The book of Ephesians (Ephesians 1)

Bilderesultat for Ephesians

It appears that the apostle Paul wrote Ephesians (Ephesians 1:1, 3:1; but see The authorship of Ephesians under Ephesians 4) between A.D. 60 and 62, while he was imprisoned in Rome (3:1, 4:1, 6:20), and that Tychicus delivered the letter (6:21-22).

A number of churches in the province of Asia, including the one in Ephesus, most likely read this letter. Evidently Paul had not met all of the Christians in areas where this epistle circulated, but he had heard about their faith and was aware that news of his ministry had reached them (see 1:15, 3:2).

During Paul’s day Ephesus was a thriving urban centre and the capital of the province of Asia (see Ephesians under the time of Paul under 2 Timothy 4). Rivalling Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and Corinth in importance, Ephesus’ strategic location at the centre of trade routes attracted people from all over the known world.

Today the ruins of Ephesus (in modern day Turkey) still proclaim its former magnificence. In Paul’s day thousands of people travelled there to worship in the temple of Artemis (Diana), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Activities in three gymnasiums, public baths and a theatre that seated 25,000 people provided some of the local entertainment and recreation.

As you read, look for Paul’s frequent use of the phrase “in Christ” to explain the believer’s new relationship to the Lord. Note Paul’s systematic enumeration of the many blessings Christians possess in Christ. Look for the clear statement of God’s ultimate purpose for the universe (see 1:10) and His plan for the church. Finally, notice the word pictures Paul used to describe the church and the importance of unity.

Did you know that the Ephesians were familiar with the Greco-Roman practice of redemption? Slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom (1:7). Did you know the right hand was the symbolic place of highest honour and authority (1:20)? Did you know that the ancient Greek culture often viewed humility, meekness, gentleness and self-sacrifice in negative terms, as weakness (4:2)? Did you know that in the Greek and Roman world, slavery was considered an economic and practical necessity, an assumed part of life (6:5-9)? Did you know that the large Roman shield was covered with leather, which could be soaked in water and used to extinguish flame-tipped arrows (6:16)?

Bilderesultat for Ephesus

The theatre at Ephesus


 

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