Ephesians Chapter 1 Summary, Audio & Text (KJV)
The apostle Paul wrote several letters to the various followers of Jesus Christ. His letter to the church at Ephesus was one of those letters. It starts off his other letters. He greeted them by wishing them peace, blessings and grace, but he also had some important words for them as well.
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Paul Says to be Holy
In Ephesians Chapter 1, Paul told the people that they should all be holy and free from blame as they were in Jesus’ mercy and had His love. Paul said they were chosen by God to be adopted by Jesus as He redeemed them from their sins with His sacrifice on the cross. He filled them all with patience, wisdom, and strength.
The Believer’s Inheritance
Next, Paul talked about the inheritance that the believer will have. Since they had trusted in Jesus, followed His will, and believed in His Gospel, He sealed them with a promise. This referred to the fact that they would experience holiness and salvation.
Paul Prays for the Ephesians
Paul also mentioned how much he prayed for them all. He prayed for their enlightenment, prudence, and patience. He also mentioned other virtues such as wisdom and knowledge.
Paul Concludes Ephesians 1
To conclude Ephesians Chapter 1, Paul mentioned that Jesus would be sitting on the right of the Lord. He said that Jesus is God and he described Him as superior to all other things which are under Him. He is far above everything, in His power, dominion, and might.
Ephesians 1 (King James Version)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Epistle to the Ephesians — Read the Bible Online
This summary of the book of Ephesians provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of Ephesians.
Author, Date and Place of Writing
The author identifies himself as Paul (1:1; 3:1; cf. 3:7,13; 4:1; 6:19-20). Some have taken the absence of the usual personal greetings and the verbal similarity of many parts to Colossians, among other reasons, as grounds for doubting authorship by the apostle Paul.
However, this was probably a circular letter, intended for other churches in addition to the one in Ephesus (see notes on 1:1,15; 6:21-23). Paul may have written it about the same time as Colossians, c. a.d. 60, while he was in prison at Rome (see 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; see also chart, p.
The City of Ephesus
Ephesus was the most important city in western Asia Minor (now Turkey). It had a harbor that at that time opened into the Cayster River (see map, p. 2429), which in turn emptied into the Aegean Sea (see map, p. 2599).
Because it was also at an intersection of major trade routes, Ephesus became a commercial center. It boasted a pagan temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana (Greek Artemis); cf. Ac 19:23-31.
Paul made Ephesus a center for evangelism for about three years (see note on Ac 19:10), and the church there apparently flourished for some time, but later needed the warning of Rev 2:1-7.
Un several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God's eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church.
The letter opens with a sequence of statements about God's blessings, which are interspersed with a remarkable variety of expressions drawing attention to God's wisdom, forethought and purpose.
Paul emphasizes that we have been saved, not only for our personal benefit, but also to bring praise and glory to God. The climax of God's purpose, «when the times will have reached their fulfillment,» is to bring all things in the universe together under Christ (1:10).It is crucially important that Christians realize this, so in 1:15-23 Paul prays for their understanding (a second prayer occurs in 3:14-21).
Having explained God's great goals for the church, Paul proceeds to show the steps toward their fulfillment. First, God has reconciled individuals to himself as an act of grace (2:1-10). Second, God has reconciled these saved individuals to each other, Christ having broken down the barriers through his own death (2:11-22).
But God has done something even beyond this: He has united these reconciled individuals in one body, the church. This is a «mystery» not fully known until it was revealed to Paul (3:1-6).
Now Paul is able to state even more clearly what God has intended for the church, namely, that it be the means by which he displays his «manifold wisdom» to the «rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms» (3:7-13).
It is clear through the repetition of «heavenly realms» (1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) that Christian existence is not merely on an earthly plane. It receives its meaning and significance from heaven, where Christ is exalted at the right hand of God (1:20).
Nevertheless, that life is lived out on earth, where the practical daily life of the believer continues to work out the purposes of God. The ascended Lord gave «gifts» to the members of his church to enable them to minister to one another and so promote unity and maturity (4:1-16).
