by a Unity of Nature, but by a Union of the two. What could be clearer?" (Oration 308)

He also quotes from Ephesians 5:14.

"With Paul I shout to you with that loud voice, ‘Behold now is the accepted time; behold Now is the day of salvation;' and that Now does not point to any one time, but is every present moment. And again ‘Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light,' dispelling the darkness of sin." (Oration 4013)

He also quotes from Ephesians 6:14.

"What then is the meaning to S. Paul of the expression, ‘Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth?'" (Oration 4518)

k) Basil the Great (A.D 330 to 379) - Basil the Great tells us that Paul wrote his letter addressed to the Ephesians.

"The blessed Paul…In his Epistle to the Ephesians the apostle says, ‘But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body filly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body.'" (On the Spirit 7, 9)

He alludes to Ephesians 1:17-18

"Wherefore also Paul prays for the Ephesians that they may have their ‘eyes enlightened' by ‘the Spirit of wisdom.'" (On the Spirit 61)

Ephesians 1:17-18, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,"

Nathaniel Lardner translates a passage from Basil the Great where he tells us that Paul wrote to the Ephesians , citing the opening verse of this epistle.

"And writing to the Ephesians , as truly united to him ‘who Isaiah ,' through knowledge, he [Paul] calleth them in a peculiar sense ‘such who are,' saying: ‘To the saints who are, and' [or even] ‘the faithful in Christ Jesus.'" (Against Eunomius 219) (PG 29 Colossians 612C) 21]

21] Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, D.D, vol 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 280.

2. Manuscript Evidence - Paul's epistles are found in numerous early Greek manuscripts. One of the earliest manuscripts, the Chester Beatty codex (p 46), which was probably written in Egypt near the end of the second century, contains eight Pauline epistles ( Romans , 1 & 2 Corinthians ,, Galatians ,, Ephesians ,, Philippians ,, Colossians , 1Thess) and the epistle of Hebrews. 22] It probably contained the entire Pauline corpus in its original collection. There are a number of third century manuscripts that contain portions of the Pauline corpus, and a number of fourth century manuscripts that originally contained the entire New Testament (Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Sinaiticus). These ancient manuscripts containing the collective body of Pauline epistles testify to the fact that the Church at large circulated these writings as a part of its orthodox faith.

22] Philip W. Comfort, and David P. Barrett, eds, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, c 1999, 2001), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "P 46 (P. Chester Beatty II + P. Mich. Inv 6238)."

3. Early Versions- The earliest translations of the New Testament, written when the canon was being formed, included the Pauline epistles; 23] the Old Latin (2nd to 4th c), the Coptic (3rd to 4th c), the Peshitta (4th c), the Armenian (5th c), the Georgian (5th c), and the Ethiopic (6th c). 24] The Pauline epistles would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large..

23] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Oxford: University Press, 1968), 69-86.

24] The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts , Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis ( Acts , Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome's Vulgate (beginning A. D 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c 1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.

C. Catholicity- The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, "The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church." 25] This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.

25] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 12.

1. Early Church Canons - The thirteen Pauline epistles are found within the earliest Church canons and versions. Thus, they support the epistle of Ephesians as a part of the body of Pauline epistles. It is listed in the two earliest canons. Tertullian (A.D 160-225) tells us that Marcion the heretic accepted it in his Instrumentum (A.D 140), 26] and it is found in The Muratorian Canon as one of Paul's thirteen New Testament epistles (A.D 180) (Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 2) (ANF 5). It is found in every canonical list thereafter. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) includes them in his list of "acknowledged books." 27] Athanasius gives us a canonical list includes them (c 367). 28] Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D 315-386) includes them in his list. 29]

26] See Against Marcion 517.

27] See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 331-7; 324-25.

28] Athansius, Festal Letters 395 (Easter, 367) (NPF 2 4)

29] See Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 436 (NPF 2 7)

2. Early Church Councils- The earliest major Church councils named the Pauline epistles as authentic writings; Nicea (c 325-40), Hippo (393), Carthage (397), and Carthage (419). This would not have been done unless the church at large believed them to be canonical.

During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures. 30] The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.

30] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 422-426.

III. Date and Place of Writing

Most scholars agree that Paul the apostle wrote his epistle to the Ephesians along with his other Prison Epistles during his first imprisonment in Rome that took place between A.D 60 to 62.

A. Date- There are a surprising number of factors that can be used to date the epistle of Ephesians.

1. The Prison Epistles- The most logical method of dating Ephesians is to place it within the group of writings called the Prison Epistles and evaluate their dates together.

a) Ephesians ,, Colossians ,, Philemon - The date of writing of the Prison Epistles relies largely upon one's view of the place where he wrote it. If Paul wrote it during his imprisonment in Caesarea, it would have been between A.D 58 to 60. But if he wrote it during his first Roman imprisonment, which most scholars believe and which is the traditional view held up until the eighteenth century, he would have written it between A.D 60 to 62. This is because Church tradition tells us that Paul was martyred during his second Roman imprisonment, which took place around 65 or A.D 66. For those who opt for a single Roman imprisonment, the date of writing would be as late as A.D 62to 64.

We can use internal evidence to establish the fact that Paul wrote and sent Ephesians , Colossians and Philemon at the same time using the same messengers. According to Ephesians 6:21, the letter of Ephesians was sent by the hand of Tychicus.

Ephesians 6:21, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:"

According to Colossians 4:7-9, the letter of Colossians was sent by the hands of Tychicus and Onesimus.

Colossians 4:7-9, "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here."

The epistle of Philemon was probably sent by the hand of Onesimus. Thus, it is very likely that Paul sent these three letters at the same time by the same group of men who traveled together from Rome to Asia Minor.

Regarding the date when these men traveled, Paul's statement in Philemon 1:22 is interpreted by some to refer to an immediate release. If Song of Solomon , this would place the date of Ephesians , Colossians and Philemon late in his two-year captivity.

Philemon 1:22, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."

However, other scholars interpret Philemon 1:22 to read that Paul was simply being optimistic regarding his release and not referring to an immediate release. The safest date to give these three epistles is the middle of his imprisonment.

b) Philippians - Regarding Philippians , we can note verses within this epistle to establish a date near the end of his two-year imprisonment and after the writing of the other three Prison Epistles. Here are several supporting indications:

(1) The Illness of Epaphroditus- In Philippians 2:25-30, Paul discusses the illness of Epaphroditus, which is not mentioned in the other three epistles although he was well known to Philemon ( Philemon 1:23) and to the Colossians ( Colossians 4:12). Perhaps his illness took place after the writing of the first three epistles.

(2) References to Paul's Co-workers- We know that Timothy, Luke , Demas, Aristarchus, Tychicus, Onesimus, Mark and Epaphras were with Paul when he wrote Ephesians , Colossians and Philemon. However, Paul's epistle to the Philippians only mentions Timothy and Epaphroditus. Thus, we may conclude that Paul had sent the others out and was left with Epaphroditus as his messenger to the Philippians.

(3) Epaphroditus Sent to the Philippians - In Philippians 2:25-30 Paul sends Epaphroditus to the Philippians while in the other three epistles, this individual remains with Paul.

(4) References to Paul's Release from Prison- In Philippians 1:25 speaks of being confident of his release while in the other prison epistles he lacks this assurance.

Thus, most scholars date Philippians after Ephesians -, Colossians -Philemon and near the end of his imprisonment.

2. The Writings of the Early Church Fathers- We can look to the early Church fathers for support that one of these Prison Epistles, that of Ephesians , enjoyed early acceptance and widespread use among the churches. Since most scholars believe that the language of Ephesians can be found in Clement of Rome's epistle to the Corinthians (1Clement 2, 36, 46), we know that it must have been written before A.D 95.

3. Historical References- Donald Guthrie wisely notes that the absence of certain historical events, such as the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D 70) and the Roman persecution of the church (beginning about A.D 64) suggest a date of writing that precedes such important events. In addition, the description of the church in its early stages of development along with the absence of descriptions of developed ecclesiastical order fits the dates given by early Church tradition. 31] This means that we can look into the Pauline epistles and place the church within a particular historical setting that preceded the order found in the late first century and early second century.

31] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 499.

We can therefore date the Prison Epistles between A.D 60 to 62with Philippians being written last and near the end of his two-year imprisonment. We are certain that they were all written before the burning of Rome in A.D 64during the time of Nero.

B. Place of Writing- The strongest evidence supports a Roman imprisonment as the place of the writing of the Prison Epistles.

1. Internal Evidence- Internal evidence supports the popular view that the epistles to the Ephesians ,, Colossians , Philemon and Philippians were written while Paul was in prison. This is because there are a number of verses within these letters that refer to this imprisonment:

Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,"

Ephesians 3:13, "Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory."

Ephesians 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

Ephesians 6:20, "For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

Philippians 1:7, "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace."

Philippians 1:13-14, "So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

Philippians 1:16, "The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:"

Colossians 1:24, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body"s sake, which is the church:"

Colossians 2:1, "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;"

Colossians 4:18, "The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen."

Philemon 1:1, "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,"

Philemon 1:9, "Yet for love"s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ."

Whether it was Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea or Rome or another place is still debated. Here are some reasons why Rome is the favored place of origin among scholars today.

a) Roman Origin (A.D 60-62) - There is strong internal evidence within the Prison Epistles to support a Roman origin. We know that Paul had more liberties to preach in his Roman imprisonment. The references to a palace and the Imperial household better describe Rome. Ephesians describes Paul as an ambassador with a message to a King. The Prison Epistles suggest a pending Roman trial and release. Paul's list of companions suggests a Roman origin. Finally, early Church tradition supports a Roman imprisonment.

(1) Paul Had More Liberties to Preach in His Roman Imprisonment- We know that Paul wrote these epistles in an environment that allowed him free intercourse with his friends ( Ephesians 6:18-20, Philippians 1:12-18, Colossians 4:2-4). From the book of Acts , we know that Paul did have some liberties to have visitors while imprisoned in Caesarea.

Acts 24:23, "And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him."

However in Rome somewhat greater liberties were granted to Paul so that he "preached the kingdom of God and taught those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

Acts 28:30-31, "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

Thus, Paul had greater liberties in his Roman imprisonment than he did at Caesarea. Therefore, most scholars support a Roman origin for the epistles to the Ephesians ,, Philippians , Colossians and Philemon because of such internal evidence and because of the weight of early church tradition.

(2) References to a Palace and the Imperial Household Better Describe Rome- If we consider references found within the Prison Epistles, which most scholars do, then we find in Philippians comments about a palace and the Imperial household. This description more easily fits Rome than Caesarea.

Philippians 1:13, "So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;"

Philippians 4:22, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar"s household."

(3) Ephesians Describes Paul as an Ambassador With a Message to a King- Ephesians 6:19-20 describes a situation in which Paul considered himself to be an "ambassador" with a message.

Ephesians 6:19-20, "And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

This verse implies that Paul believed he had been given a message by his Lord to deliver to a king. He appears to consider the fact that he was being given many other opportunities to minister to other people of great influence. Thus, he requested prayer that he would speak words that would bring about the greatest impact in the hearts of his hearers. This fits a Roman imprisonment.

(4) The Prison Epistles Suggest a Pending Roman Trial and Release- We see from Philippians 1:19-26; Philippians 2:17; Philippians 2:23 and Philemon 1:22 that Paul was soon facing a trial with the expectation of being released. These verses fit better with a trial before Caesar than the intermediate trial in Caesarea that is recorded in Acts 24-26, because there was nothing about his Caesarean imprisonment that pointed towards a release.

(a) Paul's Life Was Hanging in a Balance- Philippians 1:19-26 reveals that Paul's life was hanging in the balance. However, this was not the atmosphere of Paul"s Caesarean imprisonment, as he was prepared to appeal unto Caesar had a conviction of punishment been decreed. Note:

Acts 25:11,"For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar."

(b) The Trial Was Nearing Completion- Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:24 reveal that the trial seems to be nearing its completion and Paul expects to be set free. He expresses strong conviction that he "shall remain and continue with you all" ( Philippians 1:25; cf. also Philippians 2:24). The concept of a trial coming to a final conclusive end fits a Roman trial, rather than a Caesarean trial.

Philippians 1:25, "And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;"

Philippians 2:24, "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly."

(5) Paul's List of Companions Suggests a Roman Origin- Also, the fact that Ephesians 6:21-22, Colossians 4:7-9 and Philemon 1:10-12 reveal that Paul was dispatching Tychicus accompanied by Onesimus with all three of these letters on the same journey strongly suggests a Roman origin. This is because Onesimus was not associated with Paul's Caesarean imprisonment according to the book of Acts , although Tychicus was with Paul at the close of his third missionary journey. Onesimus would have had less chance of gaining access to and being discipled by Paul at Caesarea than at Rome.

In addition, Louis Berkhof notes that the many companions of Paul, viz. Tychicus, Aristarchus, Marcus, Justus, Epaphras, Luke and Demas, are quite different from those that accompanied him on his last journey to Jerusalem ( Acts 20:4). 32]

32] Louis Berkhof, The Epistle to the Ephesians , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 106-107.

Acts 20:4, "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus."

The mention of Marcus, the cousin of Barnabas in Colossians 4:10, is according to tradition, a clear reference to Rome.

In addition, we know from the book of Acts that Aristarchus and Luke accompanied Paul to Rome by ship.

Acts 27:2, "And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us."

Acts 28:14, "Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome."

We know from the epistles of Colossians and Philemon that both of these companions were with Paul when he wrote his prison epistles.

Colossians 4:10, "Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister"s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)"

Colossians 4:14, "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you."

Philemon 1:24, "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers."

We must note that both Aristarchus and Luke accompanied Paul to Jerusalem also when he was arrested and imprisoned in Caesarea.

Acts 20:4, "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus."

(6) Early Church Tradition- There is one witness from early tradition that supports a Roman origin. The Marcionite Prologue, which was attached to this epistle, says, "He composes a familiar letter to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus his servant. He writes to him, however, from Rome, from prison." 33]

33] Ben C. Smith, "The Marcionite Prologues to the Pauline Epistles," (Text Excavation 2010) [on-line]; accessed 11May 2010; available from http://www.textexcavation.com/marcioniteprologues.html; Internet; See Codex Fuldensis: Novum Testamentum Latine Interprete Hieronymo, ed. Ernestus Ranke (Marburgi & Lipsiaei: Sumtibus N. G. Elwerti Bibliopolae Academici, 1867), 310.

b) Caesarean Origin (A.D 57-59) - Of recent years, some scholars have asked if some or all of the Prison Epistles could have been written while Paul was being held in prison at Caesarea. We know from the book of Acts that the Roman procurator of Judea, Marcus Antonius Felix, hoping to receive a bribe from Paul, held him under house arrest for two years while allowing his friends free access to him. Those who support a Caesarean imprisonment base their argument upon its closer proximity to Asia. But arguments for a Caesarean location are only speculative and have no internal or external evidence to support it. The strongest argument against a Caesarean imprisonment is the fact that Paul was expecting his release to come soon ( Philippians 1:19-26; Philippians 2:17; Philippians 2:23 and Philemon 1:22). This is because Paul understood that his appeal to Caesar at Caesarea meant a delay in his trial and release. The fact that Paul makes no mention of Philippi in his Prison Epistles makes a Caesarean origin questionable because he hosted Paul while visiting Caesarea.

c) Ephesian Origin (A.D 54-55) - In recent years, there has been some speculation about an Ephesian origin. Although the New Testament tells us that Paul was in prison at other times besides Rome and Caesarea ( 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23), we have no indications within the Scriptures nor early Church tradition as to these locations. However, speculation as to an Ephesian imprisonment is not a recent idea. The heretic Marcion first suggested such a location. The Marcionite Prologue to Colossians reads, "The apostle, therefore, already arrested, writes to them from Ephesus." 34] Some modern scholars suggest that Ephesus would be the most likely place for an imprisonment because it was where he faced his fiercest opposition. They point to passages such as Romans 16:4; Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 2 Corinthians 11:23 to support their arguments. Others base their argument upon its closer proximity to the destination of the prison epistles. Robert Brow suggests that Luke deliberately omitted an Ephesian imprisonment because the book of Acts was written as a legal defense of the Gospel and the story of this imprisonment would not have helped in Paul's defense. Brow also suggests that the circumstances and people involved fits an Ephesian imprisonment better where Paul also wrote his second letter Timothy. 35] However, any support for this location from Scripture or the early Church fathers is entirely lacking.

