I had the opportunity to study and teach the Book of Ephesians for an entire year. I also got to visit the actual ruins of the city of Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. I want to share with you some of the things that I learned during that year. I hope it’ll be helpful for you in understanding the Letter to the Ephesians.
The book of Ephesians explains how the Church comes to full spiritual maturity in Christ. The first part describes the Good News of what God has done (Eph. 1-3). The second section gives instructions on how to live in light of those blessings (Eph. 4-5). Ephesians ends with an encouragement to stand firm in the face of any hardships (Eph. 6).
It is important to study the book of Ephesians because one of the greatest revivals in the history of the early church was based in Ephesus.
From the city of Ephesus, the Gospel went to the entire region of Asia Minor, with an estimated population of 8-15 million people, in 2 years. All this took place without any church buildings and none of the fancy and flashy things that we have today.
In the book of Ephesians, we learn about the impact of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can transform our culture. The preaching of the Gospel changed everything from marriages to the economy. Many people choose to follow Jesus and burn their magic scrolls which were common in the region.
Ephesians reveals that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to see true transformation in the world. The root problem in the world is not racism, oppression, or lack of education. At the core, the problem is sin in the human heart. Fair laws, social justice, and reform are needed, but these cannot change the human heart.
Ephesians shows that the Gospel is not mainly about trying to force other people or circumstances to change. The Gospel is looking to Jesus and living out in the reality of what He has done.
The Gospel brings about a true change in the human heart. When we all begin to live this out as the church, it begins to shift the culture of the world. The Gospel brings a true sense of hope into even the most desperate of situations.
In general, the culture of that day in Ephesus did not see women as equal to men. There was also a form of slavery that was common at that time. Sometimes Christians were persecuted, very severely at times. The Gospel eventually changed all of that from the inside-out. The Gospel conquered the Roman Empire one heart, one marriage, one home at a time.
What happened in Ephesus is an example of what can happen when people believe and live out the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is what happens when the Church comes to maturity in the full stature of Christ. God’s will for His Church is nothing less than this fullness of Christ.
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.Eph. 4:13 (ESV – emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians to encourage believers to full spiritual maturity. What did he teach the believers at Ephesus that brought about those results? Let’s take a closer look into this book which many have called the “Alps of the New Testament.”
Table of Contents
- Who Is the Book of Ephesians Written To?
- Outline of Ephesians
- What Can We Learn From Ephesians?
- Summary of Ephesians
- Best Commentaries on Ephesians
- Ephesians Bible Verses
Who Is the Book of Ephesians Written To?
Paul wrote the book of Ephesians as a letter, or epistle, to the Christians who were in the city of Ephesus. He probably wrote it from prison or possibly under house-arrest while awaiting trial (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20). Although Paul was imprisoned when he wrote the epistle to the Ephesians, the Word of God was prevailing (Acts 19:20).
It is helpful to understand a little bit of the background of Ephesians: Ephesus was a revival center during the time of the Apostle Paul. Paul stayed in Ephesus for about 3 years (Acts 20:31), preaching the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Gospel went to all of Asia Minor (the region which is now modern day Turkey), which some scholars estimate the population to be around 8-15 million people (Acts 19:10).
We know more about the Church at Ephesus than any other church in the New Testament. Paul left Priscilla and Aquila to minister there. Apollos, a man who was skilled in expounding Scriptures was also stationed there. The books of 1 and 2 Timothy were both addressed to Timothy in Ephesus and both were about the church in Ephesus.
The Apostle John was mostly likely in Ephesus when he was arrested during Domitian’s rule. He probably wrote the 3 letters of John and the Gospel of John while he was there with Mary, the mother of Jesus. The church at Ephesus sounds like the Who’s Who of the New Testament!
Outline of Ephesians
As with many of Paul’s letters, there’s a clear transition in the middle of the book of Ephesians. The first part is about what God has done. The second part is how to live in light of that as followers of Jesus.
Here’s the outline that I settled on after seeing many others adopt something similar. I explained earlier that the main theme of Ephesians is how the Church matures to the full stature of Christ to impact the world.
There are 3 postures that describe how a spiritually mature Church receives and lives out God’s blessings.
