OVERVIEW OF BOOK OF EPHESIANS - "PRACTICAL THEOLOGY"
Author: Eph. 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Ephesians as the apostle Paul.
Date of Writing: The Book of Ephesians was very likely written between A.D. 60-63.
Purpose of Writing: Paul intended that all who long for Christ-like maturity would receive this writing. Enclosed within the Book of Ephesians is the discipline needed to develop into true children of God. Furthermore, a study in Ephesians will help to fortify and to establish the believer so he can fulfill the purpose and calling God has given. The aim of this epistle is to confirm and to equip a maturing church. It presents a balanced view of the body of Christ and its importance in God's economy.
Brief Summary: Doctrine occupies the greatest portion of the Book of Ephesians. Half of the teaching in this epistle relates to our standing in Christ, and the remainder of it affects our condition. All too often those who teach from this book bypass all the foundational instruction and go directly to the closing chapter. It is this chapter that emphasizes the warfare or the struggle of the saints. However, to benefit fully from the contents of this epistle, one must begin at the beginning of Paul's instruction in this letter.
First, as followers of Christ, we must fully understand who God declares us to be. We must also become grounded in the knowledge of God's accomplishment for all humanity. Next, our present existence and walk must become exercised and strengthened. This must continue until we no longer totter or stagger back and forth with every spirit of teaching and subtlety of men.
Paul's writing breaks down into three main segments. (1) Chapters one through three introduce principles with respect to God's accomplishment. (2) Chapters four and five put forth principles regarding our present existence. (3) Chapter six presents principles concerning our daily struggle.
Connections: The primary link to the Old Testament in Ephesians is in the startling (to the Jews) concept of the church as the body of Christ (Eph. 5:32). This amazing mystery (a truth not previously revealed) of the church, is that "the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 3:6). This was a mystery completely hidden from the Old Testament saints (Eph. 3:5, 9). The Israelites who were true followers of God always believed they alone were God's chosen people (Deut. 7:6). Accepting Gentiles on an equal status in this new paradigm was extremely difficult and caused many disputes among Jewish believers and Gentile converts. Paul also speaks of the mystery of the church as the "bride of Christ," a previously unheard-of concept in the Old Testament.
Practical Application: Perhaps more than any other book of the Bible, the Book of Ephesians emphasizes the connection between sound doctrine and right practice in the Christian life. Far too many people ignore "theology" and instead want to only discuss things that are "practical." In Ephesians, Paul argues that theology is practical. In order to live out God's will for us in our lives practically, we must first understand who we are in Christ doctrinally.