34] Ben C. Smith, "The Marcionite prologues to the Pauline epistles," (Text Excavation 2010) [on-line]; accessed 11May 2010; available from http://www.textexcavation.com/marcioniteprologues.html; Internet.

35] Robert Brow, Ephesians Commentary (Odessa ON: J.L.P Digital Publications, 2002) [on-line]; accessed 10 May 2002; available from http://www.brow.on.ca. Internet; "Introduction: The Church in Ephesus."

2. External Evidence- All of the early Church fathers place Paul in Rome during the writing of the Prison Epistles. (The one exception is the heretic Marcion who places Paul in Ephesus when writing the epistle to the Ephesians and then makes an apparent contradiction by placing Paul in Rome when writing his letters to the Philippians and to Philemon.)

a) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome placed the writings of the Prison Epistles in Rome during his imprisonment.

"The fourth ground of his censure is in the beginning of my Second Book, in which I expounded the statement which St. Paul makes ‘For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.' The passage in itself is perfectly plain; and I give, therefore, only that part of the comment on it which lends itself to malevolent remark: The words which describe Paul as the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles may be understood of his martyrdom, since it was when he was thrown into chains at Rome that he wrote this Epistle, at the same time with those to Philemon and the Colossians and the Philippians, as we have formerly shewn." (Jerome's Apology for Himself Against the Books of Rufinus 1) (NPF 2 3)

b) John Chrysostom (A.D 347-406) - John Chrysostom the writings of the Prison Epistles in Rome during his imprisonment.

"But it was from Rome he wrote to the Philippians; wherefore he says. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar"s household: and to the Hebrews from thence likewise, wherefore, he says, all they of Italy salute them. And the Epistle to Timothy, he sent also from Rome, when in prison; which seems to me, too, to be the last of all the Epistles; and this is plain from the end: For I am now ready to be offered, he says, and the lime of my departure is at hand. But that he ended his life there, is clear, I may say, to every one. And that to Philemon is also very late, (for he wrote it in extreme old age, wherefore also he said, as Paul the aged, and now a prisoner in Christ Jesus,) yet previous to that to the Colossians. For in writing to the Colossians , he says. All my stale shall Tychicus declare unto you, whom I have sent with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother. For this was that Onesimus in whose behalf he composed the Epistle to Philemon. And that this was no other of the same name with him, is plain from the mention of Archippus…And that to the Galatians seems to me to be before that to the Romans." 36]

36] John Chrysostom, Homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of S. Paul the Apostle to the Romans , in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Anterior to the Division of the East and the West, vol 7 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 3.

"He wrote the epistle [Ephesians] from Rome, and, as he himself informs us, in bonds. Pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds." 37]

37] John Chrysostom, Homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of S. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians , in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Anterior to the Division of the East and the West, vol 5 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1840), 99.

c) Theodoret of Cyrrus (A.D 393-466) - Theodoret places the prison epistles in Rome.

"And after these things he wrote to the Philippians from Rome, and it is clear (at) the end of the epistle. Clearly, he teaches us (at) the end; for he says, ‘They of the household of Caesar greet you.' And also indeed at the same time he wrote to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. [PG 8241C-D] (author's translation)

d) Euthalius (5th c.) - Euthalius places the prison epistles in Rome. In his argument to the epistle of Ephesians , Euthalius writes, "This one he sent from Rome, not yet indeed having seen them, but having heard about them." (PG 85 Colossians 761C) (author's translation)

e) Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis of Sacred Scripture) (4th-6th c.) - In the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture, Pseudo-Athanasius (4th-6th c.) begins his summary of Ephesians by saying, "This one he writes from Rome, not yet indeed having seen them, but having heard about them." (PG 28 Colossians 417D) (author's translation)

f) Ebedjesu (d 1318) - Ebedjesu, the Syrian bishop, reflects medieval tradition by saying Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians from the city of Rome. 38]

38] Ebedjesu writes, "Besides these there are fourteen epistles of the great Apostle Paul…the Epistle to the Ephesians , also written at Rome, and sent by Tychicus." See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 321; George Percy Badger, The Nestorians and their Rituals, vol 2 (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), 362-363.

g) The Authorized Version (1611) - Euthalius, an unknown deacon of the fifth century, is believed to have provided the testimonies for the subscriptions to the Pauline epistles found in the Authorized Version (1611). 39] However, not all of these subscriptions match the comments of Euthalius (compare the differences in 1,2Corinthians and 2Thessalonians). Thus, the committee of the Authorized Version probably relied on various sources for their subscriptions. A subscription attached to this epistle of Ephesians in the Authorized Version (1611) reads, "Written from Rome unto the Ephesians by Tychicus." 40]

39] Matthew George Easton, "Subscriptions," in Easton's Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, c 1897), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

40] The Holy Bible: A Facsimile in a reduced size of the Authorized Version published in the year 1611, ed. Alfred William Pollard (Oxford: The University Press, 1911).

In conclusion, internal and external evidence support a Roman imprisonment for the writings of Ephesians ,, Philippians , Colossians and Philemon. Any other conclusion lacks logical support.

IV. Recipients

This epistle of Ephesians purports to have been written "to the saints which are at Ephesus" ( Ephesians 1:1)

Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

We know from the passage in Acts 19:8-10 that the church of Ephesus was made up of Jews and Greeks, with the majority probably being Greeks. In this epistle Paul makes a number of references to the Gentile Christians ( Ephesians 2:11; Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 3:6).

Ephesians 2:11, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;"

Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,"

Ephesians 3:6, "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"

From the epistle of Ephesians , it is clear that Paul was addressing a mature group of believers. This corresponds to the three years of work that Paul invested into the believers at Ephesus as he grounded them strong in the faith before his departure.

We also know that Paul also addressed this epistle "to the faithful in Christ Jesus," as the opening verse states, which would have referred to all of the outreach ministries and churches that Paul planted during his third missionary journey when he spent two to three years living in the city of Ephesus ( Acts 19:10). Thus, this phrase refers to the various churches within the district of which Ephesus was the central metropolis.

Acts 19:10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."

We do know from internal evidence that Paul sent Tychicus to Asia to deliver this letter ( Ephesians 6:21-22).

Ephesians 6:21-22, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts."

When we read Paul's letter to 2Timothy, we see where Paul sends Tychicus to the city of Ephesus ( 2 Timothy 4:12).

2 Timothy 4:12, "And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus."

However, Paul wrote to the Ephesians most likely during his first Roman imprisonment and his second letter to Timothy much later during his second Roman imprisonment.

Some have suggested that the epistle of Ephesians was initially a "circular" letter or the missing "letter to the Laodiceans and that the phrase "to Ephesus" was a later addition. There are a number of reasons that some scholars argue for a non-Ephesian destination.

A. Some Ancient Manuscripts and Early Church Fathers Omit the Phrase "at Ephesus" - The earliest manuscripts we have beginning from the middle of the second century place the phrase ἐν ἐφέσῳ (in Ephesus) within the text. With some exceptions, this title is given to all subsequent manuscripts. However, a few Ephesian manuscripts may have left out the phrase "at Ephesus" in Ephesians 1:1. The two most popular examples of the absence of this phrase are Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (B), both fourth century manuscripts of the New Testament, which omit this phrase although these two manuscripts give the title " προς επεσιους" to the same epistle. This same omission may be noted in the Ann Arbor-Chester Beatty papyrus (p 46), ca. A.D 200, as well as 424c and 1739. In addition, a twelfth century manuscript called codex 67 also omits this phrase in the opening verse. Yet, the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts include the phrase "at Ephesus," while only a few existing manuscripts omit this phrase. All of the old versions include the phrase.

The exceptions listed above could be easily overlooked if it were not for further testimonies from the early Church fathers. Some of these fathers claimed that the phrase ἐν ἐφέσῳ was not in the earliest manuscripts. Such claims are made by Origen (A.D 185-254) 41] and Basil the Great (A.D 330-379). 42] Jerome (A.D 342-420) 43] refers to these claims, but he includes the text ἐν ἐφέσῳ in the Vulgate, "omnibus sanctis qui sunt Ephesi" (ClemVg). Perhaps the earliest citation of the phrase "to the Ephesians" is found in the Muratorian Canon dated to the late second century. 44] Tertullian (A.D 160-225) reveals that the orthodox church of the third century accepted the phrase ἐν ἐφέσῳ. Marcion, the heretic of the second century, appears to be among those who claimed that the copy he held was addressed to the Laodiceans. Note these words from Tertullian as he challenged Marcion's belief:

41] Origen writes, "Only at the beginning of Ephesians do we find the text: to the saints that are." (Commentary on Ephesians) (PG 14, cols 1297B-1298B) See Albert Frederik Johannes Klijn, An Introduction to the New Testament, trans. M. van der Vathorst-Smit (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, c 1967), 99; J. A. F. Gregg, "The Commentary of Origen Upon the Epistle to the Ephesians ," in Journal of Theological Studies 31902, p 233-244.

42] Basil the Great writes, "…writing to the Ephesians as being united truly by knowledge to Him who is…he [Paul ] calls them in a special sense those who are, saying, To the saints τοῖς οὖσιν and the faithful in Christ Jesus. For thus those before us have transmitted it, and we have found it in the ancient copies." (Adversus Eunomium 219) (PG 29 Colossians 612C). See Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-book to the Epistle to the Ephesians (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1884), 288.

43] Jerome says, "Some, with an excessive refinement, think from what was said to Moses [Ex. iii 4]…These words shalt thou say to the children of Israel, He who is hath sent me, that the saints and faithful at Ephesus are addressed by a term descriptive of essence. Others, indeed, suppose that the epistle was written not simply to those who are, but to those who are at Ephesus, saints and faithful." (PL 26 cols 443B-444A) See Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-book to the Epistle to the Ephesians (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1884), 289.

44] The Muratorian Canon reads, …"as the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John , writes to no more than seven churches by name, in this order: the first to the Corinthians, the second to the Ephesians , the third to the Philippians , the fourth to the Colossians , the fifth to the Galatians , the sixth to the Thessalonians, the seventh to the Romans." (Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 3) (ANF 5)

"I here pass over discussion about another epistle, which we hold to have been written to the Ephesians , but the heretics to the Laodiceans." (Against Marcion 511)

"We have it on the true tradition of the Church, that this epistle was sent to the Ephesians , not to the Laodiceans." (Against Marcion 517)

Although Marcion titles it "to the Laodiceans," to seek for another destination within ancient manuscripts is unfruitful, for there are no existing manuscripts with the phrase "at Laodicea" found within the text.

From the time of John Chrysostom, all commentaries refer to "at Ephesus" as a part of the text. Thus, the early church overall strongly supported this letter as Paul writing to the church at Ephesus. Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was another exception to the general view, adhering to a Laodicean destination. 45] Otherwise, its destination to the Ephesians was uncontested until the eighteenth century with the rise of modern criticism.

45] Hugo Grotius, Continens Annotationes in Pauli Epistolas Ad Ephesios - Philemonem et in Epist. Ad Hebraeos, in Annotationes in Novum Testamentum, vol 7 (Groninque: Ex officina W. Zuidema, 1829), 4.

In support of the inclusion of this phrase, it is important to note that the omission of ἐν ἐφέσῳ within the text creates a syntactical difficulty. This is because it is not Pauline to leave a participle hanging without giving it an object. Thus, it is not likely that Paul deliberately omitted a destination because of the way the Greek is constructed.

One obvious explanation for such an omission of text is seen when comparing the same situation with the omission of ἐν ῥώμῃ (in Rome) from Ephesians 1:7 in the Roman epistle. It is very possible that some copies of these two Pauline epistles were prepared for general circulation in the earliest years of the church after being sent to Ephesus; or, the very opposite could have happened. This epistle to Ephesians could have originally been a general letter before Paul's letters were collected at Ephesus and it was given the title of this city at a later date.

B. It May be the Missing Letter Referred to in Colossians 4:16 - We know from the closing verses of Ephesians that Paul sent this epistle to the church at Ephesus by the hand of Tychicus ( Ephesians 6:21-22).

Ephesians 6:21-22, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts."

It appears that Paul also wrote and sent his epistle to the church at Colossi at the same time as he did the epistle to the Ephesians. This is because Paul refers to Tychicus as the carrier of both epistles ( Colossians 4:7-8).

Colossians 4:7-8, "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;"

However, we know from Colossians 4:9 that Tychicus was accompanied by Onesimus, who was the slave of Philemon , a wealthy citizen of Colossi.

Colossians 4:9, "With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here."

In addition, we know from Philemon 1:12 that Paul was dispatching Onesimus to Philemon with his short letter to Philemon

Philemon 1:10-12, "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that Isaiah , mine own bowels:"

Also, we have another possible link between Colossians and Philemon when Paul refers to Archippus in both letters ( Colossians 4:17, Philemon 1:2).

Colossians 4:17, "And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it."

Philemon 1:2, "And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:"

Therefore, it is very likely that Paul sent his letters to Philemon , Ephesus and Colossians at the same time, all by the hands of Tychicus and Onesimus. It is for this reason that some modern scholars believe Paul's request in Colossians 4:16 for them to also read the epistle from Laodicea actually refers to the Ephesian epistle and not to an unknown letter.

Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

We do know that the theme of Colossians is the Lordship of Jesus Christ as head of the Church. It is very possible that Paul is also referring to his recent epistle to the Colossians in Ephesians 3:3-4, which is a passage that briefly discusses the role of Jesus Christ in God the Father's eternal plan of redemption.

Ephesians 3:3-4, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

We do know that both epistles were sent to Asia at the same time by the same messengers. Paul's statement here, "when ye read," implies that they are able to have it in their hands at the time of reading the Ephesian letter. It is possible that Ephesians 3:3-4 and Colossians 4:16 are referring to the sharing of these two epistles between their fellowship of churches in the region.

C. The Ephesian Letter Lacks a Personal Touch- Adam Clark provides the proposed argument that in all of Paul's letters addressed to churches that he planted or visited, there are references to Paul's experiences with those believers. 46] This is the case with his letters to the Corinthians, Galatians , Thessalonians and Philippians , as well as to Timothy. Some scholars say that there is not one single reference in Ephesians to Paul's activities with the believers at Ephesus although he spent almost three years there. Instead, Paul presents a doctrinal theme while keeping himself detached from events in the lives of the recipients. Thus, the content is considered general and not personal in its focus.

46] Adam Clarke, Epistle to the Ephesians , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

We know that Paul's letter to Colossians indicates that he had never visited them ( Colossians 1:3-4; Colossians 2:1).

Colossians 1:3-4, "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,"

Colossians 2:1, "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;"

Scholars use Ephesians 1:15 to draw a similar conclusion when Paul said that he had only heard of their faith, they refer to Ephesians 3:2 when Paul asks if they had heard of his divine commission as an apostle to the Gentiles, or they refer to Ephesians 4:21 when Paul questions how much of the Gospel they had heard by the time of reading his epistle; for when he first came to Ephesus, he had to further enlighten them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the Messiah.

Ephesians 1:15, "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,"

Ephesians 3:2, "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:"

Ephesians 4:21, "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:"

Clark gives Romans 1:8 as another comparison of an epistle to a church in which Paul had not visited. 47]

47] Adam Clarke, Epistle to the Ephesians , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

Romans 1:8, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

In contrast, Paul's opening statements to the believers at Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica and to Timothy reveal more of a personal remembrance rather than his hearing about them.

Another issue that makes Ephesians appear less personal is the fact that Paul's close companions while in Ephesus, such as Timothy, who is mentioned in Colossians , are not even mentioned within the body of the letter. As we look for others who were associated with the Ephesian church in the book of Acts we find none of them mentioned, while Colossians mentions a number of familiar names. Ephesians is unique in the fact that it is the most impersonal benediction of all of Paul's letters as he refers to the believers there in the third person only, using the words "the brethren" and "them."