1. SIT (Eph. 1-3)
And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus – Eph. 2:6 (ESV)
- Ephesians reveals our identity “in Christ.” It also speaks of the wealth we have received in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
2. WALK (Eph. 4:1 – 6:9)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called – Eph. 4:1 (ESV)
- Followers of Jesus are to walk worthy of their calling. The Gospel is to be lived out in marriage (Eph. 5:22-33), family (6:1-4), and in work and culture (6:5-9).
3. STAND (Eph. 6:10-23)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil – Eph. 6:10-11 (ESV)
- Believers have been resourced by God to stand firm in the face of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6).
The overview of Ephesians shows that out of the reality of our being seated with Christ flows our walk (how we live this out) and our standing in the face of any spiritual opposition.
If you’re doing an in-depth study of the book of Ephesians, you might be interested in this article where I share my thoughts on How to Study a Book of the Bible (link opens in a new window). It’s the process that I used in my study of the book of Ephesians.
What Can We Learn From Ephesians?
Here are a few insights from the outline and overview of Ephesians.
Is the order of the outline of Ephesians significant?
To sit is to relax and to rest. It’s not to struggle or strain. It’s not work. Our salvation is by grace through faith.
This first part explains why you can and should live differently. It’s the basis of the whole book. The second part explains what that life looks like. The last section gives assurance to keep living that way even in the face of spiritual opposition.
Your walk cannot come before understanding your identity and rest in Christ. You need to understand that you’ve been seated with Christ in heavenly places, having been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Works (how you walk it out) does not come before faith (how you’ve been seated with Christ).
You are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ but your walk is on Earth. Your walk comes out of your sitting. Your walk, or Christian life, is very practical. Sitting speaks of your position of rest in Christ. You’re not trying to get to God. God has come to us in Jesus Christ and raised us up with Him even when we were dead in our sins.
Understanding your identity in Christ, how you’re seated with Him, is first in order and first in importance. It’s also the longest section. In other words, you don’t start with DO or don’t do. You start with DONE. Because of what Jesus has already accomplished on the cross, you can BE and BECOME.
How you stand in the face of any spiritual warfare is based on how you’ve been seated and how you’re walking it out. Spiritual warfare is not about a technique or a special way to pray. To put on the whole armor of God in Eph. 6 means to believe all that Jesus has done for you (Eph. 1-3) and to live it out in your daily life (Eph. 4-5).
Ephesians concludes with living in the power of everything that God has done in every area of life even when there are challenges. The real struggle is to stand in the finished work of Jesus. That’s the frontline of the real warfare in your life.
Ironically, a wrong view of spiritual warfare can become a distraction from accessing God’s true power to stand in the face of opposition. I did a more in-depth study of the armor of God if you’re interested in it: Put on the Whole Armor of God – What it Means & How to Do It (Link opens in a new window).
Summary of Ephesians
Here is a brief summary of the book of Ephesians in the Bible. These are some of the highlights and major points in the letter. It’s not meant to be exhaustive but serves as a broad and general commentary of Ephesians.
Summary of Ephesians 1
Ephesians 1 shows us that God has spoken and acted in all space and time to bring about His secret plan to redeem us and to bring us gloriously to Himself.
After the introduction to the letter in the first couple of verses, the rest of the first chapter of Ephesians is only 2 very long sentences.
Ephesians 1:3-14 is the longest sentence in the Bible. This single sentence in the original Greek language of the Bible spans 12 verses and includes 202 words. The sentence is stretched out by the use of 32 prepositional phrases and other genitive expressions.
Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long expression of praise to God. To bless means to speak well of or praise. Paul blesses God because God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly placesEph. 1:3 (ESV)
The verses following that descibe all the ways that God has blessed us in Christ.
