Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Book of Ephesians

Introduction to the Book of Ephesians

Written by George Goldman

To many, Ephesians is one of Paul’s most moving letters and yet to others it is only a reproduction of Pauline themes by another mind. Ephesians explicitly claims that Paul wrote it (Eph. 1:1; 3:1). The early church unanimously accepted it as from Paul.

In modern times liberal critics have raised doubts as to the authorship of Ephesians. These doubts are based on subjective arguments drawn from are inconclusive when compared to objective statements of the text itself (Eph. 1:1; 3:1). If Paul’s authorship is rejected the letter was written by someone equal to Paul.

Concerning the audience being address there is legitimate differences in scholarly opinion. Objective textual evidence is lacking concerning to whom Paul was writing. The words “in Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1) are missing in our three oldest existing copies of this letter (Chester Beatty papyrus, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Vaticanus). This accounts for the different ways the first verse is translated (cf. KJV and RSV). This omission allows scholars to speculate on “to whom” the letter was written. The title, “to the Ephesians” was not part of the original letter, as is true to of all titles of New Testament books. These titles simply represent the uninspired thinking of the early Christians.

No book in the Bible exalts Christ and the church more than the book of Ephesians (Eph. 3:21). There is a close connection between Ephesians and Colossians. The same themes are dealt with though the exact words are different. Any good reference Bible will show the close relationship between these two books.

God’s seven-fold plan for unity is found in this book (Eph. 4:1-7). In view of the 300 denominations in America and 800 world religions, it would be well to memorize this plan. There is but one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God.

No comments:

Post a Comment