Starting on July 18, and continuing through August, Pastor Kimberly will be preaching on Ephesians, the 10th book in the New Testament. Here are some useful things to know about Ephesians:
- Although the salutation says that it was written by the apostle Paul, it was probably written about the year 90 AD, a generation after Paul died. It is likely that it was written by someone who admired Paul and was writing in his style.
- The letter was not addressed to a particular congregation, but seems to have been written to circulate among many congregations. So it does not address particular issues in individual faith communities, but speaks to the faith of the whole church.
- The writer of this letter wrote very long sentences. For example, Ephesians 1:3–14 is one sentence in the Greek. Figuring out how to divide the Greek into meaning-units and punctuate it so that it makes the same kind of sense in English is a challenge to translators.
There are three major themes in Ephesians:
- The celebration of the establishment of unity between Jewish and Gentile Christians (a hotly contested problem in the genuine Pauline letters).
- The understanding that Christians are participating in a cosmic battle between good and evil, and God offers believers the “armor” of faith.
- A “household code” or set of rules that is intended to establish faith and practice for a new generation. Part accommodation, part tacit acknowledgement that Jesus has not yet returned to gather the nations, this third theme is the place that differs the most from the genuine letters of Paul.
July 18: “Promise, Inheritance, Destiny”, Eph. 1:3–14
July 25: “No Longer Strangers”, Eph. 2:11–22
August 1: “Prayer for the Listener”, Eph. 3:14–21
August 8: “Unity in the Body”, Eph. 4:1–16
August 15: “Rules for the Redeemed”, Eph. 4:25 – 5:2
August 22: “Be Careful How You Live”, Eph. 5:15–20
August 29: “The Whole Armor of God”, Eph. 6:10–20