The unity of the church under the headship of Christ foreshadows the uniting of «all things in heaven and on earth» under Christ (1:10). The new life of purity and mutual deference stands in contrast to the old way of life without Christ (4:17 — 6:9).
Those who are «strong in the Lord» have victory over the evil one in the great spiritual conflict, especially through the power of prayer (6:10-20; see note on 1:3).
- Greetings (1:1-2)
- The Divine Purpose: The Glory and Headship of Christ (1:3-14)
- Prayer That Christians May Realize God's Purpose and Power (1:15-23)
- Steps Toward the Fulfillment of God's Purpose (chs. 2-3)
- Salvation of Individuals by Grace (2:1-10)
- Reconciliation of Jew and Gentile through the Cross (2:11-18)
- Uniting of Jew and Gentile in One Household (2:19-22)
- Revelation of God's Wisdom through the Church (3:1-13)
- Prayer for Deeper Experience of God's Fullness (3:14-21)
- Practical Ways to Fulfill God's Purpose in the Church (4:1;6:20)
- Conclusion, Final Greetings and Benediction (6:21-24)
From the NIV Study Bible, Introductions to the Books of the Bible, Ephesians
Copyright 2002 © Zondervan. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Next (Ephraem the Syrian)
The Epistle to the Ephesians is one of the books of the New Testament in the Christian Bible. Elegantly written as a summary of many of the core teachings of the Apostle Paul, it has been described as the «Queen of the Epistles» (Barclay 1976, 61).
The primary theme of Ephesians is the church, its basic nature and character as the «body of Christ,» predestined from the beginning of creation. Members of the church are adopted as God's sons, and are no longer considered to be Gentiles, but «citizens of Israel.
» As such, they must be holy, and the writer gives a number of instructions as to their spiritual attitude and moral behavior. Included among these are that they must refrain from sexual impurity and drunkenness, filling their lives instead with music and the Holy Spirit.
A believer must «not let the sun go down» on his anger and should put on the «whole armor of God» in his spiritual fight.
The letter is controversial because of its attitude toward women, who it says must submit to their husbands and be «cleansed» by them. Ephesians was also used as a justification for slavery, as it instructs slaves to obey their masters «with respect and fear.»
Paul is traditionally supposed to have written the letter while he was in prison in Rome around 63 C.E. This would be about the same time as the Epistle to Philemon and the Epistle to the Colossians, which in many points it resembles. More recently, however, biblical scholars have questioned the authorship of the letter and suggest a later date for its origin.
The church at Ephesus
Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19)
According to the Book of Acts, Ephesus was a crucial city in Paul's missionary journeys. Paul's first and hurried visit in the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in Acts 18:19–21.
The powerful work he began on this occasion was carried forward by Apollos, Aquila, and Priscilla. On his second visit early in the following year, he remained at Ephesus «three years» because he considered the city to be the key to the western provinces of Asia Minor.
Here «a great door» was opened to him (1 Cor 16:9), and the church was established and strengthened by his labors (Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus the Gospel spread abroad «almost throughout all Asia» (19:26).The word «mightily grew and prevailed» despite all the opposition and persecution he encountered.
On his last journey to Jerusalem, the apostle landed at Miletus. Summoning together the elders of the church from Ephesus, he delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts 20:18–35), expecting to see them no more.
The population of Ephesus has been estimated to be in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 in the year 100 C.E., making it the largest city in Roman Asia. It was at its peak during the first and second century C.E.. Whether or not Ephesians was actually written by Paul, Ephesus continued to be a major center of Christian life throughout the first and early second centuries C.E. and beyond.
The Epistle to the Ephesians opens, «Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,»—but many scholars doubt that Paul was the actual author of the letter.
Ephesians does not seem to have originated in any special circumstances related to a particular church, but to have sprung from the author's concern for the Christian church in general.
