Galatians and Ephesians J. Brian Tucker, Ph.D. Moody Theological Seminary
2 Galatians and Ephesians I. Key Facts on Galatians II. History of Galatians III. Literature of Galatians IV. Theology of Galatians V. Key Facts on Ephesians VI. History of Ephesians VII. Literature of Ephesians VIII. Theology of Ephesians
KEY FACTS: GALATIANS Author: Paul Date: 48 or 49 Provenance: Possibly Antioch, Jerusalem, or the route between the two cities Destination: Churches of South Galatia visited by Paul during first missionary journey
KEY FACTS: GALATIANS Occasion: False teaching (Agitating heresy) Purpose: To defend the one true gospel Theme: Both Jews and Gentiles are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of the law Key Verses: 3:10–14
INTRODUCTION The letter to the Galatians is in all likelihood the first letter Paul wrote that is included in the NT. Although the letter is relatively short, it has exerted enormous influence on Christianity. The early church fathers wrote more commentaries on Galatians than on any other NT book. The letter was a favorite of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, who described it as dear to him as his own precious wife and called it “my own epistle, to which I have plighted my troth [i.e. pledged my truthfulness]; my Katie von Bora.”
INTRODUCTION The most important contribution of the letter is its exposition of the doctrine of justification. In clarifying the nature of the gospel in teaching salvation as offered entirely by God’s grace and as appropriated exclusively through faith, the letter clarified and fortified the true Christian message at a time when some even within the church sought to subvert the gospel.
HISTORY Authorship Date Provenance Destination Occasion and Purpose
Authorship: Authenticity The letter to the Galatians is regarded as an authentic letter of the apostle Paul by all but the most radical critics. Acceptance of Paul’s authorship is so widespread that extended discussion of the issue is unnecessary.
Authorship: Authenticity F. C. Baur categorized Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Romans as the “major letters,” letters whose authorship was indisputable. The early church unanimously accepted Paul’s authorship of the letter. The author identified himself as Paul in Gal 1:1 and appealed to his personal signature in Gal 6:11 as confirmation of the authenticity of the letter.
Authorship: Literary Integrity More serious challenges have been raised against the integrity of the letter, and especially in the last two centuries a considerable number of scholars have questioned whether Galatians was originally written in the form in which the book has come down to us in the NT. J. C. O’Neill revived a theory from the nineteenth century which suggested that Paul wrote the majority of the letter, although it contains numerous glosses. Early scribes inserted some words and passages in the letter. More recently, W. Walker has suggested that Gal 2:7b–8 is a non-Pauline interpolation. E. Dinkler has suggested that Gal 2:7b–8 is non-Pauline though not an interpolation.
Reasonable explanations can be offered for the unusual features of Gal 2:7b–8. Walker has exaggerated the uniqueness of the text. The text is permeated with terminology that is distinctively Pauline. Paul may here use the Greek name Peter rather than Aramaic name Cephas as he otherwise did because the meaning of Cephas is significant either due to an allusion to the saying of Jesus preserved in Matt 16:16–20 or to the identification of Peter as “those recognized as pillars,” since pillars were typically carved from stone. None of the extant manuscripts of Galatians lack the text or express any suspicion that the verses are a later scribal addition to the letter. Authorship: Literary Integrity
Galatians 2:7b–8 is fully explicable without suggesting that it is an interpolation. Authorship: Literary Integrity
Provenance The provenance of Galatians is inextricably related to the identity of the addressees and the date of authorship. If one affirms the South Galatian theory and accepts a date of authorship between the first missionary journey and the Jerusalem Conference, Paul probably wrote the letter either from Antioch, Jerusalem, or some location en route.
Destination While Paul’s authorship of Galatians is widely accepted, scholars differ in their opinions regarding those to whom the letter was addressed. It is clear that the letter was addressed to the Galatians (1:2; 3:1), but precise identification of the Galatians is difficult. The term “Galatia” could be used in the first century in either an ethnic or a provincial sense.
