Beginning with the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 10) in Year B, there is an 8-week, semi-continuous reading of Ephesians. If you offer a summer adult bible study, study this book may be of interest each week.
The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians was written about 58 C.E. or later for Ephesus (located in present day Turkey) and all the churches of Asia Minor. According to the traditional theory, Paul wrote this during his imprisonment in rome and sent it to Asia Minor by Tychicus (6:21; Colossians 4:7-9), the messenger who also delivered Colossians and Philemon to their respective destinations. But scholars, studying the vocabulary, style and theological concepts of Paul’s confirmed writings, doubt that he actually wrote this letter. A theory is that it was written by one of Paul’s disciples who further developed Paul’s religious thought.
It’s purpose was to explain the belief that the universal Church is the body of Christ. The Church, in which all people will finally be united, is God’s instrument for accomplishing God’s eternal purpose. Because it emphasizes unity in Christ, a basic goal of the modern ecumenical movement, Ephesians has been called “the most contemporary book of the New Testament.”
Proper 10 – Ephesians 1:3-14: Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus begins with a prayer of praise to God for all that he has done for us in Christ.
Proper 11 – Ephesians 2:11-12: The law of the Jewish people stood like a “dividing wall” between the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul reminds the congregation at Ephesus that Christ is our peace. The Christian is the living temple of God in the world.
Proper 12 – Ephesians 3:14-21: A prayer for Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith, followed by the doxology, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Proper 13 – Ephesians 4:1-16: Paul calls the Christians in Ephesus to be humble, patient, and loving toward one another. The variety of individual gifts that equip God’s people for mission in his service contributes to the unity of the church. Christians are all part of the one Body and the one Spirit in Christ.
Proper 14 – Ephesians 4:25-5:2: Paul explains that falsehood, anger, dishonesty, and bad language have no part in the life of a Christian. He urges not to grieve the Holy Spirit, the seal with which we are marked in our baptism, but to be generous, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
Proper 15 – Ephesians 5:15-20: Paul cautions the congregations to try to discern the will of the Lord and to act like sensible people. They are to let the Holy Spirit fill them and to give daily thanks for everything to God in the Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Live as a new people, giving up your old ways.
Proper 16 – Ephesians 6:10-20: A call to arms and prayer for strength to proclaim the truth. “Put on the whole armor of God.”