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There is debate among Bible scholars about the authorship of Ephesians. Some believe Paul wrote this letter, others think this letter was written by a follower of Paul. If Ephesians was written by Paul, it was written late in his career, while in prison.  The resources listed in “Read More About It” give the reasons for each view.

Ephesians is not a letter with personal or specific references to particular congregations or people. For this reason scholars believe Ephesians is a “circular letter”, not written to a specific church but written to be distributed to several churches in Asia Minor. In fact early  manuscripts lack the name Ephesus in the greeting.

While maintaining several familiar Pauline themes and the form of a letter, this letter also has the feeling of a homily or meditation. Some of the language in the letter appear to come from Christian hymns and liturgies. This letter focuses on “big themes” – a cosmic view of God at work in the world and church- rather than the particular difficulties of a particular church.

Outline:

I. The Gift: The Church as the Place of Reconciliation, Chapters 1-3

A. Salutation 1:1-2

B. Introductory Praise of God 1:3-14

C. Intercession, Theme, and Exposition 1:15-2:22

D. Paul’s Ministry and Intercession 3:1-21

II. The Mandate: Living a Reconciled Life, Chapters 4-6

A. Basic Appeal and Incentives 4:1-16

B. Two Ways of Life 4:17-24

C. Negative and Positive Admonitions 4:25-5:20

D. Domestic Duties 5:21-6:9

E. Final Exhortations 6:10-20

F. Epistolary Conclusion 6:21-24

Read More About It

Dahl, Nils Alstrup, Donald H. Juel “Ephesians” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.

Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 18 “The Letter to the Ephesians”.

Metzger, Bruce M. , William A. Beardslee, “Ephesians”  in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.

 

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