Destination In the ethnic sense, the term “Galatia” could be used to describe the area inhabited by the Gauls or Celts who invaded north central Asia Minor from Central Europe in 278 BC and were of the same ethnic origin as the Celts of France and Britain. If Paul intended this sense in his address, he was writing to churches in northern Galatia, possibly in such cities as Ancyra, Pessinus, and Tavium.
Destination In the ethnic sense, the term “Galatia” could be used to describe the area inhabited by the Gauls or Celts who invaded north central Asia Minor from Central Europe in 278 BC and were of the same ethnic origin as the Celts of France and Britain. If Paul intended this sense in his address, he was writing to churches in northern Galatia, possibly in such cities as Ancyra, Pessinus, and Tavium. The theory that Paul addressed his letter to churches in these northern cities is called the North Galatian theory.
Destination If Paul’s address refers to the Roman province of Galatia, he could be writing to churches in southern Galatia. During Paul’s time, the province extended from Pontus on the Black Sea to Pamphylia on the Mediterranean. The Roman province included cities such as Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.
Destination If Paul’s address refers to the Roman province of Galatia, he could be writing to churches in southern Galatia. During Paul’s time, the province extended from Pontus on the Black Sea to Pamphylia on the Mediterranean. The Roman province included cities such as Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. Paul visited these cities during his first missionary journey. The theory that Paul addressed the letter to the churches in these cities is called the South Galatian theory.
The North Galatian theory was the view of the early church fathers, medieval commentators, and the Protestant reformers. The theory was championed by J. B. Lightfoot in the nineteenth century, by J. Moffatt in the early twentieth century, and most recently by H. D. Betz. While the evidence from the early church fathers is impressive, they may have imposed their own contemporary geography on Paul’s address. When the early church fathers read the word “Galatia,” geographical boundaries had changed, and the prominent Galatian cities that Paul visited during his first missionary journey were no longer considered Galatia. Destination: Evidence for the North Galatian Theory
Some argue that Luke’s usage of the term “Galatia” in Acts suits the North Galatian theory. In Acts 16:6 and 18:23, Luke wrote of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. Since Galatia is distinguished from Phrygia (a regional district but not a province), one might conclude that Luke was referring to the Galatian district excluding the districts of Pisidia and Lycaonia. But in Acts 16:6 Luke used a grammatical construction that appears to mean “the Phrygio-Galatic territory.” Destination: Evidence for the North Galatian Theory
Scholars who affirm the North Galatian theory have also appealed to Acts 13:13, 14; 14:6. In these passages, Luke identified locations based on geographical regions rather than Roman provinces. Antioch is described as in Pisidia rather than Galatia, and Lystra and Derbe are described as cities of Lycaonia rather than Galatia. Thus the terms in Acts 16:6 are regional rather than provincial. While Luke often used regional rather than provincial descriptions, when Paul described the location of the churches that he founded, he normally did so by province: “the churches of the Asian province” (1 Cor 16:19); “churches of Macedonia” (2 Cor 8:1); “Achaia” (2 Cor 9:2). Destination: Evidence for the North Galatian Theory
The South Galatian theory was popularized by W. Ramsey in his Historical Commentary on Galatians published in 1899. More recently, the view has been championed by F. F. Bruce and R. Longenecker. (1) Paul obviously knew the Galatian readers personally (Gal 1:8; 4:11–15, 19), but no information exists about his work in North Galatia. (2) The route described in Acts 16:6 and 18:23 seems to be a South Galatian one as discussed above. Destination: Evidence for the South Galatian Theory
(3) “Galatia” was the only word that would have encompassed Antioch, Lystra, Iconium, and Derbe. (4) In 1 Cor 16:1 Paul referred to the Galatian churches as among the contributors to the collection for Jerusalem. (5) Barnabas is mentioned three times in Galatians (2:1, 9, 13). Barnabas accompanied Paul only on the first missionary journey through cities in South Galatia. Destination: Evidence for the South Galatian Theory
Destination: Conclusion Both theories have their strengths and weaknesses. Neither can be proven or disproven conclusively. The balance of the evidence weighs in favor of the South Galatian theory.
