Monday, May 6, 2013

A Study in Ephesians: Pt. 1, Overview

One of my favorite things about studying the Word is when God reveals something new to me from a familiar passage. After 27 years of faith, I'm sure there are still parts that I have never read before, but not many. But finding new insight from a familiar passage is like opening up your wallet and finding $20 when you thought it was empty. It is awesome!

I have been drawn to Ephesians off and on many times over the years, probably more than any other book in the Bible when it comes to just general study. At one point, I had the ambition to memorize the entire thing. I didn't get very far, but maybe some day. Well, God led me to Ephesians again here recently, and I did something that I normally don't do: I went looking for commentaries on it. And after a few links from Google, I came across this:

http://levendwater.org/berean_pictorial_charts/chart_no_01_ephesians.htm

I had never heard of the Berean Expositor before, nor of their pictorial charts. And while I think the layout they outlined is a little forced and ignores some good stuff in Ephesians, the symmetry the chart highlights is unmistakable.

In writing to the church at Ephesus (and maybe other churches in the area as well), Paul structures his letter with two distinct parts: theology (Ephesians 1:3-3:13) and practice (Ephesians 4:1-6:20). These two sections are linked together by a prayer for power and understanding (Ephesians 3:14-21). Even in the structure of the letter itself there is something to learn about how we live this life as disciples of Christ:

Knowledge of God brings glory to God when we live for God by the power from God.

We cannot live for a God we do not know, and if we truly know Him, then, by the power He gives us in the Holy Spirit, we should be living for Him.

The first three chapters of Ephesians are theologically dense. I am looking forward to unpacking them by the power of the Spirit. But in learning about God, we cannot forget to live for God. After all the theology, and a prayer for power and understanding, Paul starts his section on practicing what he has taught with a verse that I will be constantly reminding myself of through this study:

Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received