Having concluded our march through Mark and brief excursive on Ecclesiology, The Parkway Church is ready to jump back into another book study. This Sunday (April 23) we will begin our six-month exposition of Ephesians.
Ephesians covers a broad range of topics/issues. Like what, you ask?
Predestination and election
Depravity and sin
Divine love and grace
Marriage and gender roles
A Christian view of work
Christian relationship to the Mosaic Law
Spiritual gifts and spiritual warfare
Prayer, music and worship
Our words and speech
Anger, pride and envy
How to follow God's commands without walking in legalism
Ephesians is probably the closest that Paul came to writing a "systematic theology" or doctrinal statement. As Peter O'Brien writes in his excellent commentary,
The Letter to the Ephesians is one of the most significant documents ever written. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it ‘the divinest composition of man’. This letter was John Calvin’s favourite, and J. Armitage Robinson later described it as ‘the crown of St Paul’s writings’. F. F. Bruce regarded it as ‘the quintessence of Paulinism’ because it ‘in large measure sums up the leading themes of the Pauline letters, and sets forth the cosmic implications of Paul’s ministry as apostle to the Gentiles’. Among the Pauline writings, Raymond Brown claimed, only Romans could match Ephesians ‘as a candidate for exercising the most influence on Christian thought and spirituality’. (Peter O'Brien)
These are deep and difficult topics, many of which are highly controversial or even outright offensive in our context and culture. I can think of no more necessary or practical place for a church to camp out over the next six months. May we as a body, collectively feel the full weight of divine authority pulling us away from our presuppositions, assumptions, and cultural lenses and into greater conformity with the image of Christ.
Will you join us as we explore this treasured text together?
For those wishing to dive deeper into the exegetical waters of the book, here are a few resources that might help:
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Ephesians by Frank Thielman
Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Ephesians by Clinton Arnold
Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Letter to the Ephesians by Peter O'Brien