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Survey of a Book

Book: Ephesians Chapters: 6

Notes on the Book

Category (Genre): Epistle (Letter to the saints)

First Impressions: God has done an amazing work through Jesus, saving us, changing
our lives, blessing us tremendously. Christ has brought us everything we
need.

Purpose: Paul wants to encourage us through the riches we have in Christ as well as
correct us from our past lives and spur us on to live holy lives.

Key Words: In Christ, Grace, One/Unity, Pray, Power

Key Verses: 2:6-8, 4:1

Literary Devices Used: Instruction

Emotional Tone: encouraging, excited, loving, concerned

Main Themes: The power of Christ in us gives us a new identity and purpose as
Christians. Through Christ we are unified as one people and should imitate
God by living holy lives.

Structure of the Book: Chapters 1-3 --- Riches


Chapters 4-6 --- Responsibilities

Major People: Jesus Christ, Paul, Church in Ephesus


Observations of the Author
prisoner
needs courage
prays continually (man of prayer)
attitude of thanksgiving
caring about all the saints (loving)
gentle
wasn’t ashamed of being in prison
high in spiritual authority
sacrificial living for God’s children

Observations of the Readers

new Christians
problems with unity (Jews/Gentiles)
mistreating slaves, children
not building up with talk
mostly Gentiles
Step 4: Background Study

1. Sources
a) Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger’s Bible Handbook. Moody Press. 1984.
b) Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. InterVarsity Press. 1993.
c) Butler, Trent C. Holman Bible Dictionary. Holman Bible Publishers. 1991.
d) Dockery, David S. Holman Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers. 1992.
e) Lockyer, Herbert. Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
1986.

2. Geography
a) Ephesus
1. capital city of the province of Asia
2. one of top three cities of the East (Alexandria & Antioch are other 2)
3. sea port (near Cayster River & Aegean Sea)
4. many highways connecting it throughout Asia
5. population estimated at 250,000

3. History
a) Paul went to Ephesus around 50 AD to preach Gospel
b) Letter
1. written around 60-62 AD
2. written while Paul was in prison (probably in Rome)
3. carried by Tychicus to Ephesus
4. very similar to Colossians in style & content

4. Culture
a) political, religious, and commercial center in Asia Minor
b) prestige - worship of Artemis (goddess of fertility)
c) temple called Artemesion (one of the Seven Wonders of the World)

5. Political Environment
a) ruled by Rome at time letter was written

6. Summary
Ephesus was a highly influential city in the political, social, and economical realms.
Because of this, the saints in Ephesus had tremendous opportunity to influence the world with the
gospel. Through history we know that the church was young, since it had been only about 10
years since Paul reached Ephesus with the gospel. The worship of Artemis and other pagan roots
could easily have influenced the young Christians in Ephesus, which I believe is the reason why
Paul emphasized our new identity in Christ and living it out.
Step Six: Outline

I. Riches (Chapters 1-3)

A. Blessings & Riches (1:1 - 1:23)


1. forgiveness of all sins (1:7)
2. rich inheritance (1:18)

B. New Identity (2:1 - 2:10)


1. alive in Christ versus dead in sin (2:5)
2. saved by grace (2:5b)

C. Unity (2:11 - 3:6)


1. Jews/Gentiles under Christ, in one body (3:6)

D. Mission to reach Jews/Gentiles (3:7 - 3:21)


1. spread the gospel to both Jews & Gentiles (3:8,9)

II. Responsibilities (Chapters 4-6)

A. Working Together (4:1 - 4:16)


1. different gifts, everyone working together (4:11,12)
2. growing together (4:16)

B. Imitating God (4:17 - 5:21)


1. walk in the light (5:1,2)

C. Loving One Another (5:22 - 6:9)


1. husbands/wives (5:22,25)
2. children honoring parents (6:1)
3. masters/slaves (6:7)

D. Fighting the Spiritual Battle (6:10 - 6:24)


1. the full armor of God (6:11)
Step 7: Flow of Thought

Paul’s main purpose is to instruct and encourage us to live new lives according to who we
are in Christ and what we have through Him. The letter begins with a focus on Jesus, through
whom we’ve been given many blessings. Paul speaks about the forgiveness of sins, a rich
inheritance, the power to those who believe, and the peace and unity that Christ brings to His
Church. The first half of the letter is dedicated to our riches and identity in Christ. Paul then uses
this as a reason for us to live as “children of the light.”

The need for unity within the body of Christ is now presented, which we have been given
through Christ but must continue to preserve by working together. Paul continues with many
exhortations for us to rid ourselves from our former ways and thinking. We must now imitate
God, representing Him to the world. Thus we will not only live as “children of the light” but also
shine like “children of the light” to the world. Most of what Paul is concerned with is how we
relate to each other as Christians.

General dealings with other people are mentioned first, but then specific relationships are
dealt with such as marriages, families, masters, and slaves. We should not only love each other
through good actions and words, but also “forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Paul lastly informs us on the struggle that we will face to carry out our responsibilities and the
fight that we must prepare for and engage in order to live out our new identity and experience the
riches we have in Christ.

Step 8: Personal Application


“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in al l things grow up into him who is the Head, that
is, Christ. 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.” (4:15-16)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building
others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (4:29)

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” (5:19)

Application: Share with others on a regular basis things that I am learning in the Word and
encourage/build them up with “truth in love” through all types of mediums: speaking, writing,
email, or song.