Ephesians

Introduction

This is a study of the letter to the Ephesians from the Apostle Paul.  We will examine not only the revelation God has for us through the letter itself, but also we will examine the background information such as the city of Ephesus and the things happening within it to help us better grasp the context and therefore message of this letter.

About the City of Ephesus

EPHESUS (ehf' uh sus) was one of the largest and most impressive cities in the ancient world, and a political, religious, and commercial center in Asia Minor. Associated with the ministries of Paul, Timothy, and the apostle John, the city played a significant role in the spread of early Christianity. Ephesus and its inhabitants are mentioned more than twenty times in the New Testament.

Location The ancient city of Ephesus, located in western Asia Minor at the mouth of the Cayster River, was an important seaport. Situated between the Maeander River to the south and the Hermus River to the north, Ephesus had excellent access to both river valleys which allowed it to flourish as a commercial center. Due to the accumulation of silt deposited by the river, the present site of the city is approximately five to six miles inland.

Apostle John had lived in the city until the rule of Trajan (AD 98- 117). Large numbers of the commendable practices mentioned in the letter to Ephesians were abandoned by the time John wrote Revelations. Ephesus had been a city a thousand years when Paul arrived there for his third missionary journey. Ionian Greeks founded it. The city had the worship of Artemis since then. The temple was built in the middle of 6th century BC, and was "the largest edifice in the Hellenistic world and the first of monumental site ever to be constructed entirely of marble." Two images of Artemis had been sculpted, in marble, during the period of emperors Domitian and Hadrian. The temple of Diana, "mother of gods", was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Excavations of the city had showed the theater, was 495 ft across, with "two door opening to the most impressive street in Ephesus." One street, 35 ft wide, led to the harbor, passing through a monumental gateway. The other street went around the theater and marketplace, and as it grew narrower, lovely fountains, library, civic buildings bordered the road. However, it was a wealthy city, with houses that had running water, mosaic floors and marble walls; while some had the house of prostitution , with the gambling tables, and the statue of Diana, with some exaggerated sexual features.

The impact of Christianity had touched them for a few centuries. Western Catholic established Mary's place as "Mother of God". And by AD 262, "Diana" no longer influential in Ephesus. Because people and somehow realized the truth in Paul's message, "gods made with hands are not gods."

Historical Background The earliest inhabitants of Ephesus were a group of peoples called Leleges and Carians who were driven out around 1000 BC by Ionian Greek settlers led by Androclus of Athens. The new inhabitants of Ephesus assimilated the native religion of the area, the worship of a goddess of fertility whom they identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, the virgin huntress. (Later the Romans identified Artemis with their goddess Diana.)

Around 560 BC Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and most of western Asia Minor. Under Croesus' rule, the city was moved farther south and a magnificent temple, the Artemision, was constructed for the worship of Artemis. In 547 BC, following the defeat of Croesus by Cyrus of Persia, Ephesus came under Persian control. Disaster struck the city in 356 when fire destroyed the Artemision.

Alexander the Great, who was reportedly born on the same day as the Artemision fire, took over the area in 334 BC His offer to finance the ongoing reconstruction of the temple was diplomatically declined. The rebuilt temple, completed about 250 BC, became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Lysimachus, one of Alexander's generals, ruled over Ephesus from about 301 to 281 BC, when he was killed by Seleucus I. Under Lysimachus the city was moved again, this time to higher ground to escape the danger of flooding. City walls were built; a new harbor was constructed; and new streets were laid out. After the death of Lysimachus, Ephesus fell under the control of the Seleucids until their defeat by the Romans in 200 BC Rome gave the city to the king of Pergamum as a reward for his military assistance. In 133 BC, at the death of the last Pergamum ruler, the city came under direct Roman control.

Under the Romans, Ephesus thrived, reaching the pinnacle of its greatness during the first and second centuries of the Christian era. At the time of Paul, Ephesus was probably the fourth largest city in the world, with a population estimated at 250,000. During the reign of the emperor Hadrian, Ephesus was designated the capital of the Roman province of Asia. The grandeur of the ancient city is evident in the remains uncovered by archaeologists, including the ruins of the Artemision, the civic agora, the temple of Domitian, gymnasiums, public baths, a theater with seating for 24,000, a library, and the commercial agora, as well as several streets and private residences. Also discovered were the head and forearm of a colossal statue of the emperor Domitian. Today the Turkish town of Seljuk occupies the site of ancient Ephesus.

Ephesus in the New Testament Paul stopped at Ephesus at the end of his second missionary journey, left Priscilla and Aquila there, and returned to Antioch (Acts 18:18-21). Apollos preached in Ephesus soon thereafter and met Priscilla and Aquila who "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" (18:26). Paul, on his third journey, spent more than two years in Ephesus teaching and preaching in the synagogue and in the hall of Tyrannus. The success of his preaching at Ephesus triggered a riot headed by the silversmiths who feared that their business of selling miniature replicas of Artemis (Diana) or her temple would suffer severely (Acts 19:24-41). After the town clerk quelled the disturbance, Paul left Ephesus for Macedonia. At the conclusion of this missionary endeavor, on his way back to Palestine, Paul stopped at Miletus and sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus so that he might speak with them (20:17).

Ephesus is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:32. Paul noted that he had fought with beasts at Ephesus. Many commentators understand this statement to be only a figurative reference to strong and dangerous opposition. At the close of 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote that he would remain at Ephesus until Pentecost "for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries" (16:8-9).

Elsewhere in the New Testament Ephesus appears as the location of one of the seven churches addressed in Revelation (1:11; 2:1). Ephesus, the leading city of Asia Minor, is appropriately the first of the seven churches. In the opening verse of the letter to the Ephesians some manuscripts describe the recipients of the letter as the saints who are "at Ephesus." The earliest and most reliable manuscripts, however, do not include the reference to Ephesus. In 1 and 2 Timothy, Ephesus is mentioned three times. Timothy was urged to remain at Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3); reference is made to Onesiphorus and "in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus" (2 Tim. 1:16-18); and the writer stated that Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:12).

Christian tradition from the second century and later claimed that the apostle John moved to Ephesus, and after living to an old age, died a natural death there. Another, more dubious tradition states that Mary the mother of Jesus also died in Ephesus.

About the letter to the EPHESIANS

AUTHOR: Paul

DATE WRITTEN: 61

The Prison Epistles Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are sometimes referred to as the Prison Epistles, since they were all written during Paul's Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; Philippians 1:7; Colossians 4:10; Philem. 9). Whether he was imprisoned once or twice in Rome is debated, though two imprisonments seem to fit the facts better. During the first, Paul was kept in or near the barracks of the Praetorian Guard or in rental quarters at his own expense for two years (Acts 28:30), during which these epistles were written. He anticipated being released (Philem. 22) and following his release he made several trips, wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, was rearrested, wrote 2 Timothy, and was martyred (see the Introduction to Titus, Tit. 1:1 book note). These, then, are the first Roman imprisonment letters, whereas 2 Timothy is the second Roman imprisonment letter.

An Encyclical Several things indicate that Ephesians was a circular letter, a doctrinal treatise in the form of a letter, to the churches in Asia Minor. Some good Greek mss. omit the words "at Ephesus" in 1:1. There is an absence of controversy in this epistle, and it does not deal with problems of particular churches. Since Paul had worked at Ephesus for about three years, and since he normally mentioned many friends in the churches to whom he wrote, the absence of personal names in this letter strongly supports the idea of its encyclical character. It was likely sent first to Ephesus by Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21-22; Col. 4:7-8) and is probably the same letter that is called "my letter . . . from Laodicea" in Col. 4:16.

The City of Ephesus Christianity probably came first to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla when Paul made a brief stop there on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-19). On his third journey he stayed in the city for about three years and the gospel spread throughout all of Asia Minor (Acts 19:10). The city was a commercial, political, and religious center, the great temple of Artemis (Diana) being there. See note on Acts 19:27. As a major trading center, it ranked with Alexandria and Antioch. After Paul, Timothy had charge of the church in Ephesus for a time (1 Tim. 1:3) and later the apostle John made the city his headquarters.