D. Geographical Locations Suggest a Possible Alternative Destination- If we imagine Tychicus and Onesimus traveling from Rome to Colossi or Laodicea, we know that they would have initially landed at the seaport near Ephesus and visited this church before proceeding inland. These letters would have been shown to the church at Ephesus because of their "non-personal" content. Some copies would have been made and left with the Ephesians while Tychicus would have dropped by Laodicea on his way to Colossi. This would have then designated it "the letter from Laodiceans" ( Colossians 4:16). If, in fact, the church at Ephesus became the central location of the East for the early Church and it was there that the Pauline letters were first collected into a single body, then it is easy to see how the Ephesians could have taken this particular letter as being addressed to them and this title be included in the sacred Pauline letters.

Summary- However, no one can deny that Paul had previously written to the recipients in an earlier epistle; for he states this clearly in this epistle ( Ephesians 3:3-4).

Ephesians 3:3-4, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

In summary, we see that internal evidence can support a circular or perhaps a Laodicean destination while the external evidences of the early Church fathers strongly supports an Ephesian destination. It is most probable that Paul wrote this non-personal letter initially for Ephesus because it stood as the center of his apostolic ministry in this region with instructions for a wider circulation to the sister churches. Thus, just as Paul first ministered in Ephesus and from there the Gospel spread to the region ( Acts 19:10; Acts 19:26), so did this Epistle first come to Ephesus and was circulated throughout the churches of Asia. The fact that the early church leaders collected Paul's writings and circulated them among the churches made it necessary to distinguish each one of them with individual titles. It would have been natural to give the title "To the Ephesians" to such a circular epistle under these circumstances since Ephesus was the leading city in this region.

V. Occasion

We know from internal evidence that the Prison Epistles, as they are formally called, were written while Paul, the apostle, was in prison. What situations would have occasioned Paul to write the four letters of Ephesians ,, Philippians , Colossians and Philemon? If we read Paul's Prison Epistles, we find several specific occasions woven together to necessitate the writing of three of these epistles at one time and the letter of Philippians soon afterwards. While in his first Roman imprisonment, Paul enjoyed the privileges of entertaining guests. No doubt, the Jewish community came to inquire of the Christian sect for which Paul was bound in chains. Also, the believers at Rome as well as his faithful coworkers, such as Luke , Aristarchus, Marcus, Epaphras and Timothy, came to comfort him, which Paul appreciates by recognizing them within his Prison Epistles. While in prison, Paul was able to send and receive messages of his work in the East.

Colossians - On one of these occasions when guests arrived to visit Paul, he received news from Epaphras about the believers at Colossi. This faithful messenger and perhaps the founding missionary of the church at Colossi ( Colossians 1:7) had recently come to Rome and briefed Paul about the progress of the Gospel in this church that Paul had never actually visited. He informed Paul about their faith in Christ and of their love for one another ( Colossians 1:4; Colossians 1:8). It was within the context of this report from Epaphras that Paul found out the disturbing news of heretical teachings within the Colossian church. He would have seen the immediate need to address a growing threat of false teachings brought in by the Greek minds as well as the Jews. Paul had to combat Jewish as well as Hellenistic thoughts. Louis Berkhof wisely notes that the Colossian error was a combination of Jewish doctrine, heathen philosophy and Christian beliefs that make it impossible to say that Paul was confronting a particular heretical group. 48]

48] Louis Berkhof, The Epistle to Colossians , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 116.

An early form of Gnosticism, a heretical movement that would make its full expression during the second century, was being introduced the church at this time. This heresy taught that Jesus Christ was neither fully God nor fully man. They taught that the man Jesus received His divine nature at His water baptism and that the Christ ascended to Heaven just before His death on the Cross. This group introduced a lifestyle of either extreme asceticism or fleshly indulgence believing that the human body was inherently evil.

The Judaizers were also attempting to jeopardize the faith of this growing church. We find a description of the many Jewish sects and their teachings from the writings of Josephus, (Wars 282-13), who tells us that these sects were scattered throughout the Diaspora. Paul came against these Jewish sects who were preaching that Christians had to embrace certain Old Testament rituals out of the Mosaic Law in order to continue in right standing with God. Therefore, Paul felt compelled to write to the church at Colossi as soon as possible in order to head off this threat and to establish them further in the faith.

Philemon - We know from the context of the short epistle of Philemon that Onesimus, a slave that belonged to Philemon , had fled to Paul for freedom. We do not know the cause of his flight nor why he sought Paul. During his exile in Rome Paul had led him to the Lord ( Ephesians 1:10). The need to bring reconciliation to this situation resulted in Paul's letter to his owner. Paul's letter implies from his use of the words "wronged" and "owes" that the slave may have robbed his master in some way ( Ephesians 1:18). Thus, in Paul's epistle to Philemon , we find Paul anxious to reconcile the split between a master and his slave. He asked that the slave be reconciled to the household without suffering harsh punishment. Although Paul suggests that Onesimus would be more beneficial to his owner, at no place in the letter does he actually ask Philemon to set him free.

It is likely that the complicated Roman laws of dealing with the return of fugitive slaves to their masters caused Paul to deal with this situation privately rather than making it known to the Roman officials. Albert Barnes refers to Macknight, who says that the laws of Phrygia allowed the master to punish a slave "without applying to any magistrate." 49] Barnes says history suggests that the Phrygians were a severe people. 50] Thus, we can assume that Philemon had some concerns of being restored to his owner.

49] James MacKnight, "A New Literal Translation of St Paul's Epistle to Philemon ," in A New Literal Translation From the Original Greek, of all the Apostolical Epistles, with a Commentary, and Notes, Philological, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical, vol 3, fourth edition (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; T. Hamilton, Paternoster Row; R. Ogle; J. Ogle; M. Ogle, 1809), 308. MacKnight cites Hugo Grotius as the source of this comment. See Hugo Grotius, Annotationes in Epistolam Ad Philemonem, in Hugonis Grotii Annotationes in Novem Testamentum, vol 7 (Groningae: W. Zuidema), 344.

50] Albert Barnes, The Epistle of Paul to Philemon , in Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction: Section 25." Barnes cites Quintus Curtius Rufus, History of the Wars of Alexander 51. See Quintus Curtius His History of the Wars of Alexander, 2vols, trans. John Digby (London: A. Millar, 1747).

We know from internal evidence that the epistle to the Colossians was delivered together with the epistle to Philemon. Therefore, we find Paul writing two letters, one to the church at Colossi and one to Philemon , using the same messengers to deliver them. Paul soon dispatched his close associate, Tychicus, a native of Ephesus, to this region with Onesimus to deliver these three letters. Paul's letter to Philemon could have served as a cover letter as an indirect way of introducing Onesimus to the churches that he and Tychicus may encounter on their journey to this region.

Ephesians - From these two occasions, Paul also took the opportunity to write his less personal letter to the church at Ephesus, which he intended to be circulated among the other churches in this region. For the epistle to the Ephesians we do find one hint as to why he would have written to them in his last message to the elders of that church in Acts 20:17-38. In this speech, Paul warned them that "grievous wolves" would soon enter the flock and lead some astray. This foresight led Paul to write to them in order to further ground them in the hope of their salvation and in the doctrines upon which they placed their hope.

Paul was facing possible execution and his mind and heart were on eternal matters more than ever before: for he reveals his longing to depart and be with the Lord in his later epistle to the Philippians.

Philippians 1:23, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"

Therefore, Paul took this opportunity to reveal in this circular letter the highest level of theology that God had revealed to him regarding the eternal purpose and plan of God for his Church.

Philippians - At a later date, the church at Philippi sent Epaphroditus to Paul with a love offering and with instructions to minister to his needs.

Philippians 4:18, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."

Philippians 2:25, "Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants."

The events of this visit could have occasioned Paul's letter to the Philippians. For we assume that Epaphroditus brought news of the progress of church growth at Philippi and any pending problems. While in Rome this messenger becomes gravely ill, near unto death. When he was strong enough to return, Paul sent him back to inform the church of this illness ( Philippians 2:26-30). This return gave Paul the opportunity to write them a thank you letter for their offering to him and to give Epaphroditus the praise the he was worthy of receiving for his deed. Therefore, he is most likely the one who carried this epistle to the Philippian church. In addition, Paul was now intending to send Timothy to Philippi to deal with several issues that Epaphroditus has reported to him. Paul would first send Timothy and then follow up with a personal visit ( Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:24). This letter thus serves to notify the church at Philippi to prepare for such visits.

Summary- Thus, we find a number of occasions woven together in a way that compelled Paul to write three of his Prison Epistles at one time. Paul soon dispatched his close associate, Tychicus, a native of Ephesus, to this region with Onesimus to deliver these three letters. Paul's letter to Philemon could have served as a cover letter as an indirect way of introducing Onesimus to the churches that he and Tychicus may encounter on their journey to this region. It was after these events that Epaphroditus arrived with a gift from the church at Philippi. The illness of this messenger and Paul's need to give them a reply of gratitude occasioned Paul to sit down near the end of his first imprisonment and write his letter to the Philippians.

LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)

"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.

If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."

(Thomas Schreiner) 51]

51] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.

Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the New Testament epistles chose to write to various groups of believers using the literary style of the formal Greco-Roman epistle, which contains a traditional salutation, the body, and a conclusion. Thus, the New Testament epistles are assigned to the literary genre called "epistle genre," In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison will be made of the Pauline epistles, as well as a brief look at the grammar and syntax of the epistle of Ephesians.

VI. Comparison of the Pauline Epistles

The epistle to the Ephesians is typical in style and structure to other New Testament Pauline epistles. Its introduction is also similar to contemporary letters of this period in history with its initial reference to the author and recipients followed by greetings. However, Ephesians has some marked distinctions.

A. Comparison to the Epistle of Colossians - No two books of the Holy Scriptures bear as much resemblance with one another as the epistles to Ephesians and Colossians. Approximately one third of Colossians is repeated in Ephesians with Curtis Vaughan citing Maurice Goguel, who states that seventy-three verses are similar between the two books. 52] Although they contain two different underlying themes, they were written by the same person at approximately the same time within the same general occasion and delivered by the same messengers to the same region of Asia. As a result, many of the verses and passages are similar. Adam Clark lists the following examples:

52] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians , The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 11, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, and Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), "Introduction: Authorship: b. The Arguments Against Pauline Authorship: 2) Dependence: a) Colossians."

Ephesians 1:7 Colossians 1:14

Ephesians 1:10 Colossians 1:20

Ephesians 1:19-23 Colossians 2:12-13

Ephesians 3:2 Colossians 1:25

Ephesians 4:2-4 Colossians 3:12-15

Ephesians 4:16 Colossians 2:19

Ephesians 4:22-24 Colossians 3:9-10

Ephesians 4:32 Colossians 3:13

Ephesians 5:6-8 Colossians 3:6-8

Ephesians 5:15-16 Colossians 4:5

Ephesians 5:19 Colossians 3:16

Ephesians 5:22 to Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:18 to Colossians 4:1

Ephesians 6:19-20 Colossians 4:3-4

Ephesians 6:22 Colossians 4:8 53]

53] Adam Clarke, Epistle to the Ephesians , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

It is obvious that Paul wrote both epistles with the same mindset and truths that he wanted to impart to both churches. One phrase that is unique to these two epistles is what Paul calls "the mystery of the Gospel" or the "mystery of Christ." In no other New Testament writings do we find this phrase used in such a manner as Paul uses it in expounding his doctrine in these two epistles.

B. Comparison of Style: More Complex Style- Anyone who has casually read Ephesians immediately notices some of the most complex sentence structures in the entire Scriptures. Passages such as Ephesians 1:15-23 and Ephesians 4:11-16 are the longest sentences in the Holy Bible. It is characterized by participial clauses and dependent sentences that take us above the human level of thought.

C. Comparison of Style: Impersonal in it Message- Unlike other Pauline epistles where he addresses particular historical events, there are no references to events in the epistle of Ephesians. Paul gives no greetings to individuals. In fact, the only person mentioned is Tychicus whom he will send to them with this letter. Its general context prompts scholars to suggest that this is a circulator letter intended to be circulated and read among the churches of Asia.

VII. Grammar and Syntax

D. Grammar and Syntax: Unique Words and Phrases- A. Skevington Wood explains that there are about one hundred words and phrases in Ephesians that are unique to the Pauline writings, quoting phrases such as, "in the heavenly realms" ( Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12), "the One he loves" ( Ephesians 1:6), and "flesh and blood" ( Ephesians 6:12). 54]

54] A. Skevington Wood, Ephesians , The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 11, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, and Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), "Introduction: 1. Authorship: b. The Arguments Against Pauline Authorship: 1) Vocabulary and style."

E. Grammar and Syntax: The Most Frequent Use of the Words "Love" and "In Christ" - The Greek word ἀ γαπά ω (love) is used more often in the epistle of Ephesians than in any other book of the Holy Scriptures, being used a total of nineteen times in its noun (10), verb (7) and adjective (2) forms. Paul practically opens and closes the letter with this word ( Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 6:24). It is not possible to understand the deep truths of Ephesians without developing a love for God and for the people of God. Thus, it is not surprising that John the apostle later rebukes the church of Ephesus for leaving their first love in Revelation 2:4, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

In addition, the phrase "in Christ" and its derivatives appear thirty-five times, more often in Ephesians than any other Pauline epistle: "in Christ" (5), "in Him" (6), "in the Beloved" (1), "in whom" (6), "in the Lord Jesus" (1), "in Christ Jesus" (7), "in the Lord" (7), "in Christ Jesus our Lord" (1), "in Jesus" (1). Also, the phrases "in the fear of the Lord" (1), "to the Lord" (4), and "to Christ" (2) add an additional seven similar uses. 55]

55] Adolf Deissmann counts thirty-fives uses, but He lists different frequencies of use in the various forms. See Adolf Deissmann, Die neutestamentliche Formel "in Christo Jesu," (Marburg: N. G. Elwert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1892), 2.

THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."

(Andreas Ksenberger) 56]

56] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.

Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the epistle of Ephesians , an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the epistle of Ephesians for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.

VIII. Purpose

The fundamental purpose for the nine Church Epistles is doctrinal, for God used Paul to lay down the doctrines for the New Testament Church, as he built upon the foundational teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to a doctrinal purpose, Paul's epistles give practical instructions on how to apply the teachings of the New Testament Church to the believer's daily conduct.

A. Doctrinal: To Establish them in the Faith Concerning God's Plan of Redemption for Mankind ( Ephesians 1:3 to Ephesians 3:21) - Paul's primary purpose in writing his epistle to the Ephesians was to establish them in the faith concerning God the Father's plan of redemption for mankind.

Paul's clearly wrote to the Ephesians in order to establish them doctrinally. The purpose of the epistle to the Ephesians was to establish this church in the doctrine of the Christian faith. We see from Paul's final trip to Jerusalem that he passed by Miletus and met with the elders of the church at Ephesus ( Acts 20:17-38). In this final visit, Paul was deeply concerned that this church remained established in the faith and not be shaken by the false teachings that would later infiltrate the church. Therefore, Paul could have intended to prevent such false doctrines from entering the church at Ephesus by establishing them in their faith.

Conclusion- The doctrinal purpose of the epistle of Ephesians reflects the foundational theme of establishing the doctrines of the New Testament Church. Its purpose of explaining God the Father's plan of redemption reflects the secondary theme.

B. Practical and Hortatory: To Exhort the Churches to Walk the Worthy Walk ( Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:20) - In addition to a doctrinal purpose, Paul's epistles give practical instructions on how to apply the teachings of the New Testament Church to the believer's daily conduct.

Paul's epistle to the Ephesians was an exhortation for the believers to walk in God's plan of redemption, which he called the worthy walk. We see this message emphasized in Ephesians 5:1 to Ephesians 6:20.

Conclusion- The practical purpose of the epistle of Ephesians reflects the third theme of the believer's call to walk the worthy walk in joining God the Father in fulfilling His plan of redemption.

