Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 1

Paul’s letter to Ephesus

Ephesians 1:1

The ‘Ephesians’ mean the people who lived in the city called Ephesus. The Book of Ephesians in the Bible was originally a letter to the Christians in that city.

Its author was Paul, who describes himself as ‘an apostle of Christ Jesus’. Today, the word ‘apostle’ usually means one of the first church leaders. However, the word originally meant a servant, whose master had sent him to do an especially important and responsible task.

Paul’s master was Christ; in other words, Paul accepted Christ’s authority over his life. The word ‘Christ’ is a title to give honour to Jesus; it means the Messiah, the king whom God sent to save (rescue) his people. Perhaps here Paul gives the title (Christ) before the name (Jesus) in order to emphasise the meaning of that title.

Paul’s special task for Christ was to declare the gospel (the message about Christ), especially among the Gentiles. The Gentiles are the people from every nation except Israel, the nation to which Paul himself belonged. God had chosen Paul for this special task. So, Paul went to many different countries to declare the gospel. For two years, Paul was in Ephesus where he established a strong church (Acts chapter 19).

Paul wrote his letter to Ephesus about 5 years after he left that city. He describes its Christians as holy people who were loyal to Christ. Paul had written to them previously (3:3-4), but now God guided him to write again. It is this later letter that we find in our Bibles. In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter mentions Paul’s letters and the wisdom that they contain. He says there that Paul’s letters have the same authority as the rest of the Bible.

Next part: Grace and peace (Ephesians 1:2)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.