It is an indication of his desire that Christians should be fully instructed in proper doctrine and practice. Un Romans, which is an exposition by Paul of the Gospel of salvation, or 1 and 2 Thessalonians, which deal with issues of eschatology (the Last Days) Ephesians is concerned mainly with matters of ecclesiology—the doctrine of the church itself.
A number of theories have been presented regarding its purpose. Some view it as a circular letter sent to a number of churches, of which Ephesus was one. Indeed, in the second century, at least one source (the heretic Marcion) referred to it as a letter to the Laodicians.
Many modern scholars see it as addressing the needs of the post-Pauline Christian communities. Clearly, a main theme in Ephesians is to foster the unity of the church.
A number of passages also demonstrate a concern for ethical issues such as immorality, excessive drinking, family problems, and the treatment of slaves.
Ephesians' form is un any other «letter» in the New Testament canon. Indeed, it may not have originally been a letter at all, but rather a treatise, to which a traditional epistolary greeting and ending were later added.
After a brief greeting, the author blesses the readers and presents a vision of the Christian church as part of God's eternal plan.
A strong sense of predestination is expressed in such statements as: «He chose us in him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
» (1:4) The section from 1:3 to 1:14 is one continuous sentence in the original Greek emphasizing the theme of Christ's eternity and God's gracious plan from the beginning of time to adopt mankind as his sons by means of redemption through Christ's blood.
Early Christian inscription at Ephesus
In the section from 2:11 to 3:21, the author emphasizes the change in the spiritual position of former «Gentiles» as a result of the work of Christ. Gentile believers were once involved in the «ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,» but by God's grace they have been saved—»not by works, so that no one can boast.
» Yet, Christians are «created in Christ Jesus to do good works.» Although formerly excluded from citizenship in Israel, believers are «no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household.
» The section ends with an account of how Paul was selected and qualified to be an apostle to the Gentiles.Chapter four begins with an appeal to unity in the midst of the diversity of gifts among believers: «There is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
» (4:4-6) Echoing First Corinthians, the writer refers to a diversity of offices inspired by Christ: «It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.
» However, true Christians must not live as the Gentiles do, corrupted by the deceitful desires of the «old self.» Christians are «to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be God in true righteousness and holiness.
» Anger particularly leads to sin, thus: «Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,» but manifest kindness and forgiveness to one's Christian brothers.
The author now turns to moral and practical matters. «There must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.» (5:3) Members of the church must not become drunk, for this leads to sexual sin. They should be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and with music: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Wives must submit to their husbands, because the «husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.» Husbands are to love their wives, making them pure just as Christ sanctified the church (5:25-27). Children must obey their parents, and slaves must obey their masters, but parents must treat their children kindly and masters should not abuse their slaves (6:1-9).
Finally, the author calls upon the imagery of spiritual warfare, including the metaphor of putting on the «whole armor of God.» The letter closes with a reference to a certain Tychicus—mentioned in several other epistles as one of Paul's companions and messengers—who will «tell you everything,» followed by a closing benediction.
Author and audience
The first verse in the letter, according to later manuscripts and most modern translations, is: «Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.» (Eph 1:1 NIV) Hence the letter would in this case explicitly designate the Ephesian church as its recipient and Paul as its writer.
Paul of Tarsus, the purported author of Ephesians
However, there are a few problems with this:
- The earliest manuscripts omit the words «in Ephesus,» rendering the phrase simply as «to the saints… the faithful in Christ Jesus» (NIV alternative translation).
- The letter lacks any other references to Ephesus, or to any people Paul met there or events he experienced there.
- The literary style and vocabulary are different from Paul's, and certain themes are developed in ways that do not conform with the accepted Pauline letters.
- The author grants the senior apostles an honor and authority which other Pauline letters do not.
- Phrases such as «ever since I heard about your faith» (1:15 NIV) seem to indicate that the writer has no firsthand knowledge of his audience. Yet, the Book of Acts records that Paul spent a significant amount of time with the church in Ephesus, and in fact was one of its founders.