IX. Thematic Scheme

Introduction- Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. 57] The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader's response.

57] For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).

A. Primary Theme (Foundational) of the Epistle of Ephesians - The Establishment of Church Doctrines- Introduction- The central theme of the Holy Bible is God's plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God's divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures.

This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.

1. The Central Themes of the New Testament Epistles: Sanctification of the Believer- There are twenty-one epistles in the New Testament, which the early Church recognized as having apostolic authority so that they were collected into one body, circulated among the churches, an eventually canonized. While the Gospels emphasize the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the process justification of the believer, New Testament epistles emphasize the redemptive plan of the Holy Spirit as He works in the process of sanctification for each believer. Thus, the work of sanctification serves as the underlying theme of all twenty-one epistles. In addition, each one emphasizes a different aspect of this divine process of sanctification and they are organized together so that the New Testament is structured to reflect the part of our spiritual journey called sanctification In order to express this structure, each of these epistles have different themes that are woven and knitted together into a unified body of teachings which will bring the believer through the process of sanctification and ready for the rapture of the Church into a place of rest in the glorious hope revealed in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the New Testament epistles were collected together by topic by the early Church.

Of the twenty-one epistles, there are thirteen Pauline epistles and eight designated as General, or Catholic, epistles. We can organize these twenty-one epistles into three major categories: (1) there are epistles that emphasize Church doctrine, which are the nine Pauline epistles of Romans to 2Thessalonians; (2) there are those that deal with Church order and divine service, which are 1,2Timothy, Titus and Philemon; 58] and (3) there are those that stress perseverance in the Christian faith, which are Hebrews and the seven General Epistles. 59] Within Hebrews and the General Epistles, we note that the first three epistles exhort the believer to persevere under persecutions, which come from without the Church ( Hebrews ,, James , 1Peter), while the other five epistles emphasis perseverance against false doctrines, which come from within ( 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John , Jude).

58] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Philemon will be grouped with the Pastoral Epistles as did the Church fathers.

59] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Hebrews will be grouped with the General Epistles, although many of the early Church fathers followed the tradition of grouping it with the Pauline epistles.

2. The Central Theme of the Church Epistles: The Establishment of Church Doctrines - Of the thirteen Pauline epistles, nine are addressed to seven particular churches. By the third century, the early Church fathers testified as to the emphasis that Paul placed upon church doctrine in his epistles. For example, Gregory of Nazianzus (A.D 329 to 389) says that Paul wrote the Church epistles in order that the doctrines of the Church are "beyond question."

"At this point of my discourse I am truly filled with wonder at the wise dispensation of the Holy Spirit; how He confined the Epistles of the rest to a small number, but to Paul the former persecutor gave the privilege of writing fourteen. For it was not because Peter or John was less that He restrained the gift; God forbid! But in order that the doctrine might be beyond question, He granted to the former enemy and persecutor the privilege of writing more, in order that we all might thus be made believers." (Lectures 1018) (NPF 2 7)

Isidore of Pelusium (A.D. d 450) calls Paul "the expounder of the heavenly doctrines." (Epistolarum 17) (PG 78 Colossians 184C). In his preface to his commentaries on the Pauline Epistles, Theodoret of Cyrrus (A.D 393-466) writes, "I know to be sure how I cannot escape the tongue of the fault-finders when attempting to interpret the doctrine of the divine Paul." (author's translation) 60] These nine "Church" epistles establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. Thus, we may call the first nine Pauline epistles "Church Epistles." In these epistles Paul builds his Church doctrine upon the foundational teachings laid down by Christ Jesus in the Gospels. We acknowledge that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." ( 2 Timothy 3:16) Thus, every book of the Bible will contain doctrine, but these other books do not "add" to Church doctrine; rather, they support the doctrine laid down in the Gospels by Jesus Christ and in these nine Pauline epistles. For example, in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul tells Timothy and Titus to teach sound doctrine ( 1 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1), a doctrine that is not contained within the Pastoral Epistles themselves. Therefore, Paul must be referring to doctrine that he taught to the churches, and most certainly doctrine that is contained within the Church epistles. Another example can be found in Hebrews 6:1-2, which refers to the six foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church, doctrines that are not contained within the epistle of Hebrews. This epistle, rather, exhorts us to persevere in the divine doctrine that has previously been laid down, and a doctrine that is most certainly contained within the Church epistles.

60] Theodoret, Preface to Interpretation XIV Epistolarum Sancti Pauli Apostoli (PG 82col 36A).

In order to identify this New Testament doctrine, we must first go to the six foundational doctrines mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2 in order to identify this doctrine. This passage tells us that everything Jesus Christ said and taught in the Gospels can be summed up in the six foundational doctrines of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2.

Hebrews 6:1-2, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

Here we find the six foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church, which were first laid down by Christ in the Gospels.

1. repentance from dead works

2. faith toward God

3. baptisms

4. laying on of hands

5. resurrection of the dead

6. eternal judgment

If one were to go through the four Gospels, he would find that all of Christ's teachings could be placed under one of these six doctrines. Later, the Heavenly Father used Paul to build upon these foundational doctrines through the Pauline epistles in order to establish the Church doctrinally. Before His departure, Jesus Christ told His disciples that He had many things to teach them, but they were not yet ready ( John 16:12).

John 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

John 16:12 tells us that the message of the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught His disciples was still incomplete at the time of His departure. This implies that we should look to the Epistles to find its fullness. Therefore, it is upon these six foundational doctrines of Christ that Paul lays down the doctrines of the Church. Paul builds upon the two doctrines of repentance from dead works and faith toward God by teaching on the justification of the believer through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Paul builds upon the two doctrines of baptisms and of the laying on of hands by teaching on the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Paul builds his eschatology that Jesus began in the Gospels in the two doctrines of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment by teaching on the future glorification of the Church, which falls under the divine foreknowledge and election of God the Father. Thus, the Church epistles can be grouped by the three-fold office and ministry of the Trinity.

B. Secondary Theme (Structural) of the Epistle of Ephesians - The Office of the Father (Glorification) - His Role in the Church's Redemption- Introduction- The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind's depravity and God's plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.

The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God's Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.

The Apocalypse of John , though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.

1. The Secondary Theme of the Church Epistles- Within the nine Pauline "Church" epistles there are three epistles that serve as witnesses of the doctrine of justification through Jesus Christ ( Romans ,, Galatians , Colossians); three serve as witnesses of the doctrine of sanctification by the Holy Spirit ( Romans , 1,2Thessalonians, 1,2Corinthians); and three testify of the doctrine of glorification by God the Father ( Romans ,, Ephesians , Philippians). Note that the secondary epistles of Thessalonians and Corinthians can be considered as one witness because they share the same theme with their primary epistles. Noting that the epistle of Romans reflects all three aspects of Church doctrine in his exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the early Church fathers recognized the doctrinal preeminence of the epistle of Romans. For example, Theodoret of Cyrrus writes, "The epistle to the Romans has been placed first, as containing the most full and exact representation of the Christian doctrine, in all its branches; but some say, that it has been so placed out of respect to the city to which it was sent, as presiding over the whole world." (PG 82col 44B) 61] In the same way that the Gospel of John serves as the foundational book of the Gospels as well as the entire New Testament, the epistle of Romans serves as the foundational epistle of the Church epistles because it carries all three themes that the other eight epistles will build upon.

61] See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 5 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 17.

As mentioned above, Paul's church doctrine builds upon the six-fold doctrine of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2. This means that all of the Pauline church doctrine can be grouped within one of these six foundational doctrines of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. This is what Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 and Ephesians 2:20 when he said that he was laying the foundation of Church doctrine in which Jesus Christ Himself was the foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Also,

Ephesians 2:20, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"

Thus, Paul's doctrine can be placed into three groups of doctrine: (1) the foreknowledge, calling and glorification of God the Father, (2) the justification by Jesus Christ His Song of Solomon , and (3) the sanctification of the Holy Spirit ( Romans 8:29). In fact, the six foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-2 can also be placed under the same three-fold office and ministry of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit by placing two doctrines under each one. Therefore, we will find that the themes of each of the Pauline "Church" epistles finds itself grouped under Paul's three-fold grouping of justification, sanctification and glorification, and this three-fold grouping is laid upon the six-fold foundation of:

1. Repentance from dead works Justification Jesus Christ

2. Faith toward God Justification Jesus Christ

3. The doctrine of baptisms Sanctification Holy Spirit

4. Laying on of hands Sanctification Holy Spirit

5. Resurrection of the dead Glorification God the Father

6. Eternal judgment Glorification God the Father

The doctrine of faith towards God builds upon the doctrine of repentance from dead works, which is the doctrine of Justification; for we must first repent of our sins in order to receive Christ's sacrificial death for us. The doctrine of the laying on of hands builds upon the doctrine of baptisms, which is the doctrine of Sanctification. After partaking of the three baptisms (baptism into the body of Christ, water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit), we move into our calling and anointing through the laying on of hands. The doctrine of eternal judgment builds upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is the doctrine of Glorification. These are the three parts of our redemption that are addressed by the six foundational doctrines that Jesus Christ laid down in the Gospels and Acts. Thus, Paul builds upon these three foundational doctrines of Christ within his nine "Church" epistles.

The epistle of Romans plays a key role in the Church Epistles in that it lays a foundation of doctrines upon which the other eight Epistles build their themes. A mediaeval proverb once said, "All roads lead to Rome." 62] This means that anywhere in the ancient Roman Empire, when someone embarked on the Roman road system, if one traveled it long enough, it would lead him to the city of Rome. In a similar way, as all roads lead to Rome, so do all of Paul's Church Epistles proceed from the book of Romans. In other words, the themes of the other eight Church Epistles build upon the theme of Romans. Thus, the epistle of Romans serves as a roadmap that guides us through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and into the process of sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit and finally into the Father's eternal plan in the lives of mankind through His foreknowledge and divine election, which themes are further developed in the other eight Church Epistles. However, the epistle of Romans is presented largely from the perspective of God the Father divinely orchestrating His plan of redemption for all mankind while the other eight epistles place emphasis upon the particular roles of one of the God-head: the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. The systematic teachings laid forth in the book of Romans serves as a foundation upon which the other eight epistles to New Testament churches are built. For example, the letter to the Ephesians places emphasis upon the Father's divine election and equipping of the Church in order to fulfill the purpose and plan of God the Father upon this earth. Philippians emphasizes partnership as we give ourselves to God the Father in order to accomplish His will on this earth. The epistle to Colossians emphasizes the preeminence of Christ Jesus over the Church. Galatians emphasizes the theme of our deliverance and justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone. The theme of 1,2Thessalonians emphasizes the sanctification of the whole Prayer of Manasseh , spirit, soul, and body in preparing us for Christ's Second Coming 1,2Corinthians take us to the Cross and shows us the life of sanctification as we live in unity with one another so that the gifts of the Spirit can manifest through the body of Christ, which serves to edify the believers. Paul deals with each of these themes systematically in the epistle to the Romans. Thus, these other eight Church epistles emphasize and expand upon individual themes found in the book of Romans , all of which are built upon the three-fold office and ministry of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For this reason, Romans serves as a foundation of the doctrine of Christ Jesus upon which all other New Testament epistles are built.

62] The Milliarium Aureum was a monument erected in the central forum of the ancient city of Rome by Emperor Caesar Augustus. All of the roads built by the Romans were believed to begin at this point and transgress throughout the Empire. The road system of the Roman Empire was extraordinary, extending east to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and west to the British Isles, and north into central Europe and south into northern Africa. See Christian Hlsen, The Roman Forum: Its History and Its Monuments, trans. Jesse Benedict Carter (New York: G. E. Stechert & Co, 1906), 79; Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Ireneaus, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D 325, vol 1 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913), 1.

a) The Doctrine of the Office and Ministry of God the Father- The epistle of Ephesians is built upon the theme of God the Father's office and ministry of orchestrating a divine plan of redemption for mankind. While Romans takes a broad view of the Father's redemptive plan for all of mankind, Ephesians focuses entirely upon the role of the Church in this great plan. And in order for the believer to partake of this divine plan, the Father provides His spiritual blessings in heavenly places ( Ephesians 1:3) so that we, the Church, might accomplish His divine purpose and plan on earth. Man's role is to walk worthy of this calling ( Ephesians 4:1) and to fight the spiritual warfare through the Word of God ( Ephesians 6:10-13). The epistle of Philippians, which also emphasizes the work of God the Father, reveals how the believer is to serve God the Father so that He can fulfill His divine purpose and plan on earth. In this epistle the believer is to partner and give to support God's servants who are accomplishing God's purposes ( Philippians 1:5) and in turn, God will provide all of his needs ( Philippians 4:19). While Ephesians places emphasize upon the Father's role in the Church's glorification, Philippians emphasized the believer's role in fulfilling the Father's divine plan of redemption. Ephesians reveals how it looks in Heaven as the Father works redemption for the Church, and Philippians reveals how the Church looks when it is fulfilling the Father's redemptive plan. Reading Ephesians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Father's role in redemption, while reading Philippians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Father's role in redemption. Thus, the epistle of Philippians is a mirror image of Ephesians.

b) Jesus Christ the Song of Solomon - The epistle of Colossians reveals the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the Church and His preeminence over all Creation. Man's role is to fulfill God's will through the indwelling of Christ in him ( Colossians 1:9; Colossians 4:12). The epistle of Galatians, which also emphasizes the work of Jesus the Son in our redemption, teaches us how Jesus Christ has delivered us from the bondages of this world ( Galatians 1:4). Man's role is to walk as a new creature in Christ in order to partake of his liberties in Christ ( Galatians 6:15). While the epistle of Colossians emphasizes the role of Jesus Christ our Lord in our justification, Galatians emphasizes our role in having faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Colossians reveals how it looks in Heaven as Jesus the Son works redemption, while Galatians reveals how the Church looks when it is walking in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and giving Him preeminence in our daily lives. Reading Colossians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Son's role in redemption, while reading Galatians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Son's role in redemption. Thus, the epistle of Galatians is a mirror image of Colossians.

c) God the Holy Spirit - The epistles of 1,2Thessalonians teach us the office of the Holy Spirit, which is to sanctify the believer in spirit, soul and body ( 1 Thessalonians 5:23) in order to prepare him for the Second Coming of Christ Jesus ( 2 Thessalonians 1:10). The epistles of 1,2Corinthians, which also emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit in our redemption, reveals how the believer is to live a crucified life of walking in love and unity with fellow believers ( 1 Corinthians 16:13-16) in order to allow the gifts of the Spirit to work in and thru him as he awaits the Second Coming of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 1:7). While the epistles to the Thessalonians emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification, the epistles to the Corinthians emphasize our role in this process 1,2Thessalonians reveal how it looks in Heaven as the Holy Spirit works redemption, while 1,2Corinthians show us how the Church looks when it is going through the difficult process of sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit. Reading 1,2Thessalonians is like sitting in Heaven while looking down upon earth and getting a divine perspective of the Holy Spirit's role in redemption, while reading 1,2Corinthians is like sitting on the front row of a local church watching men work through the Holy Spirit's role in redemption. Thus, the epistles of Corinthians are a mirror image of the epistles of Thessalonians.

Finally, the epistle of Romans deals briefly with all three doctrines in systematic order as Paul the apostle expounds upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Romans 1:16-17) in order to establish the saints in the Christian faith ( Romans 16:25-27).

d) Illustration of Emphasis of Two Roles in the Pauline Epistles - We find a discussion of the important of the two-fold aspect of the writer and the reader in Booth-Colomb-Williams' book The Craft of Research. 63] These three professors explain that when a person writes a research paper he must establish a relationship with the intended reader. He does this by creating a role for himself as the writer and a role for the reader to play. This is because conversation is not one-sided. Rather, conversation, and a written report, involved two parties, the reader as well as the writer. Thus, we see how God has designed the Pauline epistles to emphasize the role the writer, by which we mean divine inspiration, and the reader, who plays the role of a believer endeavoring to become indoctrinated with God's Word.

63] Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003), 17-25.

Perhaps a good illustration of this two-fold aspect of the Trinity's role and perspective of redemption being emphasized in Ephesians , Colossian and 1,2Thessalonians and man's role and perspective being emphasized in Philippians ,, Galatians , 1,2Corinthians is found in a dream that the Lord gave to me in the mid-1990's. I was serving in my church Calvary Cathedral International in the ministry of helps as an altar worker. This meant that during each altar call we were to follow those who responded to the altar call back into a prayer room and pray with them. One Sunday morning the Lord gave me a dream in which I found myself in my local church during an altar call. As people responded and began to step out into the aisle and walk forward I saw them immediately transformed into children of light. In other words, I saw this transformation taking place in the spiritual realm, though in the natural we see nothing but a person making his way down the aisle. However, I saw these people transformed from sinners into saints in their spirits. I later made my way to church that morning, keenly aware of my impressionable dream a few hours ago. During church the altar call was made, people responded and I followed them into the prayer room along with the associate pastor and other altar workers. Suddenly, the associate pastor, Tom Leuther, who was over the altar work, received an emergency call and had to leave the prayer room. He looked at me and quickly asked me to lead this brief meeting by speaking to those who had responded and turn them over to prayer ministers. As I stood up and began to speak to these people I remembered my dream and was very aware of the incredible transformation that each one of them had made. Thus, Ephesians , Colossian and 1,2Thessalonians discussion redemptive doctrine from a spiritual perspective while Philippians ,, Galatians , 1,2Corinthians discuss doctrine from a natural, practical perspective, which we see being worked out in the daily lives of believers. In the natural we see a dirty sinner weeping before the altar, but with our spiritual eyes we see a pure and holy saint clothed in white robes.

2. The Secondary Theme of the Epistle of Ephesians - In identifying the secondary theme of the New Testament epistles, we must keep in mind that most of Paul's epistles are built on a format of presenting a central theme, or argument, that runs throughout the entire epistle. This central theme is usually found within the first few verses of each epistle, and often in the closing verses. The first few chapters of many of the Pauline epistles give the doctrinal basis for this argument, and the last few chapters often give the practical side of living by this doctrine. So it is with the epistle to the Ephesians. Paul builds a general argument by developing a number of specific arguments. A reader must not lose sight of this general argument or central theme, as he interprets the specific arguments; for the major argument undergirds the minor ones. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says about Ephesians that we must keep a firm grasp on the general argument while we follow Paul as he works it out using minor arguments. He assigns a specific theme to the epistle of Ephesians as God the Father's redemptive plan and activity in history ( Ephesians 2:10), and says that such identification was necessary to understand Paul's argument and for proper interpretation of the passages in this great epistle. 64]

64] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God's Way of Reconciliation: An Exposition of Ephesians Two (Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1972, reprint 1995), 12.

Paul uses this method of teaching in other epistles also. For example, Romans 1-11emphasizes doctrine, while Romans 12-16 emphasizes practical ways to apply that doctrine. This method is often used today in teaching Bible seminars when the instructor first introduces a Scriptural basis for lessons on living the Christian life before actually getting into the lessons.

The secondary, or structural, themes of each the New Testament epistles can be found in the open verses or passages of each book, and often in the closing verses. This is certainly the case with the epistle to the Ephesians. Under the foundational theme of establishing the doctrines of the New Testament Church, the secondary theme of Ephesians is the role of God the Father in the Church's redemption through His divine foreknowledge. The first three chapters of Ephesians teaches us how God the Father has planned all things and equipped the Church with all spiritual blessings necessary to fulfill the Father's divine plan of redemption ( Ephesians 1:3). In the opening passage of Ephesians , Paul uses many words and phrases that support the theme of God the Father's plan of redemption for mankind: "the will of God" ( Ephesians 1:1), "He chose us in Him" ( Ephesians 1:4), "having predestined us" ( Ephesians 1:5), "the good pleasure of His will" ( Ephesians 1:5), "having made known to us the mystery of His will" ( Ephesians 1:9), "which His purposed in Himself" ( Ephesians 1:9), "in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather" ( Ephesians 1:10), "being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will" ( Ephesians 1:11), "until the redemption of the purchased possession" ( Ephesians 1:12).

Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

The role of the Church is revealed in the last three chapters by exhorting the Church to be strong in the Lord so that it can carry out the Father's will upon the earth ( Ephesians 6:10).

Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

The major theme of the epistle to the Ephesians is to reveal the divine purpose and plan that God the Father has ordained for His Church. This letter reveals the "mystery" of the Church as no other New Testament writing. God has blessed the Church by divinely electing and equipped it with many spiritual blessings in order to bring about His purpose and plan on the earth. Paul emphasizes the revelation of these spiritual blessings and the divine authority that God has given to His Church through these gifts. Therefore, the key verse that reveals the central theme of this epistle is found in Ephesians 1:3, where it states that God the Father has "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" Paul also opens this epistle by foreshadowing the fact that he has joined with God the Father in accomplishing His plan of redemption, being called by the will of God as an apostle ( Ephesians 1:1).

There is a part of history that we can visibly see, and there is a part of history that we cannot see, which is the part that God is orchestrating in the spiritual realm. This divine intervention by God underlies all visible history that we can see with our eyes. The world only sees from the natural perspective of time and mortality. A person is born and then dies; thus for the world, time begins at birth and ends at one's death. But the book of Ephesians paints for us an eternal, divine perspective. We, as individuals, were made a part of God's plan from eternity past long before we were born. Our natural birth and physical death are just a small part of this overall plan for mankind. God thought about us before we were born and designed a plan for each of our lives that will be with us into eternity. Therefore, Paul writes his epistle to the Ephesians to reveal this great theme.

Paul spent over two years in Ephesus ( Acts 19:10), more time than at any city during his missionary journeys.

Acts 19:10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."

He was thus able to bring them into deeper truths of God's eternal, abiding Holy Word. He told the Corinthian church that he could only speak of these things to those who are spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:6, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:"

In other words, Paul was not able to teach such truths to the people at Corinth because of their immaturity. But the church at Ephesus was mature and ready to receive such teachings. Therefore, this epistle takes us deeper into God's divine plan for mankind than any of his other epistles. He is telling them that God has blessed the Church with a great plan and that He is actively working out His divine plan in the life of each believer. He reveals that the Gentiles are included in this divine plan and refers to this revelation as the "mystery hidden from the ages."

The emphasis in the first three chapters of Ephesians will be God's action towards mankind in giving these spiritual blessings, and the last three chapters will emphasize man's action towards God in walking in these blessings. The ultimate outcome will be the coming together of all things in Christ. If this outcome were dependent upon Prayer of Manasseh , then it would fail. However, Paul emphasizes that this outcome will be determined by God, and this outcome is by His grace, and not because of man's good works. Thus comes the resounding, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" ( Ephesians 1:3). However, we cannot underestimate the role of man in this ultimate outcome, which is seen in chapters 4-6. For the Church has been commissioned to take the Gospel to all nations. If they fail in this role, then multitudes of souls will not be found in heaven. The early Church recognized this two-fold structure to Ephesians. Theodoret of Cyrrus (A.D 393-466) closes his argument to the epistle of Ephesians , saying, "The former part of the epistle contains the doctrine of the gospel; the latter part, a moral admonition." (PG 82cols 507D-508D) 65]

65] Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 5 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 17.

If God will determine the outcome of history, and He will do this by His grace ( Ephesians 2:8-10), then this work must be done in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the plan that God has chosen in order to accomplish His will and purpose for mankind. Therefore, Paul repeatedly emphasizes that all that we are is because of Jesus and all that we do must be done in accordance to our service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let me illustrate the theme of Ephesians in modern terms. Imagine that a family is taking a long journey together on a family vacation. There is the mother and father and three or four children. Now as God has created and designed a plan for our lives and for the Church as a whole, so did someone design the car, the highway, all of the signs, the hotels and eating places along the journey and even the route and destination for this journey. Song of Solomon , Dad and Mom get in the car. The father is like the pastor of our church, whom God has ordained as our leader. Just as the pastor has been to Bible school in order to learn how to guide a church, so has the father learned much about how to drive the car and how to read the road map. The father has checked out the car to make sure he can get there as fast and as safely as possible. He has a road map with him and he has listened to the advice from his buddies at work on which route to take. Mom has focused on the comforts of the journey, taking plenty of clothing, snacks in the car, pillows, sunglasses, etc. She wants to make sure the journey is made as enjoyable as possible. Now, look at the child. He has been bouncing a ball this whole time, excited about the trip, but completely in the dark as to how they will get there or what is needed for the journey. Now he is happy because he is carefree. His only concerns are his immediate needs, whether he is hungry or needs to go to the potty, or if his sibling is playing with his toy and he wants it back. Many Christians take this journey in life as a child and not as the adult. They are so consumed with their immediate childish needs that they want the pastor and other church workers to take them on the journey comfortably. They may do something good like sharing their toys and think that they are doing a great work for the Lord, but this is very insignificant compared to the real work for this journey. Thank God for the mature adults who will make sure that everyone makes the journey safely. The children are just along for the ride. God wants us to grow up and understand this journey that we are on. It is not a journey that someone takes by himself. It is a family matter requiring the support of each member.

Thus, the major theme of this epistle is that God has blessed the Church with many spiritual blessings and equipped them in order to bring about His purpose and plan on earth. Did not the Lord Jesus refer to this role of the Church in bringing God's will upon the earth in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," ( Matthew 6:10). Therefore, the believer will find peace and joy only as he sets his heart and affections on these things above and not on the things of this earth. The epistle of Ephesians is structured like a journey and it teaches us how to find our role in God's plan for our lives and the role of the Church in general of God's great plan of redemption.

C. Third Theme (Imperative) of the Epistle of Ephesians - The Crucified Life of the Believer (We Walk a Worthy Walk and Join Together in Spiritual Warfare) - Introduction- The third theme of each book of the New Testament is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one's Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God's children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.

1. The Third Imperative Theme of the Church Epistles- Thus, the nine Church Epistles emphasis the office and ministry of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. Each of these epistles also reveals a central truth about our Christian life, or a secret truth, or a divine guiding principle, by which we can walk victorious in this life.

a) God the Father. According to Ephesians, the way that God the Father fulfills His divine plan through the Church is by our submission to one another ( Ephesians 4:1-2; Ephesians 5:21) and praying in the Spirit ( Ephesians 6:18); thus, the enemy of our divine destiny is putting on the old man and walking like the Gentiles in their futile minds ( Ephesians 4:17). Philippians expands upon this central truth by explaining the secret to God supplying all of our needs when we take care of God's servants first ( Philippians 2:20); thus, the enemy to having our needs met is selfishness ( Philippians 2:21).

b) Jesus the Son. According to Colossians the secret of walking in the fullness and riches and completeness of Christ is by setting our minds on things above ( Colossians 3:1-2); thus, the enemy of a full life in Christ is minding these earthly doctrines ( Colossians 2:20-23). Galatians expands upon this central truth by telling us the secret to walking in liberty from the bondages of this world is by being led by the Spirit ( Galatians 5:16); thus, the enemy of our freedom is walking in the flesh, which brings us back into bondage ( Galatians 5:17).

c) God the Holy Spirit. 1Thessalonians reveals to us that the way we are motivated and encouraged to go through the process of sanctification is by looking for and waiting expectantly for the Second Coming of Christ; thus, the enemy of our sanctification is being ignorant of His Second Coming and pending judgment. 1Corinthians expands upon this central truth of sanctification by telling us that the secret to walking in the gifts of the Spirit is by walking in unity within the body of Christ ( 1 Corinthians 1:10); thus, the enemy of walking in the gifts is strife and division ( 1 Corinthians 1:11).

d) Summary- All three of these doctrines (justification, sanctification and glorification) reveal the process that God is taking every believer through in order to bring him from spiritual death and separation from God into His eternal presence, which process we call divine election. God's will for every human being is justification through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on Calvary as He serves as our Great High Priest at the right hand of the Father, into sanctification by the Holy Spirit and into divine service through the laying on of hands, until we obtain glorification and immortality by the resurrection from the dead and are judged before the throne of God. If God be for us, who can be against us? Thus, the nine Church Epistles emphasis the office and ministry of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.

2. The Third Imperative Theme of the Epistle of Ephesians - The third theme of each of Paul's church epistles is an emphasis on how to apply the doctrinal truths laid down in the epistle to the Christian life. It is a life of crucifying the flesh and taking up our Cross daily to follow Him. In Ephesians our crucified lifestyle is described in Ephesians 4-6 as we are called to submit to one another and take our proper place in the body of Christ Jesus. As we find our role and operate in our gifts and callings, we position ourselves to be able to put on the armour of God and take up the sword of the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit so that we can defeat the Devil, who tries to hinder the fulfillment of God's divine plan in our lives. This is seen as a child of God tears down the powers of darkness by first, speaking God's Word in faith and secondly, by praying in tongues (see Ephesians 6:17-18). Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The epistle of Ephesians emphasizes one aspect of this conformity through the crucified life of faith and obedience in Him. We participate in the Father's plan of redemption for mankind as we partake of spiritual warfare.

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Figure 1 - The Themes of the Pauline Church Epistles

D. Additional Comments- In addition, some scholars make the insightful note that there are three verses in Ephesians that may be used to summarize the major themes of this epistle as "sitting, walking and standing," with one located within each of the major passages.

Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

Ephesians 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

Because we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies, we are to walk worthy of this calling by submitting to one another. This walk of love puts us in a position to be able to stand against the works of the Devil. This three-fold emphasis is reflected within the three themes discussed above.

X. Literary Structure

The literary structure of the epistle of Ephesians must follow the thematic scheme of the book. It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book of the Holy Bible was not necessarily intended by the original author, but it is being used as a means of making the interpretation easier. It is hoped that this summary and outline can identify the underlying themes of the book, as well as the themes of its major divisions, sections and subsections. Then individual verses can more easily be understood in light of the emphasis of the immediate passages in which they are found.

The structure of the book of Ephesians is built around the revelation of the spiritual blessings bestowed upon the Church by God the Father (see Ephesians 1:3) and the divine calling to His church (see Ephesians 4:1). The first three chapters reveal to us God the Father's role in redeeming man and equipping him for divine service. These chapters emphasize Church doctrine and show that the Ephesians and all of God's children are "saints," "holy ones," seated with, or positioned with, Christ and sharing with Him in His seat of divine authority. This passage can be divided into the three-fold roles of the God the Father, Jesus Christ the Song of Solomon , and the Holy Spirit. The last three chapters show the Church's role in fulfilling God's plan of redemption for mankind. This passage teaches us how to walk worthy of our divine calling. In these chapters we find an emphasis upon the three-fold make-up of man's mind, spirit, and body. The Epistle culminates with a call to spiritual warfare, in which Paul uses the symbols of a Roman soldier to describe man's role in responding to God's eternal plan of redemption for the Church. In summary, the structure of the epistle of Ephesians reveals a triune God speaking to a triune man to join Him in His plan to redeem mankind.

I. Salutation ( Ephesians 1:1-2) - This passage of Scripture is called the salutation and is found in all thirteen of Paul's New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity ( 2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

In Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul gives his opening salutation to the believers in Ephesus.

II. Introduction: The Father's Calling Revealed ( Ephesians 1:3-23) - In the opening passage of Ephesians , Paul declares the great spiritual blessings given to the Church in order to fulfill God the Father's divine plan of redemption ( Ephesians 1:3-23). Ephesians 1:3-14 is a summary and thanksgiving to God for His blessings upon us though Jesus Christ. In this passage, Paul is expressing in words the inexpressible depths and riches of God's blessings towards us. This passage is full of vivid, deep, meaningful words, which try to express the unsearchable riches of God"s grace towards us. Ephesians 1:15-23 serves as a prayer that we may grow in the understanding of these blessings that are revealed in Ephesians 1:3-14.

