“When Christ redeemed us from sin and death, He incorporated all believers into His body. It is therefore critical to understand the nature and calling of the church that we might be effective members of the one body that is called to bear witness to God’s grace in this world.” Dr. R. C. Sproul
In beginning a study of the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, one of the first things we notice is that the Paul’s authorship is unquestionable. He is indicated as author in the opening salutation (1:1; 3:1). The letter was written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16–31) sometime between A.D. 60–62 and is, therefore, often referred to as a Prison Epistle (along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon).
Ephesians may have been composed at the same time with Colossians and initially sent with that epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21–22; Col. 4:7–8). Due to the similar nature of theme and content in both epistles, they are often referred to as the Twin Epistles.
The gospel was first brought to Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila (see Acts 18:26) who were left there by Paul during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18–19). Ephesus was located at the mouth of the Cayster River, on the east side of the Aegean Sea. It was perhaps best known for its magnificent temple of Artemis, or Diana, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was also an important political, educational, and commercial center in southern Asia Minor during the first century.
The church was later firmly strengthened by Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts 19) and he pastored there for approximately three years. After Paul left, Timothy pastored the congregation for perhaps a year and a half, primarily to counter the false teaching of a few influential men (such as Hymenaeus and Alexander), who were probably elders in the congregation (1 Tim. 1:3, 20). Because of those men, the church at Ephesus was plagued by “myths and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4) and by such ascetic and unscriptural ideas as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3).
Although those false teachers did not rightly understand Scripture, they boldly communicated their ungodly interpretations (1 Tim. 1:7), which produced in the church harmful “speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Tim. 1:4). Thirty years or so later, the Apostle John wrote a letter to this church indicating its people had left their first love of, and for, Christ (Rev. 2:1–7).
More to come. I encourage you to begin reading the Book of Ephesians. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!