There are four main theories in Biblical scholarship that address the problem of Pauline authorship (Barth, 1974, 38).
The first agrees with the traditional view that the epistle is written by Paul to the Ephesians or that it was a treatise written by Paul and sent with slight variations to several churches.
The second theory suggests that part or sections of Ephesians were dictated by Paul but that either his scribe or another author later edited the work into its present form.
A third theory rejects Paul as the author altogether, holding that a later author—one who certainly admired Paul and was quite familiar with his writing—penned the letter instead. Finally, a number of analysts simply admit that there is a lack of conclusive evidence and that it is best simply to accept that we do not know who wrote the letter.
As for its audience, the letter does not seem to be intended for the Ephesians alone, but to express general reflections about churches in the Gentile world. This view holds regardless of whether one sees it as being authored early or relatively late.
Date and occasion
If Paul was the author, then Ephesians was probably written from Rome during Paul's imprisonment there (3:1; 4:1; 6:20), soon after his arrival in the year 62.
However, scholars who dispute Paul's authorship, date the letter anywhere between 70-140 C.E.The fact that the document concerns itself with the issue of community with Israel indicates a point in time where the Christian audience had begun to lose its sense of connection to the Jewish tradition from which it had sprung.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing of this letter. No particular heresy is targeted. However, a number of practical and moral issues in the life of the church are treated. Some suggest that Ephesians could have been written to summarize Paul's teaching to the churches he had founded in Asia Minor.
Although the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ remain a theme in Ephesians, they receive less prominence than Christ's exaltation and enthronement.
As in some of the recognized Pauline epistles, salvation is brought about through baptism into the church, which is Christ's body. However, the centrality of the church in God's providence is particularly emphasized.
The church is the «fullness» of Christ and was God's purpose from the beginning of creation. It is in the church that Christ reigns and where the Spirit dwells, and it is there as well that the mystery of God's will is revealed to the prophets and apostles.
Salvation appears to be an event accomplished in the past (2:5-10), rather than a work in progress. There is little if any awareness of the Second Coming.
The authenticity of Ephesians was not doubted in the early church. Because of its succinctness and its elegant summaries of some of the core Pauline doctrines, it has been influential, especially on ecclesiological matters.
For the same reasons, it is particularly popular among lay people and churchmen a.
Its vision of the church as the eternal body of Christ, together with a number of other memorable passages, make it among the most quoted of the New Testament books.However, Ephesians also preserved several unfortunate statements that have been used by proponents of slavery and the repression of women. In the context of its time, its intent was not to promote slavery, but to urge a loving concord between master and slave.
However, its insistence that slaves obey their masters with «respect and fear» created an unfortunate legacy, giving the institution of slavery—as well as slave-owners themselves—a crucial proof-text.
Ephesians' attitude toward women wise was intended to produce harmony between a Christian wife and her husband, who was to love his spouse as Christ loved the church.
Yet, it clearly teaches that wives are inferior—the husbands being the head—and it also implies that women are inherently less pure than men, since they are to be sanctified by their husbands.
These detriments notwithstanding, Ephesians remains a remarkable document. No other New Testament letter is nearly as well composed, and despite its seeming dependence on earlier authentically Pauline works, it also has provided several memorable and inspiring passages found nowhere else. It is not without reason that it has been called the Queen of the Epistles.
- Abingdon Press. The New Interpreter's Bible. Abingdon Press, 1994. ISBN 9780687278145
- Barclay, William. Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. The Daily study Bible series—Rev. ed. Westminster Press, 1976. ISBN 9780664241094
- Barth, Markus. Ephesians. Anchor Bible, 1974.
- Brown, Raymond Edward, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland Edmund Murphy. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Prentice Hall; 3 edition, 1999. ISBN 9780138598365
- Newsom, Carol A., and Sharon H. Ringe. The Women's Bible Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press, 1992.
All links retrieved August 22, 2017. Online translations of the Epistle to the Ephesians: