Christian Belief and Behaviour
An EasyEnglish Bible Version andCommentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
Les Painter (Bible text by Cynthia Green)
This commentary has been throughAdvanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a*star by them.
The *apostle Paul wrote this letter when he wasin a prison in Rome. He wrote it to people in the town called Ephesus. This wasabout 61 years after the birth of Christ.
At one time, *Greek leaders had ruled Ephesus.Now the *Romans ruled the city. It was the capital of the *Roman region calledAsia. It was a busy port and the centre of much trade. The *temple of thegoddess (female god) Diana (or Artemis) was there. The business people soldmodels of Diana’s *temple there. But Paul’s *preaching affected their trade.This caused confusion and trouble in the city (Acts 19:23-41).
This letter is different from other letters byPaul. The main differences are:
a) hedoes not give any special greetings;
b) hedoes not send a message to any one particular person;
c) hedoes not talk about special problems.
Paul wrote the letter to encourage the personal*faith of the Christians. It gives teaching, prayers and great *praises to God.It is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He came to our world in order to put rightall the things that had gone wrong. Paul makes clear that Christ is the head ofthe *church. He will work out his purposes in and by the *church.
It is possible that Paul sent this letter toother *churches in Asia. Then they too could read it.
The letter is in two parts. First is theteaching part. It mainly teaches us about God’s plan for the world. This planis for all time. It is about the gathering together of all things to JesusChrist as head. God created men and women. He created them to be his friends.But now they are apart from him. They are his enemies.
There is no unity in a world without Christ. Oneperson is against another person. Nations fight each other. *Jews and *Gentilesare against each other. There is a battle between evil *angels and good*angels. There is a battle between God and *Satan. Most people in the world donot know Christ. This is the reason for all that is wrong. But this is notGod’s purpose for the world. There can be unity only when all things cometogether with Christ as head. Unity should first be inside the *church. Then itshould be for all people everywhere. Then it should be with everything that Godhas made. This unity is for the entire world and for all ages. This is whatPaul teaches in the first three chapters.
God’s plan is to fix the unity that is spoiled.The last three chapters teach about how God will use Christians in this plan.Paul teaches that the *church is like the body of Christ. Christians must belike Christ’s hands to do Christ’s work. Christians must be like his mouth tospeak for him. They must be like his feet to take his *gospel to all the peoplein the world. God wants to deal with all the things that divide people. Godwill do this in and by the *church. Paul speaks about the different ways inwhich his message will apply. Change will come by the good behaviour of God’speople in the home and in the world.
Part 1: The place of the *believer in Christ (chapters1-3)
1:3-14 *Praise for all the *blessings of God
1:15-23 Paul’s first prayer
2:1-10 *Salvation by *grace
2:11-22 *Jews and *Gentiles are united in Christ
3:1-13 God has made his secret known
3:14-21 Paul’s second prayer
Part 2: The behaviour of the *believer in the world(chapters 4-6)
4:1-16 To live a life that has value
4:17-32 A different way to live
6:10-20 The Christian life as a war
6:21-24 Final greeting
1:1-2 ~ Greetings
v1 I am the*apostle Paul. I am an *apostle by God’s will. I am writing this letter to the*saints (God’s people) in Ephesus. You believe in Christ Jesus and you are inhim.
v2 I pray thatGod, our Father, and the *Lord Jesus Christ will send you *grace and *peace.
Verse 1 Paul calls himself an ‘*apostle’. He isa person whom God has chosen. God has chosen him to be a leader in the *churchand to act with God’s authority. First, Paul refers to himself as the writer ofthe letter. This was the custom at that time. Then he refers to his readers, asthe ‘*saints’. The meaning of ‘*saints’ is ‘the holy persons’. It means thosethat God has set apart to live holy lives. These are the Christians in Ephesus.They remain strong in their belief. Paul greets them.
Verse 2 Paul changes the common *Greek word for‘greetings’ to another word, ‘*grace’. The common *Hebrew greeting was ‘shalom’or ‘*peace’. Paul brings the two greetings together as a *blessing and aprayer. He prays that his readers will know the free help of God the Father andthe *Lord Jesus Christ. They do not need to earn this. He also prays that theywill know peace with God. And he prays that they will have peace with eachother. The *peace of God is not just the lack of trouble. The word ‘shalom’ hasmany meanings. It means to be well. It means to have enough for your needs. It meanssafety and health. We can have peace inside us even if life is difficult.
1:3-14 ~ *Praise for all the *blessings of God
In the original *Greek language, this song of*praise (verses 3-14) is one sentence. The thoughts of Paul follow from one tothe next at great speed. It is as if he wants to say it all at once.
In this passage, Paul writes about the goodthings that the Father gives to us. The Father has *blessed us (verse 3). Hehas chosen us (verse 4). He has decided that we shall become his sons anddaughters (verse 5). He has given his *grace to us (verse 6). *Grace is thegift of God that we cannot buy. Neither can we work to earn it (2:8-9). He hastold us about his choice and purpose. It is to bring together all things inheaven and on earth. Then all will have one head, that is, Christ (verses9-10).
1:3-6 ~ The Father has chosen us
v3 We praisethe God and Father of our *Lord Jesus Christ who has greatly *blessed us. Godhas *blessed us in the *heavenly places with every *spiritual *blessing inChrist. v4 Before he made the world, he chose us. He wants us to liveholy lives. He wants us to do nothing wrong, but only things that are good. Heloved us. v5 So he chose to make us his sons and daughters by JesusChrist. He did this so that we can be *holy and without *sin in his sight. v6We praise him for his wonderful *grace. We thank him for the free gift that hegave to us. He gave it to us in the son that he loves.
Verse 3 God has *blessed us ‘in the *heavenlyplaces with every *spiritual *blessing in Christ’. The *heavenly places referto an area that you cannot see or touch. In that area, there are *beings thatyou cannot see. These *beings are both good and evil. The good *beings serveGod and the evil *beings serve *Satan. The evil *beings try to rule society andthe lives of people. Paul often uses the words ‘*heavenly places’. He uses them5 times in this letter. If we are Christians, we live now in the *heavenlyplaces. This is true even now whilst we live on earth. It refers to any place whereChrist rules over all. His people rule with him too (1:20; 2:6).
Verse 4 Jesus Christ has always existed; he is*eternal. God chose us before our birth to be together with Christ. God madethis choice before he made the world. This choice has nothing to do with thekind of person that we are. It does not depend on whether we are good or bad.Therefore, we cannot be proud. We cannot say that we have made the choice. Wecan only agree with what God has done. Christ *justifies us in front of God.Then we need to obey God. We must live holy lives as God intends.
Paul writes, ‘He wants us to live holy lives.’The meaning of the *Greek word ‘holy’ is to be separate or different.Christians live in the world. But they must be different from the people roundthem. They will be different in their homes. And they will be different in theplace where they work.
‘He wants us to do nothing wrong.’ The wholelife of a Christian is like something that we are offering to God.
Verse 5 In the *Roman family, the father had greatpower. He could do as he wished to his sons. He could make them work withoutpay. He could sell them as slaves. He could hit them. He could even kill them.This power lasted all through the life of the son. It did not matter how old hewas.
A father might decide to adopt a son. Then hewould ask the court to give him legal authority to be the father of the child.The judge would pass all the power of the original father to this new father.All the rights of the old father then ended. The son became a new person. If hehad any debts in the old family, the court ended them. It would be as if thedebts had never existed.
That is what God has done for us. We were underthe power of *sin and the *devil. God, by Jesus, removed us from that power. Heput us into his new family. He took away the old debts (our *sins). It was asif they had never existed. We became part of his family and we became newpeople.
Verse 6 All this makes us *praise him for hiswonderful *grace. This *grace is free. Moreover, he gave us this in the ‘sonthat he loves’ - Jesus. The *grace of God is everything that he has chosen toshow us about himself.
1:7-12 ~ The Son gave his life for us
v7 Christ*saved us and made us free by his blood (death). God forgave our *sins. Bythis, God shows us his rich *grace. v8 With it, he gave us wisdom andunderstanding. They pour over us like water from a great river. v9 Goddecided to show us his secret plan that Christ would complete. He was pleasedto do this. v10 He will complete his plan when the time is right. Thenhe will bring together all things in heaven and earth, to Christ. Christ willbe the head of them all.
v11 God alsochose us because of Christ. God had already decided what his plan should be. Hechose us to receive an *inheritance. That was his plan. He uses everything thathappens in his plans and his purposes. v12 So then we, the first peopleto have hope in Christ, would bring *praise and *glory to him.
Verses 7-8 In Paul’s days, you might have been aslave. Sometimes a kind person would pay money to free you. The *Israelites hadbeen slaves in Egypt, but God made them free. God made them his people (Exodus15:13). A person could make a *sacrifice to God. God would then *forgive his*sin. *Sacrifice was the way by which God would *forgive you. It was the waythat God could deal with *sin. ‘If there is no *sacrifice of blood, God willnot forgive our *sins’ (Hebrews 9:22).
Christ himself became this *sacrifice. He gavehis blood when he died on the *cross. This *forgiveness is because ‘God showsus his rich *grace’. This *grace is greater than we can understand. It isbeyond any riches of the earth (Hebrews 11:26).
God is so kind to us. He gave us ‘wisdom andunderstanding. They pour over us like water from a great river.’ His *blessingsnever dry up. Wisdom is the gift to be able to see things as they really are.But this wisdom is not just an idea in your head. Wisdom gives you knowledge.You are then able to use your knowledge to solve the problems of daily life.
Verses 9-10 God lets us know ‘his secret planthat Christ would complete’. He makes it possible for us to understand this.But he did not show his plan before Jesus came.
God’s plan was that Jesus Christ will be the head(or ruler) of the whole *universe (heaven and earth). God arranges the time ofall things. He does this in perfect wisdom. God has fixed all the ages andseasons. He has decided when they will end. God is now working out his plan(that Christ will rule the whole *universe). His plan is working all the time.One day God will complete it. History is ‘his story’.
Through the ages, God is bringing everythingtogether under his rule. The meaning of the *Greek words is that God will addup everything. He will put it all under Christ as head.
It would be difficult for a person who is not aChristian to understand this. He would not make sense of history. Differentevents have taken place in different ages. They would not link with each other.Paul shows that God has a plan for the history of men and women. Once God hidthis secret. Now he makes his plan plain. Christians today can now understandit. It is the job of Christians to tell the world about it.
Verses 11-12 From the beginning, God chose us to‘have hope in Christ’, the *Messiah. He chose that we should be a part of hisplan. God works out everything in agreement with his choice. Everything that hewants to do, he does. Everything will be as he said. This plan includes Pauland the *Jewish *believers (‘we’ verse 12). They were the first to hope inChrist, the *Messiah. They hoped in him before he came (see Acts 28:20). Theylooked forward to him as their *Saviour. The plan then includes ‘you also’ (the*Gentile Christians) who believe in him (verse 13).
1:13-14 ~ The mark of the *Holy Spirit
v13 You alsolater heard the word of truth, the good news about how Christ could *save you.Then you, too, became united with Christ. When you believed in him, he markedyou with a special sign. The *Holy Spirit was the sign. v14 The *HolySpirit is the promise that God will give complete freedom to his people. Wemust praise God for his *glory.
Verse 13 The most important thing is to hearGod’s word. God’s word is the word of truth. The word of truth is the *gospel.The *gospel is the good news about *salvation. The knowledge of *salvationcomes by hearing about Jesus Christ (Romans 10:14). Hearing, however, must leadto *faith. God can *bless us only if we have *faith.
So, when you believe, God marks you with aspecial sign. This is for both *Jews and *Gentiles. It is for those who haveheard and believed. In those days, a *seal was a person’s own sign. It was astamp or mark. It showed that he was the owner. He used it when he sentsomething important to another person. He would use this on a letter. It showedthat everything was true and not false. It was a promise. You could be surethat no one had opened the letter and changed it.
The *Holy Spirit is the *seal for the Christian.The *Holy Spirit in him is a proof to himself of his *faith. It also showsother people how real his *faith is. The *Holy Spirit makes the Christiancertain that he has *salvation. This *seal also keeps the Christian safe. Noone can break the *seal. No one can break into his life. In the end, he will besafe with Jesus.
Verse 14 In those days, when you boughtsomething, you paid some money. This was only a part of the whole price. Youmade a promise to the seller. You promised that later you would pay the rest ofthe price. The *Holy Spirit is God’s *seal or promise. It is a promise to allthose who believe in him. He promises that one day he will make them completelyhis own possession. They will belong completely to him. That includes both*Jews and *Gentiles. This will be completely to God’s *glory.
1:15-23 ~ Paul’s first prayer
v15 I heardabout your *faith in the *Lord Jesus, and your love for all the *saints. Eversince that time, v16 I have never stopped thanking God for you. And Iremember you when I pray. v17 God is the wonderful Father of our *LordJesus Christ. I am always asking that he will give you great wisdom andknowledge about himself. He will show himself to you, so that you can know himbetter. v18 I pray too, that you will understand what he has promised togive you. You will know the hope to which he has called you. You will know the*glory of the rich *blessings that he has prepared for you. v19 And youwill know how very great his power is. This power works in those who believe inhim. He used the same strong power v20 after Christ had died. He usedthis power to make Jesus Christ come back to life again. He used his power tocause Christ to sit at his right side in heaven. v21 God put Christ farabove all people with authority, *lords and other rulers on earth and inheaven. Christ rules over them now and he will rule over them in the future. v22God put all things under the authority and power of Christ. God put him in thehighest place as head over everything for the *church. v23 The *churchis the body of Christ. It is complete in him, who fills everything everywhere.
Verses 15-16 In the rest of this chapter, Paulprays for his readers. He asks God to give them real understanding. He wantsthem to understand how wonderful and exciting the good news is.
He speaks about their *faith and love. He tellshis readers that their behaviour towards the *Lord is important. So too istheir behaviour with each other. Paul says that he does not stop thanking Godfor them. He also remembers them all in his prayers.
Verse 17 Paul is always asking that God:
· willgive them wisdom and
· thathe will show himself to them so that they can know him better.
God the Father is a ‘wonderful Father’. All*glory and all power and all greatness belong to him. God made the earth, thesky and everything. We see his greatness in all that he has made. We see hisgreatness in the way that he provides. He provides for everyone and everythingon the earth. It all comes from God.
By God the Son we have wonderful freedom from*sin. We see his greatness in this. That should cause us to wonder. It shouldincrease our *faith when we pray. God the *Holy Spirit helps us to understandall this. He helps us to know God better.
Verses 18-23 We cannot understand such knowledgeby ourselves. It is far too great. God must help us to understand. To know Godis more than to know facts about him. It is to know him as a person and toshare our lives with him.
Paul prays that three things will happen:
· First,that they will know ‘the hope to which he has called’ them. God called us tohimself at the very beginning. He called us to be united with Jesus Christ. Hecalled us to be holy even as he is holy (4:1). This is the call that God bringsto those without hope (2:12). The hope is about our future. We will then bewith Christ for ever. We can think about a time after our present suffering. Wecan think about a wonderful future. God’s promise to us is that we can have the*Holy Spirit inside us now (verse 14). The promise is also about what he iskeeping for us in the future.
· Second,that they ‘will know the *glory of the rich *blessings that he (God) hasprepared’ for them. God has given these rich *blessings to those who believe.Christians can expect to enjoy this *inheritance.
Peter describes the *inheritance that God hasprepared for us. It never dies. It is not like rubbish. It never disappears.God is ‘keeping it in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:4). The children of God arethe heirs of God. They are heirs together with Christ (Romans 8:17). Everythingthat belongs to a person will belong to his heirs one day. That is what ‘heirs’means. One day our *inheritance will be complete. We shall be completely God’spossession. We do not know what it will be like. We do know that we shall seeChrist. And we shall *worship him. When he appears, we shall be like him. Weshall be like him in our bodies. We shall be like him in his character. Weshall be united with each other. It will be perfect. God wants us to know aboutthis. He wants us to think about it. He wants us to know how wonderful it willbe.
· Third,that ‘you will know how very great his power is’ (verse 19). Nothing compareswith that power. It is far greater than any other power. We cannot measure it.By this power, God made everything in heaven and earth. This power is working‘in (or ‘for’ or ‘towards’) those who believe’.
Paul describes this great power by three events(verses 19-23):
· First,God made ‘Jesus Christ come back to life again’ (verse 20).
· Second,‘He used his power to cause Christ to sit at his right side in heaven.’ Thiswas far above ‘all people with authority, *lords and other rulers on earth andin heaven’. It was above every title (or rank) that anyone can give. And‘Christ rules over them now and he will rule over them in the future’ (verse21).
· Third‘and God put all things under the authority and power of Christ. God put him inthe highest place as head over everything for the *church’ (verse 22). ‘Allthings’ include the world, the stars and all physical things. ‘All things’ alsoinclude all people, good *angels and bad *angels. God made Christ head over allthings. He also made him head over everything for the *church. The *church ishis body. So both the *church and everything that is have the same head. Hecompletely fills everything in every way. He also fills the *church (verses22-23).
There are two powers that men cannot control.One power is death and the other power is the devil. Jesus Christ won thebattle over both. He did this by his death and *resurrection. He can rescue usfrom both death and the devil. God raised Jesus from death. He raised him tonew life where there is no more death. This new life lasts for ever and ever.God caused Jesus to sit at God’s right side in heaven. God made him king overevery power that there is. Jesus rules in heaven as king. He rules over allpeople. He rules over all nations. He rules over all *spirits, both good andevil.
Verse 21 also includes every title (or rank)that anyone can give. In Genesis chapter 1, God told man to rule over allthings. When Adam *sinned, people lost the power to rule. Christ now rules overeverything. So he gives back to us the power to rule.
The *church is the body of Christ. The *churchconsists of his people (Christians). Jesus is the head of his *church. The jobof the *church is to explain Jesus to the world. To do this, the *church needsto be full of his *Holy Spirit.
2:1-10 ~ *Salvation by *grace
2:1-3 ~ Our past life
v1 In pastdays, you were *spiritually dead because of your *sins, and because you did notobey God. v2 You used to copy the bad ways of the people in the world(non-Christians). You used to do the things that pleased the devil. He is theking who rules the *spiritual forces in the air. He is a *spirit. He nowcontrols the people who do not obey God’s rules. v3 We all used to livelike them, just to satisfy our own desires. We did what our physical bodywanted. God was angry with us, as he was angry with them.
In this part, Paul shows what *sinful people arelike. He then shows what we can become by the *grace of God. Jesus died, butGod raised him to life. God then put him in a very high place in heaven. It isjust like that for us. We were dead, but God raised us too. He placed ustogether with Jesus. We are close to Jesus. We are in heaven with him. This istrue even whilst we live on earth.
Verses 1-3 All people are *sinners. Paul firstmakes this clear in verse 1. He says, ‘you were *spiritually dead because ofyour *sins and because you did not obey God.’ And then in verse 3, Paul usesthe word ‘we’ (verse 3). ‘We all used to live like them.’ We are all *sinners.
Often you fail to be the person that wants youto be. That is *sin. Often you do not live as God wants you to live. That is*sin. You also *sin when you do something wrong. But sometimes you do not dosomething that you should do. That is *sin too.