Contents The great theme of this letter is God's eternal purpose to establish and complete His body, the church of Christ. In developing this theme, Paul discusses predestination (1:3-14), Christ's headship over the body (1:22-23; 4:15-16), the church as the building and temple of God (2:21-22), the mystery of Christ (3:1-21), spiritual gifts (4:7-16), and the church as the bride of Christ.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Verse 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:

Paul calls himself an apostle of Christ Jesus. An apostle is someone who is sent like a messenger. The word Christ is actually referring to the anointing and the anointed one Jesus. The word saints means Holy ones, consecrated to God, sacred. All Christians are saints. Also note that he seems to indicate a sense of faithfulness in "sainthood." We must understand that Christianity was not readily accepted by the world. To admit that one was a Christian could, and in many cases would, mean persecution. So those who are faithful (trustworthy, sure, true) to the anointing and the anointed one were called saints.

Verse 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:

God has blessed us, referring to saints, with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realm. The heavenly realm here I take to mean the spiritual realm. This is consistent with what Jesus said in Matthew (in principle):

(Matthew 6:19-20 NIV) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

What counts is the spiritual realm. Another scripture that shows the importance of activities in the heavenly realm is:

(Matthew 16:19 NIV) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

And

(Matthew 18:18 NIV) "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Note that we are blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing IN CHRIST. Every means all inclusive. We have all spiritual blessings. We have been made The word bless, from the Strong's Concordance, means: to speak well of, i.e. (religiously) thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper. It also is used as a means of praise expression as in "Bless the Lord."

I think that the term IN CHRIST is very important. It will be beneficial for you to look up the scriptures in the bible that say "In Him" or "In Christ." For example the bible says

(Philippians 4:19 NIV) And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

(Acts 17:28 NIV) 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

(Romans 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The word IN basically means to be within the bounds or area of, to or at a condition. So to be in Christ, which is the same as being in the anointing, is to be within the area or bounds of the anointing. It is to have residence in that anointing, the power of God.

We could get into a rather lengthy discussion on being or residing in the anointing. However we will not. I am going to say that being IN the anointing of God implies being in the realm of obedience. This implies being in the realm of God's will thus His protection, purpose, and plans. A study on obedience would reveal that obedience leads to blessings or the receipt of the blessings that you have already been blessed in as Paul said in verse three. Therefore, experiencing the IN HIM or IN CHRIST is extremely important for the Christian if we desire to fulfill God's will and purpose for our lives and the lives of others.

Verses 1:4-6

God choose us to be holy (sacred, set apart) and blameless (without fault or blemish) IN HIS SIGHT. We are not absolutely blameless. However, IN CHRIST we are blameless or without fault. Here Paul also reveals the concept, belief, or dogma of predestination and divine election.

First of all we have to define who the us refers to and what it implies. He was writing this epistle to the Ephesian church. Therefore, the "us" refers to the people in the Ephesian church and himself. However, since Paul is not speaking of anything specific to the Ephesians and since the us also implies "believers" we can also say that the "us" refers to all believers.

God chose all people to be blameless in His sight. He planned that all people would be reconciled to him. However, all who would believe will be saved. Did God predestine all people to be saved and therefore all will be saved (Universalists belief) or will those who believe be saved (reconciled to God)? This topic is well beyond the scope of this study so we will not get into it here. However, I must say from a superficial examination of the New Testament books starting from Acts that there are two modes of operation involving Christianity: 1) How to get saved and what it means and 2) How to live the Christian life. Consider that if you will.

Verse 1:5

God predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. What does this statement tell you. It tells you that we at one point did not belong to God, that God was not our father. A person who is adopted is not the natural child of the parent. Therefore, since we were adopted by God, we must have been children of another. We were once children of the Evil One. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity. The bible says,

(Psalms 51:5 KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

From the moment we were born, and before, we possessed a sinful nature like the father of sin: The Devil. We were slaves to sin and belonged to sin. We were children of sin. We did not belong to God and we were not one with him. We were separated and therefore dead to God but very much alive to sin. We had to be reconciled to God if we were to truly live (with the life of God that is true life). Therefore, God adopted us and imparted His life into us so that we could live with him. Also note that God did all of this, provided reconciliation for us, because he wanted to.

Verse 1:6

We see here that his glorious grace is imparted to us through the one he loves, namely Jesus Christ. We can partake in that love and the benefits of that love by being IN CHRIST. When God sees you, he sees Christ (the anointing). This is why we are blameless because there is no condemnation in Christ (the anointing).

Verse 1:7

Three ideas are involved in the doctrine of redemption: (1) paying the ransom with the blood of Christ (1 Corinthians. 6:20; Rev. 5:9); (2) removal from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13; 4:5); and (3) release from the bondage of sin into the freedom of grace (here and in 1 Peter 1:18). Redemption is always through his blood; i.e., through the death of Christ (Col. 1:14). We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (through the death of Jesus Christ).

The Ephesians were familiar with the Greco-Roman practice of redemption: Slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom. This redemption also provides us with forgiveness of sins. That is, God does not resent us because of the sins that we have committed. He does not hold a grudge against us for the things that we have done. The bible says,

(Psalms 103:10 NIV) he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

I have to day here that heaven or hell is not dependent on sins. Heaven or Hell, rather life or death, is dependent on you being reconciled to God. If you belong to God then you will be with him and if not then you won't. Therefore, the acts of the sin nature (sins) do not cause you to go to hell. A person goes to hell because they have not been reconciled to God and therefore are dead to God.

THE CONCEPT OF HELL

What does it mean to go to hell. The word hell comes from the word Hades which comes from the Hebrew word Sheol. It basically means the place of departed souls, the place of the dead, grave. So in a sense we all go to hell because we all will go to the grave. However, a study of Revelation will reveal that the Devil, hell, and death will be thrown into the lake of fire along with the Beast, and the False Prophet (See Revelations 19:20, 20:14). Therefore, telling someone that they will go to hell because of their sins is not accurate. Sins do not get you to "hell." Even hell has to answer to God.

What use is there for a place of the dead if all will live. Once we are with God there will be no more death only life. There is no need for death or the place of the dead. There will be only life and the place of life.

Verse 1:9

Paul uses the word mystery here to indicate something that was once hidden but is now revealed. The mystery that he specifically discusses here is that of God's purpose to sum up all things in Christ.

Verses 1:11-12

Paul states that we were chosen so that we would bring praises to God. He also speaks about predestination and how we were chosen to fulfill God's plan. Note that Paul indicates that God works things out according to His purpose. This goes in line with, on a more individual basis, what Paul said in Romans 8:28.

(Romans 8:28 NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

That is, God works all things out so that his plans will be manifest.

The Word "Christ"

Paul uses the word Christ in verse 12. What does the word Christ mean? The word Christ here comes from a Greek word, Christos, which means anointed, i.e. the Messiah. The word Christ is an epithet of Jesus of Nazareth. First let me say that Jesus' name was Jesus son of Joseph or Jesus of Nazareth. We know him as Jesus Christ. However, as I said, the word Christ is an epithet of Jesus. That is, it is a term used to characterize a person or thing. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title or a person.

Therefore, when we see the word Christ we must consider two things: 1) The anointed and 2) The reference of Jesus of Nazareth. When we see the word Christ we automatically think of the man Jesus. This is only partially correct. When we see the word Christ we should think of all that it involves. It involves the anointing, who is the Holy Spirit of YHWH, the anointed on, who is Jesus of Nazareth, and the power of God associated with the anointing that we are capable of receiving just as Jesus did.

Verse 1:13

The inclusion IN Christ is when the word of truth was heard and believed. Paul states that the word of truth is the Gospel (Good news) of salvation (deliverance). Paul also states that they were marked IN Christ with a seal. This seal was the Holy Spirit that was promised.

Note that the King James version uses the word "earnest" in verse 14. That word earnest comes from a Greek word that means a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest. An interesting concept that may be applied here is that we are waiting for God to consummate his possessions, namely us, the ones who were purchased.

The "Word of Truth"

Paul uses the phrase "word of truth" in verse 13. What does this mean? The word "word" in this scripture means cones from the Greek word rhema which is an utterance (individually., collectively. or specifically); by implication a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute). So we see that the word "word" does not mean a single word. It is more a thought that is expressed by words. That is where we get phrases such as a word of knowledge. That phrase refers to a thought or insight of knowledge (to know).

Spiritual Communications

I think it would be good here to discuss a matter that I feel is very important to a Christians life. The matter is the communication in the spirit realm. How does God communicate with us? First of all God is a spirit and therefore does not have a physical body as we have. He doesn't have vocal cords that induces pressure differences in air to transfer sound waves. He has not need for that. God communicates with us spiritually (by the spirit realm or medium).

