Ephesians Introduction

What's up everybody. I'm Jason Mayfield and you are watching Grace For Life, a show where I teach the Bible and hopefully help you to experience grace for life through Jesus Christ. And over the course of all of the teaching videos, I'm unpacking that, what that is more and more and more. Now to be fully transparent, this is like the fourth time I've started this video but that's okay because we're in it now. I think I've disabled all the notifications on all the devices. Oh my goodness, leave me alone while I'm trying to record friends. Leave me alone. Anyway, today we're going to be looking at the book of Ephesians but before we do that, I just want to make mention that we are getting close to 5,000 subscribers. Now there is the possibility that by the time this video publishes, we pass that number, but as we are getting closer or at the time of this being filmed we are getting close to 5,000 subscribers and when we hit that I am giving away a Schuyler, Canterbury King James Version Bible.

It's a beautiful, almost heirloom style Bible. It will become part of the family and be one of your most treasured possessions. But that's neither here nor there. We're giving that away when we hit 5,000. I'll be drawing from a random subscriber out of the 5,000 subscribers, so make sure that you do that now. Go subscribe so you have a chance to enter to win. But most importantly, so you will be aware whenever I post videos on this channel, you'll find all kinds of stuff. But I exist with the main purpose, the primary purpose of helping people experience grace for life through Jesus Christ. And I do that through Bible teachings specifically through this show. This is the first show in the new studio. We're here, if you're wondering where the power ranger toys are, here is the original green ranger action figure. And the rest of my toys, not all of them, but a lot of them are displayed on the wall over here, out of the camera's view. But that right there, original green ranger.

So today we're going to talk about Ephesians with every book that I start, which I've only done two on the channel, but anytime that I start teaching through a book of the Bible, I do like to do some background and an introduction to just kind of get us ready to go. So I want to share with you some of the general background information that I typically share to help us get started. Because we always want to make sure that we're reading a book or an epistle in the Bible, or really even just any individual texts in the Bible. We want to make sure that we're reading it in its context, because whenever you take the text out of the context, all you have left is a con. And we certainly don't want to be conned in the scripture. We want to have our full understanding around what this glorious book says. So let's get started.

The first thing I want to talk about is the author of Ephesians. Now immediately what we want to do is we want to say, well, Paul was the author of Ephesians, which personally, I have no reason to disbelieve myself. However, Paul's authorship is not something that goes undisputed. There are people who certainly raise concerns about whether, or not Paul was the author of Ephesians. Now, this is not something unique to the New Testament. When you're looking at New testament books, definite authorship is something that we have on very few works. And one of the only undisputed works of Paul is Galatians. I think some guy in the 19th century raised a couple of concerns, but everybody pretty much ignored him. The Galatians is relatively undisputed for the most part of church history as a work of Paul.

Other epistles written by Paul don't get that same level of, how would you say lack of scrutiny? They don't all pass with flying colors like Galatians does. So Paul's authorship is disputed a little bit and so there's a few options. And I always say this on this channel, my job in what I'm called to do is not to tell you what to believe. And I know that, that's different from a lot of preachers. A lot of preachers will tell you what to believe. My job is to lay things out for you and hopefully you can come to a conclusion that is a conclusion that the holy ghost wants you to come to, because I don't have a corner on the market of truth. But I do try to be aware of all of the angles and that's kind of how I come to my own personal theology. And I've got a video somewhere on this channel talking about that and you can go find it. Go watch all of my videos. I think we've got close to 200 on the channel now.

Pop some popcorn, have a good time. Here's some of the options. First option obviously is that Paul wrote it. That's one of the options that Paul wrote Ephesians, so that's simple enough. Okay? And that's, I personally have no problem with that, that Paul wrote Ephesians. That's honestly where I land at the moment is that Paul wrote Ephesians. The second one is that someone familiar with Paul's teaching wrote Ephesians. That's, that's it. And really honestly, those are really the only two options. Either Paul wrote it or someone familiar with Paul wrote it. However over time, like all things do, people who put their mind to things, I've certainly done it with things in scripture myself, but as people just think through things, they can come up with really elaborate theories for what has happened in the background on the writing of scripture and the way that it came to be. And so you've got people like John Knox, the great theologian who established the Presbyterian church in Scotland.