Date The date for Galatians depends largely on three factors: The question of destination. The relationship of Paul’s two visits to Jerusalem mentioned in Galatians (1:18; 2:1–10) with the four visits to Jerusalem mentioned in Acts (Acts 9:26–30; 11:30; 15:1–30; 21:15–17). The number of visits to the Galatian churches made before the letter was written as implied in Gal 4:13.
Those who espouse the North Galatian theory normally date Galatians during Paul’s third missionary journey (c. 53–57). Date: Evidence for a Late Date (North Galatian Theory)
Paul lists two visits to Jerusalem in the first two chapters of Galatians. The visit mentioned in Gal 1:18 corresponds with Acts 9:26. If Gal 2:1–10 corresponds with Acts 11:28–30, then the letter was written before the Jerusalem Council. If Gal 2:1–10 corresponds with Acts 15:1–20, Galatians was written after the Jerusalem Council. Date: Evidence for an Early Date (South Galatian Theory)
Post-Jerusalem Council Date Some who espouse the South Galatian theory identify the Jerusalem visit of Gal 2:1–10 with the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:1–20. If this is so, the date of composition for Galatians is likely some time between the years 50 and 57. Date: Evidence for an Early Date (South Galatian Theory)
Pre-Jerusalem Council Date The visit in Gal 2:1–10 seems to correspond with Acts 11:28–30. Acts 11:28–30 describes a visit for the purpose of providing famine relief to the Christian Jews in Jerusalem and does not mention the apostle’s discussion of Paul’s Gentile mission. Equating the Gal 2:1–10 visit with the Jerusalem Council would mean that Paul failed to mention one of his visits to Jerusalem in his letter to the Galatians. Thus the two visits of Paul to Jerusalem described in Galatians correspond to the first two visits described in Acts. Consequently, a pre-49 date for the letter may be maintained. Date: Evidence for an Early Date (South Galatian Theory)
Date: Conclusion The preponderance of evidence favors the equation of the famine relief visit in Acts 11:30 with the visit recounted in Gal 2:1–10. Galatians was most likely written in approximately 48 or 49.
Occasion and Purpose Acts 13–14 combined with scattered references in Galatians charts Paul’s church-planting work in the churches of South Galatia. Many believed Paul’s gospel, thereby demonstrating their divine appointment for eternal life (Acts 13:48; 14:4, 21).
Occasion and Purpose According to Acts 13:38–39, Paul preached: “Everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything, which you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.” Paul’s work met with heavy opposition from the Jews of the area (Acts 13:45). The issue of salvation by grace versus the law of Moses permeated Paul’s Galatian ministry and was the crux that divided Christian disciples from Galatian Jews.
Occasion and Purpose Paul’s Opponents False teachers infiltrated the church preaching a different gospel—a gospel that insisted that keeping the law of Moses, in particular receiving circumcision, rather than faith in the gospel of grace alone was essential to salvation. The false teachers were probably Jews who considered themselves Christians. Scholars typically label these false teachers as “Judaizers” since they sought to impose Judaism on new Christian converts (Acts 15:1). The more appropriate term is “Agitators.” Circumcision was their main focus.
Occasion and Purpose Paul’s proclamation of the gospel of grace had been so clear that insistence on circumcision and the observance of the law could not be made without rejection of Paul’s apostleship. This led to the Agitators’ charge that Paul’s apostleship was somehow inferior to the other apostles. The members of the Galatian church defected from the true gospel and began to resent Paul and his teaching and to reject the apostle’s authority.
Occasion and Purpose Paul wrote Galatians to defend the gospel of justification by faith alone against the false gospel of the Agitators. In the process he had to defend his apostolic authority against the Agitators’ attack. Finally, Paul wrote to defend the consistency of the Spirit-led life with the law’s righteous demands.
LITERATURE Literary Plan Outline
Literary Plan Recent research suggests that the letter was carefully composed. Like most letters from the period, Galatians has an obvious introduction (1:1–9); body (1:10–6:10); and conclusion (6:11–18). Older commentators generally see the body of the letter as breaking down into three major parts: a historical section (1:10–2:21) a theological section (3:1–5:1) an ethical section (5:2–6:10)
Literary Plan H. D. Betz’s groundbreaking application of rhetorical criticism to Galatians in his 1979 commentary compared Galatians to the various categories of speeches and letters described by the ancient rhetoricians. R. Longenecker has sought to compare Galatians to the various kinds of letters written in the ancient world.