These blessings are bestowed upon the Church through the work of the Father who planned our redemption ( Ephesians 1:3-6), and by the Son who redeemed us ( Ephesians 1:7-12) and by the Spirit who seals and indwells the Church ( Ephesians 1:13-14). Each of these three passages ends with a similar phrase, "to the praise to His glory." Paul then prays for the saints to come into the revelation of these great truths ( Ephesians 1:15-23). In this prayer Paul refers to three aspects of these blessings; the Father's blessings give us the hope of our calling through His predestination; the Son's blessings give us the riches of our glorious inheritance through justification; and the Spirit gives us the power through sanctification, "until the redemption of the purchased possession," which refers to our glorification. Paul then takes chapters 2,3to expound upon these three blessings in light of God's high calling of allowing Him to work in and through us to bring men unto redemption.

Ephesians 1:3-14 will list for us the manifold blessings that God the Father has made available to His children. This passage of Scripture is structured as a progressive series of events in the life of the believer. These blessings of God begin before a child of God is baptized. God chose us and predestined us to be His children before the foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:3-6). When Jesus died and was resurrected, we were redeemed and our sins were forgiven. When we believe in Jesus, we receive this redemption and forgiveness ( Ephesians 1:7-12). God then begins to reveal to us His will for our lives, which is a plan that fits into His overall plan of redemption for all of mankind. This plan includes being sealed with His Holy Spirit, which is a foretaste of His wonderful inheritance that He has waiting for us in heaven ( Ephesians 1:13-14). 66] Each of these three sections in this great passage end with the phrase, "to the praise of his glory" ( Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14). 67]

66] Jay Smith uses a method he calls "exegetical outlining" to identify this breakdown of Ephesians 1:3-14, describing its subsections as the Father's choice (election) (1:3-6), the Son's redemption (1:7-12), and the Spirit's sealing (1:13-14). See Jay E. Smith, "Sentence Diagramming, Clausal Layouts, and Exegetical Outlining," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 131.

67] Jay Smith describes these three ending phrases as "refrains" in a "hymnic poetic passage." See Jay E. Smith, "Sentence Diagramming, Clausal Layouts, and Exegetical Outlining," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 94.

Thus, we see revealed by Paul in the opening passage of this great epistle the three-fold offices of God the Father ( Ephesians 1:3-6), Jesus Christ the Son ( Ephesians 1:7-12) and God the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 1:13-14) as it relates to the Father's eternal plan for the Church. There are many aspects of the offices of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but this passage refers to their offices as it particularly relates to the fulfillment of God's divine plan for His Church. Therefore, it refers to the forgiveness of their sins through Jesus Christ and being sealed by the Holy Spirit so that the believer is able to walk in God's plan for his life. Note that all of these blessings come by God's grace and not by anything that mankind deserves.

The epistle of Ephesians is structured so that if we will follow its path, God's Word will take us on a journey of obtaining these spiritual blessings referred to in Ephesians 1:3. Therefore, in the following passage ( Ephesians 1:15-23) Paul will pray that the saint will come to the revelation of these three great blessings that proceed from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In this prayer, Paul refers to these three blessings as "that ye may know:

(1) The Father- what is the hope of his calling, and

(2) The Song of Solomon - what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and

(3) The Holy Spirit- what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.

Paul will then expound upon these blessings in chapters 2-3.

(1) The Father's Blessings- The Hope of Our Calling ( Ephesians 2:1-22)

(2) The Son's Blessings- The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance ( Ephesians 3:1-13)

(3) The Spirit's Blessings- The Power Given to Every Believer ( Ephesians 3:14-21)

Paul then proceeds to tell the saints how to fulfill the purpose and plan for each of their lives in chapters 4-6. If they will follow the path of sanctification laid out in these chapters, then they will be able to enter into spiritual warfare ( Ephesians 6:10-18) so that each of them might fulfill their individual callings. God will bring their calling to pass only as they pray for Paul to fulfill his purpose and plan ( Ephesians 6:19-20).

Finally, it is interesting to note that within this passage of Ephesians 1:3-14, the phrases, "in Christ," "in the beloved," "in Himself," "by Jesus Christ," and "in whom," are used twelve times in this one passage of Scripture.

A. Predestination: The Father Planned the Church ( Ephesians 1:3-6) - Ephesians 1:3-6 reveals how God the Father planned the Church, having foreknown and predestined it before the foundation of the world. Other passages on the Father place a difference emphasis upon His office and ministry. For example, the Gospel of John emphasizes the Father's fellowship with the Son. In 2Corinthians, He is the God of All Comfort. The epistle of Philippians emphasizes the Father's provision to those who give to the work of the ministry. In 1Thessalonians, He is the God of Peace who sanctifies us wholly. In James , He is the Father of Lights who never changes to those tossed about with the troubles of life and He rewards those who seek Him in faith.

B. Justification: The Son Redeemed the Church ( Ephesians 1:7-12) - Ephesians 1:7-12 tells us how the Son redeemed the Church in order to work all things after the counsel of God's divine will through justification. These verses place emphasis upon the role that God the Father ordained for Jesus Christ the Son in Hiss eternal plan of redemption for mankind. This passage tells us that the shed blood of Jesus Christ will allow the Father to bring all things back into His perfect union, and that forgiveness granted by the blood of Jesus was effective because of the mercy of the Father. It is by the Father's design that all things will be brought into union in Christ Jesus.

C. Sanctification: The Spirit Sealed the Church ( Ephesians 1:13-14) - Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that the Holy Spirit sealed the Church. It describes the Holy Spirit's role of sanctification in relation to God's eternal plan for mankind, which is the theme of Ephesians. In contrast, Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter to God's children and as the One who convicts the world of sin ( John 16:7-15). In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul describes the role of the Holy Spirit as the One who imparts spiritual gifts to edify the Church ( 1 Corinthians 12-14). In 1Thessalonians Paul discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the sanctification of the entire man; spirit, soul and body ( 1 Thessalonians 5:23). In the Old Testament we see the role of the Holy Spirit in Creation as the wisdom ( Proverbs 8:22-31) and the power of God ( Genesis 1:2). To David the Holy Spirit was the one who taught his hands to war. Other New Testament passages give us insight into the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit as it relates to the theme of that particular book. However, here in Ephesians 1:13-14 the role of the Holy Spirit is seen as our deposit, or guarantee, of receiving God the Father's future hope of redemption.

D. Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians to Know This Three-fold Blessing ( Ephesians 1:15-23) - Paul was a man of prayer. Such prayers can be found in most of his epistles. Paul begins many of his epistles with a prayer, a feature typical of ancient Greco-Roman epistles as well, 68] with each prayer reflecting the respective themes of these epistles. For example, Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the church at Rome ( Romans 1:8-12) reflects the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in redeeming mankind. Paul's prayer of thanks for the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 1:4-8) reflects the theme of the sanctification of believers so that the gifts of the Spirit can operate through them as mature believers walking in love. Paul's prayer to the Corinthians of blessing to God for comforting them in their tribulations ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-7) reflects the theme of higher level of sanctification so that believers will bear the sufferings of Christ and partake of His consolation. Paul's prayer to the Ephesians ( Ephesians 1:15-22) reflects the theme of the believer's participation in God the Father's great plan of redemption, as they come to the revelation this divine plan in their lives. Paul's prayer to the Philippians ( Philippians 1:3-11) reflects the theme of the believer's role of participating with those whom God the Father has called to minister redemption for mankind. Paul's prayer to the Colossians ( Colossians 1:9-16) reflects the theme of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the life of every believer, as they walk worthy of Him in pleasing Him. Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) reflects the theme of the role of the Holy Spirit in our complete sanctification, spirit, soul, and body. Paul's second prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4) reflects the theme of maturity in the believer's sanctification.

68] John Grassmick says many ancient Greek and Roman epistles open with a "health wish" and a prayer to their god in behalf of the recipient. See John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

Ephesians 1:15-23 is essentially a prayer by Paul for the saints to understand the next two chapters in which he expounds upon these spiritual blessings that are briefly listed in Ephesians 1:3-14. Paul is able to pray this prayer in faith because they have become faithful believers ( Ephesians 1:15) and because he is confident of the work of the Holy Spirit in each of their lives ( Ephesians 1:19), which power raised Christ from the dead and set Him at the right hand of the Father ( Ephesians 1:20-23). In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul prays that we as Christians might know three things:

1. Predestination and Calling: The hope of His calling

2. Justification: The riches of the glory of His inheritance

3. Sanctification: The exceeding greatness of His power

1. Predestination and Calling: The Hope of His Calling - God the Father has called us to share in the hope that Israel partakes of. In other words, He has planned our journey. Paul will elaborate on the Father's plan and the hope of our calling in Ephesians 2:1-10.

Ephesians 2:12, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

2. Justification: The Riches of the Glory of His Inheritance - We are to look to our heavenly resources to experience His blessings now through Christ Jesus. That Isaiah , Jesus has authorized and equipped us for the journey. Paul will elaborate on our inheritance in Jesus Christ in Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13.

Ephesians 3:8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

3. Sanctification: The Exceeding Greatness of His Power - God wants to teach us how to live victorious now by the power of the Holy Spirit and enter into heaven. In other words, the Holy Spirit will empower us for the journey. Paul will pray for the Spirit to empower us in Ephesians 3:14-21. Note:

Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

Colossians 1:29, "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

Paul will further elaborate on these three aspects of our spiritual blessings in chapters 2-3. In chapters 4-6 he will teach us how to walk in these blessings.

Now, why are these three aspects of divine blessings equally important to understand? We are all on a journey. In the natural, if we were going to take a long journey, we would drive our car to our destination. In order to do that, we would need a road map and a plan for the journey, such as when to stop, and eat, and rest. We would need a driver's license so that we have the legal right to get on the road. Then we would need to put fuel in the car. All three of these items are necessary for the journey. As believers we all have salvation, just like most of us own a car, but without a plan from God, and the legal authority from the blood and name of Jesus, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we will not reach our destination and fulfill God's plan in our lives.

III. The Father's High Calling: God's Role ( Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21) - In Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21 Paul explains the Father's high calling by expounding upon the three-fold office of the Trinity mentioned in the previous passage ( Ephesians 1:3-23). This passage is discussed in light of God the Father's redemptive plan for mankind. It explains how the Father gives us hope ( Ephesians 2:1-10), while the Son gives us a glorious inheritance ( Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13), and the Spirit empowers us ( Ephesians 3:14-21).

A. The Father's Blessings: The Hope of Our Calling Through Predestination ( Ephesians 2:1-10) - In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul explains the hope of our calling as God the Father, in His great mercy, foreordained us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This passage of Scripture expounds upon Ephesians 1:3-6. Paul first describes man's depravity and despair ( Ephesians 2:1-3), then reveal's God's plan of redemption through His great love for mankind as He made us alive through Christ Jesus and ordained that we walk in good works ( Ephesians 2:4-10).

1. Man's Depravity ( Ephesians 2:1-3) - In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul describes the depravity of mankind. This passage parallels Romans 1:18-32, revealing the bondage of mankind to the power and dominion of Satan as a background for declaring God's wonderful grace and redemption in the next passage of Ephesians 2:4-10.

2. God's Plan of Redemption ( Ephesians 2:4-10) - Having stated man's depravity in the preceding passage ( Ephesians 2:1-3) Paul proceeds to expound upon God's glorious plan of redemption because of His great love for mankind.

B. The Son's Blessings: The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance through Justification ( Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13) - In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul tells us that in His mercy God the Father saved us out of the bondage of darkness and sin and has prepared for us a work, or plan, to do for Him. He then tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22 how God would do this by Jesus' redemptive work of reconciling all people back to Himself. This passage of Scripture expounds upon Ephesians 1:7-12. God called the Gentiles to become one with Israel, and thus, partakers of Israel's inheritance. Before this calling the Gentiles were without hope ( Ephesians 2:12). This plan is for all of the saints to work together in peace in order to build a habitation for God to dwell among us. In Ephesians 3:1-13 Paul elaborates on his personal calling as an apostle to the Gentile to reveal the "mystery" that he has just discussed in Ephesians 2:1-22. He explains that this mystery is found in Christ Jesus, in whom are hid "the unsearchable riches of Christ" ( Ephesians 3:8).

1. Christ's Work of Reconciliation ( Ephesians 2:11-22) - Ephesians 2:11-22 parallels Romans 9-11as they both explain how the Gentiles were united with Israel and became partakers of Israel's inheritance. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22 that the Father's divine plan in redemption is to break down the dividing walls among nations in order to build a habitation for God to dwell among His people. Thus, He is trying to bring unity back to the people on the earth. The first time God poured out His Spirit at the Tower of Babel was to divide the peoples into nations. The second time was the day of Pentecost and it was intended to bring all nations back into one group making peace.

In Genesis 11:1-9 the gift of tongues was intended to divide the people into nations. In contrast, the gift of tongues that was poured out on the day of Pentecost was intended to unite all people into one new man in Christ Jesus. This is why the Jews of the Diaspora clearly understood them speaking in their own language in order for them to hear the Gospel and become one in Christ Jesus.

2. Paul's Commission to Declare These Riches ( ) - In Ephesians 2:1-22 Paul has just described God the Father's divine calling for every man and how His plan for their lives is to come together in peace in order to build a habitation for Him. In Ephesians 3:1-13 Paul then refers to his personal calling and the message He has been called to preach within the context of this greater plan for His glorious Church in order to give himself as an example of God's grace.

In Paul's testimony in Ephesians 3:1-13 he elaborates on his personal calling as an apostle to the Gentile to reveal the "mystery" that he has just discussed in Ephesians 2:1-22. He will first explain the wisdom of this mystery that has been imparted unto Him by the working of the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 3:3-7). He then explains that this mystery is found in Christ Jesus, in whom are hid "the unsearchable riches of Christ" ( Ephesians 3:8) and that we all are to be partakers of this mystery, God's plan of redemption for the Gentiles ( Ephesians 3:9). Through partaking of this revelation of Christ, we come to know the manifold wisdom of God the Father in His eternal plan of redemption ( Ephesians 3:10-11). This passage tells us that the Gentiles as well as the Jews now have access to God's boundless riches through Jesus Christ. Because of this fact, Paul will then pray for them in Ephesians 3:14-21 to understand and partake of these blessings.

This passage of Scripture ( Ephesians 3:1-13) also tells us that God chose Paul the apostle to lay the doctrinal foundation of the New Testament Church. This "mystery" is revealed in doctrines that are taught in the nine Pauline Church Epistles.

The underlying theme of Ephesians is the foreknowledge of Father's plan of redemption for man and all of creation. Therefore, Paul discusses his divine commission to reveal this plan, which he calls "a mystery." In Ephesians 3:1-13 Paul discusses his commission from the perspective of God's foreknowledge of his calling even before he was born. Paul talks about the mystery of Christ hidden in ages past, but now made known by him and the other apostles and prophets. He said that he was called to this ministry by the grace of God (the Father) according to His eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus. It is important to note that God gave Paul the apostle the calling to write the Church and Pastoral Epistles in order to establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. It is important to understand that the apostles of the Lamb were not given this divine task and calling to establish Church doctrine. It was Paul who actually laid down this doctrine for the Church. This is one reason he says that he was born "out of due time" ( 1 Corinthians 15:8).

1 Corinthians 15:8, "And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."

C. The Spirit's Blessings: The Power Given to Every Believer Through Sanctification ( Ephesians 3:14-21) - In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul prays for God to work in the lives of the believers through the power of the Holy Spirit in order to know the love of Christ and to be filled with all of God's fullness. This passage of Scripture expounds upon Ephesians 1:13-14.

IV. The Worthy Walk: Man's Role ( Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:20) - Having seen how God the Father has done everything that He can possibly do for us to live a victorious life, Paul then focuses upon the believer's response to the Father's divine calling. The first three chapters of Ephesians have told us that if God be for us then who can be against us (note similar verses in Romans 8:31; Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14).

Romans 8:31, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Romans 8:37, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Corinthians 2:14, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place."

