Let’s Study Ephesians
Recent title in the Let’s Study series by Sinclair B. Ferguson
When Paul wrote Ephesians he was a prisoner, perhaps at Caesarea, though Rome is more likely. In a city dominated by the great temple of Artemis and a notable centre of magic arts (Acts 19:19), Christians needed to know the power of the living Christ and the purpose of God from all eternity which was now being fulfilled in their lives. They were being built up as a temple of the Holy Spirit and they were also members of the body of Christ. (The word harmos describes both the joining of stones in a building and the joints of a living body.)
Sinclair B. Ferguson has written a dear and interesting guide to a writing which, as Dr Hort said, bears the stamp of Paul’s wonderful mind. To be a Christian is to be saved by grace. We who once were ‘far off’ have been ‘brought near’ by the blood of Christ. We who were dead in sin have been made alive together with Christ, (note Paul’s use of the preposition sun i.e. ‘with’), and we need to know ‘the love of Christ which passeth knowledge’.
Ferguson draws attention to Paul’s re-interpretation of Ps. 68:18 where God is described as a triumphant king who, instead of ‘receiving gifts’ gave gifts to men in Christ (Eph. 4:8). And the same Christ who humbled Himself to become the sin-bearer is now exalted as Lord of all things (Eph. 1:22).
The early Church was equipped with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and the purpose of their ministry was to build up the body of Christ. Ferguson says to be a Christian means to be united to the risen and exalted Christ. We have put off the old man and have put on the new man. Therefore Christians are different (Eph. 4:22-24;15:2-8). The practical results of this are seen in the relationships described by Paul – husbands and wives, parents and children, slaves and masters. For all of us, too, life is a spiritual warfare against the powers of evil and we need the proper equipment especially today when ‘the rulers of the darkness of this world’ are so persistent. A careful study of the armour and weapons of the Roman soldier is necessary for us as individuals and for a Church which so often seems unprepared for the struggle.
This book on Ephesians is one which should be bought and read again and again. There is a helpful list of study outlines which will be of great value to study groups.[This review is courtesy of English Churchman, November 2005]
This book (ISBN 085151 9075) retails for $15.00 (US), Ã‚Â£7.25 (UK and ROW) and can be purchased from the website (go to the book catalogue).
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