The old way to live moves away from God. Thisold life, says Paul, is the way that ‘we all used to live’ (verse 3). Everything that we did was against God. It moved away from God. It moved in thedirection of evil things. Either we can walk with God or we can walk away fromhim. Paul speaks about this wrong way to live in three ways.
· First,it is when you ‘used to copy the bad ways of the people in the world(non-Christians).’ In the *Greek language, it means ‘people who belong to theage of this world’. In the world, there are different systems. They could bepolitical, social or money systems. The ‘age of this world’ might apply to anyof these. It could refer to any system that does not have God in it. The peoplein these systems do not think about God. They do not discuss things with him.
· Second,‘the king who rules the *spiritual forces in the air’. This means *Satan, whois the head of all the evil *spirits. We cannot see them. However, they arethere and they work in the world.
· Third,they belonged to the person who ‘now controls the people who do not obey God’srules’. Paul tells us that, ‘He is a *spirit.’ Again this means *Satan.
We have this *sinful nature as the result ofAdam’s *sin. It means that I am at the centre of my life. Apart from God, Ilive with me at the centre. I think about myself. And I do what I want to do.
There is nothing wrong with physical desires. Wehave many of these. Some desires are for food, sleep or sex. God made our bodyto want these things. But they are wrong when we eat too much. They are wrongwhen we sleep too much. They are wrong when we have sex outside marriage.
Paul says that we all ‘did what our physicalbody wanted. God was angry with us.’ We all have Adam’s *sinful nature. Itcomes to us by Adam’s *sin. By his *sin, we share his *sinful nature. That ishow we are children of Adam.
We need to understand the meaning of ‘God wasangry with us’. It does not mean that he is in a bad temper. Nor that he hatesus and he wants to punish us. God’s anger (or wrath) means that he is always anenemy of evil things. He hates evil things. He hates them very much. He neverstops hating them. This is because he is God. He is a *righteous God. By hisvery nature, he cannot stop being angry against *sin.
2:4-6 ~ Our present life
v4 But Godwants to forgive people. He loved us so much that v5 he gave each of usa new life in Christ. He did this, although we were *spiritually dead. God’s*grace has *saved you. v6 God has raised us up with Christ to sit withhim in the *heavenly places.
Verse 4 Paul has described the sad situation ofmen and women. He has spoken about the anger of God. But this is not the lastword. Paul now writes some wonderful words. He speaks about God’s goodness and*grace. God wants to forgive people. He pities those who do not deserve his*grace. Paul writes, ‘He loved us so much’. God wants to be kind, even to badpeople. God has acted. We were dead, but God made us alive with Christ. God hasacted because of our *sin. He is rich in kindness. That kindness comes from hisgreat love. His love reaches down from heaven to us on earth. ‘While we werestill *sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8).
Verse 5 We were objects of God’s anger. We arenow objects of his love. Think about what God has done to change our state. Hehas *saved us. ‘God’s *grace has *saved you.’ By his death, Christ suffered forour *sin. Our *sin was like a wall between God and us. It separated us fromhim. Jesus’ death removed that wall. By his *resurrection, he won the battleagainst death. God raised Christ from death. Because of that, he raised men andwomen from being dead in *sins. He won both in his body and in his *spirit. Nowwe have a new life with Christ and in Christ.
Verse 6 ‘God has raised us up with Christ’. Paulis not now writing about when God raised Christ. He is writing about us. God‘gave each of us a new life in Christ’ (verse 5). God raised us with Christ.God caused us to sit with Christ ‘in the *heavenly places’. Here we see threeevents in history.
· First,we see Jesus’ *resurrection.
· Second,we see his return to heaven.
· Third,we see him sitting at the right side of God. He sits there as the King inheaven. Some Christians say this in the Creed (statement of Christian belief).It says, ‘on the third day he rose again from death. Then he went up intoheaven. Now he sits at the right side of God the Father.’
Here Paul writes about Christ’s *church. Alltogether, we are one body ‘in Christ’. It does not matter what our nationalityis. It does not matter whether we are men or women. It does not matter who weare. We are a part of Christ. Also, Christ is on the *throne (the seat of theking). So we are there too. We have a new life. We know that God is real. Wehave a new love for him and his people. We were dead and we are now alive. Itwas as if we were in chains. Christ has removed them. We are free. Now we sitwith Jesus on the top seat!
2:7-10 ~ Our future life
v7 He did thisto show for all time, his rich *grace to us. He expressed this *grace in thekindness that he showed to us in Christ Jesus. v8 God has *saved you byhis *grace by your *faith in Christ. You could not do this by yourselves, butGod gave you this free gift. v9 Not one of us can say that he *savedhimself. The good things that we do cannot *save us. Only the gift of God cando this. So you cannot tell people how good you are! v10 God made us inChrist Jesus. He had already prepared good things for us to do. He made us sothat we could do them.
Verse 7 Paul now comes to the purpose of God’sgreat power. He writes about the reason why God raised Jesus from death. And hewrites about the reason why he raised us with him. ‘He did this to show for alltime, his rich *grace.’ Nothing can compare with that. He showed this ‘in thekindness that he showed to us in Christ Jesus’.
Verses 8-9 These verses again show God’s *graceand kindness. We are in Christ Jesus. God has *saved us and he has shown his*grace towards us. He helps us to become free from our *sins. We are also freefrom God’s anger. *Grace belongs to God. It is his gift. To have *faith meansto trust in God. We can trust him to give us all that he has for us. We turn toGod because we are weak and empty. We turn to God because we need him.
We must have *faith in God. However, *faithitself is not enough. God wants to give us everything. We receive *salvation by*faith. We are *justified by *faith. But *salvation is by God’s *grace. *Faithitself does not give us any right to receive. Nor do good deeds give us thisright. We would be proud if that were true. We might say, ‘This all comes fromme. It is the result of my great *faith.’
Everything, including *faith, is a gift fromGod. He wakes us up, *spiritually. He causes us to think and to ask about him.Only by God’s power are we able to receive from him. We can live good lives andbe good people. But that cannot *save us. However, if God *saves us, we willwant to be good. That will be because we love God. And because we want toplease him.
Verse 10 This verse ends this part of theletter. It ends it with two statements. ‘God made us in Christ Jesus. He hadalready prepared good things for us to do.’ He made us in a careful way. Hemade us in Christ Jesus to do good things. God prepared these good things forus to do. Paul has already described what *salvation is. Because of our *sins,we are like dead people. *Salvation is when God brings dead people to life. Godfrees us from our *sins. God has given us true life. (We cannot give ourselveslife.) He has also prepared good things for us to do. We used to do wrongthings. Now we do good things. God prepared these for us in the beginning. Heprepared us to do these good things. God tells us what to do. We decide whetherto follow him or not.
2:11-22 ~ *Jews and *Gentiles are united in Christ
2:11-12 ~ What the *Gentiles were without Christ
v11 Rememberthat you were *Gentiles, not *Jews, when you were born. *Jews call themselves‘*circumcised’ but you are ‘not *circumcised’. (They are talking about the*circumcision that men’s hands do.) v12 So you did not belong to thepeople of *Israel, and you were separate from Christ. You did not receive thepromises that God had made to *Israel’s people. You did not belong to God andyou had no hope in the world.
Verse 11 God chose *Israel to be a holy people.He intended them to be separate from the other nations. Many years before, hehad made an agreement with Abraham. This separated the *Israelites for God. Hemade them his special people. This agreement did not depend on their goodness.It had nothing to do with how good, or strong or beautiful the people were. Godchose them only because he wanted to. He did this in order that he could *blessall the other families on the earth. Then all the other families could come toknow him as well. But the *Jewish leaders had different thoughts. They thoughtthat their nation was better than the other nations. They thought that Godloved only the people in *Israel. They thought that he would send the people inall the other nations to hell.
*Jews were ‘*circumcised’. *Gentiles were ‘not*circumcised’. God gave the custom of *circumcision to Abraham. It became partof the *Jewish religion. He gave it as an outer sign of his choice of the*Israelites. People could see that they were his special people. Paul refers tothis *circumcision as ‘the *circumcision that men’s hands do’. He seems to besaying that the physical sign is not important. What happens inside us isimportant. In that way, *Jews and *Gentiles are the same.
Verse 12 Paul says this about the *Gentiles atthat time. They were separate from Christ. They were not a part of the peopleof *Israel. They were without God in the world. They were without hope. Godwanted the *Gentiles to belong to him. He wanted them to share the promisesthat he had made to the *Jews. God had made these promises to *Israel’s people.But he wanted them to be for everyone. He did not want the *Gentiles always tobe separated from him.
But the *Gentiles did not know this because noone told them. So they ‘did not belong to God’ and they ‘had no hope in theworld’. God made himself known to the *Jews. He had planned and promised toinclude the *Gentiles one day. But the *Gentiles did not know it. Therefore,they had no hope. Paul tells us in the letter to the *Romans that God shows hispower and his character in *creation. That is, in the things that people cansee (see Romans 1:18-20). Other than that, there was only one way that the*Gentiles could see God. That was by other people. This was our situationbefore we knew Jesus as our *Saviour and *Lord. We should always remember thisand we should be grateful.
2:13-18 ~ The one body
v13 Before,you were far away, but now the blood of Christ has brought you near to God.
v14 Christhimself is our *peace. He has destroyed the hate which was like a wall between*Jews and *Gentiles. So he has made us united. v15 When he took thiswall away, the *Jewish rules became of no use. Christ wanted to make the *Jewsand *Gentiles into one people. He wanted to unite them with himself. He wantedthem to have *peace with each other. v16 This one body of people wouldbecome a friend of God by the death of Christ on the *cross. So men and womenfrom different nations should not hate each other. v17 Christ came andtold you people who were far away to be at peace. He told the same thing tothose people who were near to him. v18 Because of Christ we all have thesame Spirit and we can come near to the Father.
Verse 13 Those who were once ‘far away’ were the*Gentiles. Sometimes a *Gentile might want to become a *Jew. Then the teacherwould say that he would ‘come near’. There is good news for the *Gentiles. Theycan now be in Christ Jesus. God has brought them to him by the blood of Christ.It was like a closed door. Now it is like an open door. *Gentiles were ‘faraway’ from God. Now God has brought them ‘near’. The door is open to everyone.We are now ‘in Christ’. We can now come near to God our Father.
Verse 14 Not only does Jesus bring us *peace.Now he ‘is our *peace’. Jesus Christ is the Prince of *Peace (Isaiah 9:6). NowGod brings men and women together. They find peace with God. They find peacewith each other. They leave behind their differences. ‘He has destroyed thehate which was like a wall between *Jews and *Gentiles.’ So he has made them‘united’. There is now no division between the *Jews and the *Gentiles.
In the *Temple, where the *Jews *worshipped God,there were different courts (sections).
a) theCourt of the *Gentiles;
b) theCourt of the Women;
c) theCourt of the *Israelites;
d) theCourt of the Priests;
e) theMost Holy Place.
Between the Court of the *Gentiles and the restof the *Temple there was a wall. The *Jews did not allow the *Gentiles to passthis wall. There were warning signs on the wall. The message to the *Gentiles wasthis. ‘If you go past this sign, you will die!’
A few years ago, someone found one of thesesigns. It reads, ‘Let nobody from any other nation come inside the fence andboundary round the Most Holy Place’. It warned also that such a person would beresponsible for his own death. This boundary, therefore, was like a fence to a*Gentile. *Jews thought that God was present in the Most Holy Place. So thisfence kept the *Gentiles away from the place where God lived. The ‘wallbetween’ in the *Temple separated *Jews and *Gentiles. This made them enemies.God ‘destroyed’ this wall.
We know from history that the *Romans broke downthe wall in the *Temple. But that was in *AD 70. It was when their army enteredJerusalem. The soldiers destroyed the *Temple. However, the wall was stillthere in the *Temple when Paul wrote his letter. No one had destroyed it yet.But in a *spiritual sense the wall was already destroyed. That happened about*AD 30 when Jesus died on the *cross.
Verses 15-16 These verses tell us how Jesus didthis. He did it in three ways:
a) First,for Christians, he ended the authority of the laws and customs of the *Jewishreligion. These were about *circumcision, food and drink. They were also aboutholy days and seasons and many other things. These laws became of no use as away to please God.
Jesus said that he did not come to end the law.(See Matthew chapters 5-7.) He ended the laws and customs of the *Jewishreligion. But he did not end the moral law. That is about right and wrongactions. Jesus came to show us how to live as God intended. He did this by theexample of his own life. Paul explains it in another way. He says, ‘the law islike a master at school. His job is to bring us to Christ’ (Galatians 3:24).Jesus died on the *cross. By his death, he ended these customs.
Jesus brought a new way for *salvation – *faithin him. He made the law complete. He brought new meaning to it. But we nolonger have to keep the moral law as a way of *salvation. We cannot *saveourselves by our good actions. We cannot always do right things, however hardwe try. We ought always to obey the moral law. That is what God requires fromus. But it is impossible for us to do this. Not to obey the moral law separatesus from God. It also separates us from each other. When we do not obey God, theresult is death. However, the good news is this: When we confess our *sins, Godwill *forgive us our *sins. He will make us clean us from all that is wrong inus (1 John 1:9).
God accepts us not because we keep the morallaw. He accepts us because we believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus obeyed the morallaw completely in his life. He took our failure to keep that law upon him. Hetook all our *sin in his own body when he died. His death made it possible forGod to accept us. Now both *Jews and *Gentiles come to God in the same way.They come not by keeping laws. They come by *faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus putaway the regulations that were about ceremonies of the law. The moral law tellsus that we are wrong and guilty. He put away that guilt too. Jesus put boththings aside by his death on the *cross.
b) Second,he ‘wanted to make the *Jews and *Gentiles into one people’. The *Jewish lawsmade *Jews and *Gentiles enemies. In his body, Jesus made them friends. Jesushas formed a new body, the *church. It consists of both *Jews and *Gentiles. Hemade the two into one. That made peace possible between them. All kinds ofpeople are now in one body. There are *Jews and *Gentiles. There are men andwomen. There are rich and poor. There are people in prison and free people. Allare equal in front of God. There is a new unity in Christ.
Third, God ‘wanted to unite them with himself.He wanted them to have peace with each other’. Jesus did this by the *cross.*Jews and *Gentiles are no longer enemies. Jesus has ended that. Neither arethey enemies of God. Jesus has ended that too. The result of being an enemy ofGod is death. Now both *Jews and *Gentiles are together friends of God.
Verse 17 ‘Christ came and told you people whowere far away to be at *peace. He told the same thing to those people who werenear to him.’ The *prophet Isaiah spoke about this. He said ‘peace, peace, tothose far and near’ (Isaiah 57:19). God has brought peace to those who were‘far away’. Those were the *Gentiles. Before, they ‘did not belong to God’ andthey ‘had no hope in the world’ (verse 12). God has also brought peace to‘those people who were near’. Those were the *Jews. They were those who had‘the promises that God had made to *Israel’s people’ (verse 12).
God gave these promises to Abraham (Genesis12:1-3). This was the promise to the *Jews about the *Messiah. The same promisecame to *Israel as a nation. This was when Moses was their leader (Exodus24:1-11). The promises brought *Israel’s people into a special relationshipwith God. It was a relationship of *grace. So they had hope for a future rescueand future *glory. But up to this time, the *Gentiles had not been included inthese promises. They were a people without hope.
God chose *Israel out of all the nations to behis special people (Deuteronomy 7:6). God did not choose them because they werebetter than other nations. God’s purpose was that they should bring his*blessing to all the people in the world. But they forgot why God had chosenthem. Later, other people would belong to God. God would *bless them all. Theseare his children. The promises were for the *Jews. But now the promises arealso for the *Gentiles. Both now have *peace with God. And they have peace witheach other.
Verse 18 ‘Because of Christ we all have the sameSpirit and we can come near to the Father.’ Paul uses a word that means to havethe right to come near to an important person. That person might be a king. Youhave a friend. Suppose he is also the friend of the king. He could take you tosee the king. He could do this because he is your friend. He is the king’sfriend too. This is what happens for us. Jesus is the friend of the King, hisFather.
He is also the door, the way in (John 10:9). Hegives us the right to come to the Father. Both *Jews and *Gentiles come by ‘thesame Spirit’. The same *Holy Spirit is working in both *Jews and *Gentiles.
2:19-22 ~ The one building
v19 So now youare not strangers and foreigners to God’s people. You are God’s people, as allChristians are. And you are part of his family. v20 This family is likea building. The *apostles and *prophets are like the important stones at thebase of the building. You are like the other stones. You depend on them. ChristJesus is the most important stone in the building. v21 He holds thewhole building together so that it becomes a *holy *temple for the *Lord. v22God is building you together in Christ into a house where God lives by hisSpirit.
Verses 19-22 Before, the *Gentiles in *Israelwere ‘strangers and foreigners’. They might live with the people of *Israel.But they did not own land. They had no rights. But it is not like this in the*church. *Gentiles have the same rights as other people in the *church. Theyare all citizens together. They are citizens of King Jesus. They are in the*kingdom of God. They are also in the family of God. They are all together hischildren. God is their Father.
All are part of the *church. And the *church islike a *temple or a building. God built it on the base of the *apostles and*prophets. Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone. Paul first speaksabout the base of the building. God builds his *Temple on this. It is the‘*apostles and *prophets’. Jesus Christ himself is the most important stone.All the other stones fit into him. All the stones will then be straight andlevel. All the other stones depend on this important stone. It is the mostimportant stone. This stone holds the building together.
God gave his word to the *prophets in the *OldTestament. When they received it, they spoke it. What they said happened. The*apostles are the first 12 whom Jesus appointed (except for Judas). They alsoinclude other people such as Paul himself, Barnabas and Silas. God is buildingthe *Temple on this firm base. In Jesus, the building grows.
Verse 22 says, ‘God is building you togetherwith Christ into a house where God lives by his Spirit.’ The people whom Godbuilds together are *Jews and *Gentiles. Jesus Christ is the most importantstone. He holds together both groups of stones. In him, they grow together.They can grow because they are like living stones (1 Peter 2:5). They come toChrist. Then God builds them together. They will be like a house where Godhimself will live.
The *Jews believed that God lived in the centreof the *Temple. But God is so great that we cannot contain him in a building.The whole *universe, the sun and all the stars in space cannot contain him. Thecentral part of the *Temple was the Most Holy Place. In it there was a clear,bright light. It showed that God was near.
God did not make the new building out of stones.All the people together are the family of God. This is the *church. It ispresent in every age. It is all over the world. The *church is the home of God.Christ’s *church is living and growing.
3:1-13 ~ God has made his secret known
3:1-6 ~ God made his secret known to Paul
v1 For thisreason, I, Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you *Gentiles –
v2 you musthave heard about the responsibilities that God has given me for you *Gentiles.I am a *steward of his *grace towards you. v3 As I have already writtenbriefly, he made his special secret clear to me. v4 And as you readthis, you will understand how he did this. And you will understand why he didthis. v5 Men who lived in earlier days did not understand the secret ofChrist. But now the Spirit has shown it to God’s *holy *apostles and *prophets.v6 This secret is that God wants *Gentiles and *Israelites to unitetogether in the same group. He wants *Gentiles to have a share in all hispromises. He gives these promises by Christ Jesus. He wants the *Gentiles toshare these with his people, *Israel.
