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Ephesians-Detailed Outline
A. Our Wealth in Jesus
Ephesians 1:1-1:2 Salutation
Paul is identified. The standard Greek and Hebrew greetings of “grace” and “peace” are given.
Ephesians 1:3-1:23 The Origin of the Church
Ephesians 1:3-14 Thanksgiving expressed in worship and praise
Ephesians 1:1-3 Christians are the chosen of God. Purpose of God’s choice – that they be holy and blameless. They should be different from other people. God adopted Christians as sons into his family. Listing of blessings…deliverance, forgiveness of sins, richness of grace, wisdom and sound sense. God has revealed this because of his own will. His will was hidden until now. But it was His good pleasure now to reveal it in Christ. All things will be achieved in good time. Everything in heaven and earth will be subsumed under Christ. History is the working out of God’s plan; one day all will be one family.
Ephesians 1:11-14 Jews and Gentiles: Jews were the first to believe in God’s Anointed. Their part in the plan of God was to be the nation from whom the chosen would come. Gentiles then received the word of God and were sealed by the Holy Spirit. “Seal” indicated its genuineness. Experience of the Holy Spirit is a “deposit” on what is yet to come. It is the first installment on the Christian’s true inheritance.
Ephesians 1:15-23 A prayer of intercession. Author gives thanksgiving for all that he has heard about them. He remembers them daily in his prayers. He prays that they might have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God even better. He uses “know” in the sense of increased personal acquaintance. Knowledge is described as man’s enlightenment, hope for the future. The “eyes of their hearts” being enlightened will result in three things: The hope of his calling – eternity. The riches of the glory of his inheritance means life with God forever. The greatness of his power…the strength of his might. This power was already demonstrated in God raising Jesus from death. Christ now sits on God’s right hand in heavenly realm. Christ is Lord of all. All things are under his feet. With Christ at its head, the church is his body. The church is the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 2 The Construction of the Church
Ephesians 2:1-10 Redemption and forgiveness
Ephesians 2:1-3 Man is alienated from the life of God…dead in trespasses and sins. Transgressions are lapses. Sins are shortcomings. This is the life of man without God. Before they were Christians, they followed the ways of the world. They were obedient to the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan). This was also true of Paul and Jews before they became Christians. To live as a Gentile was to live according to the “cravings of sinful nature”. People do whatever they desire and think.
Ephesians 2:4-7 The contrast between spiritually dead and those created in Christ. Over against man’s sinful nature, God has graciously accepted man in Christ. God loves the people he has created – has compassion for the helpless. By grace we have been saved. We have been made alive with Christ. We are exalted with him in the heavenly realm. This was all done so that future generations would know the riches of His grace. His grace is expressed in kindness toward us
Ephesians 2:8-10 Heart of Paul’s gospel. “It is by grace you have been saved – through faith”. It is the gift of God, not something we have earned. Nor is it by “works,” so that one cannot boast. No reason for spiritual pride; grace precludes boasting. We are God’s workmanship, created to do good works. God has prepared them in advance for us to do
Ephesians 2:11-22 Christ and the unity of church. Believers should no longer think in terms of “Jew/Gentile”. Both are a new creation – Christians
Ephesians 2:11-12 Gentiles are reminded of their previous life – uncircumcised. At that time, Gentiles were separated from Christ. They were foreigners of the covenant, excluded from citizenship in Israel.
Ephesians 2:13-18 Gentiles are now in Christ. They have been brought near through blood of Christ. Jesus is peace and he brings peace through his life. Jews and Gentiles are now one people. The death of Christ has abolished the law with its rules and regulations. Christ has destroyed the dividing wall between nations. Does not mean that all moral law was destroyed. The broken barrier accomplished by the cross means enmity is now peace. Church is like a living body, but exists peacefully as one. Peace was preached to those far as well as near. All now have access to the one God through the one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 The new unity. So, they are no longer foreigners and aliens. They are fellow citizens and members of His household. Apostles and prophets form the foundation of the church. Jesus is the chief cornerstone (Argument for authoritative line of tradition;
cornerstone is the key). All that is built up is built together. Christians are that holy temple by virtue of being in Christ. Gentile Christians have a big part in all of this. Believers are God’s building, His temple.
