Introducing Ephesians

As we study the first three chapters of Ephesians over the next two weeks, our guest writer is Dr. David Starling. David teaches New Testament with me at Morling College and is head of Bible & Theology. He used to be the senior pastor at Petersham Baptist Church in Sydney, and is the author of UnCorinthian Leadership.

The Ephesians and Us | Eph 1:1 and Acts 19

As a general rule, it helps to know something about the people a New Testament letter was written to when we set about the task of interpreting and applying its contents. If we want to understand and apply the things Paul writes in 1-2 Corinthians, for example, it makes sense that we try and piece together a picture of what was going on for the Christians in Corinth, as the context into which Paul writes the things that he does within the letters that he sends to them. Same for Philippi and the Philippians, Galatia and the Galatians, and so on.

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Beginning with a blessing (Eph 1:1-10)

We continue in our two week series through Ephesians 1–3, with guest writer Dr. David Starling.

Beginning with a Blessing | Eph. 1:1–10

You can tell a lot about a letter from the way it begins: Paul’s letter-openings are never just conventional throat-clearing, warming up his voice (and warming up the audience) before he gets into the things that really matter. In every letter, the opening paragraphs are already aimed at accomplishing something—setting the tone and anticipating the issues that the rest of the letter will deal with.

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And you also (Eph. 1:11–14)

We continue in our two week series through Ephesians 1–3, with guest writer Dr. David Starling.

And you also | Eph. 1:11–14

As we saw yesterday, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins (after the initial greeting in verses 1–2) with a doxology—a psalm of praise that blesses God for all the gracious, saving things that he has done for Paul and the readers. At one level, as we saw, it is a kind of catalogue of blessings—a list of all the things that we have received in Christ, for which we can offer him our praise and thanks. At another level it is also a story, that stretches from eternity past (verse 3) to the day when “the times reach their fulfilment” (verse 10).

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In order that you may know (Eph. 1:15–23)

We continue in our two week series through Ephesians 1–3, with guest writer Dr. David Starling.

In order that you may know | Eph. 1:15–23

How should we pray for one another (and for ourselves) in the light of the things Paul has been writing about in verses 3–14? If God is the one who is in control of the universe; if he is the one who works out everything in accordance with his will; if he is the God who has blessed us already with every spiritual blessing in Christ, then how does that affect the way we pray for one another when we come to him in prayer? How do you pray for person who already has everything?

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