Verse 1 ‘For this reason, I, Paul the prisonerof Christ Jesus on behalf of you *Gentiles –’. Paul does not finish thissentence in verse 1 but see verse 14. In verse 14, he repeats ‘For thisreason’. The *Roman ruler, Nero, had put Paul in prison. They had put chains onhim. Paul wrote this letter from prison. But now he has new understanding. Heknows King Jesus as his *Lord. Now he thinks about himself as a prisoner ofJesus Christ. He does not think about himself as a prisoner of Nero, the *Romanruler. He thinks about his whole life in a different way. Both good and badevents happen in his life. But Jesus controls his life. He is sure about that.
So Paul is in prison. He gives his *Gentilereaders a reason for this. He is there because of them. Moreover, it is fortheir benefit. Now he is able to tell them the good news. This is the *gospelabout Jesus Christ. Paul has been teaching about the *Gentiles. He has taughtthat they too are God’s chosen people (chapter 2). Both share in the promises.God gave these to Abraham. Paul has been teaching that the *Gentiles and the*Jews are members of the same group. By the *gospel, they have the same promisein the *Messiah Jesus. The *Jewish leaders believed that God had chosen *Israelalone to be his people. So the *Jewish leaders objected to what Paul taught. Itwas dangerous to their religion. Yes, the *Roman ruler had put Paul in prison.But what really put Paul there was what he taught.
Verse 2 God has given his *grace to Paul. By his*grace, God sent Paul to the *Gentiles. By his *grace, God gave Paul the honourto be their *apostle. Paul knows that he is responsible to use this special*blessing. He must use it in a responsible way. He must be a good *steward. Godgave Paul special understanding about his plans for the *Gentiles. God alsogave Paul the *grace to tell them about God’s plans. What God made known tohim, Paul must make known to other people.
Verse 3 In this chapter, Paul uses the word‘secret’ 4 times (verses 3, 5, 6 and 9). In many religions, only those whobelong can understand. They hide it from other people. For the Christian, these‘secrets’ are truths. They are truths that God makes known to us. However,these truths are not just for a few chosen people. They are for everybody. A‘secret’ or *mystery is something that once God hid. Now he wants us to knowabout it.
Verses 4-6 The ‘secret’ is the good news thatChrist has joined *Jews and *Gentiles together. He wants them to become onepeople. Jesus offers them life and *salvation. Both groups share that promise.
3:7-13 ~ God chose Paul to *preach this secret
v7 God gave mehis *grace. And he made me his servant to tell people his good news. His powerworked in me to do this. v8 I am less important than any of God’speople. But God gave me the *grace to teach the *Gentiles about his rich gifts.He gives us these gifts in Christ. His riches are very great. We shall neverknow how great they are. v9 God wants me to show everyone how tounderstand this secret. God, who created everything, hid his plan from hispeople. He hid it through all the past years. v10 He would show hisimmense wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. He would do thisby the *church. v11 This was the plan that God had in the beginning. Itis the plan that he will complete in Christ Jesus, our *Lord. v12 If webelieve and trust in Christ, we can approach God. Christ gives us courage andconfidence so that we can come close to him. v13 So you must not losecourage because I am suffering for you. My suffering causes *glory for you.
Verse 7 God gave Paul the power to tell peoplethe good news. Paul knew that he was not strong enough. He knew that he couldnot do the work without God’s help.
Verse 8 Paul says that he is ‘less importantthan any of God’s people’. In Latin (the language of the *Romans), Paulus (hisname) means little or small. Paul thinks about himself like this because hefeels so weak. He can do nothing without God’s help. He also remembers that hewas once an enemy of God. He used to put Christians in prison. God has been sokind to him. God has *forgiven him. So now he thanks God.
God has given Paul a gift. It is the power to‘teach the *Gentiles about his (God’s) rich gifts’. God’s riches are difficultto discover. No one can measure them. They are like wealth at the bottom of thesea. It is so deep that you cannot bring it to the shore. This wealth is thegreatness of God. It is the riches of his wisdom, knowledge, beauty and power.
This wealth is not money and possessions. We canreceive *spiritual riches now in our life upon the earth. The death of Jesushas made this possible. But there is even more wealth. We will share the lifeof Christ in heaven. This wealth is greater than anything that we can think of.Moreover, it is for ever.
Verse 9 Paul wants to ‘show everyone how tounderstand this secret’. The *Greek word ‘to show’ is something like theEnglish word ‘photo’. It means to bring light to something. The message is forboth *Jews and *Gentiles.
Verse 10 God wants to make known his ‘immensewisdom’. He has many different kinds of wisdom, which he wants men and women tolearn. There are *spiritual authorities and rulers who are surrounding us. Theyare the good *angels and bad *angels that we cannot see. God wants them to knowabout it too. He makes this wisdom known ‘by the *church’. There is no otherway that everybody can know it.
God has given Paul the special task to be the*apostle to the *Gentiles. God has made known the secret of his plan to Paulhimself. He has also made it known to the other *apostles and *prophets (verse5). We have seen the complete plan of God. First, he shows his plan to Paul.Then he sends Paul (and other people) to *preach the *gospel in the entireworld. This is by the spoken message. It is the task of the growing *church.There are *angels in the air round us. We cannot see them. They watch the*church as it grows. So they see the immense wisdom of God too.
Verse 11 ‘This was the plan that God had in thebeginning.’ It is all ‘in Christ Jesus our *Lord’. God is working out his planin history. The whole world is included.
Verse 12 Paul has been speaking about the greatplan of God in history. But in this verse, Paul explains what this means toChristians now. Christians have received the gift of *salvation from God. Wehave received it by *faith. We can now come straight to God. We can comewithout fear. We can come at any time. It is like a little child who runs tohis father. That is how it is with us. Praise God!
Verse 13 Paul is suffering and he is in prison.Paul knows that there is a reason for this. It will benefit his Christianfriends. He warns them not to be sad or afraid. The situation is becoming moreand more to the *glory of God. Paul is certain about this. There is no betterway for God to achieve his purpose.
3:14-21 ~ Paul’s second prayer
v14 For this reason,I kneel and I pray to the Father of our *Lord Jesus Christ. v15 Eachmember of his whole family in heaven and on earth has his name. v16 Ipray that he will make you strong with power from the riches of his *glory. Hewill do this in you (in your inner person) by his *Holy Spirit. v17 Whenyou have *faith in Christ, he will live in you. Then your lives will be likeplants with roots in the ground of his love. v18 And I pray that you andall the *saints will know more of the love of Christ. You will be able tounderstand that his love is immense. It is so very wide and long and high anddeep. v19 His love is much too great to know completely. But I pray thatthe Father of our *Lord Jesus Christ will fill you until you are full. I praythat he will fill you with the whole nature of God.
v20 Let usgive *glory to God. He can do so much more than we can ever ask or think. Hispower is very great and it is working in us. v21 Let the whole *churchin Christ Jesus give him *glory. Let all the *church, now and for all the yearsto come, give him *glory. *Amen!
Verse 14 ‘For this reason, I kneel and I pray tothe Father of our *Lord Jesus Christ.’ It was the custom of *Jews to stand whenthey prayed (see Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:11, 13). However, sometimes they wouldkneel. This would show a great desire to pray. Ezra prayed like this (Ezra9:5). Jesus prayed like this. He fell to the ground in the garden. This wasjust before he died on the *cross (Matthew 26:39). Stephen prayed like thisjust before he died (Acts 7:60).
Verse 15 ‘Each member of his whole family inheaven and on earth has his name.’ Our Father in heaven is completely wise. Heis completely loving. He is completely powerful. He provides everything that weneed. He looks after us. He corrects us when we go wrong. A human father doesall that he can for his children. Our Father in heaven is much greater. Hisways with us are perfect and complete.
Verse 16 Our strength comes ‘from the riches ofhis *glory’. We can describe God’s *glory in many ways. It is his greatness. Wesee it in the powerful way that he made everything. He made it all out ofnothing. His *glory is great and powerful. We see his *glory in Exodus chapter19. Moses climbed Sinai Mountain to meet with God. There was thunder, lightningand a thick cloud over the mountain. Thunder is the loud noise that we hearduring a storm. The noise was very great. It caused everyone in the camp totremble with fear. Paul prays that God will make us strong by the ‘riches ofhis *glory’.
‘He will do this in you by his *Holy Spirit.’God will give us *spiritual strength with power from his *Holy Spirit. It willbe in our ‘inner person’. The inner person is the place where we experience ourfeelings. We can be happy. We can be sad. We can be angry. We can hate people.The inner person is the place where we think about things. It is where we makedecisions. It is the centre of a person. It is where the *Holy Spirit lives.The *Holy Spirit works from this centre of our person. He works from there tochange us. He changes us from one experience of *glory to another (2Corinthians 3:18).
Verse 17 When we have *faith in Christ, he livesin our ‘inner person’. There he gives us his love. ‘Your lives will be likeplants with roots in the ground of his love’. It is as if we have deep roots.It is like the roots of a strong tree. They go down deep into the soil.Christ’s love is like the soil that the roots grow into. His love gives stronglife to the roots. He holds us firmly. In Christ, we are safe and we can grow.It is also like the firm rock under a building. With hard rock underneath it,the building cannot fall down.
Verse 18 The love of God is wide. It is foreveryone in the world. Paul is talking especially about *Jews and *Gentiles. Soit is for them. It is long enough for all time and every age. It is high enoughto bring *praise to God in heaven. It is deep enough to reach down to the worst*sinner. The root is love in the inner person. It is not love in the head andthe mind. It does not mean knowledge in the mind. Also, a person does notreceive this love only for himself. He receives it together with ‘all the*saints’. We share this wonderful love with each other.
Verse 19 This love of Christ is ‘much too greatto know completely’. Our minds are not large enough to understand it all. It isbeyond our best prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes. This love is more than toknow something in our heads. We need to express Christ’s love in all the dailyexperiences in life. His love is with us in our joys, difficulties andsuffering too.
Here we have the most important part of Paul’sprayer. He prays that the Father ‘will fill you until you are full’ - ‘with thewhole nature of God’. But God is completely powerful and he lives for ever. Itis not possible to contain him inside any human person. In verse 19, Paul isasking that we receive all that we can of God. It is so that God can enter intous.
Also, we must go on and on receiving him. Christnow sits at the right side of God. Only at the end, in heaven, shall we be likehim. We shall then be perfect and complete in his love.
Verse 20 Paul now starts a *hymn of *praise toGod. God knows what we ask. And he knows it even before we ask. He knows ourthoughts. He knows what we imagine. He knows what we dream. He has the power togo beyond any of these. His thoughts and his ways are greater than ours. He isable to do much more than we can ever ask or imagine. The power comes fromChrist. He lives in our inner person by *faith. Paul writes about the samepower that raised Jesus from death. The same power put Jesus at the right sideof God. And it puts us there with him.
Verse 21 Everything that there is will give God*glory. It will be for ever and ever through all the ages. This is his greatmaster plan of *salvation. He gave it to us by Jesus Christ. Christ’s love andpower are in the Christian and in the *church. The *church will work out God’spurposes in the world. They will have the strength of God’s *Holy Spirit to dothis.
What Paul taught in chapters 1-3 was first aboutGod and his Son Jesus Christ. Then it was about the *church and our *salvation.
What Paul teaches in chapters 4-6 is about howto live as Christians. We see practical ways in which God’s *glory enters the*church. Then Paul shows how the *church will express God’s *glory to theworld.
4:1-16 ~ To live a life that has value
4:1-6 ~ Try hard to stay together
v1 I am inprison because I serve the *Lord. So I am asking you to live good lives. Godhas called you, so your lives must give him honour. v2 You should becompletely humble, gentle and patient. And you should show love to people whodo not agree with you. v3 The Spirit, who gives peace, binds youtogether. And you must try hard to stay together. v4 God called you toone hope. In the same way, there is one body and one Spirit. v5 There isone *Lord, one *faith, one *baptism. v6 There is one God and Father ofall. He is over all. He works by all and he lives in you all.
Verse 1 Christ has chosen us to sit with him inthe *heavenly places (2:6). The name of Jesus is a statement about who he is.His name means ‘the *Lord *saves’. He is great and powerful. We are united withJesus. We are with him at his side. We represent his name in our daily lives.In Ephesians 1:18, Paul speaks about the hope that we have in Christ. He nowurges his readers to live as Christ taught us.
Verse 2 Paul now lists 4 qualities. The first isthat we need to be ‘humble’. All people are of equal value to God. So no oneChristian is more important than any other Christian is. To be humble means torecognise this. We should not be proud. We should not think that we are moreimportant than other people. The *Greeks understood this differently from the*Jews. The *Greeks did not think that people should be humble. They did notwant to be humble. To be humble was to be weak. They used a plant to describeit. This plant kept close to the ground and it always seemed to be trying tohide itself. The *Greeks did not like that. They did not think that to behumble was a good quality. Neither do many people today.
Paul, however, gives a new meaning to the word‘humble’. A Christian should not have too great an opinion about himself. Buthe will want to know himself as he really is. He will look at the life ofChrist. He will compare his life with his *Lord’s life. He will see then howweak and selfish he is. He will see the great difference. Then he will have atrue opinion about himself. Because he thinks like this, he will respect otherpeople. He will be kind towards them. Jesus was humble when he became a man(Philippians 2:6-7). Also, Paul says that it is not just ‘be humble’ but ‘becompletely humble’. A Christian should be humble in every way.
However, a Christian can think well abouthimself and he should do so. But this is only when he understands the truthabout himself. Yes, he has become the kind of person that God wants. But it isonly by the *grace that God has given him. This means that God does not want youalways to think that you are a bad person. He wants you to think about yourselffor less time.
The second quality is to be ‘gentle’. This meansto be under control. It is like a horse. He is strong but in perfect control.It is like a strong man who is able control himself. He uses his strength forgood purposes. He is gentle with other people. He will be kind to them. It islike Jesus. He said about himself, ‘my attitude is gentle and humble’. A gentleperson will not worry if someone hurts him. And he will not worry if someonedoes something wrong to him.
The third quality is to be ‘patient’ (orlongsuffering). It means not to give up when things are against you. Supposesomeone acts wrongly towards you. You must not do the same to them. This iswhat God is like (Romans 2:4). He does not act badly against us when we actbadly against him.
The fourth quality is to be tolerant. This is topractise patience in daily life. It is to ‘show love to people who do not agreewith you’. It is to be patient with the faults of another person. You continueto love a person when he does the wrong things. That means things that you donot like. Paul wants his friends to have these qualities only in love. Paul hasalready prayed for his friends (3:17). He prayed that they would ‘be likeplants with roots in the ground of his love’ (3:17). Now he prays thatChristians will have all these qualities in love.
Verse 3 Some people describe verses 4-6 as partof an early Christian *hymn. Paul uses the word ‘one’ 7 times. By Christ, wehave unity. We should be united in the Spirit of God. This does not happen tous by our own efforts. However, we must work hard to keep it. We do this as welive in peace. The peace is the peace that Christ has given to us. We also livein peace with each other.
Verse 4 The *church is a like a body. It is abody of people - men, women and children. God has joined everyone together.Each person belongs to the other people. It is a group of people who worktogether for God. So people can see the *church. It is like the different partsof our physical bodies. Our bodies have many different parts. These parts allbelong to each other. All the parts work together.
There is also ‘one Spirit’. He is the *HolySpirit. There is only one body because there is only one Spirit. The *churchconsists of *Jewish and *Gentile *believers. Its unity comes from the one *HolySpirit.
The *Holy Spirit is in the *church and he givesit life. He joins the people together. This makes unity in the *church. The*church is not a club or society. It is a body. It is alive and it is alwaysgrowing. It grows by the power of the *Holy Spirit inside it.
There is ‘one hope’. This hope is that one daywe shall all be like Jesus. We will live close to him for ever.
Verse 5 Next comes, ‘one *Lord, one *faith, one*baptism’. There is ‘one *Lord’, Jesus Christ. He is the *Lord of the *church.He is the same *Lord for all people. It does not matter who they are. They canbe *Jews or *Gentiles. They can be black or white people. They can be rich orpoor, great or small. Jesus Christ joins them all together and he keeps themtogether with him.
There is ‘one *faith’. All who love God sharethe same truths. These are truths about Jesus and his plan for our *salvation.*Faith in Jesus Christ means that we trust him for all of our life. AllChristians share together in this.
There is ‘one *baptism’. We are not sure whatPaul is referring to here. There is a *baptism in water. There is a *baptisminto Christ (Galatians 3:27). There is a *baptism into one body (1 Corinthians12:13).
Verse 6 ‘There is one God and Father of all. Heis over all. He works by all and he lives in you all.’ In this one sentence,Paul speaks about the greatness and wonder of God. We live in a world where Godis at the head of everything. This is what Christians believe. God is incontrol of everything. God keeps everything going and he holds everythingtogether (Colossians 1:17). God is in all Christians. He knows about everythingthat happens. This same God is in us. He is working out his plan by us.
In verses 4-6, we see the Three in One God. Wehave the *Holy Spirit (verse 4), the *Lord Jesus (verse 5) and God the Father(verse 6).
4:7-12 ~ The gifts of Christ
v7 Christ hasgiven a share of his *grace to each of us. v8 This is why scripture (the*Old Testament) says, ‘When Christ went up to the highest place, he tookprisoners with him. And he gave gifts to men.’
v9 (When itsays ‘He went up’, it must mean that he also descended into the lower parts ofthe earth. v10 The person who went down is also the person who went uphigher than all things. He fills everything that exists.) v11 It was hewho gave gifts to his *church. He gave some *apostles and some *prophets. Hegave some people the gift to tell out the good news about Christ. He gave some*pastors and teachers. v12 This is how he prepares God’s people to dohis work. He builds them up into one body in Christ.
God tells us to keep this unity in the Spirit(‘stay together’ verse 3). But it does not mean that we are all alike. It doesnot mean that we all have the same gifts. God gives many different kinds ofgifts to the members of Christ’s body. No one has all the gifts but each memberhas some gift. All gifts come from God, so we cannot be proud of our gifts. Wedid not give ourselves the gifts. They come by God’s *grace.
There are two ways that we can use the word‘*grace’. First, it is God’s *grace that *saves *sinners (2:5, 8). That is‘*grace that *saves’. God gives this to everyone who believes in him. Second,there is God’s *grace in the special gifts that he gives to us. These help usto serve him. Here in verse 7, Paul says, ‘Christ has given a share of his*grace to each of us.’ He gives *grace in the way that he wants to distributeit. Christ gives us what he chooses to give us. He gives from the rich wealthof his gifts.
Verse 8 ‘When Christ went up to the highestplace, he took prisoners with him. And he gave gifts to men.’
Paul now refers to a verse from the Psalms(Psalm 68:18). He starts his sentence with the words; ‘This is why scripture(the *Old Testament) says’. He is explaining what this verse means. It says,‘When Christ went up to the highest place, he took prisoners with him. And hegave gifts to men.’ This speaks about the *Lord who has just won a war. Hereturns either to the *Temple or to heaven. This is what happened in *OldTestament days. The person who won the war would take valuable things from hisprisoners. He would return home with his enemies as prisoners. He would thengive the valuable things to his own people. After winning the war, he takes theprizes of war (gifts). He can now give them to his own people. But Paul saysthat this *Old Testament verse is about Christ. He has won the war against*Satan. Then he returns to be in the most high place with his Father. In thatplace, he is able to give good things to his people. Of course, the gifts thatChrist gives to us come from God. They do not come from the enemy.