God speaks to us by means of rhema (for the most part). He does not speak English, French, German, or any other language. He knows our thoughts which we express externally by words. This is where we get the idea of being prompted by the spirit. The spirit didn't say anything audibly but you received the message he was giving you. Your mind takes the message that your received in your spirit and translates it into words. This is where the limitations effect the message. The message that we receive from God in our spirit becomes corrupt when we tanslate that message into a combination of words. These word constructs are unfortunately limited by our understanding (this is why we can't lean on our own understanding)

Therefore, to get a word from God is not the same thing as hearing a literal word from God. It is the reception of the message that proceeded from God and transmits to you. This is the same as being prompted or having a feeling. This is what we hear when we sometimes say "something told me to do that." All the more reason to become more sensitive to our spirit so that our limited minds do not corrupt what God says in the spirit..

We communicate the thoughts of our minds and the things in our spirit through words. If I want you to know the type of dream I have then I have to describe it to you in words. There are three modes of communication: Physical, mental, and spiritual. Physical communications involves the senses such as hearing and sight. Mental communications involves the mind such as mental telepathy. Spiritual communications take place between spirits of people and between people, who are spirits, and God. Therefore, the revelations that I receive from God and the word of God that I receive is transmitted to others by words. With that in mind, we can get a better understanding of our bible.

THE BIBLE AND THE WORD OF GOD

Question. Is the bible the word of God? Consider what we have just said about "word.". Remember that the word of God is the message that comes from God to a person. God is the sender and a person is the receiver. This person can take that word and tell others what "thus says the LORD." However, the way the person relays this message, or word, to others is a different thing altogether. Remember this forever. In an absolute sense, the words that a person speaks as "thus says the LORD" is not the word of God. The relaying of the word to others is called the Word From God. Why? Well the words that you speak are not the exact words that God spoke to you. Why? You have a limited vocabulary, usage of language, and to top it off you don't know how the other person will interpret what you say. That is the picture that you paint with your words may not be the same picture that the other person receives via your words. Therefore, the words that you speak are not actually, relative to the other person's perception, the word of God.

If we apply the previous principle to the bible we will see that the words (ink on paper) are not the real word of God. The word of God is the message that is described by the words in the bible. Do you see that? The message of God to men who wrote these things in the bible are described by their words. If we don't consider that, then we are very susceptible to misinterpret the writings or to take them out of context. That is why I believe that bible study should be the search for spiritual principles, the mind of God. Though we consider the bible to be the word of God (for practical purposes it is), but you see on an absolute sense the bible contains the word of God. It is still OK to say that the bible is the word of God but just remember the previous discussion so that you will understand more fully what God wants to reveal to us in the bible.

What is truth? Jesus said that he is the truth (See John 14:6). Truth indicates purity and is conformity to fact or actuality, fidelity to an original or standard, reality, actuality, sincerity, integrity Therefore, in the context of this scripture, we can reckon the word of truth to be the message of the Christ: The Gospel. The very next thing Paul says in describing the term

"word of truth" is gospel of your salvation. We see now how this is actually true. Let's look at this a little more closely.

Gospel of our Salvation

The word Gospel is an English translation of the Greek word uaggelion which means "good message" or "good news." Now what does the word salvation mean?

The word salvation comes from the Greek word soteria which means to rescue or safety:--deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. As you can see that our salvation involves much more than accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and one day go to heaven. Our salvation involves deliverance (See Acts 10:38), health, and safety. It also involves blessings by implication or association since God's people are indeed blessed.

Therefore, the "gospel of our salvation" is the good news or message of our deliverance, health, prosperity (by implication and association), blessing from God, and safety. What specifically, or should I say who specifically is that? It is Jesus the anointed on of God and God's anointing. The good news of our salvation is that the anointing has come and anointed the man Jesus and that this Jesus, who had been anointed by God by his Holy Spirit, died that we may have life if we only accepted by faith his redemptive act that was purposed by God. This man Jesus, who was also God in that he was anointed and had the nature of God instead of man's sinful nature, has made available to us reconciliation to God which means deliverance from the powers of the enemy and freedom from his bondage. That is indeed good news.

Once we have received the salvation that comes from God via Jesus the Christ (the anointed one of God) we are marked with a seal, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit renews our spirit (makes it alive to God, connects it to God, reconciles us to God). Note that all of this takes place after we believe (the Gospel of salvation).

Verse 1:14

(Ephesians 1:14 NIV) who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit is a type of deposit (down payment) guaranteeing our inheritance until the full redemption of those who belong to God. See Romans 8:23. Our possession of the Holy Spirit seals our salvation now and that possession also seals our inheritance later. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of salvation until that salvation is consummated (bring to fruition, conclude, to fulfill) by God.

Haven't we been redeemed by God already? The fullness or completion of our salvation will result in no more dying, no more sickness, no more anxieties, etc. There will only be peace and liberty as we reside with God. Our seal is the source of our hope of salvation. At a later time our redemption will be consummated (brought to fruition, completed, matured). We are saved now, if you have been born again, but that salvation/redemption is not in its final stage or phase. This is why the bible cans speak of the hope of our salvation and entering into God's rest (See Hebrews 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:8). There is still a phase (the final phase) of our redemption that we have not experienced yet though we are fully born again and saved.

INHERITANCE

A legal transmission of property after death. The Hebrew Bible has no exclusive term for "inheritance." The words often translated "inherit" mean more generally "take possession." Only in context can they be taken to mean "inheritance." The Greek word in the New Testament does refer to the disposition of property after death, but its use in the New Testament often reflects the Old Testament background more than normal Greek usage.

In the New Testament "inheritance" can refer to property (Luke 12:13), but it most often refers to the rewards of discipleship: eternal life (Matt. 5:5; 19:29; Mark 10:29-30 and parallels; Titus 3:7), the kingdom (Matt. 25:34; Jas. 2:5; negatively 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 15:50), generally (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 1:14,18; Rev. 21:7). Christ is the Heir par excellence (Matt. 21:38 and parallels; Hebrews 1:2). Through Christ Christians can be heirs of God and "fellow heirs" with Christ (Romans 8:17; compare Ephesians 3:6). Only Hebrews makes explicit use of the idea of "inheritance" as requiring the death of the testator, Christ. A "will" requires a death to come into effect, so the death of Christ brings the new "covenant"/"will" into effect (Hebrews 9:16-17).

The Holy Spirit is therefore our assurance of this inheritance.

Verses 1:17

Paul prays that they would receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they would know God better. I believe this is important because it puts the gifts of God in perspective. We are told many times that God wants us well and prosperous. These indeed are true. However, we should know God as much as we can. Wisdom from God is not for the purpose of making good business decisions though it may be applied that way Wisdom from God is for God and His purposes. God's gifts are to be used to accomplish his purposes. Therefore wisdom and revelation are to be used to know God better and to fulfill his purposes for our lives. Remember that Jesus said:

(Matthew 6:33 NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Verse 1:18-21

"Eyes of your heart may be enlightened" - This is referring to a level of understanding that we must be sensitive to and obtain. The word heart in this scripture is referring to the center of the human soul, the core of our life. Therefore, we must receive the understanding that can only come from God so that we will know the things of God

Jesus said:

(Matthew 6:22-23 NIV) "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. {23} But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

There are three things that may give insight to what Paul was saying here:

  1. What is the "eye"
  2. What is the "lamp"
  3. What is "enlighten"

The three things that Paul prays that the enlightening of the Ephesians understanding would reveal are:

  1. The hope to which God called them
  2. The riches of his glorious inheritance
  3. The incomparably great power for us who believe

Now with that said you should have at least three questions. What are the things that we just listed. Do you know the hope that God called you to, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, or the incomparably great power for believers?

In verse 19 Paul likens the power of God in believers to the working of God's strength that God used to raise Jesus Christ from the dead. We also see, from what Paul says, that God seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority , power and dominion, and every title that can be given now and forever.

The Power In The Believer

I wanted to stress the point that Paul made above. He said that the power of God, that same type of power that raised Jesus from the dead, and sat him on his right side above all is the same power that is in believers. We must know that the power of God, His anointing, resides in us and ready to be activated or put to use. Satan convinces us that we have no power to effect things around us.

Verses 1:22-23

Everything is under Jesus' authority. Note also that Paul states that Jesus has authority over all things FOR THE CHURCH! The church is the body of Christ, his fullness. God did not place Jesus Christ over everything for his glory or for any other reason except for us, the believers: The body of Christ, the body of the anointing. This is even more evident when we consider what Paul said in verse 19. The power of God, which is the anointing, resides in us. Jesus Christ is the head the body (us) who contains that anointing..

