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FRAMEWORKS: Paul's letter to the Ephesians

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Frameworks: Ephesians chapter 1


Why Read Ephesians: The simple answer is that Ephesians contains some of the most subline theology written by Paul. In chapter 1, verses 4-12 stand out with their descriptions of what Christ has done for us, every verse need chewing over (that's meditation). Indeed verses 17 to 21 set goals for us in the Christian life. In chapter 2 the contrast between what were once were (v.1-3) and what and where we now are (v.4-10) should, we suggest, evoke praise and thanksgiving in us. In chapter 3 there is the revelation of what had been a mystery, that Christ was for the whole world, Jew and Gentile; it is all-embracing. In that same chapter, verses 16-19 is another goal setting passage. This is expounded in chapter 4 when he talks of the ‘body of Christ' with the famous verses 11-13 and the gifts of ministries to equip and build the rest of the church to do the work of Christ. From verse 22 to the end of the chapter and into chapter 5 are clear ‘cut-off' and ‘put-on' guidelines about what is and what is not acceptable in the Christian life, concluding with what some consider contentious teaching about attitudes within families but which simply need greater understanding and more care in reading. In chapter 6 , the famous armour of God teaching is a must to understand the basics of spiritual warfare. As a book it is essential reading for every believer. Rather than say read it at one sitting, we would suggest read two chapters at a time – slowly, making notes of the gems that stand out to you.



FRAMEWORKS: Ephesians 1

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


[Note: Bible verse numbers and chapter divisions first appeared in the 1400's and 1500's. Mostly in our modern translations these numbers come at the beginning of a sentence but sometimes, as in parts of this letter from Paul, sentences flow over several verses. Where that happens we have omitted the numbers within the sentence for clarity sake, but it does mean there are a number of very long passages in this letter. We should also note that sometimes (not in this letter) because of occasional uncertainties, a verse may appear missing.]


v.1-2 Greetings 
v.3-14 The Wonders of what Christ has done for us 
v.15-23 Thanksgiving and Prayer


[Chapter Synopsis: In this first chapter Paul greets the Ephesians with a reminder of what God has done for us, having chosen us from before the world began with a salvation that is now being worked out in us, and for this he continually gives thanks for them.]



v.1-2 Greetings


v.1 (Paul, Christ's apostle by God's will to the faithful saints in Ephesus) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God's holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

v. 2 (receive grace and peace from the Godhead) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



v.3-14 The Wonders of what Christ has done for us


[Passage Synopsis: All God's blessing come to us through Christ, having been chosen by Him before the world began (when He saw how we would respond to the gospel) to become His children, holy & blameless, having been redeemed (forgiven through the work of Christ on the Cross), and indwelt by His Spirit, all in accordance with His pre-Creation plan.]


v.3 (praise God who has blessed us with so much in Christ) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

v.4-6 (He chose who we would be before the foundation of the world) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

v.7-10 (Christ's act on the Cross provided redemption & forgiveness & abundant grace for us) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. (He revealed the long-held mystery of Christ now revealed) With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

v.11,12 (He looked into the future and saw who would believe and said, “They're mine!”) In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

v.13,14 (This includes you, once you believed and received His Holy Spirit, a guarantee to carry us to the end) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.


[Note: For more on the ‘mystery' of Christ see Ch.3.]



v.15-23 Thanksgiving and Prayer


[Passage Synopsis: hearing how they responded to the gospel, every time he has prayed for them he has thanked God for them, and has asked for them to be able to know Him better by the Spirit, who will open their eyes to the wonder of who they have become.]

v.15 (it's because of this…) For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people,

v.16 (I thank God all the time for you) I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

v.17 (and I keep asking Him to give you more and more understanding of your faith in order to know Him better) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

v.18-21  (I ask that you can see and be assured about your future [that goes on for ever] as well as your present resources, including the power he used to raise and exalt Christ) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

v.22,23 (so Christ is now ruling at the Father's right hand in order to bless the church) And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.



Continue to Chapter 2