Bible Discussion — Ephesians 1-2

February 12, 2009, 12:00 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com starts discussing the first two chapters of Ephesians.

Read it all here!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2 | 3-4

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
In this book, Paul sends no personal greetings, although he and the elders were dear friends, who wept at their parting in Acts 20, and he deals with no personal issues in the church. These unusual clues lead some to believe that Ephesians was not intended solely for Ephesus, but was designed to serve as a circular epistle for the Gentiles, to enumerate and expound on the riches and responsibility of holy living, which we inherited from Christ Jesus. If that’s true, this is the only epistle written particularly for you and me — to welcome us to the kingdom and lay down the ground rules.

Connie:
Paul, speaking “through” the Ephesians, wants each of us to know that we, as Christians, are all members of the Body of Christ — the Church. He then goes on to expand on how we grow into that role.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Josh:
1:14, depending on your translation, describes the Holy Spirit as either a deposit (NIV), an earnest (KJV), or the guarantee (NKJV) of our inheritance. I find this to be a very interesting way to view not just the Holy Spirit, but how we, as believers, experience the Kingdom of God here on earth.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh: Children of Wrath; Aliens of the Commonwealth
David: ALIENS-NO-MORE
Connie: Cornerstone
Steve: Boast

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
David:
Paul\’s profuse praise and his use of the word “saints” always remind me of how Mike Bartholomew, my former pastor, used to talk to us. He could have written this book.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
David:
In 2:13, bringing us near to God.

Connie:
“…seated…at His (God’s) right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church…”

Josh:
In pretty much every sentence.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
David:
In chapter 2, Paul defined the relationship between Jews and Gentiles going forward. The book of Acts shows the many tensions in the early church over this question, but Paul got it right, preached it, lived it, and then spelled it out here for future generations.

Josh:
In the NIV, 2:15 says refers to Christ “abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations,” which seems like a poor translation, since Christ Himself said in Matthew 5:17 that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The NKJV seems clearer, saying that He “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances.”

Christ destroyed not the law, but the barrier of hostility the law created for those outside the original covenant.

Connie:
Jesus doesn’t just stay seated in the heavenlies — He raises us up together with Him, it says, to show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness.

Why? So that we can do the same.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Steve:
I picked this book for our final series of Bible discussions because it’s one of my very favorites, yet I find myself with little to say about it. It’s all there: the love of God, the peace of Christ, the relationship between works and faith and grace. What can we hope to add?

Connie:
I couldn’t find a scripture verse to quote in Jonah. I can’t pick one from Ephesians because there are so many to choose from…

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David:
2:1 — “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

Connie:
In honor of Valentine’s Day, 2:14 — “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation”

Steve:
2:13 — “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Josh:
1:17 — “[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

There are certainly more familiar verses in this passage. But spring 1992 was my first year of Bible Bowl, a team Bible quiz competition for middle and high schoolers. Ephesians was one of the books covered. I had learned all 100 or so bonus memory verses, and my team advanced to the Territorial Finals. In the course of a narrow defeat, I blanked on this verse. Now I always remember it.

 
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Steve:
Well, why not start with what precisely it might mean for us to have been chosen before the foundation of the world?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Connie:
This book is about growing more Christlike. Paul asks that God may give us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,” and speaks of coming to know “His calling,” “His power,” and “His love.”

Josh:
2:8-10 is a familiar passage, but we often need to remind ourselves that salvation is by grace, through faith, for works. Keep those prepositions straight.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Steve:
These chapters are hope. Hope for sinful, fallen man, to learn that Jesus has made peace, has brought life, has risen from the dead. Truth after gospel truth is revealed in this book. How can a Christian read it without being encouraged?

In Him we have redemption and forgiveness! We will be gathered together in Him! He has given us an inheritance and a promise with salvation, sealed by the Holy Spirit! We are freed from death because He defeated it forever, and we can live free from sin’s curse! Our salvation is His free gift, and not dependent on our works! He perfected the law and made peace between God and man, so that we could be called members of His very body!

Wow.

 
CONCLUSION:
Connie:
Bottom line, if you’re not fruitful and loving, go back for another dose — and keep going back. The world doesn’t need more rudeness and bitterness, it needs more of God’s love.

David:
After chapters designed to open our eyes to the richness of salvation and show us our standing with God, next week we get an intricate view of Paul\’s call to us (the Gentiles) and some practical instructions on godliness — things the Jews already knew, but we heathens needed to learn.


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