 

CHAPTER TWO

Verse 2:1-2

The King James version of the bible uses the word trespasses and the New International version uses the word transgressions. The word transgress means: to breach (a limit or boundary), to act in violation of (e.g., the law), to trespass (sin). The Holman Bible Dictionary defines the word transgression as the image of sin as overstepping the limits of God's law.

Note that Paul said that they were dead IN there sins. The Greek word for sin (hamartia) means to offend, a breach of a social or moral code, a violation of law. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines sins as actions by which humans rebel against God, miss His purpose for their life, and surrender to the power of evil rather than to God. They were not dead because of sins or trespasses. Because of their deadness they sinned. The trespass is relative to the law or word of God. We are outside of the realm of God and his kingdom if we do not have the nature of the citizens in that kingdom. We are dead without the life of God.

Notice that Paul also states that they used to follow the ways of the world and the Devil. Why? Because they possessed the sinful nature which originates from the Devil. The word 'world' comes from the Greek word kosmos and means orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication. the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively. adorning, world.

Paul also states that the ruler of the kingdom of the air is the spirit that works in all of the disobedient. This disobedience is relative to the law or word of God.

Verse 2:3

We all at one time lived according to the sin nature. As you know, the sin nature originates from Satan. Not knowing any better, we submitted to the desires of the sin nature by pursuing all that it wanted which mostly is lust. We were indeed the objects of God's wrath since God is sternly against and opposed to the sin nature. The sin nature is contrary to the nature of God.

Verses 2:4-5

God still loved us and offered us salvation though we were submitting to the sinful nature and we were objects of wrath. Paul states a great attribute of God. God is rich in mercy and God has great love for us. It is because of God's great love for us and the fact that he abounds with mercy that we were made alive with Christ. God could have dealt with us according to our sins but the bible says:

(Psalms 103:10 NIV) he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Note also the profound statement Paul makes at the end of verse 3. He says that we were saved by grace. Now you may argue or consider that we were saved by faith. You may say that you were saved because of your faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done relative to your sin nature. That is not entirely accurate. The only way you can have faith to be saved is that there is something to have faith in. God provided salvation freely to us. God initiated our reconciliation to himself. We aren't saved by great works. We are saved because God provided it and we accepted it. We were indeed saved by grace.

The word grace used in this scripture cones from a Greek word that means graciousness (as gratifying),. the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):--acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). We commonly define the word grace as God's unmerited favor on us.

It is important to note that God made us alive with Christ while we were still sinners. This gets into the area of true righteousness versus man's righteousness, which is self righteousness. True righteousness or justification comes solely as a result of God initiation and action. We have nothing to do with the righteousness that God has provided. He freely provides it for all who would believe and God does not hold it from us even when we are living in sin, that is dead.

The bible says:

(Titus 3:5 NIV) he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

and

(Romans 4:5 NIV) However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Verse 2:6

(Ephesians 2:6 NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

How could we have been raised up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms. First we must realize that God does not see things as they appear to us. He has more dimensions, if you will, of view than we and therefore see much more. One thing that God does is to look at things through the eye of faith.

If we are IN Christ then we were raised up with him. We were made alive with Christ since we were IN him, the anointing, and were predestined to be sons of God. So when God sees us, the saints, he sees risen sons. It is again important that you realize that all of this is possible because of the anointing and not because of anything that we have done.

Verse 2:7

Why did God do what Paul records in verse 6. So that in the future times, God would show (display) the richness of His grace which is expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Verse 2:8 - 9

We were saved by grace through faith. Paul states the basic Christian fact that salvation is only available to us because of God's grace, that is, because of God's unmerited or undeserved favor extended to us. We must also realize that the grace of God has nothing to do with what we do or have done. The grace of God extended to us is undeserved, that is, we have done nothing to deserve it. Not only that, the faith that we use to receive this salvation is also a gift of God. The bible says:

(Romans 12:3 NIV) For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

The grace that we have is a gift of God. We didn't receive it by our actions. The salvation that God extends is also a free gift, that is, it is unearned. We do not receive salvation by works else, as Paul says, we could boast.

Verse 2:10

We are God's workmanship. The word workmanship means the thing created by God. Paul states that we were created IN Christ Jesus to do good works. What does this mean? Perhaps Paul was referring to the "pregnancy" Jesus Christ with all those who believe. All believers would be as fruit from Jesus Christ. Therefore, we were created IN Him to do good works. The word good here has to be taken into context with God's purpose because "good" is relative. The good here is referring to those things that are upright with God and beneficial to some cause or person.

These good works that we are to walk in were prepared in advance by God for us to do. This falls in line with the whole idea of God's master plan and his purposes that we are a part of and accomplish. We have basically been preordained to accomplish the good things that God wants done. We have been predestined to accomplish God's will.

Verse 2:11

Paul indicates here that the Ephesians were at one time without God (gentiles). The word gentile means People who are not part of God's chosen family at birth and thus can be considered "pagans." By implication it referred to those who were non-Jewish or those not part of the Jewish nation by birth. We all were separated from God at one point in our life.

Paul also hints on the insignificance of circumcision. He stated in another scripture,

(1 Corinthians 7:19 NIV) Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

This truth is implicit when he says "that done in the body by the hands of men."

Verse 2:13

Now we have been bought near to God through the blood of Christ Note that there is nothing that we have done to earn a relationship with God. It is by God's grace that salvation (reconciliation to himself) is even available to us. Paul hints on this concept when he spoke of circumcision.

Verse 2:14

(Ephesians 2:14 NIV) For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

The Greek word for peace is also translated prosperity, quietness, rest, set at one again. This reminds me of

(Matthew 11:28-30 NIV) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

What has Jesus made one? See John 17:11. We are all one in Christ. We are one body in the same way that Jesus and the Father are one. This is the same union that Jesus spoke of when he said that the husband and the wife are one flesh (See Matthew 19:5). Paul was most likely speaking of the Jews and non-Jew Christians. As you may know from Paul's letter to the Galatians, some Jewish believers were teaching that the law must be followed in addition to faith in Christ in order to be saved. The law that they most referred to was circumcision and circumcision was only of the Jews. This provided a separation or barrier between the Jews and non-Jews, even in the church.

Note also that Paul calls the barrier the dividing wall of hostility. It is very unlikely that this barrier was between God and man (though there is a separation before we are born again). The barrier here, I believe, is within the body of Christ. Even today there are dividing factions within the church that cause strife. Some of these divisions are as silly as worship method and span denominations. Some denominations look down on others due to doctrinal beliefs whereas God loves all of us and we are all in the same family (body) if we are indeed born again and reconciled to God the Father.

These barriers in the body of Christ of course brings with it hostility which is fueled by strife. In Paul's reference we get the indication the circumcision and uncircumcision was causing division in the church.

Verse 2:15

How did Jesus remove the barrier? By abolishing the law in his flesh with all of its regulations and commandments. By doing this he made Jew and gentile one (those who believe). There is no difference between Jew and gentile (non-Jews in this case).

Note that Jesus Christ did not negate the law. Note what Jesus said.

(Matthew 5:17 NIV) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

So Jesus did not negate the law. He fulfilled it. This is why we do not seek to keep the law but we seek God through Christ (who is the way). If we seek reconciliation to God through the law then we negate the work of Christ and we count as nothing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Verse 2:16

Paul states here that Jesus reconciles the joined man (Jews and Gentiles) to God. See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 for more information on reconciliation. Remember that Paul is not giving a general teaching for all Christians. He is specifically addressing a particular group of people (the church at Ephesus). However, we can apply the principles of what he says to our lives as well.

I will quote verse 16 from the King James Version so that I can make clear the application of a word.

(Ephesians 2:16 KJV) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

I want to shed some light on the last phrase in the above scripture. Paul said that Jesus slew the enmity by the cross. The NIV uses the word hostility instead of enmity. The word enmity comes from a Greek word that means hostility or by implication a reason for opposition. What this tells us is that Jesus Christ has removed the reason for opposition between the Jews and the Gentiles. They no longer need to be hostile with each other.

Verses 2:17-18

Jesus preached peace to the Jews and the Gentiles (those near and those afar off). The word peace comes from a Greek word that implies prosperity:--one, quietness, rest, + set at one again). Now both Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father by the one Spirit.

Verses 2:19-20

Because all have access to the Father, the Gentiles are no longer considered foreigners or outsiders. Gentiles are now children of God, citizens of his household, just as the Jews proclaim to be.

Jesus Christ is called the cornerstone. The corner stone was a tried or tested stone that was the foundation for the placing of the other stones that made up a building.