Argument of Galatians Introduction 1:1-9 Theme introduced. Paul skips the normal thanksgiving. It is a different gospel, one worthy of condemnation (1:9). Follows Dr. Miller’s notes on Galatians (used by permission) http://chrismiller.cedarville.org/content/galai.pdf
Argument of Galatians The Origin of Paul’s Gospel: From God rather than Men 1:10-2:21 Point: to demonstrate that his gospel is actually God's gospel. Proves it from his personal history. Explanation occurs in chapters 3 and 4.
Argument of Galatians The Statement 1:10-12 Contains the interpretive key for chapters 1 and 2. Paul was not a man pleaser. His gospel came from God.
Argument of Galatians The Proofs 1:13-2:21 Significance is clear: Paul is proving that this gospel which he preaches must have come from God because he did not receive it from men.
Argument of Galatians Proof #1: Paul's Manner of Life and Conversion 1:13-16a. At the feet of Gamaliel. Learned zeal for the Law. Did not learn his gospel before salvation.
Argument of Galatians Proof #2: Paul's Course After Conversion 1:16b-17 After his salvation Paul did not learn his gospel from any man. Did not consult with teachers in Jerusalem. He went to Arabia.
Argument of Galatians Proof #3: Paul's Independence from the Apostles and Established Churches 1:18-24 At Jerusalem he had a short visit with Peter. Returned home. Paul's gospel was not learned from any renowned teacher.
Argument of Galatians Proof #4: Acknowledgment from the pillars 2:1-10 Pillars of the church accepted him and endorsed his ministry. Jewish and gentile relations were addressed.
Argument of Galatians Proof #5: Acknowledgment from Peter 2:11-21 Transition to the next two chapters. Paul finishes his historical survey proving his gospel is from God.
Argument of Galatians Proof #5: Acknowledgment from Peter 2:11-21 Paul's rebuke of Peter's hypocrisy further establishes the validity of Paul's message. Paul's closing discourse in this section (2:17-21) contrasts his own salvation experience of faith with a merit oriented observance of the law.
Argument of Galatians The Explanation of Paul’s Gospel 3:1-5:1 Heart of the Epistle (theology of law and salvation). Begins to explain and thus defend his teaching.
Argument of Galatians The Problem: Trying to Achieve Sanctification by Keeping the Law 3:1-5 Galatians' method of progress after salvation. After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? The matter of concern then does not seem to be mere attention to the Mosaic law but the particular pharisaical and works oriented approach to the law.
Argument of Galatians The Solution: Walk by Faith 3:6-9 Principles are analogous. Abraham’s example of faith.
Argument of Galatians The Explanation in Terms of the Law 3:10-4:11 Problem: misunderstanding of the Law. He first discusses the proper place of the law and then addresses its original purpose.
Argument of Galatians To evidence rather than produce sanctification 3:10-18 The law was always intended to reveal the holiness of God and to provide direction for the redeemed people of God. An avenue for the expression of obedience.
Argument of Galatians The principle stated 3:10-14 In Paul's theology faith is the means of justification and keeping of the law is only an evidence. Paul's statement that the law is not based on faith (3:12) does not mean that the law is in opposition to the principle of faith. Rather, his point is that the law concerns doing and the evidence of salvation rather than believing and the means of salvation. Curse of the law and the freedom of sin provided on the cross.
Argument of Galatians The principle explained 3:15-18 Paul explains the fact that the law has never had a place in man's salvation by citing the chronology of the law. Because we are saved by our participation in the Abrahamic promise (participation secured through faith), the law which was added later cannot alter the conditions of salvation. Should not use the law as an aid to justification.
Argument of Galatians To lead to salvation by faith 3:19-4:11 If the law was not intended as a means to salvation, then one might wonder what its purpose was – it was given because of transgressions. The law was intended to lead men to Christ. Time under the law and the child’s tutor. Paul’s final concern is that the Galatians have retreated in their thinking by resorting to a works oriented system.
Argument of Galatians The Exhortation: to Accept Paul's Gospel 4:12-5:1 Exhorts them to accept his gospel. Encourages them based on their personal relationship.
Argument of Galatians Based on their relationship to Paul 4:12-20 Past warm relationship. His concern is for their welfare, while the opponents are selfishly motivated.
Argument of Galatians Based on their relationship to Christ 4:21-5:1 Based on their freedom in Christ. Hagar and Ishmael / Sara and Isaac Because they can’t coexist, the Galatians should disassociate themselves from the advocates of law.
Argument of Galatians The Application of Paul’s Gospel 5:2-6:10 Sets out to apply his gospel to his audience. Emphasis: warning and encouragement.
Argument of Galatians The Warning 5:2-15 Social implications of his doctrine. Human effort is antithetical to faith. His final note of admonition is that true fulfillment of the law would express itself in love for each other rather than infighting.
Argument of Galatians The Encouragement to Sanctification 5:16-6:10 Encouragement by proper means. A proper relationship to the Spirit of God will result in fulfilling the law of Christ.
Argument of Galatians The method: dependence upon the Spirit 5:16 Trust in: human effort or divine enabling. The Spirit is the source of power.
Argument of Galatians The explanation 5:17-24 Difference between self-sufficiency and God sufficiency. Trust in self = desire of flesh. Trust in Spirit = fruit of the Spirit.
Argument of Galatians The application 5:25-6:10 Two areas where Spirit led living is manifest: The first is in genuine concern for a brother caught in sin. The second is in proper use of finances.
Argument of Galatians Conclusion 6:11-18 It reveals Paul’s heart. To accept his gospel for their benefit. Marks of persecution.
THEOLOGY Theological Themes Contribution to the Canon
Theological Themes Justification by Faith versus Works of the Law Paul stressed that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Since the Protestant Reformation, texts such as Gal 2:15–16 and 3:6–14 have been interpreted as teaching that, because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, sinners are declared righteous by the heavenly judge through faith in Christ rather than by personal acts of obedience.
Theological Themes Recent scholarly discussions have questioned this traditional understanding at several levels. N. T. Wright has argued that “justification” is not the imputation of God’s righteousness or Christ’s righteousness to the believer but is actually an anticipation of God’s final judgment of the individual. J. D. G. Dunn has argued that, although “works of the law” refers in general to the deeds prescribed by the Torah, the term primarily referred to the rituals and activities that distinguished Jews from Gentiles such as circumcision, Sabbath keeping, and the observance of purity laws. Finally, some scholars argue that the phrase that is normally translated “faith in Christ” (pistis Christou; e.g., 2:16) should actually be translated “Christ’s faith/ faithfulness” and refers to Christ’s faithfulness to God, particularly as expressed through his obedient death.
Theological Themes Galatians teaches that believers are declared righteous by God, both now and in eschatological judgment, based on Christ’s sacrifice and in response to their faith in Jesus and not through obedience to the OT law.
Theological Themes The Nature of the Atonement Galatians 3:10–14 is one of the clearest statements in the NT on the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death. Interpreted in light of Deut 27:26, the fact that Jesus died by crucifixion demonstrates that he bore the curse of believing sinners in their place. Jesus granted forgiveness to sinners by suffering the penalty for their sins so that they might escape God’s wrath.
Theological Themes The Identity of Jesus Galatians reflects a very high Christology. Paul insisted that he was made an apostle not “by man, but by Jesus Christ.” Four times the letter calls Jesus God’s “Son” (1:16; 2:20; 4:4, 6). It also repeatedly assigns to Jesus the title “Lord,” a title of deity that was the preferred substitute for the name Yahweh in Jewish Greek texts as well as in Paul’s letters. The letter clearly demonstrates that a high Christology was not a product of theological evolution in which Jesus grew from a mere man to semi-divine to divine as stories about him were embellished and descriptions of him were exaggerated.