In Christ, You Are…
- Blessed with every spiritual blessing (v. 3)
- Chosen to be holy and without blame (v. 4)
- Predestined (v. 5)
- Adopted as sons (v. 5)
- Accepted in the Beloved (v. 6)
- Redeemed through His blood, according to the riches of His grace (v. 7)
- Forgiven of your sins (v. 7)
- Given wisdom and understanding of His will (v. 8-9)
- Given an inheritance (v. 11)
- To bring praise and glory to God (v. 12)
- Sealed with the Holy Spirit (v. 13)
- Guaranteed of inheritance until your redemption is fulfilled (v. 14)
Some people have noted that these blessings can be categorized in several different ways:
|Father (v. 3-6)||Chooses||Past|
|Son (v. 7-12)||Redeems||Present|
|Holy Spirit (v. 13-14)||Seals||Future|
The next section, Ephesians 1:15-23, is also one long sentence in the original Greek language. It’s not far behind in length to the previous section, with 169 words in Greek. It’s a prayer birthed out of thanksgiving. It’s a prayer to know God more, to know how God feels about us (we are His inheritance), and to experience His power in our lives.
The first sentence (vs. 4-14) is an expression of praise and describes what God has done. The prayer in vs. 15-23 is that we would know the God who has blessed us in all those ways.
Application of Ephesians 1:
We’re much too quick to look for answers everywhere except in Christ. We go endlessly from one thing to another: one counselor to another, seeking a word that will deliver us or waiting for some spiritual breakthrough. There things are all valid and have their place, but we need the foundation of our identity to be firmly established in Christ. We need the foundational truths of Eph. 1-3.
Lastly, there has been a lot of debate throughout history around the understanding of election and predestination. It would take too long to discuss the topic in this article.
Regardless of where we find ourselves in that debate, we see in Ephesians 1 that Paul praised God for the revealing of the mystery of God’s will (Eph. 1:9). The one thing everyone is called to do is to be filled with thanksgiving because of this amazing fact: God’s will includes us! The good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5) includes you and me and He has called us to be adopted as His children.
Summary of Ephesians 2
Ephesians 2 explains how the blessings describe in Ephesians 1 are worked out in a world of brokenness, sin, and death. Though we were dead in our sin, God has made us alive through Christ and has seated us with Christ in the heavenly places.
All of these astounding blessings and spiritual truths are a gracious gift from God. We can only simply receive it by faith, in believing in Jesus, the One who accomplished redemption for us. It is not something that can be earned through trying to meet God’s standards in the Law or tying to live a good life.
Eph. 2:11-22 explains another tremendous spiritual blessing: Both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) have been reconciled to God through the blood of Christ. We’ve all been given God’s blessings. God’s purpose is that His entire family receive all of His blessings.
In an environment where there were religious and racial tensions between Jews and Gentiles, the Church was to live and model radical unity. The Church that Jesus shed His blood for does not have any barriers whether they be race, economic standing, or anything else.
In America, where I live, radical individualism is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that the Gospel is not received and lived out.
We as Christians need to love and pray for the Jewish people. We are all called to live in unity in the Body of Christ, all connected to one another.
Summary of Ephesians 3
In Ephesians 3, Paul explains the revelation of the mystery of Christ that was given to him. It’s something that was hidden in the past, but God was now revealing.
God’s redemptive plan was not only to the Jewish people but to all the world. The Gentiles were now being made fellow heirs of the promises of God which were previously only available to the Jewish people. This promise was made available now through what Jesus did. (Eph. 3:6)
Although Paul is a prisoner, Paul reminds the believers not to lose heart because of his troubles (Eph. 3:1, 13). Through the church, the manifold wisdom of God was being made to the spiritual powers in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10-11). There is no stopping the advance of God’s Kingdom.
Eph. 3:14-21 is a long, beautiful prayer that God would strengthen the Church to know the love of Christ and for us to be filled with all the fullness of God. The full dimensions of God’s love can only be experienced together with all the saints.
Paul ends this prayer with praise to God, “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20 – ESV)
Summary of Ephesians 4
Ephesians 4 is a call for Christians to live worth of God’s calling. It describes how followers of Jesus are to live in light of all that God has done as described in Ephesians 1-3.
Ephesians 4 also describes what God is building, the church, and why He is building it. The church is called to keep the unity that the Spirit of God has brought us into by living in meekness and gentleness.
The resurrected and ascended Christ gives gifts to His church. There is a 5-fold manifestation of Christ’s grace through His Church.