You've got people like John Knox who would go as far as to say that, Onesimus wrote it and then he showed it to and Tychius signs off on it. And it gives you the seal of approval. And so that's how Ephesians was written, that these two people who we see in some of the epistles written by Paul, kind of collaborated and came up with Ephesians. And so either way I have no problem with it. So the second question that we need to answer is, when was it written? Well, not only do we not know who wrote it, we don't know when it was written either. We do know that it was most likely written sometime between the mid first century and the mid second century. So sometime probably between 50AD and 150AD, and that's a really big time frame. And there's a lot of things that we don't know that would have happened surrounding it. So when was it written? We're not really sure. And then the other thing that we want to know is to whom was it written?

Well, obviously it was written to the Ephesians except that, that's not obvious. So not only do we not know who wrote it, we don't know when it was written and we don't know to whom it was written. So we don't know who the author is, we don't know who the audience is. And ultimately there are a few options with the audience as well. You know, one of them is that Paul wrote it to the Ephesians. Another one is that Paul or whoever wrote it, so we won't go through all of the options of who wrote it in the audience, but the other options are that the audience was for another church or another geographical area and somehow to get kind of drilled down into the specifics of what some people think is that Tychius takes the letter that he's taken to another church. And as he's going, he passes through Ephesus and the Ephesians see the letter and they decide that they want a copy of it and they actually write the greeting to themselves and at the end so they can personalize it to themselves.

That's a bizarre theory, but hey, whatever floats your boat, I guess. And then another theory is that it was actually a letter that was written generically to many churches. And this actually holds up pretty well, believe it or not, just in the context of how Ephesians is written and we'll talk about that in a moment. But it's written to many churches and we just happen to have primarily in our manuscript collection, we primarily have the one that was written to the Ephesians. But we have other manuscripts that match Ephesians that don't have the greetings the Ephesians or to Ephesus specifically. So there's so many options on that as well. So we don't know who wrote it. We don't know when it was written. We don't know to who it was written to. But I want to tell you why this is okay, there's a reason that this is okay. And one of the things that I talk about a lot is I talk about context. I opened talking about this with context.

Context is so important in order to understand the scripture period. The reason that we have so many bizarre one off scripture beliefs floating around in our churches and our modern churches is because we'll take a scripture, have no concern for the context and just build a belief around it where there are things that are written for specific reasons, for a specific purpose. And if we can identify that, that context brings that scripture to life. That being said, there is obviously a context that we do read Ephesians in and that's the context of the New Testament, the new covenant that it is written after the cross. We do take it in the context of the sum of the New Testament. So we take it in its larger context. However, there is no specific issue written about in Ephesians that makes us go, why is this written? Why does this say this? Where you have something like over in first Corinthians where it's talking about a guy sleeping with his stepmother and we need to deal with that is basically what Paul says.

Well we know that there's a specific issue there that's not a mandate that we start a Sunday school class and every one of our churches force people who sleep with their stepmother. We know that this is a specific issue for a specific reason to a specific location. And we kind of know why something like that would be happening in Corinth because we know where it was written to whom it was written to. So we have a lot of things that help us make sense of that. Same thing over in first John, when he talks about anyone who says that Jesus did not come in the flesh is not of God. But if they say Jesus did come in the flesh that he is of God, we know that why he wrote that, because he's dealing with a, I guess we could say in its formation of a gnostic style gospel, you know, so he's dealing with those issues. So that's why he wrote that, it's not some catchall that you can preach a bunch of false doctrine and then go, "But Jesus came in the flesh, oh, this must be one of the good guys." It's not a catchall to just get an approval for your ministry.

So we know that there's not a specific issue in Ephesians that we need a broader context to understand it. Ephesians is pretty much able to be taken at face value in subjection to the bulk and the rest of scripture. So as we move on, we're going to be taking Ephesians kind of at face value and in the next episode we're going to pick up with Ephesians chapter one verse one, so that's the introduction to Ephesians. We don't know who wrote it, when it was written, to whom it was written to, but that's okay. That's the big picture of everything that we talked about today. So listen, if you'll do me a favor, if you like these videos, if you like this kind of content, make sure that you like, you comment and you subscribe, that all of those things really help us to reach more people with this message, with these videos, it helps the YouTube algorithm to say, let me put this video in front of someone else.

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