Verses 2:21-22

In Christ the whole building is joined together and rises (matures) to become a holy temple for God's dwelling (by his Holy Spirit). Not only that. We are individually being built together to become a dwelling place for God's Spirit.

 

CHAPTER 3

Verses 3:1-6

Paul calls himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. This illustrates his commitment and conviction for the purpose that was set before him. He was bound to Jesus Christ for the sake of the Gentiles. He was bound to complete the task that was set before him.

Paul received the mystery of Christ for the Gentiles. The mystery was that the Gentiles where joint heirs with the Jews and members together of one body, and share together the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. That is that the Gentiles had access to God and all of the promises that the Jews had through the Gospel preached by Paul and other apostles.

Verses 3:7-11

Paul calls himself a servant of the Gospel here. His mission, as he says was to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles and to make plain to everyone the administration (the workings or participation of the mystery) of this mystery.

We also note that this mystery (hidden revelation) was not given to people of times past. It is the purpose of the church (body of Christ) to make known the manifold (multifaceted - as the many facets of a diamond reflect light)wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

Verse 3:12

(NIV) In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

In him refers to the absolute provision made possible by Christ and exists by Christ.. Through faith in him refers to our linking with this absolute provision. It is one think that the provision is available and it is another thing to act on what is necessary to experience that provision. For example. You may have great abilities to play the piano. However, if you don't have faith in your abilities, which are present and in you, then you will not act on that faith and therefore not play. The ability is present regardless of whether you play or not. However, you will not experience performing if you don't have faith in the ability that is in you. All sufficiency is in Christ. However if we don't have faith in Christ then we will not experience all sufficiency.

So In Christ and through faith in him (which will cause us to act) we can approach God with confidence. See Hebrews 4:14-16

Verse 3:16

Note that the power (might, ability) comes from God's Spirit and works in our inner being.

Verses 3:17-19

Note that the power that resides in our inner being will enable Christ to remain in our hearts by faith. Also, according to Paul, in order to comprehend the love of God (by the Spirit), we must be rooted in love. Paul also indicates that the love of God surpasses all knowledge. The power of God must reside in us in order to comprehend the love of God and this power is acquired when we are established in love according to Paul.

 

CHAPTER 4

The life of a believer is dealt with in the first six verses.

Verses 4:1-6

Now that the people were saved, they were encouraged to live a life that is constant with the salvation that they had received. They were encouraged to live a life that was worthy (to be associated with the regenerated Godly life) of the calling that they were called.

Paul tells them to practice the following:

  • Complete humbleness (humbleness of mind, modesty)
  • Gentleness (humility)
  • Patience
  • Bearing on another in love

Paul also states that the bonds of peace is what keeps the unity of the Spirit. Peace is what will keep the church in a state of unity. Everything about God and the workings of his Spirit involves and requires unity (peace) The bible says:

(1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV) For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,

"one hope" - This refers to the one expectation of all Christians of life eternal with the Father..

."one faith" - This refers to one persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher:--assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Verses 4:7-10

Paul tells us in verse seven that Christ gives each person a certain amount of grace.

(Ephesians 4:8 NIV) This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."

Refer to Psalms 68:18 for the context of this verse. It says:

(Psalms 68:18 NIV) When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious-- that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.

"he led captives in his train." Paul uses an illustration from Psalms 68:18 in which the triumphant warrior is elevated when he returns with hosts of prisoners, receiving gifts from the conquered people and distributing gifts to his followers. Christ conquered Satan and all that had conquered us.

Verses 9 and 10 are parenthetical asides, to comment on "he ascended" and to prove that only Christ fits the description.

Note: "lower, earthly regions". Some translate this "lower parts of the earth" and understand it to mean that Christ descended into Hades between His death and resurrection. This translation only indicates what Jesus did during the period between his death and resurrection. But, as translated here, "earthly regions" is better understood as an appositional phrase (put next to lower), meaning that Christ descended (at His incarnation: The embodiment of God in the human form of Jesus of Nazareth) into the lower parts (of the universe), namely, the earth. This translations proves Jesus deity.

Verses 4:11-13

(Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, {12} to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up {13} until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Christ gives us various gifts (distributed in the body of Christ) in order to prepare us for works of service.

Apostle: Persons sent to accomplish a mission, especially the twelve apostles Jesus commissioned to follow Him. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political, or educational situations.

Prophet: A person who declares a word (message) from the Lord through a direct prompting of the Holy Spirit. A prophet is a direct mouthpiece for God.

Evangelists: One who actively calls people to respond to the message of grace and commit themselves to God in Jesus Christ. An evangelists is a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pastor: A shepherd. Also closely associated with a teacher.

Verse 13 implies that the body of Christ is constantly maturing into the fullness of Christ. The purpose of the gifts, and thus the offices in the body, is to continue to build the body of Christ up to maturity. This is why we have Pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. The whole concept is for edification resulting in unity. Unity in the Spirit is a direct consequence of total maturity of the body of Christ.

Verse 4:4-15

The resulting maturity and unity discussed above will stabilize the beliefs of the believer. We will no longer be tossed here and there because of various teachings. We will no longer be swayed to believe this or that because we will know the truth. Note that the body of Christ is at a state of unity at this point. Is the body of Christ in unity today? I believe we are far from it because people are more likely to listen to the teachings of men before they discover what God is saying and has said.

What will the mature body of Christ speak. We will speak the truth. The truth that is defined in the word of God. Note that Paul says that we will speak the truth in love. This establishes the motive and purpose for speaking the truth. We speak the truth not to condemn or to display or spiritual maturity. We tell the truth so that others will know it and continue to mature. We speak the truth for edification of the body and its parts.

Verse 4:16

(Ephesians 4:16 NIV) From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We are all joined together and we all grow, assuming we are maturing in truth. We are constantly maturing as we are built up in love. Each part does its work means that each person is operating in the capacity that they were gifted. That is all the parts of the body of Christ are doing what God has called them to do.

I want to also make mention of the fact that Paul says that the body builds itself up. God has purposed it and provided for it but it is up to the body to build itself up. God is not going to make it happen except provide all that is necessary for maturity to be accomplished. For without the power of God working in each of us there is no way that we could mature. So first the body of Christ has to want unity which means that all have to want the truth.

Verse 4:17

"you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking."

The word Gentile here means comes from a Greek word that means a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication. pagan), heathen, nation, people.

Life without God is intellectually frustrating. The bible says in another place:

(Romans 1:21-23 NIV) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23} and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

As in many places, Paul states that the Christian has to live a life that is not that of the world. We are to live a life in Christ and that life is far different from the life of the world. We also note that living this life in Christ is up to the believer. It is our responsibility to discover how we should live and then do it. It is the same principle as knowing the word of God and doing it.

Verse 4:18

The understanding of a lifeless person (the life of God) is darkened. That is they do not understand the things of God because they are separated from God (they are not born again: See John 3:3,5). This separation is due to the fact that they (the unsaved) are ignorant (without the knowledge of God) because of their hardened hearts. This implies that if they would not harden their hearts they can receive knowledge and thus understanding unto salvation.

Verse 4:19

(Ephesians 4:19 NIV) Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

They have lost sensitivity to the things of God (God's Spirit) and to proper moral conduct. They basically have lost sight of moral right and wrong. The word sensuality means to be preoccupied with the gratification of physical appetites, especially the sexual appetite, Not spiritual or intellectual, physical, having no moral or spiritual interests, worldly.

The sensual lifestyle of the Gentiles cause them to do all types of things unrestrained and insatiably.

Verse 4:20 - 24

Paul is referring to, In verse 21, the truth that abides in Jesus of Nazareth when he "the truth in Jesus." When Jesus said that he was the truth

It is interesting here that Paul says that the people had to be taught to put off the old self. That is, we have to be taught to live a life in Christ and to refrain from living the life we used to live in sin. What corrupts us? According to Paul we are corrupted by our deceitful desires. These deceitful desires are a direct result of the sin nature (the old way or old man). The desires are deceitful because they may appear harmless but they ultimately lead to death because the sin nature that is not eradicated will lead one to death.

It appears that the Ephesian Christians were not living a life in Christ, at least not completely. This is probably why he tells them that they have to be made new in the attitude of their mind. This is consistent with what Paul said in another place.

(Romans 12:1-2 NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. {2} Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The way that we become new, as far as life style is concerned, is to renew the way we think in our mind. A person who is bound will remain bound even if he is set free if he believes that he is still bound and not free. Therefore, though the fact is that a person is born again and filled with the Spirit of God, they must be taught in the ways of LIFE and they must renew the way they think about themselves relative to LIFE and DEATH.

