Ephesians is an epistle from the Apostle Paul to the church of Ephesus. Ephesians is an epistle which means it has a three part structure: 1.) Introduction, indicating the sender, the receiver of the letter, and a greeting, 2.) body, 3.) and a conclusion, which usually ends with a farewell prayer.
The literary context of Ephesians is that it seems to have any confrontation on regards to any heresy within the church like Colossians. Paul writes to the Church of Ephesus to encourage them to be united as a one under Christ. Paul does tell both Jews and Gentiles that they are equal as being children of God. Ephesians 2:1-10 comes right after Paul introduction to why he is writing his letter. Paul starts by reminding the reader of the redemptive work that God has done for them.
The structure of Ephesians 2:1-10 is made up of three sections. First section is the former way of life in sins (2:1-3). Second section is God’s merciful salvation in Christ and its purposes (2:4-7). Third section is the explanation of salvation by grace (2:8-10).1 I. Unbeliever’s former way (2:1-3)
A. Dead spiritually (1)
B. Disobedient (2-3a)
C. Depraved (3b)
II. God’s work of salvation (2:4-7)
A. He loves us (4)
B. He exalts us (6)
C. He keeps us (7)
III. Salvation by grace (2:8-10)
A. salvation as a gift (8)
B. salvation apart from works (9)
C. salvation for works (10)
Klyne Snodgrass, The NIV Application Commentary; Ephesians. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996, 99.
In verses 2:1-3, Paul explains the old way of life that all believers once lived. He describes this way of life as being “dead in your trespasses and sins”. Paul uses a phrase very similar to this when he writes to the church at Colosse, a city in Asia Minor, by saying, “When you were dead in your transgressions,” seen in Colossians 2:13. The idea of being, “dead in trespasses and transgressions,” is a common message that can be seen through Paul’s theology throughout most of his writings, or epistles. Paul is giving an image of the unbeliever as being dead spiritually and in a order in which there is no desire to relate one’s life to God, because such a life is portrayed by disobedience.2 In this state of spiritual death, Paul is expressing that the unbeliever is being separated from God and unable to experience a good will toward God and is in desperate need of God’s mercy.3
Paul then continues to describe this old way of life of the unbeliever by using the verse, “following the course of this world.” The word, “World,” used here is to show the meaning of anything that is apart from God.4 Now, Paul is elaborating on the idea of being spiritually dead and separated from God here as the main feature of the unbeliever’s way of life. Next, Paul uses the phrase, “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience,” to describe the life of Gentile unbelievers. Within the book of Ephesians, the verse, “The prince of the power of the air,” is seen as being the devil.5 Paul is letting his readers know the idea that the way of life for the unbeliever is showing obedience to the devil and his or 2 Arthur
Patzia, G. New International Biblical Commentary; Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 177.
Max Anders, vol. 8, Galatians-Colossians, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 110.
David S. Dockery, Trent C. Butler, Christopher L. Church et al., Holman Bible Handbook (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992), 714.
Peter T. O'Brien, The Letter to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 159.
her disobedience toward God.6
Now, Paul ends this part in verse 2:3, by identifying himself and the Jews, by having been in the same place of death spiritually as the Gentile’s and needing the same mercy of God that brings one from death to life.7 Now Paul is not eliminating himself from...
Cited: Hoehner, Harold W. Ephesians: an Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker
Jamieson, Robert. Fausset, A. R. and Brown, David. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on
the Whole Bible (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Eph 2:7.
Martin, Ralph P. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Atlanta: Westminster John Knox Press,
O 'Brien, Peter T. The Letter to the Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.
Snodgrass, Klyne Ephesians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1996.
Stott, John R. W. The Message of Ephesians: God 's New Society. Downers Grove, IL: IVP
Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010.
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