As he returns to the Father, Christ brings withhim his enemies. These are the evil *spiritual forces of *spiritual rulers. Hehas defeated them. He has taken their *weapons. Now they have no power over us.
He also gives gifts to his own people. This iswhat Acts 2:33 means. It says that Jesus has ‘gone up to the right side ofGod’. ‘He has received from the Father the Spirit that the Father promised.’‘He has poured out what you now see and hear’ (the gift of the *Holy Spirit).
Verses 9-10 We understand ‘went up’ to mean hisreturn to be in heaven with the Father. ‘He descended into the lower parts ofthe earth’. This is more difficult to understand. One possible meaning is this.He returned to the Father. Then he sent down his *Holy Spirit to the worldbelow. It could be what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:19. He writes, ‘He went andgave a message to the *spirits in prison’ (see also 1 Peter 4:6). When Jesusdied, God made his *spirit alive. Then he went to *preach to the *spirits ofthose who had already died (who were in prison). Another possible meaning isthis. First, he came to earth from heaven as a baby. Then later he died on the*cross. There he suffered the worst pain possible (Philippians 2:5-11).
There may be doubt about the exact meaning ofthese words. But we can be certain about one thing: He did everything in orderto fill the whole *universe. Jesus was here as a man on the earth. His bodycould be in only one place at one time. After the *resurrection, he iseverywhere in the world by his Spirit. Everywhere Jesus is King. He is King inthe heavens, on the earth or under the earth. Everything and everyone will beunder his authority. And his *glory will fill the heavens and the earth (seePhilippians 2:1-11).
Verses 11-12 In the original *Greek, it saysthat Jesus has given certain people to the *church as a gift. These people havedifferent gifts. But together they are God’s gift to the *church. Here Pauldescribes the gifts that God has given to these people. He gives them the giftsto help other members of the *church. They then use their gifts and do theirjobs in the *church. The result of this is that God can build up the *church.Now it can grow.
The first of these people are ‘*apostles’. Theseinclude the first 12 *disciples. They would include Matthias who replacedJudas. They include people such as Paul himself, Barnabas and Silas. The *Lordsent the *apostles out into the world. Everyone could see how God was using the*apostles. They worked by the power of the *Holy Spirit. People saw thewonderful events that took place. The results were powerful actions (2Corinthians 12:12). The *apostles also taught the facts about Jesus. Theytaught about his life, death and *resurrection.
Together with the *apostles in the work ofbuilding the *church were the ‘*prophets’ (2:20 and 3:5). Their work was likethat of the *Old Testament *prophets. It was to speak the word of God. Thismight mean to make the *sins of the people clear. Also it might mean to bring wordsof hope to the *church. This would give the people new strength. Judas andSilas did this in Acts 15:32. They encouraged the brothers with many words.They helped them to be strong in their *faith. This was like putting solid rockbeneath the *church. Both the *apostles and the *prophets did this.
Next, come people with ‘the gift to tell out thegood news about Christ’. We sometimes call a person who tells people the goodnews about Jesus an evangelist. Acts 21:8 describes Philip as an evangelist. In2 Timothy 4:5, Paul tells Timothy to ‘do the work of an evangelist’. AllChristians should be telling the *gospel (good news) to other people. But Godhas given some people a special gift to do that. Evangelists have the gift toteach the message of the *gospel. They do it in a way that people canunderstand. Then people can receive the offer of *salvation from Jesus.
Then there are ‘*pastors’ (that is *shepherds)and ‘teachers’. Paul does not separate these two gifts. They are togetherresponsible to look after the *church. They teach the Bible to the members. The*shepherds and teachers have a duty. It is to feed the members of the *churchwith the ‘food’ of God’s Spirit. This ‘food’ is the word of God, the Bible. The*shepherds and teachers help people to understand the word of God. People willthen remember it. The *pastors and teachers help people to obey God’s word.Then they will use God’s word in their daily lives. The *shepherds and teachersalso guard the people. They keep them safe from attack. This might be from anyenemy of the *gospel (1 Peter 5:2). Such an enemy might teach wrong things orcause trouble in the church.
The *church is the body of Christ. In the body,it is not necessary for any one member to have all the gifts. These giftsshould be for all the members. God’s gift was for some people to be *apostlesand for some people to be *prophets. Also, it was for some people to tell thegood news about Jesus. And it was for some people to be *pastors and teachers.The purpose is to prepare ‘God’s people to do his work’. This is so that Christcan build up the *church, his body. The leaders’ work is to give the membersthe equipment that they need. Then the members can do their different jobs inthe *church. Think about the reason for this. It is because God was ‘buildingthem up into one body in Christ’.
The *apostles, *prophets, *pastors and otherpeople that Paul mentioned earlier have their different gifts. They use thesegifts to help all the members of the church to be Jesus’ servants. They canthen do the work of Christ. They can tell people outside the *church aboutJesus. Jesus Christ is the head. He gives gifts to each member. God then buildsup his *church. And it grows as all the members use their gifts.
4:13-16 ~ *Faith and knowledge
v13 So weshall all become one body. We shall have the same *faith and knowledge of theSon of God. We shall all become mature and we shall grow *spiritually intocomplete adults like Christ himself.
v14 We shallnot be like small children any longer. We shall not be like boats that the windblows about. Some things that people teach are like winds. They change ourthoughts. They can turn us away from the word of Christ. This is how falseteachers tempt us to go away from the truth. v15 We must speak the truthwith love. Then we shall grow up into Christ, who is the head of the body. v16He controls all the different parts of the body. He joins them stronglytogether. Then the body grows in love as each part does its work.
Verse 13 To have the same *faith is not just tobelieve the teachers of that *faith. It is unity in knowing the Son of God. Wecannot know people only with our minds. We must know them as they really are.It is like husbands and wives. They live their lives in each other’s company.In this way, they get to know each other. The person that we should really knowis Jesus Christ the Son of God.
We need to grow and to become mature, that is tobecome completely developed in our *faith. We need to be like adults and notlike children in our *faith (1 Corinthians 13:11). ‘Mature’ here means to becomplete or ripe (like fruit that is ready to eat). It is what God wants forus.
We, all together, must ‘grow *spiritually intocomplete adults like Christ himself’. In every way, he is the complete and grownup person. He is our model. Jesus himself has the whole nature of God(Colossians 1:19). God wants us to receive the gifts and the *grace of Christ.His great desire is to give us these. God wants us to become more and more likeChrist.
Verse 14 Jesus said that we should be likechildren. They have a simple *faith and trust in their parents. But there isone way in which we should not be like children. They may not have muchknowledge about God’s word. We should not let things move us away from our *faith.The winds are like a picture of the false things that clever men can teach.They lead us away from the truth. It is like the snake that led Adam and Eveaway from God.
Verse 15 Unlike such evil men, we should ‘speakthe truth with love’. This means that we should not only speak the truth. Weshould also act the truth. We act the truth as we behave properly towards otherpeople. Truth and love must be in the right balance. It is possible to have alltruth but no love. It is also possible to have all love but no truth. We speakthe truth ‘with love’ to help other people. We must spread the truth and wemust love each other.
Verse 16 The whole body, the *church, dependsupon Jesus. This verse is about a body like the human body. God joins the manyparts of the body. They all work together. God is feeding the whole body. He isbuilding it up (Colossians 2:19). The arm or the leg in the human body does notgrow by itself. It is not there to satisfy its own needs. It grows for thebenefit of the whole body. The *church grows as all the members use theirgifts.
The *church grows when new members join it. Butthat is not the only way that it grows. The *church grows as the members learnto love each other more. More of Jesus’ love will grow in the people. Then moremembers will join (Acts 2:42-47).
4:17-32 ~ A different way to live
4:17-19 ~ How the *Gentiles live
v17 I tell youvery strongly not to continue to live as the *Gentiles do. I say this in thename of the *Lord, because their ideas have no value. v18 Their mindsare confused. They are like blind men, who can see nothing. They do not knowabout the life that God gives. They refuse to listen to him. v19 They domany things that are wrong. But they are not ashamed. So they do all kinds ofwicked things and they become even worse. And they want more and more tocontinue to do these terrible things.
In these verses, Paul describes how these peoplelived before they became Christians. The new Christians should have now stoppedliving that kind of life. But all round them are those who still live in a badway. These people do not know God. Paul writes to those who are *Gentiles. Butnow, by the *grace of God, they are different from the other *Gentiles. Theyare no longer without God in the world. They are no longer without hope (see2:12). They share the promises that God made to the *Jews.
Verses 17-18 Paul writes about the *Gentiles.‘Their minds are confused. They are like blind men, who can see nothing.’ Thereis no real wisdom in their minds. Paul is now speaking very seriously. He wantsthe new Christians to be careful. He wants them to listen to what he is saying.‘I say this in the name of the *Lord’, he says. He describes the kind of lifethat they used to live. They lived like that before they became Christians. Itwas the very worst kind of life that you can think of. It was very evil. Thatis how it was in Greece and Rome then. And it is like that in our world today.
The first description of this evil life is,‘They do not know about the life that God gives.’ Their minds are confused.Many people who do not know God have no real purpose in life. They do not plantheir lives well. However, all people are not as Paul describes. But this ishow their lives will develop if they do not know God. This is how it is whenpeople have no thought about God in their lives.
Next, they ‘refuse to listen to him’. Thesepeople are separate from God because they have no knowledge of God. They areseparate from God, who alone gives life.
You could ask why these people did not knowabout the life that God gives. It might be because they did not hear the goodnews. But they are without excuse. This is because they have not lived by theknowledge that they already have (Romans 1:18-23). We cannot see God. But wecan see the things that he has made. These things are everywhere for everyoneto see. The *spirits and minds of these people have become like hard stones.
Verse 19 ‘They do many things that are wrong.But they are not ashamed. So they do all kinds of wicked things and they becomeeven worse.’ They have no shame for their evil ways. Also, they are not sadabout this. Wrong thoughts in the mind lead to wrong desires. Wrong desireslead to evil actions. They do not care about the effect that their actions haveon other people. Neither do they care what people think about their *sin.
They put everything that they have into theirevil actions. It is like their business or trade. They put all their time andenergy into it. They do all kinds of disgusting things. They are *greedy forit. They want more and more of it.
4:20-24 ~ Take off the old nature and put on the newnature
v20 But youknow that Christ taught you a better way to live. v21 You heard abouthim. You learnt the truth that is in Jesus. v22 You must stop doing thebad things that your old nature liked. These things were destroying you. v23You must learn to think in a completely new way. v24 God made you to belike himself. He has given you a new nature so put it on. God will make you*holy and good.
Verse 20 ‘you know that Christ taught you abetter way to live’. You are different from the people that Paul has justdescribed. Your minds are not dark any more. God lights up your life as youlive side by side with him. You have finished with all *sinful behaviour.
Verse 21 The Christians at Ephesus have heardabout Jesus. Their Christian teachers have told them his words. Paul himselfhas taught them about the truth that is ‘in Jesus’. The whole truth is ‘inJesus’. The truth is in Jesus because he is the truth. The truth is in hislife, death and *resurrection.
Verse 22 A Christian should leave behind the oldway to live. Before, you used to put yourself at the centre of everything. Yourdesires came from that centre. Your desires led to bad behaviour. That was yourold way to live. An example is the effect that an insect has on a good apple.The good apple becomes bad. The effect that *sin has on human nature is thesame. Paul taught people to take off this old person and to put on the newperson. The old person is the old nature. We should take it off like a piece ofclothing. We need to become a new person.
The old way to live was wrong and it led todeath. It was ‘destroying you’. This way brought desires that you might thinkare pure. But they are not. They are pleasures that you want in order to pleaseyourself. We think that they will give us joy. And we think that they willbenefit us. But this is not true. All *sin is like that. We never get what wehope to get. *Sin damages all the good things that God has given. It leads tothe death of the *sinner. But the Christian can praise God. God has *forgivenall these old *sins. He has put them away for ever.
Verse 23 You have stopped thinking in the oldway. That was your old way to live before you became a Christian. This is sothat you can ‘learn to think in a completely new way’. Your mind was dead andit has become alive again. It should continue to become alive every day andevery moment. Your mind became dark. That was what went wrong in the first place.Now you have the Spirit of God in you. So you think in new ways. This leads toa new way to live.
Verse 24 ‘God has given you a new nature, so putit on’. Now that we have taken off the old nature, Paul asks us to put on thenew nature. It is our new way to live. God *created Adam and Eve. He made themperfect and he gave them his own nature. It is a nature of true goodness andholy ways. God was close to them all the time. He walked with them and hetalked with them. But their *sin caused everything to go wrong. They lost thisclose relationship and they lost God’s nature.
But now God has given that relationship back tous. This is by Christ who died for us on the *cross. It is the relationship ofthe new birth. By his death, men and women can be born a second time. God hasgiven us again a relationship with himself. It is now as it was when God firstcreated Adam and Eve. Jesus’ death made right all that the *sin of Adam and Evehad spoilt.
The new nature is the new *creation of God. Itis the act of God alone. You cannot *create it. It is a new birth from God. Youcannot yourself cause your physical birth. Neither can you cause yourself to beborn again. You have now left behind your old person. You must therefore leavebehind the old kind of behaviour. People can now see God in you. They can seehim in you because ‘God will make you *holy and good’. The old nature wasfalse. It made false promises (verse 22). The new nature is ‘*holy and good’.To be ‘good’ is to be right with other people. To be ‘*holy’ is to be rightwith God. This is God’s purpose for all of us.
4:25-32 ~ Live as a Christian
v25 You mustnot tell lies any more. We must all speak the truth to each other, because weare all parts of Christ’s body. v26 If you are angry, you must not letthis anger make you *sin. You must stop being angry before sunset. v27Otherwise, the *Devil could make you do something that is wrong. v28 Ifyou were a thief, you must stop stealing things. You should work and dosomething useful with your hands. Then you will earn something that you canshare with other people. They may need your help.
v29 Do not usebad words that may hurt somebody. Your words should help other people, as theyneed it. These words should help them to become better people. v30 Youmust not make God’s *Holy Spirit sad. Remember that he is God’s promise. Heshows that you belong to God. And one day he will set you completely free. v31You must not hold on to any bitter hurts, *rage or anger. You must not fighteach other or say bad things about each other. You must not think or actbecause of spite. v32 You should be friends and you should be kind toeach other. You must forgive each other, just as God forgave you. God forgaveyou because of Christ.
This part of the letter shows how we should be‘*holy and good’. Paul has asked us to take off the old nature and to put onthe new nature. He now gives a list of things that we should stop doing. Hetells us what we should do instead.
Verse 25 The first thing is not to tell lies.This is something that every good person would agree with. Both Christians andthose who are not Christians agree about that.
But if Christians lie, they damage their loveand unity. Christians belong together in one body. Therefore, they must behonest with each other. To tell lies prevents the body (the *church) fromworking well.
Verse 26 Another part of the old nature is bad temper.This is anger that has no good cause. There is a right anger. Jesus himselfshowed this (Mark 3:5). Someone may do wrong things to another person. You feelangry towards the person who has acted in that way. It is then right that youfeel angry. That is *righteous or right anger. Anger must not be the result ofan attack against you. It must not be because someone has hurt your pride. Wemust be careful that there is no *sin in our anger.
Paul adds, ‘You must stop being angry beforesunset’. People do wrong things to us. But we should not hold on to our angerfor a long time. ‘If you are angry, you must not let this anger make you *sin.’These words are from Psalm 4:4. It adds, ‘when you are on your beds, searchyour minds and be silent’. You may be angry when you go to bed. But then youwill not be able to think good thoughts. You must stop being angry before yougo to sleep. Otherwise, your anger will keep growing. You must first examineyourself about your anger. Then you will ask yourself, ‘Is my anger right?’ ‘AmI happy and at peace about it?’ If so, I can sleep in peace.
Verse 27 Paul gives a further thought in thisverse. He writes, ‘Otherwise, the *Devil could make you do something that iswrong.’ To continue to be angry is like leaving a door open. The *devil canthen enter. Then you will have bad thoughts and you will do wrong things. Thatspoils the unity of the body (the *church). The *Greek word for ‘devil’ is alsothe word for ‘slanderer’. A slanderer says things that are not true about anotherperson.
Verse 28 Those who steal must stop stealing.Some people may have lived by stealing. A Christian must not take things fromother people. They have had to work for these things. Instead, the Christianmust use his hands to earn money. He must not be afraid of honest, hard work.Then he can look after his own family. And he can have what he needs himself.But he will also want to give to those who do not have enough. Jesus was notrich. But he gave to poor people from the small amount of money that he had(John 13:29). The same was true about Paul (Acts 20:34-35).
Verse 29 Paul now talks about the way thatChristians should talk. ‘Do not use bad words that may hurt somebody. Yourwords should help other people’. We should speak only words that help otherpeople. We should speak to help other people grow. God can help us to say thewords that they need. How we speak is very important. Jesus taught that. Therewill be a day for judgement. Then Jesus will remind us about the words that wehave spoken. We will have spoken many words without care and thought. He willwant to know about these. James also spoke about the great importance of thetongue. We can use it to speak in a good way or in an evil way (James 3:1-12).
There should be no bad language or language thatdoes not help anyone. ‘A man is happy when he gives a right reply. How good isa word that you speak at the proper time’ (Proverbs 15:23). Our words shouldnot only be true and pure. They should help those who hear them. Our wordsshould build up the Body of Christ (the *church). Our example again is Jesushimself. ‘All spoke well about him. The kind words that he spoke astonishedthem’ (Luke 4:22).
Verse 30 There was an instruction about anger inverse 26. Then a warning followed in verse 27, ‘the *Devil could make you dosomething that is wrong.’ It is the same in Paul’s instruction about how wetalk. He follows it with a warning. He warns, ‘You must not make God’s *HolySpirit sad’. All *sin makes God sad. The *Holy Spirit is a Person. He is the*Holy Spirit of truth. Anything that is not holy or true hurts the Spirit ofGod. He lives in a Christian.
And Paul reminds us that the *Holy Spirit isGod’s promise (or *seal). He *sealed us for the day of freedom. This *seal ofthe *Holy Spirit gives the Christian certainty. It makes us sure about*salvation. It makes us sure that we will have a home in heaven for ever.
Verse 31 There are 5 things that the Christianmust stop doing.
· First,is to be ‘bitter’. A person may have done something wrong to you. And perhapsyou refuse to become friends again. Or, you may have done wrong things tosomeone. They *forgive you, but you do not accept their *forgiveness. Youcontinue to think angry, evil things about them. If so, then you are bitter.
· Nextcome ‘*rage’ and ‘anger’. ‘Rage’ is a sudden burst of anger like a storm. Angeritself is a wrong feeling against an enemy. It is a deep, slow feeling. Itgrows inside you (please see explanation of verse 26).
