“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:8-9
Welcome back! Let’s delve into Ephesians with Chapter 1. Begin by asking God to speak into your heart and the Spirit to guide your thoughts.
Click here for the Greeting Study —>Ephesians Greeting
Click here for the Chapter 1 Study —>Ephesians Chapter 1
Last Sunday, we embarked on our journey into Ephesians by reading through the letter written by Paul. For the next fourteen weeks, we are inviting you to join as we dive into scripture. We will have a PDF study that you may choose to go through individually, as a family, or with your small group.
To begin, take a moment to watch this video on the background and structure of Ephesians provided by The Bible Project:
Have you ever had a difficult time trying to study your Bible? Sometimes when you read, it seems as if the words come out and slap you in the face. Other times it’s more like a whole lot of jibberish.
You are not alone.
Much like studying any text, whether it be Emily Dickenson, C.S. Lewis, or the Bible, there are different windows to look through to see a different angle of the big picture. Three of the major windows for biblical study are conceptual, theological, and literary. Each tends to intertwine with the other.
Along with these approaches, we will provide questions and thoughts to consider each week before exploring together in Sunday service. You can find the study guides here on the website and in the Tumbleweed each week.
Let’s make a quick overview of each of these biblical study aspects.
A conceptual study is exactly as it sounds. It’s a look into the ideas and intentions of how the Christian life looks. “What does the Bible say I should do in ‘situation x?'” “What does it look like to love my neighbor?”
With a conceptual study, you are looking for the solution to a specific question. This practice helps attempt a quick answer; however, we must be aware there is a risk in interpreting scripture the way we would like to read it rather than what it truly intends. This also includes how we may have heard others explain the meaning.
A theological study asks the question, “What does this scripture tell me about who God is?”
We can view the big picture of God in most, if not any, scripture. Even in the shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” the word gives us the image of a Savior who feels deeply, as do we, in His image. Throughout the books of the Bible, we see God as Warrior, King, Lord, Lover, and Friend.
As you read, take a moment to ask what the words may be telling you about who God is. It may even stir other questions and curiosities.
There are many genres of literature in the Bible. Legal, narrative, poetic, romance, and tragedy, to name a few.
In Roy Zuck’s book, Basic Bible Interpretation, he says, “The more you know of the patterns, styles, and forms of the various units in a book of the Bible the more you will know of that book’s purpose and unique character, and the better you will understand it.”
Do you read a poem the same way you read a history book? Do you approach written law the same way you read a letter from a friend or mentor?
Without going into technical terminology, some aspects (but not all) to look for while reading are sentence structure, word or concept repetition, outline structure, and writing style.
Confused? Don’t worry. We’re only covering one letter. We will look at more apparent examples as we look at the book of Ephesians.
Begin every study with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word to you.
You may find it helpful to write down scripture that stands out to you whether it inspires encouragement or questions.
Not everyone studies the same way. Feel free to approach the study in a way that works for you and how God created you to learn and know Him.
Let’s jump in! If you haven’t done so, take eight minutes to watch the introduction video at the top of this page.