God the Father planned our journey, while Jesus has given us the legal right to take this journey, and the Holy Spirit empowers us for the journey. In the last three chapters of Ephesians Paul exhorts them on practical application by showing them how to live "saintly," or how to respond to God's grace in their lives in light of this position of spiritual authority. God has a plan for each of us that is so unique and so important to the body of Christ, that if we do not fulfill this calling, then the body of Christ will forever suffer the lack of this ministry. The reason the Church has yet to fulfill the Great Commission after two thousand years is because believers have not fulfilled their proper roles in God's plan of redemption. This section in Ephesians opens with a key verse that summarizes the theme of these three chapters of exhortation, which is to walk worthy of our calling, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," ( Ephesians 4:1).

Paul takes the first half of his epistle to the Ephesians to teach his readers doctrinal truths. He then takes the second half of this letter to show them how to apply these truths to their daily living. Paul discusses the theme of God the Father's divine plan of redemption for mankind in the first three chapters. He then takes the last three chapters to teach the Church how to live so that the Church can help fulfill the Father's will. In the last three chapters of Ephesians , Paul exhorts them on practical application by exhorting them to walk out their high calling in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 4:1-16), then he shows them how to do it. The word "calling" is used because this is part of God the Father's foreknowledge in fulfilling His divine plan of redemption. We see this in Romans 8:29-30 where foreknowledge is seen as predestination and calling. Thus, Paul is telling the saints how to respond to the Father's calling, rather than the Son's work of righteousness on Calvary, or the Holy Spirit's work of sanctification.

Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus to live "saintly" by showing them how to respond to God the Father's divine call in their lives in light of this position of spiritual authority. This section opens with a key verse that summarizes the theme of these last three chapters of exhortation, which is the "worthy walk":

Ephesians 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

In Ephesians 4:1 Paul begins to explain their obligation to God's high calling upon their lives as His "saints" ( Ephesians 4:1-16). In order to fulfill this calling, they are to strive to walk in the fullness of Christ ( Ephesians 4:13). Paul then focuses on the three-fold area of human development, the spirit, the soul and the body, so that they will be able to walk in the fullness of Christ. Paul chooses to begin with the soul of Prayer of Manasseh , for it is made up of the mind, will and emotions. Therefore, it contains the five sense-gates by which a person receives information in order to make a proper decision in life, which is figuratively spoken of as a "walk." Once a person can be "discipled in Christ" by the renewing his mind ( Ephesians 4:17-32), he will learn how to be led by the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-14), which will then allow him to yield his body daily as a servant of Christ ( Ephesians 5:15 to Ephesians 6:9), and finally, to win the victories of spiritual warfare ( Ephesians 6:10-18). Thus, Paul's exhortation first places emphasis upon the soul ( Ephesians 4:1-32), then the spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-14) followed by the body ( Ephesians 5:15 to Ephesians 6:9). Only then will a person be ready to enter into the spiritual warfare discussed in the final passage ( Ephesians 6:10-18). The reason Paul uses the word "walk" to introduce each section of this passage is because he is telling us to take a journey that will lead us into spiritual maturity.

A. The High Calling into Spiritual Maturity ( Ephesians 4:1-16) - In Ephesians 4:1-16 Paul explains the obligation of believers to God's high calling upon their lives as His "saints." As Ephesians 1:3-14 refers to our spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 4:1-16 tells us about our spiritual blessings on earth in Christ Jesus, which is found in the Church. Ephesians 4:1-16 has a theme, which can be "A call to spiritual maturity by walking worthy of the divine calling given to each one of us" ( Ephesians 4:1). It is by genuine humility and patience with one another in a true heart of love that believers are able to walk in unity ( Ephesians 4:2-3). Paul refers to the "unity of the Spirit" in Ephesians 4:3 and the "unity of the faith" in Ephesians 4:13. Unity in the body of Christ brings about the edification of the body of Christ through the love walk ( Ephesians 4:16). The last word in this passage is "love," both in the Greek text and in English versions. Thus, unity is the key to empowering the Church, and it is only by walking in love that believers will be discipled, work together in unity, and build themselves up in the faith and unity of the spirit so that they can walk in power. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot fulfill its destiny without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. A divided Church is a weak Church; and a weak Church is a defeated Church. Samuel Doctorian says, "There is need of unity in my body. There are many divisions among you. My spirit will not move and work where there is no unity." 69]

69] Samuel Doctorian, The Vision of Five Angels (Pasadena, California: Bible Land Mission, 1998) [on-line]; accessed 7 June 2010; available from http://www.insightsofgod.com/downloads/5angelsofthecontinents.pdf; Internet.

Ephesians 4:1-16 serves as an introductory passage to the exposition that follows ( Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9) in the same way that Ephesians 1:3-23 serves to introduce the passage that follows it ( Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21). Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 introduces the offices of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and is followed by a more detailed exposition on this topic in Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21, so does Ephesians 4:1-16 introduce the believer's worthy walk and is followed by a more detailed exposition of this topic in Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9.

In a nutshell, we can safely say that a child of God cannot walk worthy of God unless he joins a local church and puts himself under his pastor. This is the jest of Ephesians 4:1-6 and why this passage is placed before the following passages on character development. We must first submit ourselves under the leadership of the Church that Jesus Christ has established, as discussed in Ephesians 4:1-16. There in the environment of the local Church we begin to grow as babes in Christ. We must first fall into rank and file and become involved in our local church. Unless we are involved in the ministry of helps, we are not in rank and file. Rather, we are wandering on the out skirts of the marching army and are not benefiting the church. When we join the church, we put ourselves in a position to grow in the Lord and to be used by Him.

B. The Path to Spiritual Maturity ( Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9) - In order to fulfill this high calling, believers are to strive to walk in the fullness of Christ ( Ephesians 4:13). In order to do this, Paul focuses on the three-fold area of human development: the spirit, the soul and the body. Paul chooses to begin with the soul of Prayer of Manasseh , for it is made up of the mind, will and emotions. Therefore, it contains the five sense-gates by which a person receives information in order to make a proper decision in life, which is figuratively spoken of as a "walk"; and it is in this realm that a person decides by his own will to grow into spiritual maturity. Once a person can be "discipled in Christ" by the renewing his mind ( Ephesians 4:17-32), he will learn how to be led by the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-20), which will then allow him to yield his body daily as a servant of Christ ( Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9), and finally, to win the victories of spiritual warfare ( Ephesians 6:10-18). Thus, Paul's exhortation first places emphasis upon the soul ( Ephesians 4:1-32), then the spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-20) followed by the body ( Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9). Only then will a person be ready to enter into the spiritual warfare discussed in the final passage ( Ephesians 6:10-18). The reason Paul uses the word "walk" to introduce each section of this passage is because he is telling us to take a journey that will lead us into spiritual maturity.

The large amount of emphasis that these chapters place upon renewing the mind, being led by the Spirit, and submission is due to the fact that when we are under the authority and leadership of the Holy Spirit, we find God's divine protection, as did Job (see Job 1:10). However, when we become proud and rebellious, we step outside of God's protective hedge, and are no longer about to stand against the devil.

Job 1:10, "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

James describes this humble walk as "meekness of wisdom."

James 3:13, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom."

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Soul: Renewing of the Mind ( Ephesians 4:17-32) - In light of their divine authority in Christ, God's children are to walk worthy of this calling ( Ephesians 4:1), submitting themselves to one another in all of their social relationships, for this is the only way that we can walk in authority and victory in our own lives ( Ephesians 4:1). It is this attitude of submission that will bring unity into the body of Christ ( Ephesians 4:3-16). Paul then tells them how to develop this character in their lives, which was not there before their conversion. In this passage, Paul refers to the Gentiles walking in the vanity of their minds and their understanding being darkened ( Ephesians 4:17-18). They are to renew to their minds and chose to lay aside the old man ( Ephesians 4:17-19) and to put on the new man ( Ephesians 4:20-32).

This passage discusses how a believer is to renew his mind in light of the role that we are to play in God's eternal plan of redemption. In other words, the Gentiles walk "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 2:2). However, we are to put on the new man and shine as children of light in this dark and sinful world.

a) The Old Man: The Depravity of Mankind ( Ephesians 4:17-19) - Ephesians 4:17-19 describes the lifestyle of the old man before meeting Christ. Paul's description in Ephesians 4:17-19 of the darkness that the world lives in parallels the passage in Ephesians 2:1-3, which describes their former life prior to Christ, and it stands in contrast to Paul's prayer for God open up the eyes of the Church ( Ephesians 1:15-23. Ephesians 3:14-21).

In Ephesians 4:17-19 Paul will describe the old man with his depraved nature, which explains the process of depravity. When a man hardens his heart towards God ( Ephesians 4:18 c), he alienates himself from God through his ignorance ( Ephesians 4:18 b). This alienation leads to the understanding of their mind becoming dark ( Ephesians 4:18 a). This follows with a lifestyle of making vain decisions ( Ephesians 4:17 b). The outward evidence of walking in the vanity of one's mind is a lifestyle of uncleanness, which is driven by covetousness, or self-centeredness ( Ephesians 4:19). Thus, we see a progression of depravity, which begins with a man's heart as it turns away from the Lord, darkening his mind, and corrupting his actions.

We can find an additional description of the foolishness and vanity of the Gentiles in Paul's exposition in the epistle of Romans on the depravity of mankind ( Romans 1:18-32).

Romans 1:21-22, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"

b) The New Man: Renewing the Mind of Man ( Ephesians 4:20-32) - Ephesians 4:20-32 emphasizes the new man. Paul then tells the Ephesians how to develop this divine character in their lives, which was not there before their conversion. They are to renew to their minds and chose to lay aside the old man ( Ephesians 4:17-19) and to put on the new man ( Ephesians 4:20-32).

Note that each individual Christians must make a choice as to whether or not to put on the new man. No one can force them. God gives man this responsibility to act and chose to live Godly or not, even as a believer, in order to see if they truly love Him or not.

i) The Old Man verses the New Man ( Ephesians 4:20-24) - This passage discusses the new man in contrast to the old man. The old man is corrupt ( Ephesians 4:22) while the new man reflects the image of God ( Ephesians 4:24, Ephesians 5:1). Therefore, in the following passage, ( Ephesians 4:25-32), Paul gives them practical advice on how to put on the new man while further describing the characteristics of each type of man.

When a person physically dies, his sinful habits come to an end. His death ends the dominion of sin over his life. That dead person will never sin again. When we are born again, we die and are resurrected in Christ Jesus. All that remains of our old man is the memory of its former behavior. On the inside we are a new Prayer of Manasseh , a new creation, with new desires. However, we must still renew our minds and recognize the fact that our mind has been used to following the cravings of our fleshly body that is sinful. We are to renew our mind and learn how to be led by our new, inner man which no longer desires to sin. This is what Paul is stating in this passage.

Ephesians 4:22 tells us to put off the old man while Ephesians 4:24 tells us to put on the new Prayer of Manasseh , but often to get from one place to another we have to take a journey, or to go through a process. If we look at the Ephesians 4:23, which is placed in between these two verses, we will be told the process. The process requires that we renew our minds. We have to change our thinking in order to take on the lifestyle unto which God is calling us.

Paul discusses this topic in some of his other epistles ( Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

ii) Characteristics of the New Man ( Ephesians 4:25-32) - In Ephesians 4:25-32 Paul gives them practical advice on how to put on the new man while further describing the characteristics of each type of man. Lying, stealing, laziness, and corruption are the words that characterize the old man. In underdeveloped societies where God is not served, these are the major characteristics of such people. In addition, such people are often angry and vengeful. Today's corrupt nations are full of such people. This is what characterized the ancient Greek society in which the Ephesians lived.

The new man will learn to speak the truth in all situations ( Ephesians 4:25), to control his temper ( Ephesians 4:26), to labor honestly rather than stealing ( Ephesians 4:28), to control his speech ( Ephesians 4:29), to learn the leadership of the Holy Spirit rather than grieving Him ( Ephesians 4:30), to control his emotions ( Ephesians 4:31) and to forgive others ( Ephesians 4:31).

2. The Spirit: Being Led By the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-20) - Secondly, these saints are to walk in love as they learn to be led by the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:1-7), which means that they are to follow their conscience, which is the voice of the heart, or spirit. Another way to describe this is to learn how to "walk in the light" ( Ephesians 5:8-17), which essentially means that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to the fruit of the Spirit as the evidence of being led by the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:9). We are also called to stay filled with the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit by learning to worship God ( Ephesians 5:18-20).

a) Walk in Love: The Heart of Man ( Ephesians 5:1-7) - Ephesians 5:1-7 emphasizes the need to walk in love with one another. It teaches us to be led by our conscience, which is the voice of our hearts, which will lead us in the love walk.

b) Walk in the Light: The Mind of Man ( Ephesians 5:8-17) - Ephesians 5:8-17 emphasizes the need to walk in the light of God's Word, which means to have our minds walk in the understanding of God's Word. He refers to the fruit of the Spirit as the evidence of being led by the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:9).

c) Be Filled with the Holy Spirit: Our Bodies ( Ephesians 5:18-20) - Ephesians 5:18-20 emphasizes how to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can be led by the Holy Spirit.

The book of Acts tells us that the church of Ephesus was filled with the Holy Spirit when Paul visited them for the first time ( Acts 19:1-7). In Ephesians 5:18, Paul commanded these same believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit on a continual basis. In Ephesians 5:19, Paul shows them how to do this, by spending personal time worshipping the Lord. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 5:18), there are certain characteristics that we exhibit. There will be a melody in our hearts ( Ephesians 5:19) that bring peace and gentleness. As I labour to enter into these times of praise and worship in my quiet time, I sense the presence of the Lord bringing a sweet peace within. As I leave this place of rest, and go out into the cares of the day, I find opportunities to lose this anointing. We are like a tub of water. We can fill up the bathtub, but if we then allow strife, fear, doubt or anxiety to enter in, it is like pulling the drain plug and all of the water drains out, leaving us empty. It is up to us to enter back into this quiet time and be continually filled with the presence of the Lord. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Seek Me early; seek Me late; seek Me in the midst of the day. Ye need Me in the early hours for direction and guidance and for My blessing upon thy heart. Ye need Me at the end of the day to commit into My hands the day's happenings - both to free thyself of the burdens and to give them over into My hands that I may continue to work things out. And ye need Me more than ever in the busy hours, in the activities and responsibilities, that I may give thee My grace and My tranquillity and My wisdom." 70]

70] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 174.

As a result of learning to enter into this anointing and to carry it with us during the day, we become people of thanksgiving for the goodness that God shows us each day ( Ephesians 5:20). We stop being short-sighted and selfish about our needs and begin to see God's divine hand intervening in the littlest affairs of our daily activity. Anger and bitterness are less able to intrude into our minds and hearts. This humbles us so that we are much more able to submit ourselves to one another ( Ephesians 5:21) in the love of God. There will be a submissive spirit in our relationships with others as a result of a genuine fear of God in our hearts ( Ephesians 5:21). We can better fulfil our roles in society when we are yielded to the Holy Spirit and submitted to the needs of others.

3. The Body: Submitting Our Bodies to God's Will ( Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9) - Thirdly, after a saint has learned to walk in love with a renewed his mind and learned how to stay filled with the Holy Spirit, he is then able to submit himself to one another in every type of social relationship. This is accomplished by walking circumspectly in the fear of the Lord as His servants because submission to God and others contradicts the will of the flesh. It is this walk of submission that allows the anointing of the Holy Spirit to become strong in our inner man.

The role of submission will become a dominant theme in Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9 as Paul tells us to walk in submission in our family and working relationships, which means in every relationship we may have in society. Paul conveniently gives us a clear definition of the word submission in Ephesians 4:2-3 by using the words lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing in love, unity, and peace. There is no better definition of the phrase "submitting yourselves to one another" ( Ephesians 5:21) on proper human relationships than is found in these two gentle verses that open Paul's discourse on our high calling in Christ Jesus. Thus, Paul has come full circle expounding upon our high calling, which can only be fulfilled by joining the body of Christ, renewing our mind, staying filled with the Holy Spirit, and submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord so that we can engage in spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 4:2-3, "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

It is man's carnal, human nature to take control in relationships, to dominate over others. Paul is teaching us submission, which is in direct contradiction against the flesh. The only way that a believer can do this is to stay filled with the Spirit as discussed in the preceding passage of Ephesians 5:18-20.