· Weshould not shout and ‘fight’. An angry man shouts. He thinks that everythingthat he says must be right. Someone has done something wrong to him. He wantseveryone to hear about it. We should watch for times when we shout. We shouldwatch when we are not speaking with a normal voice. We sometimes have argumentsand we quarrel. But we must not be angry and shout at people.
· Wemust not ‘say bad things about each other’. To ‘slander’ means to tell lies andoffend people. The Bible uses this word for speaking against God. It uses ittoo for making wrong statements against another person.
· Last,we must not ‘think or act because of spite’. This could mean to plan evilthings against another person. It could include all the other *sins that wehave described. It could also be other similar bad things.
Verse 32 We need to think in the way thatpleases God. This will help us to stop evil words and actions. So ‘be friends’and ‘be kind to each other.’ And ‘*forgive each other, just as God forgave you.God forgave you because of Christ.’ God shows his kindness even to those who donot honour him. God shows his kindness to us (2:7). Kindness is to put loveinto action. It is to think about someone else. You think about them as much asyou think about yourself.
So Paul goes on to say, ‘forgive each other’.The *apostle knows, however, what prevents us from being kind and thinking goodthings about each other. We can all think of an occasion when another persondid something wrong to us. We need to forgive that person. For ‘kind’, Pauluses the *Greek word for ‘*grace’. It means to act in *grace towards eachother. It means to give *grace to someone. This is how God in Christ has actedin *grace towards us. You can be sure that God forgave you. You love God. Soyou too will want to *forgive (give *grace) to other people. God has put our*sin away. He has put it away as far as the east is from the west (Psalm103:12). Jesus is our example of *forgiveness.
5:1-14 ~ Love
5:1-7 ~ Live in love
v1 You musttry to be as much like God as you can. You are his children and he loves you. v2So you must let his love rule your life. You must love each other as Christhimself loved you. He gave his life for us. That was like a gift to God thathad a sweet smell.
v3 You knowGod’s rules about sex. So you must not even think about doing something that hedoes not allow. You must not be *greedy or do other bad things. These thingsare not suitable for God’s people. Do not even talk about these things. v4Nor should you speak bad words, or say silly things. Instead, you should thankGod. v5 Other people may have sex in a way that God does not allow. Theymay do other bad things. They may be *greedy. You can be sure that they are not*worshipping God. They are like people who *worship *idols. They will not havea share in the *kingdom of Christ and of God. v6 Do not let anyone whodoes not speak the truth pull you away from God. God is angry with all thosepeople who do not obey him. He will punish those people who do these badthings. v7 You must not be partners with them.
Verse 1 ‘You must try to be as much like God asyou can.’ By *grace God has made you his child. Children copy their parents.Therefore, copy God and continue to copy him. Then you will become more likehim.
Verse 2 Our perfect example is Jesus himself. Helived his life on earth as we do. He loves us as the Father loves him. We mustlove other people as Jesus loves us (John 13:34; 1 John 4:10-11; 1 Corinthianschapter 13). Christ *sacrificed his life for us on the *cross. That is how heshowed his love for us. Our love also should be a *sacrifice.
We see the meaning of *sacrifice in 1 John 3:16.It says, ‘this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ gave his life for us’.Then it says, ‘and we ought to give our lives for our brothers (otherChristians)’. The offering of Christ, however, was more than an example to us.It was an offering ‘to God’ and ‘for us’.
The *Old Testament described a *sacrifice as asweet smell. This meant that God liked it. There was, however, a far, fargreater *sacrifice by Jesus for us. In the same way, we should give ourselvesto God and to other people. This is our life of *sacrifice. It is like a sweetsmell to God. It is also like a sweet smell to other people. Paul gives thesame thoughts in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.
Verses 3-4 The *Greek people could see nothingwrong in bad *sexual behaviour. It was quite natural for a man to have sex withany woman. He would do this whenever it pleased him. Paul gave a completely newway to think.
Paul now starts to teach about wrong and *sinfulacts. People do *sinful things. They think that they are acting with love. Butit is a false kind of love. Paul is speaking about wrong *sexual behaviour.There is a proper use of sex. It is in marriage. Paul teaches that any otherkind of sex is wrong. Sex in marriage is not wrong or dirty. There is a sharedpleasure and delight in sex between a husband and wife. It is a gift from God.It brings him *glory.
But, to use sex in the wrong way is *greedy. Itpleases one person but it hurts another person. God gives us some wonderfulpowers. It is not right to use them wrongly. God does not allow it for his holypeople. We should not even talk between us about such things. It is not rightfor the people of God.
Paul now uses three more words. These describe awrong way to live and a wrong way to talk. These ways should have no place inthe Christian life. The first is talk that is ‘not suitable for God’s people’or ‘obscenity’. Obscenity is bad talk, especially about sex. The second is tosay ‘bad words’. These might be the words of a man who is drunk. Such words donot benefit the people who hear them. The third is to joke in a wrong way or to‘say silly things’. This could mean to tell jokes that are not suitable for aChristian. But it does not mean that a Christian should always be serious. Heshould be able to laugh about amusing things.
Paul adds the words, ‘Instead, you should thankGod.’ You should consider other people when you talk. Your words should behelpful to those who hear. It should not be silly, foolish talk. To thank Godis the best kind of talk. Some people want wrong things for their own pleasure.This is the opposite of thanking God. You should thank God for his gifts. Youshould not joke about them. However, Paul does not forbid talk about sex. Also,he does not say that we should not tell jokes. But he says that our talk shouldbe helpful to God’s holy people.
Verses 5-6 A person who has no morals is notpure. He is *greedy. Such a person does not *worship God. He or she has noplace in the *kingdom of Christ and of God. Paul says that Christians shouldnot listen to those who do not speak the truth. Otherwise, this will pull themaway from God. God is angry with these people because of such things. They willhave no place with God’s people in heaven. They are people who continue intheir *sin. They do not *repent. Paul says that they can be sure that hiswarning words are true. But some people think that they are not important.Those people laugh at them.
In those days, there were people who thoughtthat only the *spirit was important. The body did not matter. So they thoughtthat it was good to *sin. You could *sin as much as you wanted. It would notmatter because the body was not important. Other people even went further thanthat. They thought that the more you *sinned, the more God would *forgive you.He would be able to give you more *grace (see Romans 6:1). So, they thoughtthat it benefited both you and God. But this is false. Those who think likethis may try to ‘pull you away from God’. Such people are not part of the*kingdom of God. Only those people who turn away from their *sin can be inGod’s *kingdom.
Paul adds more warning words: ‘God is angry withall those people who do not obey him.’ God is holy. This means that he isseparate and completely different from us. Everything about God is right.Everything that God does is right. Because he is God, he can do nothing wrong.He is completely good and pure. He cannot allow anything not pure or not cleanto come near him. He is like fire. He burns and destroys anything that is notgood and pure. It says in Hebrews, ‘our God is like a fire that destroys’(Hebrews 12:29).
Because God is like this, it is not possible fora *sinner to come near him. God is angry with all of us because of *sin. Wedeserve punishment from God. We must *repent and receive God’s gift of*forgiveness. There is no *sin in Jesus. ‘Christ did not know any *sin. But Godmade him become *sin for us. As a result, we can receive God’s goodness byhim.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). God is angry with *sin. But he loves the *sinner.Jesus *saves us from God’s anger. What Jesus did was to stand in our place infront of God’s anger. He did this when he died for us on the *cross. God asksus to *repent and to accept Jesus’ *sacrifice.
The *sins that Paul names in these verses arethe same as those in verse 3. Here, however, Paul says that *greed is like the*worship of *idols. An *idol is a thing or a desire that we make more importantthan the *worship of God. A strong desire for money or for wrong sex is an*idol. The Bible says that *sexual *sins are serious. They result in brokenmarriages. Children usually suffer when a marriage ends. They lose the love anddiscipline of two parents. But pride, *greed and to live for oneself are also*sins.
Paul says that none of these people has ‘a sharein the *kingdom of Christ and of God.’ These words put Christ and God togetheras equal. Jesus Christ became a man for us. But he is also God. The *kingdom ofGod is also the *kingdom of Christ. This *kingdom is only for people who areright with God. No one who is not right with God belongs to it. It is possiblefor any of us to *sin in many ways. But God will *forgive those who *repent.The story about David, Bathsheba and Uriah in 2 Samuel 11:1-27 is a goodexample. Some people continue in their *sin. They are the people who have nopart in the *kingdom. They are without shame. They are not sad about their *sinand they do not *repent.
Verse 7 ‘You must not be partners with them.’ Wehave to mix with other people in our daily lives. Otherwise, we would not beable to tell them the good news about Jesus. But Christians must not share intheir way of life. We must not share with them in their evil actions.Christians should be holy, which means different or separate. (See Ephesians1:4.)
5:8-14 ~ Live in light
v8 You used tolive as they do. You were once darkness. And you lived without the light thatGod gives. Now you are light and you must live as God’s children. You must livein the light of the *Lord. v9 (This light produces in men all that isgood and pure and true.) v10 Discover those things that please the*Lord. And then do them. v11 You must not have anything to do with thebad things that people do in the dark. Instead, you must bring them into thelight. Such bad things produce no fruit. And you must say that they are wrong. v12They do these things in secret. It is a shame even to talk about them. v13We can see things that we bring into the light. v14 The light shows useverything clearly. That is why men say, ‘Wake up, you who are sleeping. Risefrom death, and Christ shall give you light.’
Verse 8 God is light (1 John 1:5). Jesus is ‘thelight of the world’ (John 8:12). You are united with him. Therefore ‘you arelight’. Light shows the greatness and *glory of God. It shows his perfect, holynature. The opposite of that holy nature is darkness. Apart from God, people inthe world live in darkness. God has transferred those who have life in Christ.He has moved them out of the power of darkness. He has moved them into his*kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12-13).
Paul says, ‘you were once darkness’. You used tobe like people who are living in the dark. He did not say ‘darkness surroundedthem’. Darkness was not only part of the world that they lived in. It wasactually in them. But now ‘you are light’ in the *Lord. You are not only livingin the light, but ‘you are light’. You are children of light. So now, ‘live inthe light of the *Lord’. Be what you are. Life is like a path that God willlight up. He will do this as you walk along it as God’s children.
Verse 9 This verse is about ‘the fruit of theSpirit’ (Galatians 5:22). Fruit grows in a natural way. It is its nature togrow. It does not need to obey a book of rules. We should grow in the light asfruit does. Fruit is open for all to see. It does not hide itself because offear. ‘Live in the light as he is in the light’ (1 John 1:7). The Christianneeds to be honest with people.
Verse 10 Verse 9 is in brackets. Brackets aremarks like this () that we use to separate words from the main part of asentence. That means that verse 10 follows on from verse 8. So, ‘live in thelight of the *Lord’ (verse 8). Then, ‘Discover those things that please the*Lord. And then do them’. This means that you must learn for yourself whatpleases God. You learn this in your daily life.
Verses 11-13 The *apostle warns the Christiansagain. He warns them about people who do not obey God. He warns them about whatthey do in secret (verse 12). Christians must have nothing ‘to do with the badthings that men do in the dark’. Instead, ‘you must bring them into the light’.Let everyone know that these actions are evil. The light makes them clear.Therefore, the Christian must have nothing to do with these bad actions. Hemust not even talk about the things that they do in secret. It brings shameeven to mention these evil things.
Moreover, these things ‘produce no fruit’. Fruithere means what pleases God. They do not just produce little fruit. Theyproduce no fruit at all. The fruits of darkness are like weeds instead ofwheat. We do not need always to be trying to be good. That way does notsucceed. We should allow the *Holy Spirit to produce fruits of goodness in us.It is a natural development of the life of God in us. Fruit does not have totry hard to grow; it grows by nature. In the same way, Christians do not haveto try very hard to produce good things in themselves. Instead, we should allowthe *Holy Spirit to produce the good things in our life.
The steady, normal work of the *Holy Spirit inthe life of the *believer will produce good things. People will see the*believer’s good deeds. His life will be completely different from the life ofsomeone who does not have the *Holy Spirit. He may not even need to tell aperson about his *sin (verse 12). The life of Christ is like a light thatshines through those who know him. It shows the darkness of the *sinner. The*sinner will then realise that his life is dark. And he will realise that hehas no good things in his life. This will force people to make a decision.Either they must decide to accept God’s light themselves or else they mustremain in darkness.
If people hate the light, they will try to getaway from it. If you pick up a big stone, all the insects underneath try to runaway. This is because the light has come into their darkness. They do not likeit. It is like that when the light of Christ shows through his people. Jesusspoke about this in John 3:19-21.
Verse 14 Paul writes, ‘The light shows useverything clearly’. We may not want to show up darkness. But the action oflight makes things clear. Light, because it is light, must show up thedarkness.
‘Wake up, you who are sleeping. Rise from death,and Christ shall give you light.’ This could be a part of an early Christian*hymn. They might have used it at *baptism. The new Christian would come up outof the water and the people would sing these words. ‘Wake up from the darksleep of *sin. Rise up from the death of *sin. Rise into the new life of lightthat Christ gives you.’
5:15-6:9 ~ Wisdom
5:15-17 ~ What wisdom is
v15 You mustbe very careful how you live. You should live as men and women who are wise,not as fools. v16 You must use every part of every day for good things,because these are bad days. v17 So you must not be foolish. You must tryto find out what the *Lord wants you to do.
Verses 15-16 God has given us wisdom (1:8). Wecan ask God for wisdom (1:17). Therefore, God will make his wisdom known to theworld. He will also make it known to the *spiritual powers. He will do this byus (3:10).
So ‘be very careful how you live. You shouldlive as men and women who are wise, not as fools. You must use every part ofevery day to do good things, because these are bad days.’ (See also Colossians4:5.) This advice is very practical. Take care, especially about how you useyour time. Use it in the right way. Use every opportunity to turn people fromdarkness to light. Use it to show the life of God to other people. The days areevil and the time left is short. Therefore, rescue or buy back as much time asyou can. You are rescuing your time from the evil things of this world.
Verse 17 Jesus taught us to pray, ‘The thingsthat you want happen in heaven. We want the things that you want here on earth’(Matthew 6:10). God has a general will or purpose for everything. We find thisin the Bible. But there is also a special will or purpose for each of us. Wefind it by prayer and by thinking. We can also ask for advice from otherpeople. We need to discover the will of God for ourselves. It is important toknow God’s plan for our lives. We must do everything that we can to know this.Otherwise, we cannot be certain about what we should do.
5:18-21 ~ Live full of the *Holy Spirit
v18 You mustnot drink too much wine or you will suffer. Instead let God fill you with hisSpirit. v19 When you meet together, sing *spiritual songs. Sing andpraise the *Lord in your mind. v20 Always give thanks to the God theFather for everything, in the name of Jesus Christ, our *Lord.
v21 You should*submit to each other, because you respect Christ.
Verse 18 Someone has said ‘a man must fillhimself with something’. The man who is not a Christian fills his life withwine and pleasures of the world. The Christian is happy when he allows God tofill him with the Spirit.
One of the evil ways of the old life is to drinktoo much wine. This causes a loss of control of one’s actions. People have alwaystried to forget their cares and worries by drinking strong drink. It makes themfeel good. That is true. But the feeling does not last. The Bible does not saythat we should not have any strong drink. To those who would become leaders,the Bible warns about this (Titus 1:7). To drink too much alcohol and to losecontrol of yourself is clearly a *sin. Such people behave like animals. Todrink too much wine is also a waste. That is the meaning of the *Greek wordthat Paul used here. We should control ourselves and not waste money. This isgood advice for those who desire wisdom.
But Paul does not want to take away our joys andpleasures. In Acts chapter 2, the crowd saw wonderful things happening. Peoplewere becoming full with God’s Spirit. Some people thought that these people hadbeen drinking too much wine. It is the same here as in Acts chapter 2. To letGod fill us ‘with his Spirit’ is a better way to have joy. It is also aninstruction from God. It is not just something to do if we feel like it. Moreover,we should let the Spirit fill us more than once. We should let the Spiritcontinue to fill us all the time. Then the *Holy Spirit will control every partof our life.
Verse 19 Paul tells Christians what shouldhappen when they meet together. They should be glad and they should *praiseGod. They should sing and so encourage each other. This is much better than thefalse happiness of too much alcohol. Joy comes from inside us. Music can beinside us too. It may be silent and we may be singing only to the *Lord.Christians have always sung to God. Every new movement of the *Holy Spiritbrings new songs of joy.
Verse 20 Paul tells Christians always to givethanks to God the Father. This can be by songs or in any other way. To complainis a *sin. In the *Old Testament, it was one of the *sins of the *Israelites.It does not please God. *Believers who are filled with the *Holy Spirit shouldnot complain. They should always give thanks to God for everything. There isonly one way to obey this instruction: that is to have a complete *faith inGod. We do not praise God for evil things. We praise him for the benefit thathe will cause from them.
All this comes from ‘God the Father’. But it is‘in the name of Jesus Christ, our *Lord’. This is because every good thingcomes by him. Again, we see here our Three in One God. God fills us with the*Holy Spirit. We then give thanks to God the Father. We do it in the name ofour *Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 21 Next Paul says, ‘*submit to each other,because you respect Christ’. This verse leads into the next part of the letter(5:22-6:9). That part is about how we should live our life. We should live atpeace with each other. Paul tells us the secret. He tells us how Christians canlive a good and happy life together. This is in the *church and in the world.But it is possible only if one person gives in to the other. Each person shouldnot do only what he or she wants to do. It is wrong to be proud about ouropinion. It is wrong always to be giving orders to other people. Such behaviourdestroys our life together. Paul emphasises why we should *submit to eachother. It is ‘because you respect Christ’.
Here are some ways that we can live this kind oflife. We should each be willing
(a) tohelp each other;
(b) tolisten to each other;
(c) tolearn from each other;
(d) toallow another person to correct us.
It makes no difference what kind of person youare. You can be a man or a woman. You can be young or old. You can be a masteror a servant. You need to work out what it means to ‘let God fill you with hisSpirit’. Paul mentions practical ways to do these things. You can do themwherever you are.
All our actions then should be because of loveand respect for Christ.
5:22-33 ~ Wives and husbands
v22 Wives,*submit to your husbands, as you do to the *Lord. v23 The husband is thehead of the wife as Christ is the head of the *church. Christ *saved the*church. v24 The *church obeys Christ. So the wife should allow herhusband to have authority in everything. v25 Husbands should love theirwives as Christ loved the *church. And he gave his life for it. v26 Hedid this to make the *church *holy. He intended to wash it with water by theword. v27 He intended to make it pure, without any bad marks or stainsor anything like that. Christ does this so that he will have a *holy *churchwithout any *sins. v28 Men should love their wives in the same way, justas they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. v29No man hates his own body. No, he feeds it and he looks after it. He looksafter his body as Christ looks after the *church. v30 We, the *church,are parts of his living body. v31 The *Old Testament says, ‘A man willleave his father and his mother. He will join to his wife. The two will becomeone body.’ v32 This is a great *mystery. But I am speaking especiallyabout Christ and his *church. v33 It also refers to you. Every husbandmust love his wife as he loves himself. And the wife must respect her husband.