Verse 4:25

We see that the Christians here must have had a problem with lying or deceit since Paul tells them to speak to their neighbor (most likely fellow Christians) truthfully. This shows that a Christian is not a flawless sinless entity living on the earth. Though we have been born with an new Spirit, we still have much to learn and much to live according to the will of God.

Verses 4:26-27

Paul tells the Ephesians not to sin in their anger. The word angry here comes from the Greek word orgizo (pronounced or-gid'-zo) which means to provoke or enrage, i.e. become exasperated (irritated, wroth):--be angry (wroth) .Note that he didn't say that anger was a sin. However, the results or consequences of anger may result in you sinning. There are two ways to apply this scripture, both being taught in the bible.

The first way is to interpret this scripture as instruction or advise not to sin if we are angry and to therefore diffuse that anger as soon as possible. The bible says,

(Matthew 5:22-27 NIV) But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

{23} "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, {24} leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. {25} "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. {26} I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

In the above scripture we can see what can happen if anger is allowed to kindle. It can cause sin or at the least it can cause you trouble. See also Matthew 18:15-17. This particular scripture records Jesus' teaching or resolving problems between to people. The priority is to be reconciled with each other.

Another way to look at Ephesians 4:26 is revealed in Psalms 4:4 which says:

(Psalms 4:4 KJV) Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

The word awe (translated angry in the NIV) comes from the Hebrew word ragaz, (raw-gaz') which means to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear):--be afraid, disquiet, fall out, fret, move, provoke, quake, rage, shake, tremble, trouble, be wroth Here we see that we may sin out of fear or anxiety of some situation we are facing. We may go outside of the will of God and into disobedience because of our fear (See the study The Effects of Fear for more information). So we can be afraid but do not go against God. Just trust him.

It is very possible (or at least the potential is high) to sin if we let the sun go down while we are still angry. Do not carry anger long at all. It is a negative emotional energy that effects our life in degrading ways. It could lead to resentment, unforgiveness, and sin. We give Satan an opportunity if we are angry and holding that anger. He can begin to speak things into our mind that will nurture the anger and cause it to grow until we do something that we later regret.

Verse 4:28

There was evidently a problem with stealing at Ephesus. Paul instructs thieves not to steal but to work to earn wages so that they can help someone else who is in need (and perhaps keep them from stealing).

Verse 4:29

A Christians talk should be edifying to others. This verse is usually applied to using profanity, however, it goes beyond that. It goes into the conversation of a believer. Does that conversation produce life (builds up) or does it produce death (tearing down). The bible says,

(Proverbs 18:21 NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

That word power in the above scripture comes from the Hebrew word yad (pronounced yawd) and means a hand (the open one [indicating power, means, direction, etc.]. Therefore, not only can we be destroyed with our own speech but we can destroy others as well.

Verses 4:30-31

In verse 30 Paul indicates that the Holy Spirit can be grieved which implies that the Holy Spirit is a person (and he is). Just imagine the power that God has given the Christian and instead of doing good works we fight among each other over trivial insignificant matters.

Paul says for the Ephesians, which applies to us also, to put away:

  1. Bitterness
  2. Rage (wrath) - indignation
  3. Anger - From the Greek word orge (or-gay') which means desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), i.e. (by analogy) violent passion (ire [where the word Ireland comes from], or [justifiable] abhorrence); by implication punishment:--anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath. Note that the word anger here is different than the one in verse 26. Verse 26 refers to irritation or the emotional state of anger whereas verse 30 refers to the above definition.
  4. Brawling (clamour) -an outcry
  5. Slander (speaking evil of untruthfully or truthfully with the intent to destroy).
  6. Malice (evil, wickedness) - A desire to harm others or to see others suffer.

About Malice

It is important to realize that the truth used with wrong motives is itself wrong. A principle that always rises is object versus motive. Sometimes, if not many times, it is not the activity or the object that is significant. Many times the motive of the act is more significant than the act itself. Therefore, someone may appear to be doing good whereas there activity of "doing good" is only to accomplish some evil.

Malice can easily grown out of resentment (unforgiveness). We can resent a person so much that we will take joy in seeing them suffer and some people may even take an active part in seeing them suffer. The bible says, however,

(Proverbs 24:17 NIV) Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,

Therefore malice can take many forms even of good and righteousness. However, the heart of the matter will reveal what the intent really is: life or death, good or evil. That is why the bible says,

(Proverbs 23:7 NIV) for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

Verse 4:32

(Ephesians 4:32 NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Forgiveness (not being resentful or hold grudges) sets the atmosphere for you to be kind and compassionate to others. Note also that God forgave us unconditionally and we should do the same being in his image.

 

Chapter 5

Verses 5:1-2

We should imitate God as children imitates their parents. However, in order for us to imitate God we have to be with God. We can "be with" God to imitate him by knowing his word. We can learn how God operates and by what mode he operates and we can therefore operate the same way.

We are also to live a life of Love since God is love (See 1 John 4:8).

Verses 5:3-5

There must not be any seed or hint of sexual immorality, any kind of impurity, or greed. Paul says that these are improper (not becoming of) a child of God. Paul also says in verse four,

(Ephesians 5:4 NIV) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

obscenity: The quality or state of being obscene (offensive to accepted standards of decency), indecency or offensiveness in expression, behavior, or appearance.

foolish talk and coarse joking: This refers to dirty jokes and the like and not normal humor.

Verses 5:5-7

An immoral, impure, or greedy person is an idolater because they put things of pleasure before God. The things that they lust after to please their flesh or greed becomes their god.

There is also a hint that people were trying to justify their lustful lifestyle and teaching people that the immoral things were all right. The words that these people speak are empty because they have no truth in them. The punishment of God comes on those who are immoral (disobedient) and we should therefore avoid entering into partnership with these people (See 2 Corinthians 6:14).

Verses 5:8-10

See Matthew 5:14-16 and 1 John 1:5 for a reference to verse eight. Those things that come from the light are found in righteousness, goodness, and truth. Also note that he says we should find out what pleases God. See Romans 8:8 and Hebrews 11:6).

Verses 5:11-14

Paul warns the people not to have anything to do with the vain deeds of darkness (evil). He says that these fruitless deeds of darkness should be exposed. This does not mean to expose sinners per se' as in putting people in front of a congregation to be judged. Paul didn't say to expose sinners. He said to expose fruitless deeds or the sins. Of course by exposing the sin the sinner will be exposed. In this case the main objective should be to get the person delivered from that which causes him to sin. An example of this type of exposure is found in 1 Corinthians 5:1-7. These Activities going on in the church or even in your personal life should be exposed by the light which is in Christ. The bible says,

(John 1:4-5 NIV) In him was life, and that life was the light of men. {5} The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

QUESTION

Why is it necessary for sins to be exposed? Isn't a person always aware of their sins?

Not necessarily. Insensitivity to a sin necessitates light to reveal the sin to a person. This is the same phenomena that a person may experience while driving down a road at a speed that is above the speed limit. All is well in their mind until they see a speed limit sign or a police car. There awareness of their speed becomes evident and they take action. They may choose to continue speeding (most likely if it only a speed limit sign) or they can decide to lower their speed.

Therefore, we may be going our marry way until the light of God shines on us and reveals the sin. This may put us in a state of uneasiness and a point of decision. Note that this light may be evident through a sermon you hear, a bible verse that you may read, or through the words and/or life of another Christian.

What is the significance of light revealing what was once in darkness (sin)?

When the light shines on darkness, that which was unseen is not exposed because of the light shining on it. Therefore, when light shines, our sins are exposed (mostly to us). This brings the person that sees (aware of) his/her sins to the following situation

  • Continue in the sin
  • Repent

A person may decide to continue in sin by eliminating the light that is revealing the sin. This may manifest into a direct attack on the Christian from whom the light is evident, making excuses to justify their sinful acts thus shading themselves from the light, or running from the light. See John 3:18-21)

Verses 5:15-17

There are two points to consider in these verses. The first is that we should live wisely making use of every opportunity we have to live according to God's standards of living. The second is that we must know what the will of God is in order to live according to his standards. It appears that Paul implies that knowing what the will of God is leads to wisdom.

Verse 5:18

Paul says not to be drunk with wine and that drunkenness leads to debauchery. The word debauchery means excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures. It follows that a drunken person is not operating with the full capacities of his mind. The things that would be filtered resulting in refrain is allowed to occur. Drunkenness places the person in a different state of consciousness.

