This will be a little messy…
Welcome to my first Monthly Bible Study post. As the heading said, this will be a little all over the place. This month, (February 2017) I am going to read Ephesians chapters 1-4, and this post will be written like my notes, or a journal entry. I’ll say the date, provide the thoughts and notes I make while reading each day, and that’s it. Just some note taking to better understand the Bible, and more specifically, Ephesians. (Sit back and relax, this is going to be a long one)
February 12, Chapter 1 thoughts:
Here is what I gathered from the first chapter: I was told recently by someone I know, that to understand the Bible more, it is necessary not only to understand the metaphors, or what the words mean, it is also important to understand the historical context behind a book. When did the author write it? What was happening around the author at the time? Where were they? Well as in most of Paul’s letters, this book was written sometime around his imprisonment in Rome, and that is already inspiring. The thought that someone in prison was thinking about people all around him, and not of himself. What I’m liking about Ephesians so far is that it seems to me like the people of Ephesus are already believers, so Paul writes to ENCOURAGE the Ephesians, knowing that they have faith.
Verses 15-17 are: 15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
This is refreshing! The Bible says alot to non-believers, and people who are struggling immensely, but this chapter is about encouraging the believers! It’s about telling the believers their purpose, and giving them encouragement to stay true. Encouraging the Ephesians to know him better.
Another point is verse 5, which says: “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” My Bible has a side note and it says, “in Paul’s day, some slaves were adopted by the family that purchased them, and were given all the privileges of children. In the same way, believers who were once enslaved to sin and death are purchased by Jesus’ death and adopted as God’s children.” That puts a whole new meaning behind “adoption” in the Bible. We aren’t just penniless orphans, waiting to be adopted by a loving family, we were slaves to sin and death. We were adopted not from an orphangae, but from death itself. Pretty awesome.
Last thing, in verses 13-14 it says: “13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.” That’s a really relieving message. You were marked with a seal, the Holy Spirit who is a deposit, GUARANTEEING our inheritance until our redemption as God’s possession. God has saved a special seat in heaven for everyone who believes. I take heart in knowing that somewhere in heaven there is an “Aaron” spot waiting for me. That makes me feel nothing but happiness!
February 14, Chapter 2 thoughts:
Now I’m only 2 chapters in, so maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but chapter 2 I think is my favorite chapter in Ephesians. It has 2 of my favorite verses, 4-5, which really give us a better understanding of grace and mercy. I already talked about it in my At Peace post, so if you want to see what I said about those verses, read that post. As for THIS post, I want to talk about Paul’s building analogy. In verse 22, the final verse of the chapter, Paul says, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit.” Now I could be reading this wrong, but I think it’s cool to view ourselves as God’s dwelling place. And each of us as Christians are like another section of his neighborhood, God’s neighborhood. I just love the talk in this chapter about being seated with Christ, and being part of his kingdom, and him living inside of us!
February 20th, Chapter 3 thoughts:
This chapter isn’t complicated in my opinion. It’s pretty straight-forward: It talks about how as Christians we are members of one body, and that anyone can share in God’s grace. In verse 8, Paul says: “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches if Christ.” Paul is saying he is LESS than the least of God’s people, and he’s talking about how he used to persecute Christians and God. But God even used him for God’s purpose. This sort of gives us the hope that even if we are the lowest of the low, God can still use us for his glory.
February 28th Chapter 4 thoughts:
This is the chapter where Paul kind of goed through Christian 101 with the Ephesians. In the second part of this chapter, my Bible titles the section “Instructions For Christian Living”. And it is the foundation for what a Christian should be. Verses 25-28 sum it up pretty well:
“25Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26’In your anger do not sin’. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”
These are very clear Christian guidelines. If you came to Ephesians because it’s about finding purpose on this earth, you’ve now got it. Speaking truthfully to our neighbors, not letting the devil get a foothold, do something useful with your own hands so you may have something to share with those in need. We can be kind and love our neighbors, and we can share God’s truth with those in need. On earth the best we can do is mature and grow in our faith, and share God’s message with the world.