Contribution to the Canon Gentiles included in the church on equal terms with the Jews (3:28); circumcision not required, contrary to the “false gospel” of the Agitators (1:6–9; 6:15) Paul’s confrontation of Peter regarding the inclusion of the Gentiles, most likely prior to the Jerusalem Council (2:11–14; see Acts 15)
Justification by faith apart from works of the law (see 2:15; 3:24); demonstration from Scripture that Abraham was also justified by faith apart from works (3:1–4:7, esp. 3:6 citing Gen 15:6) Defense of Christian freedom from the demands of the law (5:1–15) Teaching on life in the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit (5:16–26) Contribution to the Canon
Author: Paul Date: Around 60 Provenance: Roman imprisonment Destination: Circular letter or Ephesus Occasion: Not clearly identifiable Purpose: To declare and promote cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ Theme: The submitting all things to Christ’s authority Key Verses: 1:3–14, especially 1:9–10 KEY FACTS: EPHESIANS
Ephesians is a magisterial summary of Paul’s teaching and only Romans has exercised more influence on Christian thought throughout church history. First, Paul presented the theme of subjecting all things to Christ’s lordship most clearly and articulately in Ephesians. Second, perhaps only Colossians can compare with Ephesians’ emphasis on the staggering aspects of Christ’s victory that believers already enjoy in Christ. Third, Ephesians contains perhaps the most developed discussion of and vision for the church. Fourth, Ephesians also contains the most developed discussion of spiritual warfare in the NT (6:10–18; see 2 Cor 10:3–6). INTRODUCTION
Authorship Date Provenance Destination Occasion Purpose HISTORY
It is common to speak of three tiers within the “Pauline” corpus: Undisputed letters (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon) Deutero-Pauline letters (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) Pseudonymous letters (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) Many modern scholars reject the traditional view that Ephesians is an authentic Pauline letter. Authorship Authenticity
Scholars who dismiss Paul’s authorship of Ephesians point to the following lines of evidence: Theology Vocabulary Literary style The relationship to Colossians The impersonal nature of Ephesians Authorship Authenticity
Opponents of authenticity claim that the theological themes do not represent developments of the undisputed Pauline letters but departures from these. Proponents of Paul’s authorship respond by pointing out texts in the undisputed Pauline letters that parallel the thought of Ephesians. Those who reject Paul’s authorship on the grounds of vocabulary point out that Ephesians utilizes unique language not found elsewhere in Paul and that the letter has too many hapax legomena. Proponents of Paul’s authorship generally protest by pointing out that Paul’s undisputed letters also contain a high number of hapax legomena. Authorship Authenticity
Concerning literary style, opponents of authenticity cite the high percentage of pleonastic elements (i.e., prepositions, participles, etc.); the compound use of the genitive; unusually long sentences; and elevated diction. Proponents of Paul’s authorship counter with the claim that many of these features are not unusual for Paul, especially in light of the doxologies and prayers in chaps. 1–3. Many opponents of authenticity claim Ephesian dependence upon Colossians. Advocates of authenticity claim that the conceptual closeness between the two letters does not call common authorship into question. Authorship Authenticity
In terms of the impersonal nature of Ephesians, some scholars observe that the letter lacks any personal greetings and ends with an impersonal farewell. Many advocates of authenticity are quick to point out that the letter is a circular letter because of the probability on text-critical grounds that the words “at Ephesus” (1:1) are not part of the original text. Authorship Authenticity
If the letter was written during Paul’s Roman imprisonment, then it dates to 58–60 (60–62 in the conventional reckoning). If one places Ephesians earlier in Paul’s ministry, then it dates to the early or mid-50s. Most who see the letter as Deutero-Pauline or post-Pauline date the letter somewhere between 70–90. Date
Since Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon appear to have been written at approximately the same time and since Philemon belongs to the final phase of Paul’s imprisonment, a date around the year 60 is reasonable. Date
The provenance of Ephesians is inextricably related to issues such as authorship, the identity of the addressees, and the date. Many hold that Ephesians was written from the same place as Colossians and Philemon, and possibly Philippians. Provenance