The Greek present tense is used to indicate that the filling of the Spirit is not a once-for-all experience. Repeatedly, as the occasion requires, the Spirit empowers for worship, service, and testimony. Being filled with the Spirit will result in the filled person being influenced by that Spirit just as being filled with wine will result in the person being influenced by that drunkenness.

Verse 5:19-20

Psalm - Set piece of music (sacred ode) accompanied by voice, harp, or other instruments

Hymn - To celebrate, religious ceremonial music

Spiritual Songs - spiritual chant or "ode", a religious metrical composition.

ode - A lyrical poem, often in praise of an object, person, or quality and usually marked by exalted style.

The emphasis here seems to be that of giving thanks to God in all things. I am not of the opinion that we should thank God for everything that happens to us since God is not involved with everything that happens to us. If I disobey God and suffer the consequences, I don't think that I should thank God for them. If anything I think we should thank God for those things that are from God or of God. We should thank God for getting us out of trouble or for the way out of trouble and not for trouble itself.

I must also add that Paul told the Ephesians to make melody in their hearts. The word heart here comes from the Greek word kardia (pronounced kar-dee'-ah) and it means the heart, i.e. (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind). The word heart here is referring to the mind or soul as opposed to the spirit.

Verse 5:21

Submission is the key thought for understanding Paul's view of proper personal relationships in a Christian household; the subjection is to be mutual and based on reverence for God. The differing responsibilities, if followed, bring harmony, but, if ignored, they bring difficulties. The word submit used in this verse means to make yourself subject to someone else. Our submitting to one another is done out of reverence (respect) for God.

Submitting, in my opinion, is a guard against pride and the pursuit of self interests above the whole. If we submit to each other than all of our needs are met and we are not stepping on people to get what we want. I must also say there that I do not believe that submission means that we blindly obey what others tell us. It is a mutual submission that, if followed or practiced, will bring peace and require balance to maintain.

Verses 5:22-24

Wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands in the home they are to respect their husbands (see verse 33); they are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and live with them until death (Romans. 7:2-3). Submission here refers to yield your own rights. True biblical submission can only occur if both parties have been filled with the Spirit. Paul seems to give this association.

It is important for wives and husbands to know that submission does not mean obedience as in the military. This type of obedience is never referred to in the entire New Testament except in the case of children obeying their parents (Ephesians 6:1) and slaves (servants) obeying their masters (Ephesians 6:5).

Verses 5:25-33

Husbands are to love their wives, lead them, nurture them in the things of Christ, and live with them faithfully for life (Matthew 19:3-9). Husbands are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loves the church and did the things described in verses 25-27 for it.

FALLACY ABOUT SUBMISSION

Some women believe and taught that to submit to their husbands mean that they have to obey them at all times. Not only does this degrade the intelligence of a women, it is totally non-scriptural in principle. Submission is done for reasons of peace not rule. The husband is not the boss of the house but the head (or leader) in the same way Christ is the head (leader) of the church. Do you think of Jesus as the boss or do you see Jesus as a loving and caring Lord who gave his life for your sake.

Also recall that Jesus said that the husband and the wife are one flesh (Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24). Therefore how can one rule over the other as in the military. Submission is to yield your rights in a situation for the sake of the relationship. This submission is also done as unto the Lord. Not that the husband is to be the LORD to you. In the same way you submit to the LORD, you submit to your husband.

I must also add that the husband must submit to the wife also for the common good of the whole (family, relation). The two must come together as one and not one to the desires of the other. The husband submits to the wife by loving her (she likewise loves the husband). God so loved the world that Jesus Christ was crucified for us.

Therefore submission is a mutual act between husband and wife. Note that Paul also applies the principle of submission to the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:21). So husbands do not rule the wife and the wife does not blindly obey the husband. Rather, both look to God and both do the will of God practicing Godliness and peace in the relationship. Submission is part of this process.

The word "love" used in these verses come from the Greek word agapao (pronounced ag-ap-ah'-o) and means to love (in a social or moral sense). The word love is defined as Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the well-being of another. Therefore, we see that the husband should have an UNSELFISH AND LOYAL CONCERN FOR THE WELL BEING OF THE WIFE. This state may manifest itself in many ways. A husband may make sure that the wife has all that she needs and desires (to the best of his abilities and resources). The husband may cook for her or make sure she is comfortable, etc.

I am not of the opinion that opening the car door, telling the wife she is loved as a rule is loving the wife. These things may be done for the benefit or sake of the wife to meet here emotional or personal needs. It also may just be the practice of Gallantry on behalf of the wife. See my study on Marriage, Togetherness, and Relationship for more information on this. To love is not the activity. The manifestation of this love will take on many forms or activities. This must be remembered else we can get into this rule or this formula in marriage relationships that may, in themselves, do more harm than good. The best way to strengthen a marriage is to strengthen togetherness (in my opinion). This togetherness requires that the husband and the wife get to know each other, especially how each other communicates. Enough of this for now.

Paul also equates loving the wife with loving the body. That is, a husband should love his wife in the same way he loves his own self, though the manifestation of such will be different. Remember that the love we are talking about is a concern for the well being of another. Therefore, just as a husband is concerned about the well being of himself, he should be concerned about the well being of his wife. It must be unselfish to his wife else he will only pursue self interests at the expense of his wife's well being and thus the relationship.

Paul says that the union of Christ and the Church is not understood by the mind (it is a mystery). This also indicates that the type of oneness in marriage that is taught in the bible can only really occur if both parties are saved. There cannot be oneness if one is born again and the other is not. Darkness has no fellowship with light. Wherever one is the other is not. Therefore, a true marriage (a marriage ordained in heaven by God and according to God'' will) is only realized when both are saved. Otherwise they cannot agree and if they don't agree they cannot walk (live) together effectively. We see the following question in the bible:

(Amos 3:3 NIV) Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

This question, along with the others in Amos 3:3-6, were designed to show Israel how its sin had separated it from God. We also note that the wives should respect the husband (all done in love, i.e., mutual concern for each other).

 

Chapter 6

Verses 6:1-4

Paul instructs the children to obey their parents. The word obey in verse one comes from the Greek word hupakouo (pronounced hoop-ak-oo'-o) and it means to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority:--hearken, be obedient to, obey.

We also note that the obedience to one's parent is a doorway into doing well and enjoying long life on the earth.

Should a child obey ungodly parents?

Paul says that children should obey their parents. What if the parents are not saved and they tell the child to do ungodly things? Should the child obey? Consider this before you answer. You will always be your parent's child. Some believe that the child should obey the parent no matter what. Where do you draw the line? Can the child draw the line? Let's look at what God said relative to child-parent relationship and protocol.

(Exodus 20:12 NIV) "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

(Leviticus 19:3 NIV) "'Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.

(Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NIV) If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, {19} his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. {20} They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." {21} Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

You can see from the above scriptures that obeying the parents is very important to God. There were great consequences for being a stubborn child who would not receive instruction. However, the basis of the original question is not properly placed. That is, it is not the child's responsibility to know when he/she should obey and when not. It is the responsibility of the parent to give sound instruction during the years of the child's youth and remain a good example in the child's older and adult years.

Therefore, the original question "Should a child obey ungodly parents" is not applicable. Who else is the child going to obey. A child is empty in the beginning and has an affinity to be filled by his/her environment. The parent should be the main source of that filling. If not then someone or something else will!

In verse four Paul instructs the fathers not to exasperate (irritate to a high degree, provoke to rage) their children. Instead they are to raise them in the training and instruction of the Lord. This is important since a child is molded from the crib. All that a kid becomes was determined by the influences in his/her life while growing up. Therefore, the child will be naturally with God, as with all other things that he/she experiences while growing up, and will life a life according to the Godly instruction that he/she received. The bible says in another place

(Proverbs 22:6 NIV) "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Verses 6:5-8

Now Paul shifts his attention to servants (slaves). Paul encourages the slaves (servants) to obey their masters as unto the LORD. He tells them that they should do their jobs with integrity and not only when they are or think they are being watched. This applies to us even today on our jobs and work that we do for others.

SERVANT Person totally responsible to and dependent upon another person.

