Ephesians–The Gospel and the Gospel Life

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

EphesiansTonight I begin teaching a thirteen week course on the book of Ephesians at Bethlehem Baptist Church (North campus). This book has had a massive influence on my life and I hope that it impacts others in similar ways. I remember when I first became a believer reading this book through a number of times at the suggestion of my brother. He encouraged me to dive into the book and soak it up. I followed his advice.

Over the last year I have completely translated, diagrammed, and arc’ed (www.biblearc.com) the book. Harold Hoehner, John MacArthur, Klyne Snodgrass, and Peter T. O’brien have all written commentaries on Ephesians that I have utilized at different points. I have read the book in English half a dozen times, committed significant portions to memory, and meditated on various parts. Yet, it feels like I still have a limited grasp of the book and that there remains so much to learn!

As the class begins I plan to break the book down into two large sections. Part I will include chapters 1 through 3. Part II will survey the last three chapters (4 through 6). The book seems to fit neatly (although not perfectly) into these two sections. The first section is more focused on the indicatives while the second section tends to be more imperatival. Thus, Paul writes to the Ephesians and seeks to strengthen their resolve and encourage their hearts by reminding them of who they were apart from Jesus and who they are now through their faith in Jesus. Thus, Part I is the good news!

Part II, while not simply a list of things “to-do”, is nonetheless full of verses that call us to live in a way that reflects who we are in Jesus. We are urged to “walk worthy of the gospel” and are to shy away from “walking as the Gentile’s walk” (4:1,17). Husbands are commanded to love their wives (ch. 5), children are told to obey their parents and slaves their masters (ch. 6). We are to put away certain behaviors and put on the new man (ch. 4). And we do all of this while putting on the full armor of God so that we may stand against the schemes of the devil (ch. 6)

In light of those two sections I have entitled the class, “The Gospel and the Gospel Life.” Although we never move past the good news, we do ask questions regarding how we live in light of the good news. Thus, the second half of the class will be devoted, in part, to discussing how we live as Christians in the present evil age. The root is found in chapters 1 through 3 while the fruits of a healthy root are found in chapters 4 through 6.

Lest I seem imbalanced, I am aware the this breakdown is not perfect. There are no doubt calls to action in Part I and indicative expressions in Part II. Yet, for the most part I feel that this structure warranted. I also believe it is pedagogically helpful while remaining biblically faithful.

May God do great things in and through our class as we study Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus!

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