These come in 5 manifestations: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It’s easier to just focus on the ones that we identify with most. But in order for the church to come into its fullness to be the expression of Jesus to the world, we need all 5.
The Apostolic church has a the sense of mission and purpose. Jesus was sent by the Father and now He sends us.
The Prophetic church emphasizes the sense of God’s presence and seeks His heart and voice. It also seeks the expression of God’s justice. Jesus made known the heart and mind of God.
The Evangelistic Church seeks to have God’s heart for the lost. Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
The Pastoral Church seeks to build people up and nurture people unto spiritual maturity.
The Teaching Church makes known the clarity of God’s will so that there will be long-term growth, health and stability.
These gifts are given so that the church will come to unity and to the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.Eph. 4:13 (ESV)
God’s answer to the brokenness in this world is to send His Son, Jesus. Jesus builds His church so that the image of the Son of God, the fullness of Christ would be displayed on the earth. The Church is the Body of Christ. And God’s goal for us is nothing less than the Fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4 also gives the blueprint for a changed life. We’re no longer to walk and live as we used to (Eph. 4:17). In light of what God has already done (Eph. 1-3), we are to put off the old self, be renewed in mind, and put on the new self (Eph. 4:22-24).
It’s not completely biblical to pray something like: “God, please take my impatience.” God will not take it away. He calls you to do to do something in light of what Jesus has done. There’s a subtle line, but it’s the difference between the Gospel vs. self-improvement. I wrote an article which discusses it more: How to Be a Better Person According to the Bible (link opens in a new window).
Summary of Ephesians 5
Ephesians 5 instructs believers how to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be imitators of God. It continues from the teaching in Ephesians 4, that our lives are to be different now that we follow Christ. We were once in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. We are to walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8).
Ephesians 5 includes the command to be filled with the Spirit rather than being drunk with wine. Ephesians 5:18-21 is another of Paul’s long sentences in the Greek. The outflow of the fullness of the Spirit involves expressions of praise through singing, thanksgiving, and mutual submission. Mutual submission needs to be understood in context of Ephesians 5 and the entire book of Ephesians.
Mutual submission out of reverence to Christ is one of the signs that you are filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:21). Submission literally means to arrange under. The main idea of submission in the Bible is to come under God’s arrangement. We are submitting to God’s plan, coming under Jesus as the head over all things. In light of that, we can submit mutually to one another.
The highest model of submission is Jesus (Phil 2:6-7). He humbled Himself as a servant, even to the point of going to the cross.
The idea of submission may seem strange or offensive in some cultures because individualism is emphasized and valued. At the core is a rebellion against God’s order. Christians are called to respond by coming under Jesus as the head over all things.
Biblical mutual submission is never harsh, assertive or self-promoting.
It takes the fullness of the Spirit to be able to rightly submit under Christ and to one another. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ comes to dwell in us by His Spirit, we overflow with a spirit of worship and praise, thanksgiving and mutual submission out of reverence to God and Jesus Christ as the head over all things.
If you want to begin to see the restoration of God’s plan for your life, find yourself under Christ as the head. Then relate to others in the light of that. In this place, God releases His authority and power in your life.
Biblical submission is aligning under God’s order. Submission is not meant to limit someone but to bring the fullness of Christ and God’s restoration to the broken places in life.
As I submit to Christ as the head, I can rightly practice biblical submission and relate to the brokenness in my life and the brokenness in the world around me. Submission is about the headship of Jesus and alignment in God’s Kingdom. It’s out of reverence to Christ that we submit to one another.
Ephesians also gives teaching on biblical marriage. How does the Gospel impact marriages? First of all, there is mutual submission which includes husbands submitting to their wives and wives submitting to their husbands (Eph. 5:21).
There is also the role and responsibility of the husband as the head. Again, this never includes domineering, belittling, or selfishness on the part of the husband. Rather, it is out of tender and sacrificial love as Christ would display to His Bride, the Church.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. This involves how husbands speak to their wives. Husbands are to sanctify and cleanse their wives with the words that they speak (Eph. 5:26). This is what Jesus does for us, His Church. His words affirm, encourage, and bring us to our fullest potential.