The word ‘*submit’ means to give in to anotherperson. But sometimes we think that it is a sign of weakness. The words ofJesus Christ have brought many changes to society. In many countries, it hasmade a big difference to the state of women. In the time of Jesus, a girl wascompletely under the authority of her father. A wife was completely under theauthority of her husband. A *Jewish man, in his morning prayer, would thank Godfor three things. These were that God had not made him ‘a *Gentile, a slave ora woman’.
By *Jewish law, a woman had very few rights. Herhusband could divorce her almost as he wanted. It was the same in the *Greekand *Roman societies. A husband could leave his wife and marry someone else. Hecould do absolutely what he wanted to do. Divorce was not a rare event. WhatPaul was teaching would therefore be new. It would seem strange. The word‘*submit’ has a new meaning.
Verse 22 This section follows verse 21. It isabout *submitting to each other because of respect for Christ. We spend much ofour lives in the home. At home, we can practise Paul’s teaching in our dailylives. It is the first and most important place to do this. At home, husbands,wives and children work out the principles that Paul taught. What follows isnot about our rights. It is about our duties to each other.
God made men and women equal (Galatians 3:28).It is important to remember this. In the *New Testament, they are equal inChrist. This means that to God they are equal. To *submit to each other is foreverybody. We saw this in verse 21. It therefore applies to husbands and wives.All are worth the same to God.
However, God has made two different kinds ofpeople, male and female. So, in this way, they are not the same. The way thatGod makes a man is something special to that man. The way that God makes awoman is something special to that woman. A man finds his place in God’s planby being a man. A woman finds her place in God’s plan by being a woman. Becausethey are different, they can help each other better.
The Bible tells us in Genesis how God first mademan and woman. God made man the head of the family. God also gave the wife herplace in the family. That place is by the side of her husband. It is as hishelper. It says, ‘But for Adam there was no suitable helper… Then the *Lord Godmade a woman from the bone that he had taken out of the man. And he brought herto the man’ (Genesis 2:20-22). The wife should not be against her husband. Byher own choice, she should *submit to him. But to *submit is not something onlyfor a wife. She should *submit as Paul asks each person to *submit in verse 21.
God is wise. And he knows that the world needsauthority. When we *submit to authority, we agree with God’s plan. God wants usto live peaceful lives. He does not want us to have unnecessary troubles. SoGod gives authority to those people who lead us. It is for our benefit. It is‘out of respect for Christ’ that we *submit to authority. We do this in orderto please our *Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
There needs to be agreement and unity in thefamily. This requires a leader. God has given the husband and father theauthority to be this leader. So Paul says, ‘Wives, *submit to your husbands, asyou do to the *Lord.’ A wife *submits to the *Lord and she *submits to herhusband. The two relationships are different. For example, she might dosomething for her husband. She should do it as she would do it for the *Lord.
Jesus himself was under the orders of hisFather. He only did what the Father told him to do. He did not have ideas ofhis own. (See John 5:19-20.) But Jesus was not less important than God theFather (Philippians 2:6). We can understand, therefore, that to *submit doesnot make a person less important. But it does make him or her more like Jesus.
Those to whom God has given authority areresponsible to him. So they should use their authority fairly. They should notuse it to make life easier or better for themselves. Husbands should use theirauthority in love. Fathers should be gentle as they bring up their children.Masters should act fairly towards their servants.
Verse 23 When God made Adam and Eve, he gavethem an instruction. He said that the husband should be the head over the wife.Paul does not explain this here in this letter. But he does explain it in 1Corinthians 11:3-12 and 1 Timothy 2:11-13. Jesus also referred to what God hadsaid ‘at the beginning’ (Matthew 19:4-6). This instruction about therelationship between husband and wife is for all ages. It is not just for thetime when Paul lived.
Christ is the head and the leader of the*church. The *church is his body and he ‘*saved the *church’. As *Saviour, hegave his life as a *sacrifice for the *church. There is a connection with thistruth and marriage. The husband is the leader in the house. So this is how thehusband should be towards his wife. It is as Christ is to his *church. Thehusband must not be a hard and cruel leader. No, he should love his wife. Heshould give himself and his time. He does this for her benefit and for herhappiness. He should guard her and protect her. No one should be able to attackher or hurt her.
Verse 24 ‘The *church obeys Christ. So the wifeshould allow her husband to have authority in everything.’ Everyone would agreethat Christ is the leader of his *church. All the people are under hisauthority. In the same way, the husband is the leader in the home. In front ofGod, the wife has taken on the duty of wife and mother. In the family, sheshould allow her husband to be leader. There are occasions, however, when theseinstructions may not apply. For example, husbands and wives may have differentjobs. The husband does not have authority over his wife in her work.
Verse 25 There are 4 different *Greek words forlove. One word is for *sexual love. Two more are about the ordinaryrelationships that people have with each other. The fourth is for a specialkind of love that only Christians have. It is the kind of love that God has forevery one of us. It is the love of Christ. It is the love that caused him todie for us on the *cross. ‘Christ loved the *church. And he gave his life forit.’ It is that kind of love. With this love, you do not think about yourself.With this love, you want only the best for the person that you love. It is thekind of love that we read about in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This is the love thatthe husband should show towards his wife.
Verses 26-27 In these next verses, Paul writesabout the kind of love that Christ has for the *church. Christ gave himself upfor the *church to make us ‘pure, without any bad marks or stains’. He wants usto be *holy (or set apart). The work of Christ washes us. That means that itmakes us clean from the old way. And it sets us apart for the new way.
The *cleansing is ‘by the word’ (John 15:3;17:7). These are not words like those that someone might speak at a *baptism.It is the word of the *gospel. It is the word of the Bible. A person needs to receivethe word. Then it makes them clean and *holy.
There is something else in marriage that helpsus to understand more about Christ. We see this in the way that the bride getsready for her marriage. She wants to come to her husband looking as beautifulas she can. She wants to be ‘without any bad marks or stains’ or any othermarks. It is the same with the *church, the bride of Christ. There is, however,a difference. The bride can make herself look beautiful for her husband but the*church cannot do this for itself. Christ did it for the church. So he makes it‘pure’. We cannot wash away the marks of *sin ourselves. Think about the marksof age on our faces. We cannot remove them ourselves. And we cannot take awaythe results of *sin. It is by the death of Jesus on the *cross. Only his deathcan remove the marks of *sin.
Verses 28-29 Paul says, ‘A man who loves hiswife loves himself’. He is thinking about Genesis 2:24. He writes about thislater in verse 31. Genesis 2:24 says that the husband and wife are ‘one flesh’or ‘one body’. In the act of sex, they join together. They become one body.This is why an act of sex should only be between husband and wife. It is wrongfor people who are not man and wife to join in sex. When a man and woman marry,they become one body. So, if the husband does not love his wife, he does notlove his own body. Therefore, he does not love himself.
If a husband loves himself, he will try todiscover the best kind of life. It will benefit him. But it will benefit hiswife too. That is because the two are one body. His wife will share his goodlife. She will enjoy any good things that he enjoys.
The *Greek word for love describes the love thatGod has for us. We have seen that before. Here again Paul uses this special*Greek word. He is writing about something beyond the love of brother orsister. It is beyond the love that people have in *sexual acts. Paul isspeaking about the best kind of love. It is the best possible love that you cangive to another person. It is the same love, with which Christ loved us. Hegave himself for us.
Paul never says that the wife is a less valuableperson than the husband is. Neither does he say that the husband owns his wife.The wife is part of the husband because they join in marriage.
Paul adds to this the words, ‘No man hates hisown body. No, he feeds it and looks after it.’ To love yourself in this way isnot wrong. It is necessary. If you do not look after yourself, you will die.
Verse 30 In marriage, the wife becomes part ofthe life of her husband. He therefore loves her and helps her to know Christbetter. Jesus is like that to us. He has joined us to himself. We are part ofhis life. No one can break this union.
Verse 31 Now comes the verse from Genesis(Genesis 2:24). ‘A man will leave his father and his mother. He will join tohis wife. The two will become one body.’ This is God’s plan for marriage. It isthe most important statement in the Bible about marriage. It tells us that itis wrong for a man to have more than one wife. It is wrong too for a man tohave sex with any woman who is not his wife. It tells us that God does not likedivorce. Here is God’s perfect plan for marriage. It is that a man and womanshould stay together for life.
Someone asked Jesus about this. Why was there alaw that allowed divorce? He said that it was ‘because you were bad. You didnot want to obey God’ (Matthew 19:8). That is why there is need for such a law.It is because the world is not perfect. But this is not part of God’s plan.
Before marriage, a man or woman share theirlives with their parents. However, after they marry, they do not share theirlives with their parents in the same way. But they still have a duty towardstheir parents. The parents have allowed their children to leave. They have endedall their rights over their children. God has now joined the husband and wife.They are like two pieces of wood that someone has glued together. You cannotseparate them again. The two persons become ‘one body’. God *blesses their lifetogether and they *bless each other.
Verse 32 Paul now says, ‘This is a great*mystery. But I am speaking especially about Christ and his *church.’ Paul hasalready spoken about this *mystery (3:1-13). It is about God’s great secret. Itis his plan for everyone. It is for every age in history. God hid it before,but now he makes it plain.
This *mystery has great meaning. It is difficultto understand. Sometimes Paul calls it wonderful or great. In earlier times,God had hidden a very important truth. Now Christ makes it plain. Paul has beenteaching about husbands and wives. But Paul makes it clear that the *mystery ismore than that. It is about ‘Christ and his *church’. ‘Christ wanted to makethe *Jews and *Gentiles into one people. He wanted to unite them with himself.He wanted them to have peace with each other’ (Ephesians 2.15). The ‘onepeople’ is *Jews and *Gentiles together. (In the Greek language, it is ‘one newperson’.)
The husband is head of the family. In the sameway, Christ is the head of the *church. The husband shows love and care for hiswife. He does this by giving himself to her. This is the best example that Paulcan give. Christ showed love and care for his *church. He did this by givinghis life. The wife depends on her husband as guide and leader. In the same way,the *church depends on the *Lord.
Verse 33 But again Paul returns to the subjectof husband and wife. He says, ‘Every husband must love his wife, as he loveshimself.’ The duty of the husband is to love his wife. It is with the same kindof love that Christ has for his *church.
Paul continues, ‘And the wife must respect herhusband.’ The *Greek word ‘respect’ used here is ‘fear’. You might fear someonewho frightens you. But it is not that kind of fear. It is about yourrelationship with someone that you love. You want to please that person. Youmight do something that will not please him or her. That is what you fear. Thatis what our relationship with God is like. It is the kind of fear and love thateach of us should have towards God. The Bible says that this kind of fear ofthe *Lord is ‘the beginning of wisdom’. When you fear the *Lord, you start tobe wise.
6:1-4 ~ Children and parents
v1 Children,you must obey your parents. This is because the *Lord has given them authorityto look after you. And this is the right thing for you to do. v2‘Respect your father and your mother’. (This was the first *commandment with apromise.) v3 God promised to give us a long and *blessed life if we keptthis promise.
v4 Fathers,you must not make your children think that you are not fair to them. Instead,you must look after them. And you must correct them. You must do this as the*Lord has taught us.
Verse 1 Paul has finished teaching abouthusbands and wives. He now starts to teach children and parents. It is good tosee children and older people together. Especially when they all come togetherto praise God. It is good, too, that the children have teachers. Jesus himselfsaid, ‘let the children come to me’ (Matthew 19:14). The *Lord commands us to*submit to each other (5:21). Children are also included in this. But there ismore than that. The instruction for children is, ‘Children, you must obey yourparents.’
· First,it is because ‘the *Lord has given them authority to look after you’. The fifth*commandment is to ‘Respect your father and your mother’. To respect is toobey. Colossians 3:20 tells us why children should obey their parents. It is,‘because this pleases the *Lord’. If the children love the *Lord, they willwant to please him.
· Next,‘it is the right thing for you to do’. This means that it is the right andnatural thing to do. It is for all children everywhere. It is right and naturalin any society.
Verses 2-3 Paul now refers to the fifth*commandment. It is, ‘Respect your father and your mother’. He adds that it was‘the first *commandment with a promise’ (Exodus 20:12). In those days, a childmight refuse to obey his parents. If he continued like that, it was a veryserious matter. The authorities could kill him or her. That was the old law.Paul, however, refers to a promise. It follows the *commandment. If we obeythis *commandment, God promises us ‘a long and *blessed life’.
In most things, children should obey theirparents. But this command could be difficult for some children. It could bedifficult if their parents do not believe in Jesus. Their parents might refuseto allow their children to attend *church. Or they might not allow *baptism.The children should still obey them. However, there are some things thatparents should not stop their children from doing. It would be wrong to tellthem not to believe in Jesus. It would be wrong to tell them not to praise him.
There are different ages at which children needno longer to obey this command. In *Roman society, it was as long as the fatherlived. While he was still alive, his children had to obey him. In othersocieties, it could be when a child becomes an adult. The laws of each countrywould decide what this age should be. It could be when the law allows marriage.It could be when the children leave home to marry. The age would be differentfor each country. Each country will have its own customs.
Verse 4 A *Roman father could do anything thathe wanted with his children. He could make them work in the fields. He couldeven put chains on them. He could sell them as slaves. He could punish them, ashe liked. He could even kill them. When a girl was born, the father might throwher away.
Paul now gives instructions to parents andchildren. The Christian father must love his children. He should love them asGod loves him. Do not make your children angry. Your children will do manywrong things. But most of those things will not be very important. Do notalways be telling them that they are wrong. Decide on what is important andwhat is not. Decide on the things that you should not approve of. Do not becruel to them. Do not always tell them that they are bad. If you do, they mightstop trying to be good. Always try to say good and helpful things to your children.
Parents must help their children. Father’s ‘mustlook after’ their children. And they ‘must correct’ them. They should trainthem in the ways of Christ. The *Greek word that Paul used here is the same asin 5:29. It referred there to a man who looks after his own body. To look aftertheir children should be the parents’ most important duty.
Sometimes education is hard and difficult. Thechild may not like this. The book of Proverbs has many words about this. Butparents must always remember one thing. They should not be too hard or cruel totheir children. A child is a person and not a thing. ‘Train a child in the waythat he should go. Then, when he is old, he will not turn from it’ (Proverbs22:6). Discipline at times may be hard. But we should always praise the childwhen he or she has done well.
6:5-9 ~ Slaves (servants) and masters
v5 Slaves,respect and obey your masters in this world. Be loyal to them, as you would beto Christ. v6 You must not obey them only when they are watching you.You might do this only to make them think that you are good. But, because youare servants of Christ, you should be obeying God sincerely. v7 You mustwork well and responsibly, as if you served Christ, not men. v8 The*Lord will reward every man for anything good that he does. You know this. Hewill reward both slaves and free men.
v9 Those ofyou who are masters must also be fair to your slaves. You must not frightenthem by saying that you will hurt them. Remember that you and your slaves havethe same master in heaven. God is fair and you are all his slaves. He does notthink that masters in this world are more important than their slaves.
Verse 5 In Bible times many families had slaves.They did all the work in the house. They were the property of their master. Theyhad no rights. Their owner could buy or sell them. He could punish his slave ifhe wanted to. He could whip him or put him in prison. He could even kill him. Aslave might escape. If the master caught him, he would whip him. Or he mightkill him. Some slaves would kill themselves. They did this because they were sounhappy.
A slave did not always have an unpleasant life.It was certainly better for the master if he dealt well with his slave. Theslave would then work harder. He would try to please his master.
Paul writes, ‘Slaves, respect and obey yourmasters in this world. Be loyal to them, as you would be to Christ.’ Theseinstructions are right for any time in history. They are a benefit in the homeor at work. A slave or worker should obey his master or manager. He does thisas he would obey Christ. He obeys his master on earth. Then he remembers thathe has a greater master. His greater master is the *Lord.
Also, servants should ‘respect’ their masters.This whole passage is about the way that we live with each other. Paul teachesthat we should *submit to each other because of respect for Christ (5:21). Thismeans that we should respect and value other people.
These instructions are for workers today. Wework for our employers. We should do it as if we are working for God. It wasmore difficult in those days than it is today. We should be ‘loyal’. We shoulddo it as we would do it ‘to Christ’.
Verses 6-7 Next Paul writes, ‘you should beobeying God sincerely’. God wants us to do our work well. And that is why weshould do it well. Christians are servants and even slaves of the *Lord.Therefore, they do their work for him and not for men. We can cook a meal as ifJesus is going to eat it. We can clean the house as if Jesus will be thevisitor. Shop workers sell goods to people. Nurses look after people. Theyshould do it as if they are doing it for Jesus Christ. The desire to do thework must be sincere. We do it to please the *Lord. The work must be goodenough to show to him.
Verse 8 Paul also teaches this in Colossians3:24-25. The *Lord sees everything that we do, whether good or bad. We willreceive a reward from him. God will give us a good reward if we do good things.And he will punish us if we do evil things. Here Paul mentions only good things.This is to help the Christians and to encourage them. Paul tells them that Godsees every good thing that they do. There may be no one to thank them on earth.But God will reward them for service that they do well.
This is not about our *salvation. No amount ofgood work will give us that. Our *salvation is not a reward for good work. Itis God’s gift of *grace. We will receive a reward from God for what we havedone. But we receive it only by God’s *grace. Some people think only aboutthemselves. That is *sin. They need to *repent of it. They may give service toother people. But if they do not give it sincerely and to the *Lord, God cannotreward it.
Paul now talks to masters. Therefore, he addsthe words, ‘both slaves and free men’. Paul’s words apply to everyone. Theyapply to those who are rich. And they apply to those who are poor. They applyto slaves and to free people. They apply to servants and masters, to workersand managers (bosses).
Verse 9 Masters must remember that ‘you and yourslaves have the same master in heaven. God is fair and you are all his slaves.He does not think that masters in this world are more important than theirslaves.’ God, who is master of both slaves and servants, is in heaven. Thereare no favourites with him. All are equal in front of God. But people may notbe equal in the world. God has no favourites. He considers everyone the same.Masters must remember that they too are servants. They are under the authorityof their master in heaven. It is the same for both masters and servants. Theyboth have the same master and judge in heaven. When they remember this, theywill behave well towards other people.
People allowed *slavery in those days. But nowwe believe that *slavery is wrong. It is wrong for one person to buy and sellanother person. It is wrong to do as you please to another person. This is whatthe Bible teaches. All people are equal in front of God. Christians are likebrothers and sisters in Christ. The letter of Paul to Philemon tells us about aslave called Onesimus. He had escaped from his master, Philemon. He had come toPaul and he had become a Christian. Paul then wanted to return him to Philemon.So Paul writes to Philemon. He asks him to be kind to Onesimus when he returns.He asks Philemon to receive Onesimus both as a man and as a brother (Philemon16). Paul taught that a slave could become a Christian brother.
For the *Jews, there were laws about slaves.These laws were very generous. They are in Exodus chapter 21. Slaves shouldserve for 6 years. Their masters freed them in the seventh year. They would notneed to pay their masters anything (Exodus 21:2). A slave might have a goodmaster. If he did not want to leave him, they had a ceremony. The slave stoodby a door. His master would make a hole through the slave’s ear with a sharptool. The tool would go into the door and fix the slave to the door. Afterthat, there would be a hole in the slave’s ear. This was to show that the slavewanted to stay with his master. He wanted to stay with him always (Exodus21:6). This is an example of the Christian. He wants to be with his MasterJesus for ever. He will never want to be free from being a servant of Jesus.
