As one begins to read the letter to the Ephesians, he is intrigued not only by the many topics that the letter mentions, but also the fact that there are some major differences between this book and Paul’s other writings. The purpose of this essay is to explore the book of Ephesians by commenting on critical issues, such as date, authorship, and setting, major theological themes, the purpose of the letter, and to offer an outline of the book itself.
Critical issues include those things such as the date the letter was written, who the letter was written by, and where the letter was written. This section of the essay will identify these elements and mention the problems that come about when one thinks logically about the information presented in the letter to the Ephesians.
The letter to the church at Ephesus was written about the same time as the letters to the churches at Colosse and Phillipi. A combination of all of my sources suggests this was somewhere between the years of A.D.60-64.
A major problem that needs to be addressed is the question of setting. Was the letter to the Ephesians only written to the church at Ephesus? Most sources suggest that it was not. The oldest manuscripts, such as codex Vaticanus and codex Sinaiticus, do not have the church at Ephesus as the recipient of the letter; this was added into later manuscripts (Donzé et al, 534). Many state that Ephesians was a circular letter, a letter that was meant to circulate among all of the churches in the area and not meant to be specifically addressed to one church. This theory is supported by the fact that there are very few proper names in the letter, unlike the other letters Paul wrote, and the fact that it does not address specific problems of the church, only general statements are mentioned. Also, if the letter were, in fact written solely to the Ephesians, Paul would probably have included some reference to the fact that he was the pastor of the Ephesian church for two years (Ramsay, 454). Instead of doing this, the author uses phrases such as “I have heard of your faith” (1:15), implyi...
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...ht into God’s plan
B. Verses 14-21-Paul’s prayer for understanding and strength
IV. Chapters Four ,Five, and Six-Four charges to Gentile converts
A. Verses 4:1-16-Promote the church’s unity
B. Verses 4:17-5:20-Part with pagan ways
C. Verses 5:21-6:9-Manifest Christian unity through Christian family life
D. Verses 6:10-20-Be good soldiers in God’s army
V. Chapter Six, verses 21-24-Concluding note and benediction
The letter to the Ephesians is a book of the Bible that creates many arguments between theologians and Bible commentators. It poses many questions about the critical issues in the letter and the authenticity of the letter. The arguments that are brought forth for each different stand or opinion are what make the book of Ephesians such an interesting piece of work, worthy of the critical eye of the reader.
Barclay, William. (1958). Letters to the Galatians and
Ephesians. Philadelphia. The Westminster Press.
Donzé, E.H. et al. (1942). Commentary on the New Testament.
Washington, DC. The Catholic Biblical Association.
Ramsay, William M. (1994). The Westminster Guide to the Books
of the Bible. Louisville. Westminster John Knox Press.
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