Running head: THE CONCEPT OF THE CHURCH IN EPHESIANS
The Concept of the Church in Ephesians
Marie Leslie Griffin-Robert
Dr. Theodore Rivera
June 12, 2010
The Concept of the Church in Ephesians
Paul’s focus in writing this letter to the Ephesians was to unite all the people of God under Christ‘s umbrella referring to as the church, which is his body. Hell stated in “His analysis crescendos by pointing to Eph 4.1-16 as the central unit of the chiasm, demonstrating that the heart of the book of Ephesians rests in the “empowerment to walk in love for the unity of all in Christ” (Winzenburg 2009). Paul began the letter with Act 19: 1-6 which Luke describes the beginning of the church at Ephesus. The church began with Paul leading some of the disciples of John the Baptist into accepting Christ as their personal Savior and Messiah in who dwelled all gifts from God. These twelve anointed and charismatic men worked closely with Paul in forming the Ephesians church. These men were in charge of the church congregation operating in the Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Paul being the founder of the church knew how to advise them in all situations including the importance of the church and the relationship of the church to Christ, as well as the make-up of the church. “As Leslie Mitton has confirmed, “the epistle is essentially about Christ and only about the church as it fulfills the purposes of Christ” (1976:32). (Komolafe 2007).
It is of great value to Christian to observe the method Paul employed in all of his letters. The pattern with Paul has been to begin his work from origin, meaning, from the point people were at, and he unified them as a group under the umbrella of a church. That explained why that Paul could relate either in person or at a distance (letters) to the churches about their problems. His ministry entails acquainting himself with the people history and cultural background so Paul knew how to advise the churches and their congregations in regards to issues of concern.
In Ephesians, Paul taught more on the UNITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST (Eph 6:10-18). He started with the TRUTH which is Jesus Christ, our Lord and ended in PRAYING always “in the Spirit or in tongues with which the church has its beginning. One should note that Paul wrote Ephesians to address theological understanding of the nature of the church. Paul described the make-up of the church that are to consist of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers (Ephesians 4:11-15). He explained to see Christ, the head of the Church is now seating at the right hand of the father assigning gifts to men. He reiterated the importance of the Church which its members represent the Body of Christ.
Paul affirmed that Christians’ lives are hid in Christ with God, and we are one in our relationship with Christ and each other (Col 3: 1-4). Paul emphasized the fact that it was by Jesus that the eternal Godhead created all things. “And he is the head of the body, and the church that is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; (Col 1:18-19) Paul reiterated the special concept of unity between Jews and Gentiles in the one body of Christ, the church (Eph 2: 1). Paul stressed the fact that Israel was chosen by God to serve as an example for the rest of the world to follow, and to bring the Messiah into the world (Eph 1:1-14). He further taught that the Jews were the first to pave the way for the Gentiles to be part of Christ’s body (Gal 1: 15- 16). Paul, in Ephesians specifically referred to the word “saints” to distinguish Jewish Christians from Gentiles Christians (McRay, 2007). Paul advised prudence and vigilance in reference to the demonic forces in the cosmic that are at war with the children of God (McRay, 2007). He taught about the accessibility of God to both Jews and Gentiles. Paul reminded the church and the congregation to put on the pieces of God’s own armor to defeat Satan (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Paul was a realistic man; he knows the world is infested with evil forces that are powerful. If a person is not strong in the Lord, Satan with its malice will have dominion over one’s lives. Therefore, as Christians people must exercise prudence and remained vigilant in the Word of God. As the apostle Paul reminded the church back then to put on the pieces of God’s armor to combat the demonic powers of the world; the message also applied to the people of today as well.
Komolafe, S. B. (2007). Christ, Church and the Cosmos: a missiological reading of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. Missiology , pp. 273-286.
McRay, J. (2007). Paul his Life and Teachings. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.
Version, K. J. (2005). Holy Bible. Nashville, Ten: Holman Bible Publishers.
Winzenburg, J. G. (2009). Ephesians: Empowerment to walk in love for the unity oall in Christ. Religious Studies Review , pp. 59-60.