Study 1: Background to Ephesians
In order to understand the challenges that were facing the Christians at Ephesus, we need to have a look at some of the contextual clues found in Paul’s letter and other parts of the Bible. For this study we will consider two Bible texts to help us understand why Paul thought it necessary to write to the church in Ephesus. In doing so we will be in a better position to understand what God is saying to us though this letter.
Read Ephesians 3: 7-13
What is Paul’s concern for the Ephesians in these verses?
In what way does he seek to comfort them?
Why is it equally important for us to know this?
Read Acts 19: 11-40
What challenges would this situation present to the small group of Ephesian Christians?
Do you think Paul’s letter would have been an encouragement to those facing these challenges?
What do vv17-20 tell us about the spiritual culture of Ephesus?
In what ways does this issue feature in Paul’s letter?
Do you think that the presence of demons and evil forces is still relevant to us in Felixstowe?
The Temple to Artemis was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The “Artemision” was 425 feet long and 220 feet wide (roughly four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens), and it featured 127 columns that measured 60 feet in height. Not only this, but statues of Artemis could be found all over the city; in homes, markets and shrines. Paganism was a visibly dominant force.
What challenges would this have presented to the little Ephesian church?
Have you ever felt the pressure of these challenges on your faith?
What parts of Ephesians do you think would apply to these challenges?
Read vv24-34. How do these verses help us to understand the city’s attitude towards Christians?
What risks would there have accompanied public Christian faith?
How does Paul’s letter to the Ephesians encourage you in your public stand as a Christian?