Ephesians starts out in 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God 's holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” This first verse is important because it gives us Paul’s audience, the Church of Ephesus. The church was in located in Central Asia and composed of a gentile population. This is important because despite holding a more prestigious role in Greco-Roman society, Gentiles were often looked down on as inferior by Jewish believers. This view stems from Jews’ historic position as God’s chosen people and their consequent pride. We know this from Paul’s writings which state that “Gentiles “were called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the ‘circumcision’” (Ephesians 2:11), “which indicates that the Jews treated them with some degree of contempt” (Mouton 147). As a result of this inferiority there was a confused identity among the early Christian Gentiles.
The book of Ephesians is Paul’s response to this identity crisis and through references to the Old Testament and secular culture Paul is able to relate to the Gentiles and as a result, affirm their identity in the Christian church. Scholar, Ella Mou...
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...ey also encourage Early Christians “neither to separate from society nor to integrate further into it, but to live and function within it” (320). This is important because it helped ensure that the Early Christians were functioning well both inside and outside of their group and the Gentiles of Ephesus recognize that their role was within society.
As members of the Early Christian Church, the Gentiles of Ephesus are an illustration of how Christianity is an all inclusive religion. Furthermore, Paul’s interaction with them shows how Christ relates to all people groups. Throughout the Letter of Ephesians, Paul progresses through the identity of believers, the character standards they must uphold, and the resulting image that they portray through their actions with nonbelievers. Although Paul was writing to the Gentiles of Ephesus, his letters apply to all Christians.
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