How husbands treat their wives shows the true state of the heart and how they think about their relationship with God. As a husband, if I don’t cherish my wife, I can’t fully know that I am and cherished by God in Christ.
For a biblical understanding of marriage, I highly recommend Tim Keller’s excellent book: The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Marriage with the Wisdom of God (link to Amazon).
We took a year to go through it in our Men’s group at church and found it very helpful. It’s not easy reading, but definitely worth working through. It’s not focused on the typical marriage advice like “improve your communication.” It goes to the root of the issues of the heart and explains that it’s only the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will allow us to have a fulfilling marriage.
Wives are to respect their husbands. Again, it takes the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a successful marriage.
At the end of the day, in my years of counseling married couples, even the most complex marriage problems almost always comes down to this: Wives don’t feel loved by their husbands and husbands don’t feel respect by their wives.
Ephesians 5 teaches us how we can apply the Gospel to our closest relationships, including marriage. If we do worship services (experiences) well but don’t experience the kingdom of God in our homes, our closest relationships and in our work, we miss the majority of life.
Ephesians 5 gives us true hope. It takes nothing less than the Good News of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for us to experience God’s true blessing in our marriage and in our home.
Summary of Ephesians 6
Ephesians 6 explains how the Gospel applies to families and to work or society in general.
Ephesians 6:1-4 explains how the Gospel is applied to families. It gives instruction for children to be obedient to their parents because it is right in God’s sight. Commandments don’t need a promise, but this one has one. It’s a two-fold promise. The blessing of following God’s order in families is the promise that things would go well and long life to enjoy those blessings.
This meant a strong and mature church that can impact the world. Strong marriages and strong families are the bedrock of society. These become the building blocks of a mature church and in turn, affects the culture around them.
Ephesians 6:4 instructs fathers to not provoke their children to wrath, but to bring them up “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (ESV). It can be a challenge for fathers to either become passive or overly aggressive in raising their children. Either extreme can discourage children and spark a rebellious spirit that leads to wrath. It takes the Gospel of God’s grace to raise children according to God’s way.
God is a Father and He instructs us to imitate Him because we are His children (Eph. 3:1). No matter how your upbringing or family background was, there is grace in Christ to be a godly parent or nurturing Father. This applies to natural children and spiritual children.
Ephesians 6:5-9 gives instructions on the relationship between masters and bondservants. It can be applied generally to work or vocation. It can also be applied to the broader concept of how the Gospel impacts culture and how Chrsitains are to seek social justice.
In Ephesus, at the time that Paul wrote, there was racism, inequality, oppression, and at times persecution of Christians. Sometimes the persecution was very cruel and severe. Change did not come about by protesting for social justice, but by seeking to live as citizens in God’s Kingdom.
It was common in the Roman empire for many to become bondservants and serve their masters. Of course, this is not in line with the Bible where all people were seen as equal in God’s eyes (Gal. 3:28).
The Gospel is not about confronting the government directly. Rather, Christians are to pray for those in leadership. The Gospel does not directly protest social injustices. Yet, how did Gospel transform the region? It looked to a higher Kingdom.
Paul presented the Gospel as the answer to the brokenness in this world and to a culture that was marked by injustice and oppression. It transformed the Roman Empire from the inside-out: one marriage, one family, on church at a time. It was the undeniable, raw power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:10-20 gives the charge to stand firm in the Gospel in the face of any spiritual opposition. The full armor of God is needed in order to press on through the challenges that will eventually arise. To understand what it means to put on the full armor of God, the context of entire letter to the Ephesians needs to be kept in mind.
A wrong understanding of the armor of God can lead to confusion about what the Christian life is about. It can also distract from the main and plain teachings of the Bible. Here is an article that goes in-depth into this important topic: Put on the Whole Armor of God – What it Means & How to Do It.
Just to touch on it briefly here, to put on the whole armor of God is to believe all that God has done (Eph. 1-3) and to live it out in daily life (Eph. 4-6). To put on the full whole armor of God is to apply all of the Gospel to all of your life.
The whole armor is the expression of your full trust in God and what He has done for you through Jesus Christ. Your victory in spiritual warfare was secured at the cross of Christ and the blood that was shed there (Rev. 12:11).
