Tomorrow, our Bible-reading community will begin reading the book of Ephesians together. I’d like to offer an introduction to this book today, a brief overview that will provide some historical and cultural context before we start.
Like many of the books in the New Testament, the book of Ephesians was written by Paul. Paul wrote this book in approximately A.D. 60 while he was imprisoned in Rome.
Stop and think about that last fact for a minute. Paul did not let his circumstances – his imprisonment – hinder him from sharing the gospel. Let that be an encouragement to us today!
Paul wrote many of his letters to individual churches, and this one is no exception. His intended audience for this book was the church at Ephesus. God knew, though, that the themes and topics in this book would eventually be spread from Ephesus throughout the world, so in that sense we are also the intended recipients of Paul’s words.
Ephesians is a short book consisting of only six chapters, but each is packed full of wisdom and encouragement. Although several of Paul’s letters were written to warn individual churches against specific behaviors, the letter to the Ephesians is different. This letter is a nurturing one. The church at Ephesus was a young church at this time, and Paul writes to its congregation to encourage it to continue to grow and flourish. He also reminds them of what the Church should look like, and he challenges them to live as Christ-followers in a fallen world. This encouragement and these reminders are just as relevant to us today as they were to the Ephesians in the early days of Christianity.
My favorite verse in the entire New Testament is Ephesians 3: 20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” This is the verse I will be praying for our Bible Journal community as we read this book together this week!