The fact that some important manuscripts do not include “in Ephesus” (1:1) poses problems for identifying a destination. Some scholars have theorized that Ephesians was a circular letter. Destination
Paul’s letters are occasional pastoral letters that addressed specific congregational circumstances. But Ephesians appears to break this mold, and thus it is difficult to detect a clear occasion for the letter. In contrast to the tone and content of Colossians, Ephesians does not read like a response to false teaching. Some have questioned the search for an occasion to the extent that they doubt whether Ephesians is a letter at all. Occasion
If one assumes the circular nature of the letter, Ephesians represents a careful summary and exposition of Paul’s thought. Others identify specific needs that Christians in Asia Minor would have had. Occasion
Ephesians emphasizes the cosmic reconciliation in Christ and stresses the need for (1) unity in the church; (2) a distinctive Christian ethic; and (3) vigilance in spiritual warfare. Purpose
Literary Plan Outline LITERATURE
Recent works have set forth a variety of proposals regarding the literary plan of Ephesians. Rhetorical structure (N. A. Dahl, A. T. Lincoln, and A. C. Mayer) Chiastic structure (P. S. Cameron and J. P. Heil) Though these studies are insightful and thought-provoking, many rightly remain unpersuaded by macrochiastic and rhetorical analyses because of the ever-present danger of pressing Paul’s letters into preconceived models. Literary Plan
Argument of Ephesians Introduction 1:1-2 Identifies both the writer and the readers. Follows Dr. Miller’s notes on Ephesians (used by permission) http://chrismiller.cedarville.org/content/ephei.pdf
Argument of Ephesians The Divine Purpose: The Headship and Glory of Jesus Christ 1:3-14 Theme: Paul's basic focus is unfolding God's purpose of placing all things under the headship of Christ. Eph 3:9-11 "And he made known to us the mystery of his will. . . to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."
Argument of Ephesians The Means of the Purpose: Salvation 1:3-8. It was necessary to redeem a people. God’s plan was to produce a holy people.
Argument of Ephesians The Goals of the Plan 1:9-14 Two Goals: the headship of Christ and the glory of Christ. Headship unknown before revelation (1:9-10). Meant to be for the praise of his glory (1:12, 14).
Argument of Ephesians Paul’s Prayer that Christians may Realize God’s Purpose and Power 1:15-23 First desire: Ephesians to know the person of God better. Second desire: Understand aspects of God’s plan. Prayer ends: emphasis upon the headship of Christ over all things.
Argument of Ephesians Steps toward the Fulfillment of God’s Purpose 2:1-3:21 Paul describes steps to accomplish God’s purpose. These steps are unrevealed up to this point.
Argument of Ephesians The Salvation of Individuals by Grace 2:1-10 Classic passage on salvation. God is the focus.
Argument of Ephesians The Reconciliation of Jew and Gentile through the Cross 2:11-22 Not only has God saved Jew and Gentile but he has also reconciled them together in one body. Because of the work of the cross both groups have been reconciled to God and to each other so that they might be ". . . built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (2:22).
Argument of Ephesians The Revelation of this Unity 3:1-13 This unity was a mystery to generations before Paul. ". . . through the gospel the gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" (3:6). ". . . through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, . . ." (3:10). God’s glory and plan are made clear through bringing Jew and gentile together, as Jew and gentile, in the church.
Argument of Ephesians Paul's Prayer for Christians to Have A Deeper Experience of God's Wisdom 3:14-21 Paul prays the Ephesians may understand the love which God has for them and may be filled with Him. Closes with prayer and praise to God.
Argument of Ephesians Practical ways to Fulfill God’s Purpose in the Church 4:1-6:20 Paul emphasizes the heavenly position of the church, but it must be lived out on the earth. Paul prescribes several avenues in which God's ultimate goals for the church may be carried out in daily living.
Argument of Ephesians Unity in the Body 4:1-16 Paul's initial admonition of walking worthy of the calling which Christians have received (4:1) is no doubt a reference to the goal of manifesting the wisdom of God from 3:10, 21. Goal of unity described: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. . . one body and one spirit just as you were called to one hope . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and father . . ." (4:3-6). The means by which this unity is accomplished seems to be through the preparation and edification of the body by spiritually gifted leaders.