Ephesians 6:21-24 concludes the letter with Paul’s personal farewell and blessing to the believers at Ephesus.
Best Commentaries on Ephesians
I looked at over a dozen commentaries on Ephesians during my studies. There were two that I kept coming back to more often than others.
I found Clinton Arnold’s Ephesians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (link to Amazon – opens in a new window) to be the most helpful. It was quite thorough and touched on more of my questions than any of the other commentaries.
I also recommend Harold W. Hoehner’s Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (link to Amazon).
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|If you found this article to be helpful, here are a few others that I’d recommend:|
Book of James: Summary, Meaning & Application. The book of James has been attacked and misunderstood throughout history. Some people have questioned whether it’s even helpful for Christians to study this book. This study in the book of James looks at the essential pieces that James provides in understanding the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed.
11 Ways to Study the Bible: Methods, Techniques & Tips. In this article, I share different methods of Bible Study, including how to study a book of the Bible. My studies in Ephesians combined a few of the methods in the article. Try some of the different methods and see which one works the best for you.
One resource that I highly recommend is: Unlocking the Bible: A Unique Overview of the Whole Bible (You can check out the reviews on this link to Amazon). It has a chapter on every book of the Bible, is very clear, and has great insights. Be sure to get the book and not the one that just has diagrams, charts, and images. The covers look very similar.
The main theme of the Bible is the Kingdom of God. In this article, I explore what that means and how it can help you grasp a big-picture view of the entire Bible. The Main Message of the Bible: Its Central Theme & Purpose.
Ephesians Bible Verses
Lastly, here are some of the most popular Ephesians Verses that touch on some of the theme discussed above. These verses in Ephesians cover a wide range of topics from love, marriage, parenting, faith, to identity in Christ.
May God stir true revival in our time, to see the Church come to the full stature of Christ, to the glory of His name!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:3)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-6)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8)
That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Eph. 3:16)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1-3)
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:4-6)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13)
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph. 4:15-16)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30)
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (Eph. 4:26-27)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 5:1-2)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16)
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (Eph. 5:18)
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:21-22)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph. 5:25)
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:31-32)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise) (Eph. 6:1-2)
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Eph. 6:11)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:13-17)
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
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16 thoughts on “Summary of Ephesians: Meaning, Outline & Application”
Thank you for the words of encouragement. I am 63 years old and have known what it is to walk in the spirit. Today I find that I struggle to find the strength to stand as I once did. To be filled with the love of God that I once had and cherished. Please pray for me that I would once again be bold in my love for Christ and his leadership in me
I want to honor the years that you’ve walked with the Lord and in His Spirit. I pray that God would give you a fresh revelation of the fire of His love and that it would mark you once again to impact the people around you. God bless you.
this is one of the most insight material i have read about the book of Ephesians. God bless and keep you sir. I pray for greater insight and depth in the knowledge of God. This piece literarily got fire into my bones….
Thank you for your prayer and blessing. I’m grateful to be able to share from God’s Word. God bless you and fan to flame the fire that He’s ignited in you. Lord, do this in our lives to Your glory!
Dearest Pastor David Kim,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord & saviour Jesus Christ.
I am very much blessed by your article, actually it is more than that, and learned how I should see the gift of grace and the way I should live it out. I believe that you are demonstrating it in your life. I pray that more withdom and success in day to day life find you through out your journey as Christian leader.
In His Liove,
Dearest Ephrem, Thank you for your kindness and encouragement. I pray that God will fill you with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col. 1:9) in all that you do. May God give you the grace to fulfill His assignments in your life and in every sphere of influence that He gives to you. Our God is able. Blessings to you!
I’m amazed at how now I see the verses where Paul focuses on marriage, work, and children as the avenue to which the love of God is revealed to the world! It’s so much more powerful now to see how it all flows from the unified God allowing his church to function in unity to display His Love! At least that’s what I think it’s revealing!
That’s a great insight! Godly, healthy, strong marriages lead to godly families, and to godly unified churches. This is the foundation of healthy societies and culture. Being and making disciples at the closest of our relationships is what impacts the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel transforms the nations one home, one heart at a time!
