Saturday 21 November 2015

Bible Book:

Ephesians 3:1-13 Saturday 21 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 131


The personal interjection in this chapter can be seen lendingforce to an argument for the Pauline authorship of Ephesians. Hecertainly spent time in prison on numerous occasions. However it isstill possible to argue that another wrote the letter in thetradition of Paul, using his name to give credence to the message.The recipients of the letter would know about Paul's variousimprisonments and chapter 3 does not speak in detail about thecircumstances of this particular time in prison.

It is significant that in verse 1 the writer says that he is aprisoner "for Christ Jesus". Imprisonment is seen not asvictimisation by the authorities but as a result of Christiandiscipleship, particularly because of the support of GentileChristians. The writer goes on to refer to the revelation of amystery, previously hinted at in Ephesians 1:9. This mystery, revealed by theSpirit is the place of the Gentiles in the Church, as the body ofChrist. This is the central theme of this passage, which continuesthrough verses 8-13. If we argue that Paul is not the writer, thenverse 8 could express the writer's sense of being unworthy tofollow in the footsteps of Paul, still less to assume his voice atthis point in the letter. What we need to hold on to, however, isthe sense that the unity of all people and the creation of a newhumanity in Christ is God's eternal plan.

Part of that plan is that the Church is to express the wisdom ofGod. Quite how the Church on earth is to address the "rulers andauthorities in the heavenly places" (v. 10) is by no means clear.Perhaps the writer is getting carried away with their sense of thevalue of the Church. Verse 12 affirms something which the GentileChristians needed to hear - that through faith in Christ there isdirect access to God. The ancient barriers are down, and this wasGod's plan from the beginning.

To Ponder

  • How can the Church today influence the life of the world?
  • In the light of the complexity of contemporary life, how do youmaintain "boldness and confidence" (v. 12) in faith?
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