Argument of Ephesians Renewal of the Personal Life 4:17-5:20 Personal sanctification is a major step in the church's ability to manifest the glory of God. Paul encourages a transformation in the personal life by putting off sinful practices and putting on godly practices (4:17-32). Be imitators of God (5:1-7) and live as children of the light (5:8-20).
Argument of Ephesians Deference in Personal Relationships 5:21-6:9 Paul also admonishes proper deference in relations with other people. His concern is mutual submission and deference and he outlines three basic relationships: husbands and wives (5:22-33), parents and children (6:1-4), and masters and slaves (6:5-9).
Argument of Ephesians Strength in Spiritual Conflict 6:10-20 Because God's intent is that his glory be demonstrated through the church not only to mortals but also to "the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, . . ." (3:10) it is essential that the Christian utilize and demonstrate the power of God in spiritual conflict. Importance of prayer.
Argument of Ephesians Conclusion 6:21-24 Letter carrier Tychicus.
Theological Themes THEOLOGY
The Lordship of Christ The “[bringing back of] all things . . . together again under one head” (1:10), the Lord Jesus Christ, is the central theme of the whole letter. God progressively brings about this realignment of proper authority and submission in two spheres: the heavens (1:3,10, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12); and the earth (1:10; 3:15; 4:9; 6:3). Theological Themes
The Lordship of Christ Though the theme is the subjection of all things to the lordship of Christ, Paul stressed the unified work of all three members of the Trinity in bringing this goal to its fulfillment. This thematic theological center is expressed through four theological themes: soteriology, ecclesiology, ethics, and spiritual warfare. Theological Themes
The Nature of Salvation Ephesians 1:1–14 describes the salvific blessings in the heavenly realms that belong to all those in Christ. Paul also stressed the amazing power of grace in salvation (2:1–10). The believers’ union with Christ means that just as Christ was raised up and seated at God’s right hand (1:20), so believers are made alive and raised up with Christ and seated with him in heaven (2:6). This surpassingly great salvation is a gift of God, not an achievement of man, because it is by grace through faith (2:8) and thus precludes human boasting (2:9). Theological Themes
The Church Ephesians places a marked emphasis on the nature of the church. Trinitarian ecclesiology emerges again in 2:22: in Christ, the church becomes God’s dwelling place in the Spirit. Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts also addresses the theme of ecclesiology (4:13). Theological Themes
Proper Christian Conduct (Ethics) Ethics also has a trinitarian dimension as Paul called on believers to give thanks to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord as a result of being filled by the Spirit (4:1; 5:18–20). Paul’s ethical approach is not divorced from his soteriology. Theological Themes
Proper Christian Conduct (Ethics) The role of divine enablement in ethics occurs in various ways. First, at the structural level Paul clearly based the imperative (chaps. 4–6) on the indicative (chaps. 1–3); that is, he grounded his commands in the spiritual reality engendered by Christ. Second, at the grammatical level Paul placed worship (5:19), thankfulness (5:20), and submission (5:21–6:9) in subordinate relationships to the phrase “be filled with the Spirit” (5:18). Theological Themes
Spiritual Warfare Paul spoke of specific groups such as “powers” (dynameis, 1:21); “dominions” (kyriotēs, 1:21); “principalities” (archai, 1:21; 3:10; 6:12); and “authorities” (exousiai, 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12). The apostle also identified hostile powers in an inclusive sense as “cosmic rulers of this present darkness” (kosmokratores tou skotous toutou, 6:12). Eph 1:21 asserts that Christ’s rule is over not only the four specific groups of evil powers listed there, but also over “every name named, not only in this age but in the age to come.” Theological Themes
Spiritual Warfare This focus on spiritual warfare is connected to Paul’s earlier discussion of soteriology and the work of Christ. Spiritual warfare is also connected to Paul’s earlier discussion of ecclesiology and ethics. Eph 6:10–20 stands out as one of the clearest passages on spiritual warfare in Scripture. The key theme of 6:10–17 is the exhortation to stand in God’s strength against the powers arrayed against the believer. Theological Themes
121 The End
Summary: This is lesson for Galatians and Ephesians from week 5 of BI5532, it is the going deeper material.