The principles that Paul taught are true fortoday. Both workers and bosses have duties. The worker should give good work.And the boss should pay a proper wage. It is the worker’s duty to give goodwork. It is the right of the boss to expect it. It is the duty of the boss topay a fair wage. It is the worker’s right to expect it. Sometimes things do notwork out well at work. This is the reason. One side thinks only about its ownrights. Or it urges the other side to do its duty. Paul tells each side toconcentrate on their responsibilities, not their rights. That would lead to animprovement for everyone.
Later, this teaching led to the end of *slaveryin many countries. It happened in one country after another.
6:10-20 ~ The Christian life as a war
6:10-17 ~ Be strong in the *Lord
v10 Finally,you must be strong in the *Lord. He will give you his great power so that youcan do this. v11 You must wear all the *armour that the *Lord gives toprotect you. Then you can stand against the evil attacks of the *Devil. v12We are not fighting a human army, but we are fighting against the powers ofthis dark world. We are fighting against the rulers, authorities and evil*spiritual forces in the heavens. v13 So, wear God’s whole *armour toprotect yourself. Then you will be able to stand firm on the evil day when theyattack you with their great power. And, when the battle is over, you will stillbe standing firm. v14 So, stand with the belt of truth round you. Andwear the *breastplate of *righteousness. v15 On your feet, put on the*gospel of peace like shoes that are ready to use. v16 Always carry*faith like a *shield. This *faith will protect you from any attack of the*Devil. His attacks are like burning arrows. v17 You know that God has*saved you by the love of Christ. Use this knowledge, like a hard hat thatprotects your head. Attack the *Devil with the word of God. This word is like asword. It cuts with the power of the *Holy Spirit.
Verse 10 Paul knows from his own experience thathe is in a war. His enemy is the *Devil (*Satan). *Satan will fight against allthat God has done by Jesus Christ. He will work as hard as he can to destroyGod’s work. The new Christians now enjoy unity and peace. The *Devil will tryto destroy that. We would all like to live peaceful lives. We would all like alife with no worries. But this is not possible in the world as it is. We needto know that we are in a battle. We need to know our enemy. We need to know howstrong he is.
We have one important need as we fight this war.It is the power of God. We ‘must be strong in the *Lord’. You cannot makeyourself strong. God must give you strength. He must give it to you more thanonce. He must give it to you all the time. The *Greek word means ‘continue tolet God make you strong’. Then Paul says ‘in the *Lord’, not ‘by the *Lord’,although that would be true. The strength comes from being united with Jesus.It comes from being ‘in Christ’. This is what Jesus taught (John 15:1-5). Apartfrom Jesus, the Christian can do nothing. So the strength that we have is in‘his great power’. You could also say, ‘in the strength of his great power’.
Verse 11 In Ephesians 1:19, Paul talks aboutGod’s great power. It was the power that God used to raise Jesus from death.With that power, he defeated his enemies. Paul uses the same words here -power, strength and might. We are at war against our enemy, the *Devil(*Satan). We therefore need all these qualities. But we need something more.‘You must wear all the *armour that the *Lord gives to protect you. Then youcan stand against the evil attacks of the *Devil.’
When Paul was in prison, they chained him to a*Roman soldier. Therefore, he could always see the soldier’s *armour. But our*weapons for war are not *weapons with sharp points like a sword. They are*weapons of the Spirit. You need these so that ‘you can stand against the evilattacks of the *Devil’. The word used here is ‘stand’. It is as if you are in acastle. It is the castle of the *church of Jesus Christ. You are guarding thecastle against all the clever and evil plans of the enemy.
Verse 12 This war is different from a war with*weapons like guns. This battle is not against people. It is against all kindsof ‘*spiritual forces’. They are in a world that you cannot see. ‘We are notfighting a human army, but we are fighting against the powers of this darkworld. We are fighting against the rulers, authorities and evil *spiritualforces in the heavens.’ These evil forces will use people to do their evilwork. The war is against the *Devil and his armies. These armies consist ofmany different kinds of *spirits.
In 2:2, Paul speaks about ‘the king who rulesthe *spiritual forces in the air. He is a *spirit.’ This means *Satan. He isthe head of all the evil *spirits. We cannot see them. But they are working inthis world. These *spirit forces are very real. We see this all through the*New Testament. Jesus fought and won against all these evil forces. He did thiswhen he died on the *cross.
‘Rulers’ refers to world rulers. This does notmean human rulers. This refers to those who rule the whole world. And the chiefruler is *Satan. Jesus said that this ruler is *Satan. Jesus said that *Satanis ‘the ruler of this world’ (John 12:31; 14:30). John says that ‘the wholeworld is in the control of the *devil’ (1 John 5:19). Paul calls him ‘the god ofthis age’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The world is in the power of the *devil. The*New Testament often states this.
The fight is against the evil rulers. They arepart of the ‘dark’ world that you cannot see. They are powerful *spirits of*Satan. They are great evil princes of darkness. They rule this world. We fightagainst large numbers of wicked *spirits. These are in the *spirit world. Wecannot see them, but they are real. They hate the light. They try to get awayfrom it. Darkness is where they live. They have no rules of right behaviour.They have no kind, pleasant feelings. They know nothing about right. They knowonly about wrong things.
Only the power of God can keep us safe from theevil actions of the *devil. The *spiritual powers are strong, but the power ofGod is stronger. That power raised Jesus from death. God caused him to sit onthe *throne in the *heavenly places (the *spiritual world) (1:20). He has alsoraised us up into ‘the *heavenly places’. We sit there on the *throne withChrist (2:6). The *spiritual world is where this *spiritual war takes place.These powers attack us there and Christ defends us. Christ defeated thesepowers at the *cross. They are under his authority and under ours. This*spiritual world is where Christ has *blessed us (1:3). This is where these*spiritual forces will try to steal our *blessings.
Verses 13-14 These *spiritual forces arefighting against the Christians. The power of these forces is very strong. SoPaul tells the Christians to ‘wear God’s whole *armour’. Paul encourages them.The evil day will come. They will have done everything possible. Then, afterthat, they will be able to stand. They will stand firm against the devil’sattacks. He will not be able to knock them down.
Paul writes about a ‘whole’ suit of *armour. Itwas all the equipment of a soldier ready for battle. Our ‘whole *armour’ isfrom God. It is important to understand this. We find this in the *OldTestament. God himself wears things like *armour as he fights. ‘He put ongoodness like a *breastplate. He put *salvation like a hard hat on his head’(Isaiah 59:17). Now God gives these same *weapons to his people. It is to helpthem in the war against *Satan.
Notice how often Paul uses the word ‘stand’. Thefirst time it means, ‘stand against’ or ‘stand firm’. It is because your enemyis very strong. A time will come, when the fight will be very hard. It will bein two places. It will be both inside and outside the *church. The fight willget more and more difficult. This will be as ‘the day of the *Lord gets near’(Mark 13:4-23). Every day can be such an evil day. So the Christian should beready for it. So Paul says, ‘And having done all, you will still stand firm’.Then, ‘when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.’
Paul would have watched the soldier who wasalways near him. He would have seen him put on his *armour. The soldier put oneach piece in the right order. So Paul tells his readers: Wear your *armour asthe soldier does. The belt is first before any of the outer pieces. The clothesunderneath must first be in place. Then the soldier can put on the outerpieces. The belt will hold all the pieces together. Then the soldier will beready for action.
‘Truth’ can be everything that God has told usabout himself and Jesus Christ. We read about this in the Bible. Jesus said,‘then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free’ (John 8:32).The Bible speaks about ‘truth in the inner parts’ (Psalm 51:6). If we knowtruth, the inner part of us will be right. If we are not right inside, we willnot feel right. We will have no inner *peace. We will not feel comfortable withpeople. We will not be right with God and with other people. We will lose ourpeace. This will stop us from doing the things that we ought to do. It will stopus saying the things that we ought to say. So, we must make the belt of truthfirm round us.
The second piece to be put on is ‘the*breastplate of *righteousness’. We read about this piece of *armour in Isaiah59:17. It is God’s *righteousness. God himself puts it on us (Romans 3:21-22).This is our *justification. It makes us right with God. It is as if we hadnever *sinned. It is goodness on the inside of us. A soldier wears the*breastplate at the front of the body. It will not be of much use if there is ahole in it. The purpose of all the *armour is to stop the enemy hurting you.
Verse 15 The third piece of *armour is for thefeet. We should ‘put on the *gospel of peace like shoes’. Paul is now thinkingabout the shoes of the *Roman soldier. They must fit well and they must be‘ready to use’. It could be about speaking the *gospel to other people. This isthe good news about the *peace of God. We should always be ready to tell thisto other people. The *apostle Peter said this too. He said, ‘always be preparedto give an answer to everyone. Be ready when they ask you. Be ready to give thereason for the hope that you have’ (1 Peter 3:15).
The *Roman soldier’s shoes were short leatherboots. These would grip the ground and they would keep his feet firm on theground. They would prevent him from falling. The idea is that we should standfirm in the war. But this is not all. We should also tell the good news toother people. Our *gospel boots should be a proper fit. We fight the war. Butwe send out the good news about *peace at the same time.
Verse 16 Next comes the ‘*shield’. This protectsall the rest of the *armour. It was a large object in the shape of a door. The*Greek word for ‘*shield’ is from the *Greek word for ‘door’. The *shield is‘*faith’, which is trust in God.
Before a soldier shot an arrow from his bow, hecould set fire to the point of the arrow. The burning arrow would hit the*shield. So the wooden *shields needed a leather cover. They would also put the*shields into water. Then the wet shields could put out the fire quickly.
The evil plans of the enemy, *Satan, are likethese ‘burning arrows’. They could be angry words. They could be doubt. Theycould be fear, or they could be love of ourselves. They could be lies. Theenemy puts these into our minds. One of these lies would be that God does not*forgive us. Then the enemy might remind us about all the *sins that God has*forgiven. God has forgotten them too. The enemy will try to use all these‘arrows’ to destroy our *faith. God himself is ‘a *shield to those who takeshelter in him’ (Proverbs 30:5). Only one thing can put out the ‘fire’ of these‘burning arrows’. It is a strong *faith in God.
The *Romans would fix their *shields together.That would make a larger wall. It would cover more soldiers. It is the samewith the Christian *church. Christians can join together. Then they can be safefrom the attacks of the enemy.
Verse 17 ‘You know that God has *saved you bythe love of Christ.’ Such knowledge is a gift from God. The gift is *salvationfrom *sin and the results of *sin. Romans 6:23 says, ‘*sin pays a wage and thewage is death. But the gift of God is *eternal life in Jesus Christ our *Lord.’We receive this gift from God. God rescues us from all the *sin in the past.God *saves us from the power of *sin today too. He also gives us hope to befree from *sin in the future. Such knowledge protects us, like wearing a ‘hardhat’. Otherwise *Satan can hurt us. It is wonderful to know that God has *savedus. It makes us very happy. We can have confidence in our *salvation.
The hard hat covers the head. This is where wehave our thoughts. We need something that will protect us from wrong andunpleasant thoughts. We should keep remembering that God has *saved us. Then wecan enjoy good and pleasant thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
The last piece of *armour is the ‘sword’. Thatis the word of God. The sword is the only piece of *armour that they used forattack. The other pieces are for protection. In the Bible, words are often likea sword (Psalm 57:4). The word of God is itself is like a ‘sword’ (Hebrews4:12). The Bible is like a sword. We must hold it in a strong hand. The enemy,*Satan, attacks us. We must then use our *weapon. A good example of this is our*Lord himself. *Satan attacked him in the desert. *Satan put thoughts into hismind. These were not God’s thoughts (Matthew 4:1-10). Jesus used the word ofGod against *Satan. When *Satan attacked him, Jesus said, ‘it is written’. Weshould hold the word of God in our minds (Psalm 119:11).
There is another kind of word. This is any word(or message) that comes from the *Holy Spirit. But any such word must be inagreement with the Bible. Enemies of the *disciples would bring them to thecourts. Jesus gave them this promise. He told them not to worry. The *HolySpirit would tell them what to say. He would tell them how to say it. ‘It willnot be you who are speaking. It will be the Spirit of your Father. He will bespeaking by you’ (Matthew 10:20).
6:18-20 ~ A prayer for everyone
v18 At all times,pray in the Spirit. Then you can ask God for anything. So remember to be alwaysready, like a guard with his eyes open. And continue to pray for allChristians. v19 And pray for me too. Pray that God will give me hiswords. And pray that I will speak boldly, whenever I open my mouth. I want totell everybody about Christ’s wonderful good news. v20 God has appointedme as his special *messenger, although I wear chains. Pray that I will declarethe message bravely, as I should do.
Verse 18 As we put on each piece of our*spiritual *armour, we need to pray. Four times Paul uses the *Greek word for‘all’. This is what he is saying. Christians should be praying at all times.They should pray about everything that happens. They should pray on alloccasions (‘at all times’). Life should be one great prayer to God.
But there is another kind of prayer. It is topray when we do not really want to pray. We all know about this. Then we needto speak to ourselves. We should say, ‘Yes, I do not feel that I want to pray.But still I will pray.’
Then Paul adds, ‘Then you can ask God foranything.’ We should pray with all kinds of prayers and requests. There aremany kinds of prayers. In one kind of prayer, we tell God how good and great heis. There is the kind of prayer when we thank God. We thank him for who he is.Or, we thank him for what he does for us. There is the kind of prayer for otherpeople. There is the kind of prayer for ourselves and about the events in ourlives. We must ask God to guide us. And there is the kind of prayer for kingsand our rulers (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Then Paul adds ‘continue to pray for allChristians’. Prayer should become a habit. Paul writes, ‘So remember to bealways ready, like a guard with his eyes open.’ Jesus himself told his*disciples to ‘watch and pray’ (Matthew 26: 41).
Verse 19 Last, Paul asks for prayers forhimself. He is still in prison. He wants to be free. He could ask people topray that God would free him. That would have been a natural thing to ask. Buthe does not ask for that. He knows how important he is in God’s plan. Even inprison, he works to spread the *gospel. Yes, he is in prison. But he knows thathe is in God’s war.
Paul asks for two things.
First, he asks them to pray ‘that God will giveme his words’. This is for whenever he is able to speak. Paul wants God to givehim the right words and the right message each time that he speaks. Theneveryone that he speaks to will clearly understand God’s message.
Next, Paul always needs God’s power to speak. Heneeds to ‘speak boldly’ and bravely. This is how he is asking the Christians topray. He will *preach the *gospel. But he wants to do this without fear. Hewants everyone to understand Christ’s wonderful good news.
All the early *apostles were like this. They didnot pray to be free from danger. They did not pray to be free from injury oreven death. They prayed that they would be brave. Whatever happened, they hadto *preach the *gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every Christian is in the war against *Satan.But a Christian prays not only for himself. He prays not only for his own partin the war. He prays also for the whole *church of Christ. He prays ‘for allChristians’ (verse 18).
Verse 20 Before this, Paul has not said muchabout himself. Twice he reminds his readers that he is in prison. But there isan advantage in that. He is God’s ‘special *messenger, although I wear chains’.An *ambassador (or special *messenger) represents his king in another country.He has a job to do in that country. It is to show all the good things about hisking and country.
Paul thinks that his work is far more importantthan a *Roman *ambassador’s work. He is the *ambassador of the King of kings.He brings a message from his Royal Master. It is a message with very greatvalue. He speaks to people who are God’s enemies. And he tells them how theycan become God’s friends.
Paul is in prison. But he does not tell theChristians to be sorry for him. They should not pray that God would free him.No, he wants them to pray that he will continue to *preach the *gospel. He mustnot stop. So this is how he is really asking them to pray. ‘Do not ask God tofree me from these chains. Instead, pray that God will free my mouth to speak.Then I will be able to *preach the *gospel.’ He knows that God has given himthis one main purpose. So far in his life, everything has been for thispurpose. So, he asks his readers, ‘Pray that I will declare the messagebravely, as I should do.’
6:21-24 ~ Final greeting
v21 Tychicusis a dear Christian brother and he is a loyal servant of the *Lord. He willtell you everything. Then you will know how I am. And he will tell you what Iam doing. v22 This is why I am sending him to you. He will give you mynews and he will encourage you.
v23 I am askingGod the Father and the *Lord Jesus Christ to send *peace and love with *faith.I am asking them to send these things to all the brothers and sisters. v24Some people love our *Lord Jesus Christ with a love that will never end. I wantGod’s *grace to be with all those people.
Verses 21-22 Paul has been dictating thisletter. Now he takes the pen in his own hand. He writes these last fewsentences himself. The writer may have been Tychicus. Now Paul mentions him byname. Tychicus is a Christian and he is a friend of Paul. He will take thisletter to the Christians at Ephesus. Paul chose him also to deliver anotherletter. It was the one that he wrote to the Christians in Colosse (Colossians4:7).
We see Tychicus’s name also in Acts 20:4, Titus3:12 and 2 Timothy 4:12. Paul wanted to give the Christians recent news. Thatis why he sent Tychicus with the letter. Also, Tychicus would ‘encourage’ themand make them strong.
The Christians probably worried that Paul was inprison. Paul has told them before that he is God’s servant. This is by the giftof God’s *grace (3:7). So Paul reminds them again about this. God is using allthe events of his life. Everything would therefore bring *glory to God.
Verse 23 Now, we go back to the first words ofPaul’s letter. There, he wrote about ‘*grace and *peace’ from God and fromChrist (1:2). Here, Paul ends with the same two words, ‘peace’ in this verseand ‘*grace’ in verse 24.
Paul has spoken often about three *blessings inhis letter. The first *blessing is ‘peace’. This peace is the peace of God. Wecan have it in our *spirits. It is peace ‘to the brothers and sisters’. Thatmeans that it is for all the Christians.
Then comes ‘love with *faith’. We have love fromour *faith in Christ. We have this only by unity with him. ‘*Faith’, or to befull of *faith, is a fruit of the Spirit. All these *blessings come from ‘Godthe Father’. Everything comes from him in the first place. These *blessingsalso come from ‘the *Lord Jesus Christ’. He brings us all the *blessings of theSpirit of God (1:3).
Verse 24. And Paul prays for all the people whoreally love the *Lord Jesus Christ. They love him ‘with a love that will neverend’. He prays that God’s *grace will be with all of those people. As in thebeginning of this letter, the final prayer is for ‘*grace’. In the *Greeklanguage, it is ‘the *grace’. This could mean the *grace that Paul has spokenso much about. The *grace is for all those who ‘love our *Lord Jesus Christ’.They love him ‘with a love that will never end’. *Grace is for everyone. But weneed to receive it in love. Only such people can experience it completely. Itis *grace that will never fail or end. The love of God never fails (1Corinthians 13:8).
AD ~ AD 50 meansthe year that was 50 years after Jesus came, and so on.
ambassador ~ aperson that a king of one country employs to act for him in another country.
