Ephesians is the 10th book of New Testament. It is also known as the Epistle to the Ephesians or the Letter to the Ephesians. The text of Ephesians was written by Paul the Apostle at approximately 60 AD or 62 AD while he was on a prison in Rome. Hence the book can also be said to be a Prison Epistle. Although classically the authorship of this book had been attributed to Paul alone, starting from the late 18th century, many scholars consider the book to have a Deutero-Pauline authorship, i.e. written by some later author in Paul’s name who was deeply influenced or inspired by Paul’s thoughts.
Unlike various other letters written by Paul, Ephesians does not focus on any particular act of heresy or immorality. In fact, it serves as a letter of encouragement. Paul wrote the letter with the aim of expanding the mental horizons of his audience which will help them to understand better the various dimensions of God, His grace and eternal purpose and appreciate the lofty goals God has set for the church.
The Epistle to the Ephesians opens with a number of statements that talk about God’s blessings. These are interspersed with remarkable expressions that portray a detailed picture of God’s purpose, wisdom and forethought. Paul puts stress on the fact that the arrival of Jesus the savior has truly led to our salvation. It has saved us not only from our personal drawbacks but also has paved the way for us to bring glory and praise to the God. The main purpose of God is to bring everything in this universe together under the rulership of Christ when we reach the end of time. As it is important for the Christians to truly understand this, Paul presents a prayer for their understanding.
After explaining to people the great aims God has set for the church, Paul goes on to demonstrate how they can be fulfilled. Firstly, God has reconciled the individuals to himself which can be stated as a graceful act. Secondly, God has also initiated reconciliation among the saved individuals. By his own death, Christ was able to break down the barriers between the spirit world and the world of man, but God went further and united the reconciled members into a single body, i.e. the church.
It is a mystery that was not known fully until its truth was finally revealed to Paul. This enables Paul to speak more clearly about the true intentions of God in relation to His church. The church was to become the vehicle by which God displays his profound wisdom to the authorities and rulers of the heavenly realms. The repetition of the phrase “heavenly realms” illustrates that Christianity is not only relevant on the earthly plane but receives its meaningfulness and significance from the heavens.
Man lives on earth but in his daily life, it is God’s purpose that acts through him. The ascended Lord bestowed his church with gifts that would help them to promote maturity and unity as well as maintain a successful ministry. The new life under the leadership of Christ is characterized by mutual deference and purity which is in contrast to earlier ways of life without the Christ being.