BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 16

Ephesians - BibleProject

In this lesson, you will explore the book of Ephesians, focusing on its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn how Paul's message in Ephesians emphasizes the creation of ethnically diverse communities unified by their devotion to Jesus and each other. By understanding the principles presented in this book, you will gain insight into how the good news can foster unity among diverse groups and how this unity can be strengthened through mutual love and commitment.

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BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 16
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Ephesians - BibleProject

Lesson: The Book of Ephesians - The Bible Project

I. Overview of Ephesians

A. Literary Design and Flow of Thought

II. Good News and Ethnically Diverse Communities

A. Unity through Devotion to Jesus

B. Unity through Devotion to Each Other

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-16 - Ephesians Paul's letter to the Ephesians, the story of how Paul came to the city of Ephesus. It's really interesting. You can go read about it in Acts chapter 19. Ephesus was a huge city. It was the epicenter of worship for most of the Greek and Roman gods. And for over two years, Paul had a really effective missionary presence there, and lots of people became followers of Jesus. Years later, after being imprisoned by the Romans, Paul wrote this letter, and the movement of thought in the letter divides into two really clear halves. In the first half, Paul is exploring the story of the Gospel, how all history came to its climax in Jesus and in his creation of this multi-ethnic community of his followers. The second half of the letter is linked to the first by the word therefore, and here Paul explores how the gospel story should affect how we live every part of our life story personally in our neighborhoods and communities and in our families. So let's dive in and we can see how Paul develops all of this. Chapter one opens with a beautiful Jewish style poem where Paul praises God the Father, for the amazing things that he has done in Christ Jesus from eternity past. The Father has purpose to choose and bless a covenant people and think Here the family of Abraham and Genesis Chapter 12 versus one through three and through Jesus. Now anyone can be adopted into that family. Jesus is death covers our worst sins, our worst failures, and in Jesus we find God's grace. In fact, Paul says that grace has opened up a whole new way for us to understand every part of our lives. He says in chapter one, verse ten that God's purpose was to unify all things in heaven and on Earth under Christ, which is a title that means Messiah. God's plan was always to have a huge family of restored human beings who are unified in Jesus the Messiah. This divine purpose became clear, Paul says, when we were first made into that family. And here he's referring to ethnic Jews in the family of Abraham. But then Paul talks about how you and here he means non-Jews. You all heard about Jesus and the salvation through him. And you were also brought into this family by the work of the Holy Spirit. And so here he is referring to the events told in the stories of acts about how God's spirit brought together Jew and non-Jew into one family in Jesus. It's just like God promised to Abraham long ago. Notice also how in this poem, Paul begins by talking about God, the Father, but then about Jesus, the Son, and then here the end, about the Spirit. All three work together as Paul tells the story of the Gospel. It's really cool. After the poem, Paul responds with a prayer. He prays that these followers of Jesus would not just know about, but personally experience the power of the gospel, that they would be energized by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and placed him as the exalted head of the whole world. Now, in chapter two, Paul goes back and he elaborates on some key ideas from the poem in Chapter one, especially God's grace, and this new multi-ethnic family of Jesus. He begins by retelling the story of how these non-Jewish Christians came to know Jesus before hearing about Jesus. They were physically alive, but they were spiritually dead. They were trapped in a purposeless life of selfishness and sin, and they were deceived by dark, spiritual forces of evil. But amazingly, God and his great love and mercy, He saved them. He forgave all of their sins, and he joined their lives to Jesus resurrection life. And he's brought them back to life, too. And so now, having been created as new human beings through Jesus, they have the joy of discovering all of the new calling and purpose and tasks that God has set before them. Not only have they been shown God's grace, they've also been invited into a new family before hearing about Jesus, these non-Jewish people, they were not just cut off from God, they were cut off from his covenant people, the family of Abraham. And for a really practical reason, the commands of the Sinai Covenant, they formed like a boundary line around the family. They were like a barrier that kept most non-Jewish people away. But in Jesus, the laws of the Torah have been fulfilled and the barrier is removed. The two ethnic groups have become, as Paul puts it, a new unified humanity that can live together in peace. So Paul goes on in chapter three to marvel at the unique role that he got to have in spreading this good news to non-Jewish people. And even though he's in prison, he's thanking God for the chance he's had to see this Covenant family grow so huge. So Paul closes the first half of the letter with another prayer. This time he prays that Jesus, his followers, would be strengthened by God's spirit to simply grasp and comprehend the love that Christ has for His people. The second half of the letter begins with Paul shifting gears, and he starts challenging the reader to respond to the gospel story by how they live their own life story. So he starts in chapter four with just the everyday life of the church. The church is a big family. With lots of different kinds of people. But he emphasizes that they are one and one is a key word in this chapter. They are one body that's unified by one spirit. They have one Lord with one faith. They have one baptism. They believe in one God. That's a lot of unity. However, Paul says unity is not the same thing as uniformity. He goes on to explore how Jesus's new family consists of lots of very, very different kinds of people, but they're all empowered by the one Holy Spirit, each using their unique talents and passions to serve and to love each other and to build up the church. And here he uses two really cool metaphors. One is building up the church as a new temple. And the second is that they are all becoming a new humanity with Jesus as the head. And this new humanity is a metaphor he's going to then run with for the next couple of chapters. Paul challenges every Christian to take off their old humanity like a set of old clothes and to put on their new humanity in which the image of God is being restored. And He then goes on into this long section where he compares this new and old humanity. So instead of lying, new humans speak truth. Instead of harboring anger, they peacefully resolve their conflicts instead of stealing. New humans are generous. Instead of gossiping, they encourage people with their words, instead of getting revenge. New humans forgive. Instead of gratifying every sexual impulse, new humans cultivate self-control of their bodily desires. Instead of getting drunk. New humans come under the influence of God's spirit. And he spells out what that influence looks like in four different ways. The first two have to do with singing. Singing together, but also singing alone. And this is really interesting that the first thing that Paul thinks of about how the spirit works in the lives of Jesus people is singing and music. The third sign of the Spirit's influence is being thankful for everything. And the fourth is that the spirit will compel Jesus's followers to put themselves underneath others and to elevate others as more important than themselves. And Paul actually expands on this fourth point by showing how it works in Christian marriage. So you have a wife who follows Jesus. She is called to respect and to allow her husband to become responsible for her. And the husband is called to love his wife and to use his responsibility to lay down his selfish agenda and to prioritize his wife's well-being above his own. And Paul says it's this kind of marriage that's actually reenacting the gospel story. The husband's actions mimic Jesus and his love and his self-sacrifice. The wife's actions mimic the church, which allows Jesus to love her and to make her. Paul then applies the same idea to children and parents as well as slaves and masters. Paul closes out the letter by reminding these Christians of the reality of spiritual evil. These are beings and forces that will try to undermine the unity of Jesus as people and to compromise their new humanity. And so Paul challenges them to stand firm and to put on this metaphorical set of body armor, which he describes in detail. And Paul has drawn all of these pieces of body armor from the Book of Isaiah and how Isaiah depicted the messianic king. And so now, as the Messiah's followers, we need to make the Messiah's attributes our own since we make up Jesus's body. Practically, I think Paul means for Christians to begin to form habits proactively using prayer in the Scriptures, in our relationships with each other, to help us grow and mature as followers of Jesus. And that's the letter to the Ephesians. Very powerful. It's where Paul summarizes the whole gospel story and how it should reshape every part of our life story.