Paul's letter to the Ephesians, like several other of his letters was written from prison. Ephesus was an early center of Christianity and it was near and dear to Paul's heart. While Paul was imprisoned he wanted to stay in touch with Christians who had been subject to his authority.
As in much of the rest of the Christian world at the time, the great controversy was over unity in the Church. There was a struggle between those who believed that a convert must become a Jew before he could become a Christian and those who believed that faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ was sufficient.
In this Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul is not so much concerned with this argument over doctrine, but he is concerned about the greater unity of the church. He stresses that the "glory of the church embodies the eternal purpose of God as revealed in the life of Jesus." He asks the Gentile and Jewish Christians to become one in Christ.
Paul uses the opportunity of this letter to define the rolls of individuals in society: husbands and wives, parents and children, slaves and masters. He exhorts us to live a good life, "making good use of every opportunity" and "try to find out what the Lord wants us to do."
Ephesians is good both as a short and an extended study. It will give a new appreciation of God's plan for the world...that is to ultimately bring all creation, all being together in Him.
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Other studies on the same subject are also available:
Galatians and Ephesians: A Life Application Bible Study is inexpensive and contains 13 lessons, charts, maps, study questions and notes. Visit our Life Application page for more information on how to use this work in a Bible study.
Galatians and Ephesians, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study of Paul's Letters for a group and as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.