Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > Study Guide

Ephesians Study Guide

About the Book of Ephesians - its author, original readers and date.

As Christians, we do not read the Bible in order to study history. Instead, we should study the Bible because it is God’s word, God’s message to us. We study it to learn what God is saying to us. In other words, from the Bible we discover how God wants us to live.

That means that such matters as the date of a Bible book, or its original readers, are often less important to us. Other people might like to discuss these matters, but often the Bible gives us little information about them.

However, the Bible does tell us who wrote the Book of Ephesians. In the first verse, Paul gives his own name as the author.

That same verse also says that Paul wrote the book as a letter to the church in Ephesus. However, many people have expressed doubts about that fact in recent years. The reason is that some ancient copies of the book do not include the words ‘in Ephesus’. There are no other mentions of Ephesus in the book; the title ‘Ephesians’ was not originally part of the book.

So, we ask whether there is any other evidence in the Bible about the original readers of this book. We see that Paul had strong reasons to write to the church in Ephesus. He established that church (Acts chapter 19) and he cared deeply about its members (Acts 20:17-38). In addition, the Christians there were mostly Gentiles (people who do not belong to Israel), and Paul wrote Ephesians for Gentile Christians (2:11).

In our studies of the book, we have seen that many of its passages describe well the situation in Ephesus. It is also very interesting to compare the last verse in the book with Revelation 2:1-7. That passage in Revelation is a letter that, several years later, Christ sent by John to the church in Ephesus. Like Ephesians 6:24, it emphasises that our love for God must be constant (Revelation 2:4).

We also see that Tychicus took the book to its original readers (6:21). Acts 20:4 tells us that Tychicus was from the region then called Asia. Ephesus was the capital of that region. At the same time, Tychicus took Paul’s letter to Colosse (Colossians 4:7); Ephesus was on the way to Colosse.

Tychicus also took Paul’s letter to Philemon (compare Colossians 4:7-9 with Philemon 10-13); and that letter gives some evidence about the date of Ephesians. Paul was a prisoner at that time (4:1). That seems to refer to the two years that he remained in Rome (Acts 28:17-31). He was there as a prisoner in his own house; a soldier guarded him constantly. However, Paul told Philemon that he expected soon to be free again (Philemon 22). So, it seems that Paul sent these letters near to the end of his time in Rome. We think that was about the year 63 A.D.

Next part: A brief explanation of each chapter in the Book of Ephesians


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© 2019, Keith Simons.