Ephesians: A Summary of the Gospel and What it Means for How We Live
Dec 31, 2021 · Courtney Jacob
Have you ever started something new—maybe you moved to a new community, or started a new school, or picked up a new hobby? Sometimes you fit right in. Other times though, you feel different, set apart. When this is the case, it’s natural to feel a little insecure. We question whether we belong and we desire a set of written and unwritten rules to inform our thinking and behavior in our new situation. That’s what life was like for the early Christians in Ephesus. So, the Apostle Paul wrote an impassioned letter to encourage the Ephesian Christians and energize them in their faith. Join Groundwork as we study Paul’s letter in our series, “Ephesians: A Summary of the Gospel and What it Means for How We Live,” and discover how the guidance Paul provided the church at Ephesus still applies and encourages us in our faith today.
Ephesians in Context
The city of Ephesus was known for its idolatry and pagan practices. Paul traveled there on his third missionary journey and stayed there for almost three years. While living and working among the Ephesians, he started the church in Ephesus. The Ephesian Christians were primarily Gentiles and their lives had not been informed by the Jewish laws or experience. Living in a culture quite contrary to their newfound belief in Jesus Christ, they needed encouragement and guidance to better understand what it meant to live into their new identity in Christ.
And that encouragement came from an unlikely place. The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians while he was in prison. Paul’s letter was likely passed from church to church, city to city, as was the custom of the time. So Paul’s theology and encouragement spread far beyond just the church in Ephesus and we’ll find that his wisdom continues to be valuable for our faith today.
The Relevance of Ephesians Today
Ephesians is a rich resource for those of us who desire to continue growing in our understanding of important theological truths. In Ephesians, Paul provides significant teaching on salvation, reconciliation, the nature of God’s family, and the Christian identity.
Paul’s goal for all of this teaching was to encourage and energize believers in their faith. Paul’s writing remains relevant today, because even thousands of years later, believers still need encouragement in their faith. His teachings continue to provide believers assurance in their faith and confidence in their inclusion in God’s family.
The truths of the Gospel haven’t changed and therefore Paul’s teachings still help us get to know God better, to better understand what he has done for us, and to better understand the implications these truths have for how we live our lives. Paul’s wisdom provides guidance for living faithfully in both the physical and spiritual realm. He understands the devil is at work and teaches believers how to fortify their faith against the devil’s threats so they can confidently trust that God has won even when it looks like he’s losing—a valuable teaching that continues to give us strength today.
Energize Your Faith
I invite you to deepen the roots of your faith with us through our Groundwork series, “Ephesians: A Summary of the Gospel and What it Means for How We Live”:
- God's Plan and Spiritual Blessings - Ephesians 1
- Life and Reconciliation in Christ - Ephesians 2
- You Belong. Be Rooted in Christ’s Love. - Ephesians 3
- Your Identity in Christ and Your Behavior - Ephesians 4:1-5:20
- Living God's Way in Our Relationships - Ephesians 5:21-6:9
- Spiritual Attacks and the Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-24
...and together we’ll study Paul’s teachings in Ephesians to find encouragement and invigorate our faith so we can boldly live into our new identity in Christ.