Monday 16 November 2015

Bible Book:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (v. 3)

Ephesians 1:1-10 Monday 16 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 126


Since 1975, this week has been designated Prisons Week,which was formed to pray for and raise awareness of the needs ofprisoners and their families, victims of offenders, prison staffand all who care.

The Letter to the Ephesians could therefore be seen asappropriate for the week, as traditionally it was grouped togetherwith Philippians, Colossians and Philemon as Paul's letters writtenin prison. There are two references in Ephesians to Paul being aprisoner and in Ephesians 6:20 he describes himself as "anambassador in chains".

But did Paul write the letter? Biblical scholars are divided.Those who argue for another author do so on the grounds of thestyle of the letter, the vocabulary used and its theologicalemphases. But on the other hand, if Paul were writing from prison,he would have had time to think, and develop both his theology andthe way he expressed it. So a case can be made both for and againstPaul being the writer.

Was it intended for the Christians in Ephesus? Again there issome doubt, as unlike other letters it does not deal with specificissues in a particular Christian community. It is possibly a letterto be circulated amongst many churches. It shares material withColossians, and develops the major theme of that letter - theall-sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

After the initial greeting, the writer launches into abreathless passage of praise piling up idea after idea about God'sblessings. In the original Greek, verses 3-14 are one longcontinuous sentence, and whilst English translations divide thephrases up, that sense of continuous praise is not lost. The wholeof the story of salvation is present in verses 3-10, and it is seenas the fulfilment of God's plan for humanity. That plan precedescreation (verse 4) and it is expressed in adoption as God'schildren through God's grace. For the earliest readers (or hearers)of these words, this would have a powerful resonance, as adoptionmeant a total new beginning for the one adopted. The act ofadoption wiped out their past. All this is through Christ,described in verse 6 as "the Beloved" emphasising the relationshipof love between Father and Son. Verse 10 opens up the great themeof the whole cosmos finding its fulfilment in Christ.

To Ponder

  • How do you react to being part of God's plan for humanity? Doesthis have a bearing on free will?
  • 'Count your blessings.' What do you want to praise God for inyour life?
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