This passage of Scripture teaches us submission in the three major areas of social relationships; marriage, parenthood, and work.

a) Submission to All ( Ephesians 5:21) - Ephesians 5:21 serves as an introductory verse to Ephesians 5:22 to Ephesians 6:9 regarding the issue of submission. The principle laid forth in this verse undergirds every relationship in society that follows: marriage, parenting, servanthood, and leadership. Submission expresses the moral fiber that holds the Church as well as society together.

b) Submission in Marriage ( Ephesians 5:22-33) - Ephesians 5:21 tells us to be in submission in our relationships to others. The passage in Ephesians 5:22-33 focuses on the issue of submission in the marriage relationship.

When God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, it was so that God's purpose and plan for His creation might be fulfilled. Thus, the institution of marriage and procreation plays a central role in God's divine plan for all things. The passage in Ephesians 5:22-33 regarding the husband and wife is placed within the context of the theme of Ephesians , which theme is God's eternal plan for mankind. Thus, as we will see in the passage on parents and children in Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul speaks of the one key element in this relationship that will help an individual to fulfil his personal divine calling in life. For children, it is obedience to parents and for fathers it is proper training of a child. However, in marriage, the emphasis is different. The submission of a wife brings her under the protective care and nourishment of the husband so that she can support him to fulfil his destiny. The husband is to love his wife in a way that causes her to be all that God created her to be. Thus, in order for a person who is married to fulfil his individual calling in life, he or she must order their lives within the divine rule and guidelines of the marriage institution. Although Paul will state that a single individual has a much easier time in fulfilling his divine calling ( 1 Corinthians 7:1-40), he also understood that celibacy was not God's original plan for mankind. When a married couple follows the rules of love and submission in marriage, they will place themselves on the road to succeeding in God's divine plan for each one of their lives. A wife's ability to submit to her husband will determine her ability to walk in submission to the Lord. The husband's ability to honour his wife will determine his ability to honour the Lord in his daily walk. If either one or both fail to do Song of Solomon , it will hinder the journey of both of them ( 1 Timothy 2:8, 1 Peter 3:7).

1 Timothy 2:8, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."

1 Peter 3:7, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

Within any normal marriage, the wife continually longs for her husband's love, while the husband most earnestly desires his wife's respect. Thus, within this passage on marriage ( Ephesians 5:22-33) the wife is told to honor her husband by submitting to him, and the husband is told to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. This type of response requires believers to daily crucify their flesh in order to fulfill this biblical command. For example, when a wife is not loved, she responds by not showing respect unto her husband; and when a husband is not honored, he responds by not show love towards his wife. Thus, the themes of love and respect are woven within the fabric of this passage of Scripture.

c) Submission in Parenting ( Ephesians 6:1-4) - Ephesians 6:1-4 teaches about the role of submission in parenting. Both the children and the parents are commanded to follow their respective roles in order for this relationship to prosper. The promise given in Ephesians 6:1-4 of a long life to obedient children is placed within the context of the theme of Ephesians , which theme is God's eternal plan for mankind. Thus, a child can begin preparing himself to fulfil God's plan for his own life by first learning to obey his parents.

The first understanding and knowledge of God that a child will experience will be seen in the life of his parents. A child's obedience to his parents is his first steps in hearing and obeying the voice of God. A child's obedience will be determined by the amount of honour and respect that he holds for his parents. This honour is based upon his fear and reverence for them. Therefore, fear and reverence of his parents must be instilled within a child during his early years if he is to walk in obedience to later forms of authority in his life, and especially obedience to God. If the development of reverence for one's parents is a child's first step in developing reverence for God, then it also becomes the first step in God's eternal plan for each human being. It is obedience to earthly parents that will set them on their journey to learning how to fear God. It is a holy reverence for God that will set them on their journey to fulfilling God's purpose and plan in their lives. Now it become clear how important it is that we live a long life, for without it a person cannot fulfil its individual divine destiny.

d) Submission at Work ( Ephesians 6:5-9) - The passage of Ephesians 6:5-9 addresses the relationship of slave and master. We may apply it today to employee-employer. Paul deals with this social relationship within the context of the theme of Ephesians , which is God's eternal plan for mankind. Slave ownership was an important part of the economic structure of the Roman society. Without it, the Empire would not be able to finance its infrastructure. Yet our Christian ethics tell us that it is morally wrong. Paul's epistles of Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22 to Colossians 4:1 and the short epistle of Philemon serve to answer this question within its historical setting.

C. Spiritual Warfare ( Ephesians 6:10-20) - The passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 is about a believer's spiritual warfare in the Kingdom of Heaven. It serves as a natural climax to Paul's teachings and exhortations found within this epistle concerning the believer's role in fulfilling God the Father's plan of redemption. The thematic scheme of Ephesians reveals that those who obeyed Paul's teachings in the previous chapters found themselves spiritually mature enough to engage in such warfare. It is important to note that the city of Ephesus, being the worship centre of the Greek goddess Diana, was a demonic stronghold in this part of the world. The only way to overcome such an obstacle was through spiritual warfare. Paul set the example of such warfare by confronting witchcraft ( Acts 19:10) and God wrought signs and miracles by his hands in this city ( Acts 19:11); he had "fought with beasts at Ephesus" ( 1 Corinthians 15:32); and he had overcome many temptations from the Jews in Asia ( Acts 20:19).

Acts 19:19, "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."

Acts 19:11, "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul."

1 Corinthians 15:32, "If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die."

Acts 20:19, "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:"

Once a person can maintain this walk in the Lord that Paul discusses in Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:9, he will be able to war a spiritual warfare and walk in victory for himself ( Ephesians 6:10-18) and for others, such as Paul ( Ephesians 6:19-22) and his co-workers. It is important to note that a person cannot fight the good fight of faith and do spiritual warfare successfully until he has become obedient to the principles that Paul teaches in the previous chapters. Joyce Meyer said, "You cannot exercise authority over the devil and act like the devil at the same time." 71] Thus, the armor described in Ephesians 6:10-17 is a symbolic way of summarizing the character development that Paul discusses in Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:9.

71] Joyce Meyer, Enjoying Everyday Life (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 2March 2004.

Thus, Paul takes the believers on a spiritual journey within this epistle in order to prepare them for such. He had earlier referred to the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry in this epistle ( Ephesians 4:12). Thus, Paul now draws for us in Ephesians 6:10-18 a symbolic picture of a saint who is fully equipped in the form of a soldier with his full armour on.

This passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 on spiritual, heavenly warfare can easily been linked to the opening passage of this epistle. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Thus, we are also blessed in that we can war against spiritual forces from our position in Christ. The theme of this passage is for the saints of God to be active and not passive in spiritual warfare, as we see that Jesus is our example. When Jesus put on His armour, as it is prophesied in the book of Isaiah , He went to battle and fought against the enemy ( Isaiah 59:17-18).

Isaiah 59:17-18, "For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence."

Ephesians 6:10-13 discusses our authority as believers to stand against the tricks of the enemy. This is followed by Ephesians 6:11-17, which discusses our armour in spiritual warfare. The armor described in Ephesians 6:14-17 is symbolic of the character development found with the previous section that emphasizes man's role in fulfilling his high calling ( Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:9).

Joining the Army- We must first submit ourselves under the leadership of the Church that Jesus Christ has established, as discussed in Ephesians 4:1-16. There in the environment of the local Church, we begin to grow as babes in Christ. We must first fall into rank and file and become involved in our church. Unless we are involved in the ministry of helps, we are not in rank and file. Rather, we are wandering on the out skirts of the marching army and are not benefiting the church. However, when we join the church, we put ourselves in a position to grow in the Lord and to be used by Him.

Renewing the Mind ( Ephesians 4:17-32) - We grow first by girding up the loins of our minds with the belt of truth ( Ephesians 6:14 a) by renewing our minds according to Ephesians 4:17-32. When our minds become renewed, we open our hearts to the washing of water by the Word of God ( Ephesians 5:26).

Purifying the Heart ( Ephesians 5:1-20) - We find this process of purifying our hearts and staying filled with the Holy Spirit discussed in Ephesians 5:1-20. It is the breastplate that protects our heart ( Ephesians 6:14 b).

Directing our Body ( Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9) - Once we have renewed our minds and purified our hearts, we are then able to submit our bodies to God's will for our lives and walk in submission in our relationship to others ( Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9). This walk of peace is described in Ephesians 6:15 as shodding our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This means that we are ready to be at peace with every man. The emphasis here is on the walking out of the Gospel with one's fellow man rather than the proclamation of the Gospel. In other words, it is the walk more than the talk that is emphasized. It emphasizes the brethren endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, which is accomplished by submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord.

As we walk with a renewed mind, with a pure heart and with our bodies in submission and at peace with others, we enter into the true walk of faith in Christ Jesus where nothing is able to defeat us. We are now able to fight the battles of war.

The Stance of Faith From a Pure Heart - The result of a pure heart is the ability to take up the shield of faith. This is described in Ephesians 6:16 as the shield of faith, because this shield is designed to protect the entire body. This is true faith in God and his Word. When Satan's lies and terrible circumstances come upon us, only those who have learned to trust God and lean upon His Word will stand. Many people yield and run to and fro, seeking man's help, or even compromising God's Word for some relief. Satan wants to get man down, sick, in bondage, poor, etc, so that he can cause enough distress to cause that man to give up trying to serve God. Faith is what leads us into a decision of perseverance, which is the next piece of armor called the helmet of salvation.

The Stance of Perseverance from a Renewed the Mind- We then put on the helmet of salvation ( Ephesians 6:17 a), which is the result of a renewed mind. Paul calls this helmet the hope of our salvation in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

1 Thessalonians 5:8, "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

This refers to the perseverance of the saints since our eternal hope gives us the strength to endure. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ endured the Cross and despised the same because of hope of a joyous glorification at the right hand of the Father was set before Him ( Hebrews 12:2).

Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

The Stance of Declaring God's Word by Directing our Bodies- In this position of steadfastness and determination to persevere, we are then ready to take the two-edged sword, which is the Word of God upon our lips ( Ephesians 6:17 b). It is the Word of God spoken in faith that tears down the strongholds of Satan in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Our tongue is like the rudder of a ship, directing the course of our lives.

Praying in the Spirit While Developing in All of the Above- Finally, the Scriptures tell us to pray in the Spirit while we are sanctifying and developing our minds, our spirits and our bodies for this spiritual warfare ( Ephesians 6:18).

Once a person puts on the entire armor of God and is able to weld the sword of the Spirit to pray in tongues, he becomes a mighty warrior in the kingdom of God. One of the first lessons that such a prayer warrior learns is to pray for those spiritual leaders that God has placed over him ( Ephesians 6:19-20). This teaching carries us into the theme of Paul's epistle to the Philippians , in which Paul teaches them that their prayerful and financial support towards helping him fulfill God's calling will ensure that their calling would also be fulfilled ( Philippians 1:6). He promised his partners that God would supply every one of their needs according to His riches in glory ( Philippians 4:19).

a) The Authority of the Believer ( Ephesians 6:10-13) - Ephesians 6:10-13 reveals to us that the Christian has divine power and authority in his struggle against the powers of darkness. We read in Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." It is necessary for us read this passage of Scripture in light of the previous passages in this great epistle. God would not call us into battle without first equipping us and giving us the ability to win our battles.

b) The Armour of God ( Ephesians 6:14-18) - Ephesians 6:14-18 gives us a list of the armour of God necessary to walk in victory in our lives. The armor of God is watchfulness (belt of truth), right standing with God (breastplate of righteousness), readiness (feet shod), soberness, faith, and the Word of God.

Jesus obviously used all of this armour in His earthly walk as He resisted the devil. The world of religion has tried to use weapons of this world, at times, to fight Satan. An example of this would be the holy crusades of the tenth and the eleventh centuries from Europe to the Middle East and Jerusalem. However, this is a spiritual battle. These pieces of armor are figurative of our Christian walk of faith.

c) Warfare in Intercession ( Ephesians 6:19-20) - In Ephesians 6:19-20 Paul asks for prayer so that he would be able to do the very thing that he has taught the Ephesians to do in chapters 4-6, which culminates in spiritual warfare by opening his mouth as a two-edged sword. Once a person puts on the entire armor of God and is able to weld the sword of the Spirit to pray in tongues, he becomes a mighty warrior in the kingdom of God. One of the first lessons that such a prayer warrior learns is to pray for those spiritual leaders that God has placed over him. This teaching carries us into the theme of Paul's epistle to the Philippians , in which Paul teaches them that their financial support towards helping Paul fulfill God's calling in his life will ensure that their calling would also be fulfilled. He promised his partners that God would supply every one of their needs according to His riches in glory ( Philippians 4:19).

V. Closing Remarks ( Ephesians 6:21-24) - In Ephesians 6:21-24 Paul makes his closing remarks to the believers in Ephesus. He discusses the travel plans of Tychicus ( Ephesians 6:21-24), then gives a final benediction ( Ephesians 6:23-24). Note that these remarks are less personal than those in many of his other epistles.

A. The Travel Plans of Tychicus ( Ephesians 6:21-22) - In Ephesians 6:21-22 Paul discusses the travel plans of Tychicus.

B. Benediction ( Ephesians 6:23-24) - In Ephesians 6:23-24 Paul gives his closing benediction to the believers in Ephesus.

XI. Outline of Book

The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the epistle of Ephesians: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the epistle of Ephesians. This journey through Ephesians will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians to submit to one another and take their proper place in the body of Christ Jesus, operating in our gifts and callings, positioning oneself to be able to put on the armour of God and take up the sword of the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit so that they can defeat the Devil, who tries to hinder the fulfillment of God's divine plan in their lives.

I. Salutation— Ephesians 1:1-2

II. Intro: The Father's Calling Revealed— Ephesians 1:3-23

A. The Father Planned the Church— Ephesians 1:3-6

B. The Son Redeemed the Church— Ephesians 1:7-12

C. The Spirit Sealed the Church— Ephesians 1:13-14

D. Paul's Prayer to Know these 3Blessings— Ephesians 1:15-23

III. God's Role - The High Calling— Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21

A. The Father- The Hope of Our Calling — Ephesians 2:1-10

B. The Son - The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance— Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13

1. Christ's Work of Reconciliation— — Ephesians 2:11-22

2. Paul's Commission to Declare These Riches— — Ephesians 3:1-13

C. The Spirit- The Power Given to Every Believer — Ephesians 3:14-21

IV. Man's Role - The Worthy Walk— Ephesians 4:1 to Ephesians 6:20

A. The High Calling into Spiritual Maturity— Ephesians 4:1-16

B. The Path to Spiritual Maturity— Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9

1. Soul - The Renewing of the Mind — Ephesians 4:17-32

a) The Old Man— Ephesians 4:17-19

b) The New Man— Ephesians 4:20-32

i) The Old Man verses the New Man — Ephesians 4:20-24

ii) Characteristics of the New Man — Ephesians 4:25-32

2. Spirit - Being Led by the Spirit— Ephesians 5:1-20

a) Walk in Love (Our Hearts) — Ephesians 5:1-7

b) Walk in the Light (Our Minds)— Ephesians 5:8-17

c) Be Filled with the Holy Spirit (Our Bodies) — Ephesians 5:18-20

3. Body - Submitting our Bodies to God's Will— Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9

a) Submission to All— Ephesians 5:21

b) Submission in Marriage— Ephesians 5:22-33

c) Submission in Parenting— Ephesians 6:1-4

d) Submission at Work— Ephesians 6:5-9

C. Spiritual Warfare— Ephesians 6:10-20

1. The Authority of the Believer — Ephesians 6:10-13

2. The Armour of God— Ephesians 6:14-18

3. Warfare in Intercession— Ephesians 6:19-20

V. Closing Remarks— Ephesians 6:21-24

A. The Travel Plans of Tychicus— Ephesians 6:21-22

B. Benediction— Ephesians 6:23-24

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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EXEGESIS AND COMMENTS

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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