HOW YOU WOULD APPLY TO THE KEY THEMES OF THE BOOK EPHESIANS?
TO THE CHURCH YOU ATTEND
For me, the key lessons include:
1) The importance of beholding Christ. This is the key to discipleship. We can only follow Jesus if we’ve beheld Him by the Holy Spirit.
2) How we honor one another in the Church. We are all different by God’s design. If we are to come to the fullness of Christ in His Church, we need to learn to accept, honor, and champion one another, spur one another on, prefer one another.
3) The importance of marriage and family in discipleship. It’s not about large events and performances. They had a large stadium in Ephesus, but the Church happened in homes. Discipleship best happens in small groups and in families. Strong marriages lead to strong families, lead to strong churches that God will use to impact the world.
Wow, wow, wow! I landed in this at the right time! Definitely, a God thing! I am taking a course in Christian doctrine and we discussed election. The discussion threw me off because it seems to be one of the attributes or perhaps characteristics of God that we will never be able to explain in its fullness just as we can’t explain His love in its fullness. I deem it something 1) we accept as completed by Christ 2) it is unexplainable in its fullness yet a promise to the believer 3) in terms of sharing the gospel this is not verse I would share with a new believer due its complexities
With that being said, what is your understanding of “the elect”. Perhaps I’m not making any sense but I hope I am.
Permission request can I use your table? If you get a moment please access it and change the word to sesals to seal. I’m working on a teaching regarding the Spiritual Insights of Sanctification (The Believers Life Journey Towards Spiritual Maturity) and I would like to use your chart…can I? I will be careful to mention your name and ministry as I deem the teachings here to be LIFE CHANGING! I would like to add another column to right with the first being Justification (Past), the 2nd being Sanctification (Present) and the last being Glorification (Future) but I’m not sure what the column would be (perhaps Biblical Terms)? Do you have any suggestions for the title of that column?
Again, thank you for this sound doctrine! It’s impact on my understanding will be something I carry with me and use to help others see the spiritual responsibility that every believer has as a result of receiving the redemption work of Christ specifically that it changes the way you SIT, WALK, and STAND on earth as it is in heaven!
Be blessed Pastor Kim (perhaps I will have the opportunity to meet you one day in person)!
Thank you, I’m grateful to hear the article was helpful! I agree with you, there are doctrines like election that we can accept and simply trust God in. I know people on different sides of the issue who have strong opinions about it.
Our systems of doctrines are usually helpful, but if we have “problem verses” that don’t fit in with our system, then perhaps our systems are too rigid and we need to be okay with the full scope of what God’s Word teaches and accept His mind and not try to fit it into our system. We can give thanks for the truth of election and also be filled with His heart to share the Good News with people around us. It’s both. Of course, the discussion gets more complex when people define these terms and doctrines differently.
One way to think of “the elect” is simply people that God chooses. In the New Testament, it usually refers to people that God has chosen – in this case, for salvation through Christ. It also sometimes is used of Israel, God’s chosen people, to whom He made everlasting promises to about being His people and land, etc..
Thanks for the catch on the typo! Yes, you have my permission to use the table or whatever’s useful in the article. I’ve seen things like this table and other things in this article, like the outline, from many others, so I’m not sure who to credit for it, but I feel it’s pretty straightforward from Eph. 1. That’s an interesting idea for the fourth column. Nothing comes to my mind right away, but let me know if you think of something good!
God bless you in your pursuit of Him!
Thank you very much pastor for all the time that you took to write this article may God bless you. At least I have come to understand our spiritual blessings which we have in Christ , how to obtain and how to live as Christian in love, peace and unity. I once reached at an extent where by I didn’t know peace but in Christ everything is possible. Glory be to God.
Thank you. I’m so grateful to be able to share with you. Praise God for His peace and joy through Jesus. God bless you as you live out every blessing that has been given to us through Christ. Glory be to God.
Thanks a ton Pastor for sharing this insightful, conducive, easy to read & comprehensive. Blessed!
Thank you! I’m so glad it was helpful. God bless you in your studies in this beautiful book.