Slavery was prevalent and widely accepted in the ancient world. The economy of Egypt, Greece, and Rome was based on slave labor. In the first Christian century, one out of three persons in Italy and one out of five elsewhere was a slave. Huge gangs toiled in the fields and mines and on building projects. Many were domestic and civil servants. Some were temple slaves and others craftsmen. Some were forced to become gladiators. Some were highly intelligent and held responsible positions. Legally, a slave had no rights; but, except for the gangs, most were treated humanely and were better off than many free persons. Domestics were considered part of the family, and some were greatly loved by their masters. Canaan, Aram, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia had fewer slaves because it proved less expensive to hire free persons. Still, the institution of slavery was unquestioned. The Stoics insisted that slaves were humans and should be treated accordingly; Israel's law protected slaves in various ways; Christian preachers called upon masters to be kind, but only the Essenes opposed slavery. See Essenes; Jewish Parties.

A person could become a slave as a result of capture in war, default on a debt, inability to support and "voluntarily" selling oneself, being sold as a child by destitute parents, birth to slave parents, conviction of a crime, or kidnapping and piracy. Slavery cut across races and nationalities.

Manumission or freeing of slaves was possible and common in Roman times. Masters in their wills often freed their slaves, and sometimes they did so during their lifetimes. Industrious slaves could make and save money and purchase their own freedom. By the first Christian century, a large class of freedmen had developed. There was even a synagogue of the Freedmen in Jerusalem (Acts 6:9).

Slavery in the Old Testament Slavery laws appear in Exodus 21:1-11; Leviticus 25:39-55; and Deuteronomy 15:12-18. Most of these concern humane treatment and manumission. A Hebrew sold to another Hebrew or a resident alien because of insolvency was to be released after six years of service and given provisions to start over. If he had come with a wife, she and any children were also released. If the master had given him a wife, she and the children were to remain. If, however, the slave wanted to stay with his wife and children rather than be free, he could enroll himself as a slave for life. A Hebrew who sold himself to another Hebrew or resident alien was to be released during the Jubilee Year. See Year of Jubilee. A slave could be redeemed at any time by a relative. A Hebrew girl sold by her father to another Hebrew to become his wife was to be released if that man or his son did not marry her. A slave permanently maimed by his or her master was to be freed (Ex. 21:26-27). A fugitive slave--presumably one who had escaped from a foreign owner--was not to be extradited (Deuteronomy 23:15-16). Foreigners could be enslaved permanently, but they had the right to circumcision (Ex. 12:44-48), Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:10), and holidays (Deuteronomy 16:11,14). One was to be punished for beating a slave to death (Ex. 21:20-21).

Slavery in the New Testament Paul and Peter insisted that Christian slaves be obedient to their masters (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Tim. 6:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:18-21) and not seek freedom just because of conversion (1 Corinthians. 7:20-22). Masters were urged to be kind (Ephesians 6:9; Col. 4:1). Slave trading was condemned (1 Tim. 1:10). Paul claimed that in Christ human status was unimportant (Gal. 3:28). But neither Jesus nor the apostles condemned slavery. Why? Because slavery was so much a part of their society that to call for abolition would have resulted in violence and bloodshed. That is not the Christian way! Rather, Jesus and the apostles set forth principles of human dignity and equality which eventually led to abolition.

Notice that Paul says that God would reward those who do good. See Matthew 16:27 and Colossians 3:24.

Verse 6:9

Paul now instructs the masters (those who owned slaves) to treat their slaves in the same way that he instructed the slaves to treat their service. The masters were not to threaten them. The master of all does not show favoritism and all will have to answer for his/her acts. See Matthew 18:22-35 (examine the way the master treated the servant and how God treated the master of the servant for his acts to the servant).

Verse 6:10

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

Unfortunately this is one of those familiar scriptures and familiar scriptures are usually the one that is usually not understood. Therefore, let's analyze this scripture to get its full meaning (converging on what Paul most likely was saying).

The word strong comes from the Greek word endunamoo (pronounced en-doo-nam-o'-o) and means to empower:--enable, (increase in) strength, be (make) strong.

The word power here comes from the Greek word kratos (pronounced krat'-os; perh) and it means vigor ["great"] (lit. or fig.):--dominion, might, power, strength.

The word might comes from the Greek word ischus (pronounced is-khoos') and it means forcefulness (lit. or fig.):--ability, might, power, strength.

Compiling these definitions we see that Paul was saying:

"Be made strong, increase in strength and empowered in the Lord and in the dominion (realm) of God's ability and power."

Notice that Paul says to "be strong." How can we 'Be strong.' This is similar when God said 'Be Holy as I am Holy.' (See Leviticus 11:44-45). I believe that the next verses tells us how to be strong I the Lord.

Verse 6:11

I believe that we can be strong by putting on the whole armor of God. Putting on this armor enables us to stand against the Devil's schemes. Therefore, putting on this armor in some way strengthens us to take a stand.

Why should we be strengthened in the Lord and not just strengthened? The next verse answers this question.

Verse 6:12

Who do we fight? Do we fight men? No! our battle (struggle) is not with flesh and blood. Our battle is with evil beings in the unseen realm of the world and with spiritual forces in the spirit realm. Therefore, we must realize that the person who is against us is only against what we stand for. Satan is opposed to the things of God. and therefore, will be opposed to your good works. Our battle is a spiritual battle. What is necessary effectively stand in the spirit realm? Paul answers that question next.

Verse 6:13

I really like the way the Amplified Bible words this verse.

"Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand you ground on the evil day [of danger], and having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]." - AMPLIFIED

With the armor of God on you will be able to resist the schemes of evil. Remain standing even after you have done all that is necessary. The reason we put on God's armor is because our battle is not with flesh and blood but in the spirit realm.

Verses 6:14-18

The armor of God, according to Paul, consists of the following:

Belt of truth buckled around your waist - The first thing that is necessary to fight is integrity (truth). This truth holds everything else together for battle. The believer's integrity is directly linked to righteousness which will protect his heart like a breastplate. This righteousness refers to a right-standing with God the father.

Gospel of Peace - The readiness and preparedness to stand comes from the Gospel of peace. The word peace here means to set at one again, prosperity. I like to think of it as putting back into agreement. This agrees with the ministry of reconciliation. I believe that this element of the armor is important because the bible says

(Romans 1:16 NIV) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

The shield of faith - The shield of faith will allow the believer to extinguish all of the fiery arrows of the evil one. Note that the shield of faith is held above the armor (in addition to). The shield is mobile allowing you to defend yourself against the advances of the evil one. The word faith here comes from the Greek word pistis (pronounced pis'-tis) and means persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God.

The important thing about faith is that 1) it operates on hope (which must remain alive and active) and 2) It allows the believer to overcome all of the obstacles and trials that are faced. Faith is not dependent on the circumstance except that it is activated directionally (used for a particular purpose). Without faith the believer is likely to succumb to the circumstance and fall.

Helmet of Salvation - The word salvation in this verse comes from the Greek word soterion (pronounced so-tay'-ree-on; neut) and means defender or (by implication.) defense. Therefore, part of the armor is a defense against the evil one.

Sword of the Spirit - The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The offensive weapon of the believer is the word of God. How do we use the offensive weapon? That is next.

(Ephesians 6:18 NIV) "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

I believe that the method of our fighting is through prayer. After all prayer is our link to the spiritual realm. Our prayers should be in line with the word of God. Therefore, when we pray we fight. When we are against oppositions we pray to eliminate the offender. I must also add that the Greek word translated to pray in this verse also means to worship. Therefore, our worship has power as a sword.

Paul also says to watch (stay awake, be sleepless as on guard). Your armor and weapons will be useless if you are not aware and alert.

Summary of the Armor

I believe that Paul was simply saying that the Christian should have integrity (truth), righteousness (and a revelation of such), always ready (the power of which is the Gospel), Faith, a defense (salvation), and the word of God, and to always pray to activate the fighting (offense and defense).

A word about the sword of the Spirit

The sword of the spirit is called the word of God. Is this referring to the Bible? No. Recall that there was no bible (New Testament) as we know it. Therefore, Paul could not have been referring to the Bible. What was he referring to. Paul was simply referring to the spoken (and written) word of God. We have to be ready at all times to hear God's voice and act on his voice. Therefore, not only is it necessary to know the written word of God as it is revealed in the Bible, we must also be sensitive to his voice within us at all times so that we will be able to act on that as well as any situation deems necessary.

Verse 6:19-20

Though Paul is considered as one of the greatest apostles that have ever lived, he asks for prayer so that he will continue to speak the word of God fearlessly. Though Paul was a great man of God he still needed prayer. There is power in prayer.

 

The Epistle to the Ephesians
By: William R. Cunningham
September 1996

By: 
William R. Cunningham