Ephesians 3 The Function of the Church
Ephesians 3:1-21 Paul and the mission to the Gentiles (Those who argue for Pauline authorship have used this as evidence of imprisonment)
Ephesians 3:2-13 God commissioned Paul to minister to the Gentiles. This was given to him through grace. The mystery was made known to him through revelation. They already know this so they should understand his insight into the mystery of Christ. This mystery of Christ was hidden from people of old, but is now revealed. The mystery is that through the gospel, Gentiles are heirs with Israel. All are members of one body. They all share in the promise of Christ. Paul repeats that he was a servant of Christ through God’s grace. His strength to do so came from God’s power. Paul admits that he was less than the least of all God’s people. Yet it was his commission and privilege to preach the riches of Christ. His commission was to make plain to everyone the mystery. God used the vehicle of church to make known the wisdom of God. The church has a cosmic function in God’s plan. God had planned to do this from the beginning. God had accomplished this through Christ. God did this so we could approach Him with freedom and confidence. All barriers have been removed. Paul asks them not to be discouraged because of his sufferings (imprisonment?). Paul is suffering on their behalf; it is for their “glory”.
Ephesians 3:14-19 Praying for enlightenment; an enraptured supplication. Author kneels (expression of deep devotion, humility) before the Father. The Father is the one after whom the whole family is named. Prayer draws upon God’s unlimited resources. There is no limit to His ability to give. God gives out of His glorious riches. God prepares the believer through the indwelling of Christ in his heart. Christ is in the believer’s inmost being. Paul’s prayer is that believers may be rooted and established in love. This has happened, but should continue to be part of believers’ lives. After requests, author mentions effect that his prayer will have on them. Prayer includes power to grasp – strength to understand. Author attempts to show magnitude of Christ’s love. There is no concrete way to describe Christ’s love. He uses tangible spatial images. Yet, Christ’s love is beyond knowledge of it. Still, it is one step toward being filled to the measure of God’s fullness.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Doxology: He appeals to the wealth and understanding of God. God can do much more than they could ever imagine. Our experience of him will always be limited. Christ and the church form the sphere of God’s glory. They are the means by which glory is proclaimed to all.
B. Our Walk in Jesus
Ephesians 4:1-4:16 Responsibilities in the Church
Ephesians 4:1-6 Unity of the church. Paul invites readers to live the life worthy of their calling. They are part of God’s grand design in the uniting of all things. A list of personal attitudes essential for unity in the body of Christ is given. Includes: humility – seeing another instead of oneself. Gentleness is…consideration towards others. Patience is…willingness and ability to deal with others courteously. Bearing with one another…as God would. Love is …the crowning virtue of them all. They are to make every effort to keep the unity. This unity comes from the Holy. Spirit. Peace is what forges the bond of unity. Besides being one in body and Spirit, they are called to one hope. Hope is the goal or inheritance, common to all believers. The church is established by recognition of Christ, the Lord. Rite of baptism unified them all. Unity of God –One God and the Father of all. He is over all, through all, and in all. These represent His transcendence, omnipresence, and immanence.
Ephesians 4:7-11 Diversity of the body contributes to its unity. Body is unified but not uniform; everyone has a contribution to offer. Listing of gifts includes what is needed for proper functioning body. Gift is one of grace…apportioned by Christ. Quotes from Psalms celebrating God’s victory over enemies are given. Says Christ ascended and descended…inclusive of all. He was exalted to highest honor and greatest glory possible. He fills the universe – pervades everything with His presence. It makes Christ accessible to everyone at all times. He made some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. There is some overlapping among these functions. As time went on, leadership relied upon sacred writings as opposed to being present with Jesus. These “gifts” provided for continued leadership for the next generations.
Ephesians 4:12-16 Functions of leaders for church unity. First and foremost, they are to prepare God’s people for works of service. They do this so the body of Christ will be built up. Every member, then, must contribute to this process. This “building up” includes unity in the faith and knowledge of Son of God. It also will include personal maturity…in relation to the church. Final stage will be attainment of whole measure of fullness of Christ. Currently, they are like children tossed back and forth by the waves. They are blown here and there by every wind of teaching. They have permitted false teachings and doctrines to sway them. Heretics are chastised for deliberately leading them astray. Church should be characterized by speaking the truth in love. They will live out the truth in the spirit of love. The church will then grow up in him who is the head – Christ. Christ will direct this growth. The body will grow and build, each part doing its share of the work. All growth is interdependent.
Ephesians 4:17-6:9 Individual Conduct
Ephesians 4:17-24 Appeal to abandon former life; embrace the new. Gentile way of life includes futility of thinking – all is vanity. Life without God is meaningless. Gentiles have darkened minds, are deprived of God’s light and illumination. Life without God leads to ignorance and hardening of hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they are sensual, indulging in iniquity and lust. Life without God leads to all sorts of immoral behavior. In contrast, believers know Christ. They were taught the truth that is in Christ. They were taught to put off the old life and put on the new (Some see reference here to baptism…putting on of new life). Indeed, they were made new in the attitudes of their minds. In this new creation, they are to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This continues to be a process even though it is factual.
Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Virtues and vices associated with old and new life. For every vice to be put off, there is a virtue to be put on. They must put off falsehood and put on truthfulness. Lying is detrimental to Christian community. They must learn to keep anger in check – do not sin. They should not give the devil an opportunity. Unresolved anger leads to sinful actions. The one who steals should stop and begin working. Then they will have something to give to others in need. Ultimate purpose for working is to have something to give away. They should not speak unwholesome talk but only what is helpful. Then they will make a positive contribution to those who listen. The Holy Spirit for whom they are “sealed” feels any misuse of speech. Presence of Holy Spirit gives them the ability to clean up their speech. This would include all bitterness, rancor, rage, and every form of malice. In contrast, they should be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other. These qualities promote spirit of acceptance, tolerance, and patience. They can act with same generosity God has shown to them. They should be imitators of God, live a life of love. They have the example of Christ giving up his life for us. Christian’s life should be expressed in self-giving sacrifice. This is pleasing to God
Ephesians 5:3-21 Living in the light of the Lord. Sensuality and sexual immoralities contradict lives in imitation of God. In place of foolish or shameful talk, they should give thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should be given to God. Those who are immoral, covetous, greedy are idolatrous. Such are excluded from the true inheritance that God has prepared. Those who have sinful nature will not share in the kingdom of God. Teachers who say these things don’t matter are being deceptive. God’s wrath will be on those who are disobedient. Believers are told not to partner with such individuals. They must not participate in such vices. Previously Gentiles were darkness, but now they are in the light of the Lord. Life lived in light is filled with righteousness, truth, goodness. Therefore, they should live as children of light. They are to discover what pleases God. It is not just believing, but also doing what is right. The works of light are fruitful; the works of darkness are fruitless. They should not be participants with darkness. In fact, it is shameful to even talk about it. Everything exposed by the light becomes visible. The power of light not only reveals, but also transforms. Darkness cannot exist where there is light. The Christian should “wake up!” Christ will shine on them. All of this is to encourage the believer to be what they already are. They are to live as wise, not unwise, people, knowing right from wrong. They are to make the most of every opportunity; time is precious. They should praise God through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. And give thanks for everything…a continual spirit of gratitude. They should submit themselves to each other out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:22-33 The quality of relationship between husband and wife. Marriage relationship reflects relationship between Christ and his church. Wives should submit to husbands “as to the Lord”. Hierarchical language: husband is head of wife as Christ is head of church. Marriage is thus compared to marriage of Lamb to his church. Husbands are to love their wives, give themselves up for her. “Love” means to subordinate their own interests, pleasures, and wants. Christ gave himself to church to make her holy, cleansing her with water (a possible reference to baptism). Christ was then able to present her without blemish. In like manner, husbands are to love wives as their own bodies. It’s easier to love someone when there is also some benefit. This is all a mystery, but marriage relationship is like Christ and his church. For this reason, man leaves his home and is united with his wife. Section ends with submission, reverence, and love. The result is a deeper understanding of both relationships
Ephesians 6:1-4 Relationship between parents and children. Children are to obey their parents; this is morally right. Children who honor their parents receive a promise of prosperity. Fathers are admonished not to provoke their children. Instead they should train and instruct them in the Lord.
Ephesians 6:5-9 Relationship between slaves and masters. Slaves are instructed to obey their masters just as they would obey Christ. This is to be done whether they’re being observed or not. If the master is not watching, God is. They should work cheerfully as if they were working for the Lord. Whether slave or free, good work will have its reward. Masters are to treat their slaves in the same manner. God will also reward them. God does not show favoritism.
Ephesians 6:10-6:24 Faith’s Warfare
Ephesians 6:10-20 Christian living is a spiritual fight. Christians are to be made strong in the Lord continually. The believer’s equipment is the full amour of God. Everything that is needed is supplied to resist the devil’s schemes. Warfare is also against cosmic powers. Therefore, with. God’s full armor, they will withstand the evil day. The devil will have no hold on them. Pieces of armor include belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness. Their feet will be fitted with the gospel of peace. The shield of faith will protect them from flaming arrows of evil. They have the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. With all this armor, they need to stay alert, keep on praying. This armor is an expression of our dependence upon God. They need to pray for each other, since all are involved in battle. He asks them to pray for him as well that the words may be given him. So that he can freely make known the mystery of the gospel.
Ephesians 6:21-24 Final greetings and benediction: This is almost word for word from Colossians. Mention of Tychicus might mean he carried this letter as well. The author ends the letter with a benediction. Peace, love, and grace…a prayer for unity among believers.

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