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N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study: Ephesians
About this Series
The widely respected pastor and New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright, walks you book by book through the entire New Testament in this series. Perfect for group use or daily personal reflection, these studies use the popular inductive method combined with Wright's thoughtful insights to bring contemporary application of Scripture to life.
About this Volume
Have you noticed how sometimes you have a story in the back of your mind that keeps coming up, even when you're talking about something else? In Ephesians, throughout its worship, prayers and instructions for living, Paul can't contain his joy and amazement at the larger story of God's plan to save us in Jesus the Messiah. These eleven studies from N.T. Wright will help us see the significance of our role in God's grand narrative, and encourage us to live more fully as people who are lavishly loved by God.
This volume also available as part of a money-saving bundle.
- Includes suggestions for individual and group study (with leader's guide)
- Features the popular inductive Bible study method with notes and comments from a world-renowned New Testament scholar
- Designed specifically for lay people to facilitate contemporary application of Scripture
From the Preface
The most successful tourist attraction to appear in London in recent years is the London Eye. From a distance it looks like a giant Ferris wheel, but this is no fun-fair ride. For a start, it's far, far bigger: it rises to 450 feet above the River Thames. Its thirty-two capsules can each hold twenty people, and it takes them half an hour to rotate the full circle. Plenty of time to have a wonderful view of all central London, with its historic buildings and palaces, its cathedrals and abbeys, its parks and gardens, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the foreground. The London Eye is, in fact, not only a wonderful sight in itself, visible from many points in the capital. It is the place from which you can get the best possible view of London. To do any better, you'd have to go up in an airplane, and indeed it is operated and run by one of the airline companies.
The letter to the Ephesians stands in relation to the rest of Paul's letters rather like the London Eye does to the rest of the capital. It isn't the longest or fullest of his writing, but it offers a breathtaking view of the entire landscape. From here, as the wheel turns, you get a bird's-eye view of one theme after another within early Christian reflection: God, the world, Jesus, the church, the means of salvation, Christian behavior, marriage and the family, and spiritual warfare. Like someone used to strolling around London and now suddenly able to see familiar places from unfamiliar angles--and to see more easily how they relate to each other within the city as a whole--the reader who comes to Ephesians after reading the rest of Paul will get a new angle on the way in which his thinking holds together.
This letter was originally intended as a circular to various churches in the Ephesus area. It was written around A.D. 60-62 while Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was in a Roman prison. (For an account of how Saul of Tarsus became Paul, a believer in Jesus the Messiah, read Ac 9:1-31.) A copy of this letter might well have remained in the possession of the church in Ephesus, and someone later on might have assumed that it was written to Ephesus rather than from there.Since in Colossians--which is very similar to Ephesians in many ways—Paul says that he's sending a letter to Laodicea which will be passed on to them, it's clear he did indeed sometimes write circular letters. The present letter might even be that "letter to Laodicea," though we can't now be sure of that. And at the start of chapter 3 of the present letter, Paul seems to be talking to various people who don't know him and his work firsthand—which would hardly have applied in Ephesus itself, where he spent a long time (Ac 19). If we suppose that he intended the letter to go to several young churches within a hundred miles or so of Ephesus, we shan't go far wrong.
As we study Ephesians in this guide, prepared with the help of Lin Johnson for which I am grateful, we look to be strengthened and encouraged as Christians for the new tasks that lie ahead. We should also remember that all genuine Christian life and action flows out of worship. True worship of the true God cannot help telling and retelling, with joy and amazement, the story of what this God has done in Jesus the Messiah. Enjoy the view. You won't get a better one.
About the Author(s)
N. T. Wright, formerly bishop of Durham in England, is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He was formerly canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He also taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Wright's full-scale works The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God and The Resurrection of the Son of God are part of a projected six-volume series titled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Among his many other published works are Surprised by Hope and Simply Christian.
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