Amen ~ a wordthat shows that one agrees (usually after a prayer).
angel ~ a servantfrom God who brings messages from heaven; angels are pure *spirits, greaterthan men and women; they give love to God; they do what he wants; they lookafter those who have come into God’s family; a bad angel serves *Satan.
apostle ~ a manthat God has chosen to lead his *church; one of the 12 men that Jesus chose tobe his helpers and to teach about him.
armour ~equipment that protects a soldier.
baptise, baptism ~to put a person into water, or to put water on a person; it is to show the waythat Christ makes us clean; when the *Holy Spirit comes into a person who knowsChrist; the way we show to everyone that we belong to Christ and his *church.
being ~ a personor animal that is alive.
believer ~ aperson who knows Christ.
bless ~ to causegood things to happen to someone.
blessing, blessed ~ the good things that God does for us; a blessing can be a prayerthat God will *bless someone.
breastplate ~ apiece of *armour that protects the upper part of the body.
Caesar ~ a namefor *Roman rulers.
centurion ~ a*Roman soldier in charge of a group of about 100 men.
church ~ a groupof people who follow and believe in Jesus Christ; a group of Christians whomeet together. It can also mean all the Christians in the world.
circumcise, circumcision ~ to cut off the loose skin from the end of the sex part of a boy orman; for *Israelites it was a proof that a man agreed to obey God’s laws; asign of a pure *spirit.
cleanse, cleansing ~ to make clean by washing.
commandment ~ acommand that God gave; the ten important commands or rules that God gave toMoses on Sinai mountain.
create, creation ~the act of God when he made the world and everything there is; everything thatGod has made.
cross ~ twopieces of wood that someone has fixed together. The *Romans punished people byfixing them to a cross to die. Jesus died on this; the cross is now the sign ofthe *church of Christ; not to put yourself first but to put Jesus and otherpeople first in your life.
devil ~ anothername for *Satan, the chief evil *spirit.
disciple ~someone who follows another person and learns from him; a person who obeys whatJesus taught.
eternal ~ thingsthat have always been and will continue for all time; a thing which has nobeginning or end; a thing which never changes.
faith ~ thebelief in someone or something; to agree with and to do the things that Godteaches; to obey his commands even when they seem difficult; belief and trustin God and in Jesus his Son; belief that the Bible is true; ‘the *faith’ meansthe things that Christians believe about Jesus.
forgive ~ whensomeone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
Gentiles ~ peoplewho are not *Jews; people who do not know God; people from all nations.
glory, glorious ~the power and great importance of God; great beauty and like a great king; abright light that comes from God or Jesus.
gospel ~ the goodnews that God has helped people who love Jesus; he has helped them by the life,death and raising from death of Jesus Christ; the good news about the thingsthat Jesus has done for us; the message from God to us; one of the four booksat the beginning of the *New Testament.
grace ~ a gift,from God or from people, that we do not deserve and cannot earn; what God orpeople give because they are generous; the help and protection that comes fromGod.
greed, greedy ~ agreat desire for food or wealth; to have a great desire for these things.
Greek ~ thelanguage of Greece. Paul wrote his letter in the Greek language.
heavenly ~ in orabout heaven.
Hebrew ~ thelanguage of *Jewish people.
Holy Spirit ~ TheHoly Spirit is a person, but not human as we are; he lives and works for God;he is equal and joined with God and Christ; he does the work of God among thepeople in the world; God’s Spirit that Jesus sent to help people; another namefor God; also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Comforter.We cannot see the Holy Spirit. But he joins with the *spirit of those that knowJesus; he helps them to follow Jesus and to do good things.
holy, holiness ~description of God, set apart, perfect, wonderful; completely good, withnothing bad in it; belonging to God; separate from *sin, pure, clean.
hymn ~ a song topraise God, like those in the Psalms in the Bible.
idol ~ an imageof a person or object that people love instead of loving God; a false god; anobject out of wood, stone or metal for people to show love to instead of loveto the real God.
inheritance ~ tolegally pass on property after death; something that passes on to us to possessby right after the death of another person.
Israel ~ the namethat God gave to Jacob; the name of the people from the family of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob; the group of people that God chose; the nation of the *Jewsand those who speak *Hebrew.
Israelites ~ thepeople from *Israel; people that speak *Hebrew; the people who are *Jews andlive in *Israel.
Jew, Jewish ~ aperson who is from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a person whobelieves the *faith of the *Jews, called Judaism.
justification, justify, justified ~ the act of God when he says that he sees us as good; this happensat the moment when we trust Jesus; the state of being right with God.
kingdom ~ whereGod rules as king; land where a king rules.
lord ~ someonewith authority.
Lord ~ the namefor God or Jesus; it means that he is head over all.
messenger ~ aperson who brings messages.
Messiah ~ thespecial servant of God, the name that God chose for Jesus Christ. The personwhom God sent to *save his people from their *sins. God promised the *Jews thatMessiah would come. Jesus is that Messiah but most *Jews still do not believeit.
mystery ~something hidden that we cannot explain; something that is secret and unknown.
New Testament ~the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.
Old Testament ~the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
pastor(s) ~ menthat God has chosen to look after the *church.
peace ~ when weare friends with God and with other people; freedom from mental troubles ortroubles in the *spirit; a friendly attitude towards other people.
praise ~ wordsthat say how good a person is; words that give love to God, as when we arepraying and singing to him.
preach ~ to telland explain the good news about Jesus Christ to a group of people.
prophet(s) ~those who are able to tell other people what God wants; people who spoke forGod; someone who tells about things that will happen in the future.
rage ~ extremeanger.
repent ~ to turnfrom *sin to God’s ways; to change from past evil ways; a change of mind whenwe turn away from wrong things.
resurrection ~ tobe raised from death to live again.
righteous, righteousness ~ to be right with God; people that God sees as clean and not hisenemies.
Rome, Roman ~Rome was the most famous city in the world at the time of Jesus. Their soldiersfought and defeated many countries. They made the people obey the rules ofRome. They made them pay taxes to Rome. The people could not rule themselves,but they had to obey the laws of Rome.
sacrifice ~ agift to God to ask him to forgive *sins, or to thank him for something. An giftto God, often an animal or bird, by the *Jews to ask God to forgive their*sins. Jesus gave himself to die as a sacrifice for our *sins.
saint ~ a holyperson; someone who knows Jesus Christ as *Lord.
salvation ~rescue from the punishment and power of *sin.
Satan ~ a namefor the chief bad *spirit; the top devil; he is also called the *devil.
save ~ to rescuesomeone from the results of their *sins
Saviour ~ Jesus,the person who rescues us from the results of our *sins.
seal, sealed ~ asign that something is genuine.
sexual ~ mattersthat are the subject of sex.
shepherd ~someone who looks after sheep; a *pastor.
shield ~ a pieceof *armour that you hold to protect the front of the body.
sin, sinner, sinful ~ when people do things against God; when we do not do the commandsof God; the evil nature that is in us that we were born with.
slavery ~ whenone person owns another person.
spirit ~ evilspirit(s) from the *devil; part of a person when they are alive, which wecannot see; it decides what to do – good or bad; God’s *Holy Spirit, whom Jesuspromised to send to all who know him as the Son of God.
spiritual ~ lifethat relates to the *spirit.
steward ~ someonewho looks after the property of another person.
submit, submitting ~ to give in to another person.
temple ~ aspecial building where people went to praise false gods. (See also Temple.)
Temple ~ thespecial building where *Jews went to praise God; the holy place in heaven whereGod is.
throne ~ a chairfor a king or a god.
universe ~everything that God has made.
weapon ~ a toolof war for attack or defence in war or fighting.
worship ~ to givethanks to God and Jesus; to show God that we love him very much. To tellsomeone that they are very great and that you love them. To love and *praise orthank someone (God) more than anyone else.
John R. W. Stott ~ The Message of Ephesians ~BST ~ IVP
Francis Foulkes ~ Ephesians ~ Tyndale N.T.Commentaries ~ IVP
William Barclay ~ The Letters to the Galatians& Ephesians ~ The Daily Bible Study ~ The St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh
Charles John Ellicott D.D. ~ A Bible Commentaryfor English Readers by various writers ~ Cassell & Company Limited
Eight Translation New Testament ~ Tyndale
© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish LevelB (2800 words).
Visit our website: www.easyenglish.bible
Start with a Study Bible. If you've never used a commentary before (or really studied scripture), then I recommend starting out with a study Bible. A study Bible will provide you with notes and resources on various texts. It will more than likely have cross-references, illustrations, and charts.Is there an app that explains Bible verses? ›
The Blue Letter Bible app gives you access to a powerful set of Bible study tools. If you're looking to dig deep into God's word and understand the key details behind each book and verse, this is a particularly useful app.Is there a free online study Bible? ›
BibleStudyTools.com is the largest free online Bible website for verse search and in-depth studies.What scriptures should beginners read? ›
For first time readers, a popular option is to start with the Gospels and more specifically the Gospel of Mark. The shortest of the four Gospels, it's also thought to be the earliest account to be written. As such there's a helpful urgency to the way it tells the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.How do I talk to God and hear his voice? ›
- Come to God with your request for guidance. ...
- Wait in silence for God to speak for 10-12 minutes. ...
- Jot down any Scripture, songs, impressions, or pictures God gives you. ...
- Share how God spoke to you with your prayer partners and follow God's will.
YouVersion Bible is completely free and lets you listen to books, chapters and verses of the Bible. You can listen to daily Reading Plans that you subscribe to in the Bible App and even pray over your prayer list. YouVersion Bible includes 5 professionally narrated Bible versions (ESV, NLT, NIV, KJV, MSG).Which Bible app is easiest to understand? ›
- Your Version aka The Bible App.
- Olive Tree.
- She Reads Truth.
- NIV Bible App.
- NIV Quest Study Bible.
- Net Bible.
- The Blue Letter Bible.
The Bible app by Life Church is probably the best of all the Bible apps. It comes with a whole bunch of features. The app gives you offline access so you can read the Bible anywhere. On top of that, there are 1400 versions in a variety of languages.Is there a free Bible app with an interesting audio? ›
Blue Letter Bible - The Best Bible Commentary App
More than 1 million+ app users rely on this one of the top Bible study apps for Android to get their daily dose of God. The free Bible app for Android and iPhone devices can offer its user over 30 Bible versions, audio Bibles, text and audio commentaries, and more.
He Reads Truth Bible Study Online
He Reads Truth is a great resource for online Bible studies. They call the studies reading plans but they are more of studies. He Reads Truth is one of my recommendations for free Bible Devotion apps. They also offer bible studies for women and kids so you may want to check those out.
- Christian Leaders Institute's Courses. ...
- International Seminary for Distance Education's courses. ...
- World Bible School's Courses. ...
- Harvard's Course on Religious Literacy. ...
- Bold Christian University's Degree Programs. ...
- Trinity International Theological Seminary.
stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It is a way of getting more out of your time in God's Word. The S.O.A.P method of Bible Study (for individuals or small groups) does not require a theology degree or special leadership skills.What are the opening 3 words of the Bible? ›
 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.What is the shortest Bible verse? ›
"Jesus wept" (Koinē Greek: ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, romanized: edákrusen ho Iēsoûs, pronounced [ɛˈdakrysɛn (h)o i. eˈsus]) is a phrase famous for being the shortest verse in the King James Version of the Bible, as well as many other versions.What order is the best way to read the Bible? ›
When it comes to the reading order of biblical books, it's wise to start with the Gospels since they are biographies of Jesus Christ. Then read Acts, James, 1 John, and the Paul's Letters. After that, read the rest of the New Testament. Then, in the Old Testament, start with Genesis, Psalms, and Daniel.How do you know when God is trying to tell you something? ›
- Repetitive Messages. One really obvious way that God tries to get your attention is repetition. ...
- Friendly Fire. Another obvious sign God is trying to get your attention is through your friends. ...
- Hardened Heart.
How to open your third eye
- Activate your third eye.
- Supplement your diet.
- Apply essential oils.
- Try sun gazing.
- Practice meditation and chanting.
- Use crystals.
The Bible more often portrays God's voice as sounding ordinary and meek than as booming and thunderous.Where was Jesus born exactly? ›
Bethlehem lies 10 kilometres south of the city of Jerusalem, in the fertile limestone hill country of the Holy Land. Since at least the 2nd century AD people have believed that the place where the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, now stands is where Jesus was born.What's the best audio Bible? ›
- The Word of Promise Audio Bible - New King James Version, NKJV: Complete Bible. ...
- James Earl Jones Reads The Bible: King James Version. ...
- Listener's Audio Bible - New International Version, NIV: Complete Bible. ...
- Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table. ...
- The Complete Audio Holy Bible - KJV.
Bible is Fully offline - With No internet connection required to read the bible text once you download the App. Bible comes with an advanced search feature.Which Bible version is the simplest to understand? ›
The EVD uses simpler vocabulary and shorter sentences to make it simpler to understand.Which Bible version is the most accurate and easy to understand? ›
The New American Standard Bible (NASB) holds the reputation for being the “most accurate” Bible translation in English. This translation was first published in 1963, with the most recent edition being published in 1995.What is the most accurate translation of the Bible into English? ›
The New American Standard Bible is a literal translation from the original texts, well suited to study because of its accurate rendering of the source texts. It follows the style of the King James Version but uses modern English for words that have fallen out of use or changed their meanings.Which is the best offline Bible? ›
If you are looking for the best offline Bible apps, consider YouVersion, NIV Bible, King James Bible, Bible App by Olive Tree, ESV Bible, and NKJV Bible. The applications allow you to read scriptures from any location without the internet.Is the NIV Bible the most accurate? ›
The new NIV retains 95% of the words of the 1984 edition, but where there are changes, it communicates the original meaning better to modern readers and more accurately than before. Let me address several issues: gender-neutral language, omission of words, and accuracy of translation.Which Bible app has all the versions of the Bible? ›
YouVersion (also known as Bible.com or the Bible App) is an online and mobile Bible platform published for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and many other operating platforms.Who is the best Bible narrator? ›
Alexander Scourby known by many as "The Voice of the Bible" The King James Version, one of the world's best-loved translations of the Bible is brought to life in this powerful, word-for-word narration by renowned dramatist Alexander Scourby.Is Olive Tree Bible app free? ›
Olive Tree Bible App equips you with easy-to-use Bible study tools and resources so you can stop skimming Scripture and get answers—for free.Is there an audiobook version of the Bible? ›
Listener's Audio Bible - New International Version, NIV: Complete Bible by Max McLean - Audiobook - Audible.com.
- Read through the chapter carefully. Seek to find its main subject or subjects.
- Give each chapter a title that suggests its main content. ...
- Reread the chapter and make a simple outline. ...
- Take note of any practical or theological problems in this chapter.
The scriptures never specify how long we should read the Bible. However, the scriptures do tell us to have the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16). To do this, I recommend we should read the Bible every day for at least 20 minutes to an hour.What is the easiest way to memorize the Bible? ›
- Memorize the Word of God in community. ...
- Memorize along with your family. ...
- Use note cards. ...
- Listen to an audio Bible. ...
- Pray for God to help you. ...
- Study a passage of Scripture deeply. ...
- Find resources to help. ...
- Put Scripture to song.
- Pick a time for your devotional reading. Make it a priority by calendaring it as you would any other important meeting. ...
- Pick a place for your devotional reading. ...
- Pick an accountability partner. ...
- Tell others. ...
- Don't skip a day. ...
- Reward yourself. ...
|Genesis – Gen./Ge./Gn.||Exodus – Ex./Exod.|
|Judges – Judg./Jdg./Jg./Jdgs.||Ruth – Ruth./Rth./Ru.|
|1 Samuel – 1 Sam./1 Sm./1 Sa./1 S.||2 Samuel – 2 Sam./2 Sm./2 Sa./2 S.|
|1 Kings – 1 Kings/1 Kgs./1 Kin./1 Ki./1K||2 Kings – 2 Kings/2 Kgs./2 Kin./2 Ki.|
The Sword Method helps believers learn how to read the Bible as well as understand and apply it to their lives. It starts with a simple picture of a sword, which has four sides that coincide with four questions. We encourage them to ask these same four questions every time they read a passage of Scripture.What are the three modes of Bible Study? ›
Inductive Bible study helps me to understand the Bible passages I read, and the in-depth study of God's Word enriches my soul! The Inductive Bible study Method consists of three main Bible study techniques: observation, interpretation, and application.What's the last word in the Bible? ›
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. That phrase is actually the translation of one word, “tetelestai,” in the original language of the Bible.What is the 1st word in the Bible? ›
The translated word in the Hebrew Bible is Bereshith (בְּרֵאשִׁית): "In beginning". The definite article (the) is missing, but implied. Archē (Ancient Greek: ἀρχή) is the original word used in John 1:1.What is the longest word in the Bible? ›
And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” Psalm 23:1. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” Psalm 56:3. “For the word of God is alive and active” Hebrews 4:12a. “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.How many times Jesus cried in Bible? ›
I said,"Jenny....that's a great question....and most Bible scholars would say that scripture reveals three times when Jesus cried."Where should a beginner start reading the Bible? ›
For first time readers, a popular option is to start with the Gospels and more specifically the Gospel of Mark. The shortest of the four Gospels, it's also thought to be the earliest account to be written. As such there's a helpful urgency to the way it tells the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.What should beginners read first in the Bible? ›
Naturally, reading the beginning of any book would help you understand the rest. However, Genesis proves to be a more important beginning to a story than any other beginning you have ever read. You desperately need to read it. It's the beginning of God's story, but it is also the beginning of your story.What are the different types of Bible commentaries? ›
- Single volume commentary.
- Multi-volume commentary.
- Book length commentary.
Good commentaries can protect us from heretical interpretations, correct our personal biases, and help us come to the conclusions God intended when he wrote his Word. Commentaries also give us windows into the historical context of the people to whom the books were written.What are the 4 types of commentary? ›
- Technical or Critical or Exegetical: Includes very detailed, technical discussion of text. Requires some understanding of the original languages. ...
- Expositional or Essential or Semi-Technical: Includes less technical, but still extensive discussion. ...
- Homiletical: Intended to aid in sermon preparation.
Genres in the Bible
Wisdom literature: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. Psalms: Psalms, Song of Solomon, Lamentations. Prophecy: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
The earliest known commentary on Christian scriptures was by a Gnostic named Heracleon in the 170s CE. Most of the patristic commentaries are in the form of homilies, or discourses to the faithful, and range over the whole of Scripture. There are two schools of interpretation, that of Alexandria and that of Antioch.What happens if you read your Bible everyday? ›
Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."Is it better to read the Bible out loud? ›
The answer might be difficult to determine by reading and re-reading to yourself. But try reading out loud; this forces you to think about emphasis and decide on emphasis with much more attention and focus. At the end of the day, it really matters both what you say and how you say it. Give it a try!What Bible is the easiest to understand? ›
The Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) is an English translation of the Bible compiled by the World Bible Translation Center. It was originally published as the English Version for the Deaf (EVD) by BakerBooks.What is the number one selling study Bible? ›
The Life Application Study Bible (LASB) is the best selling Study Bible of all time, and for good reason. Personally, I would wholeheartedly recommend the The NLT (or NIV) Life Application Study Bible as somebody's first Study Bible. Even if it's not your first Study Bible, it's worth having one of these on your shelf.What is the best method for one to study the Bible? ›
S.O.A.P. Study of the Bible
Scripture: Write the verse in your journal. Observation: Write down observations about the Scripture. Application: How can you apply what you observed in your life? Prayer: Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask Him to give you opportunities to live out this truth.