Ephesians Commentary, Summary, and Key Verses

by Jack Wellman on August 10, 2011 · Print Print · Email Email

Ephesians is one of the most encouraging books in the New Testament. I offer the following commentary and summary for Ephesians in this article.

Ephesians Commentary

Purpose and Themes

The purpose of the book of Ephesians was to warn the church elders about the false teachers that were teaching a false gospel and to maintain their first love that they held when they first became believers.  Paul doesn’t specify a specific heresy but does seem to want them to be identified with Christ and one in a sense of purpose.  Love is an often repeated verb that Paul uses in Ephesians and he expresses it as an action verb.

There is also Paul’s emphasis that Jew and Gentile are one in the same in Jesus Christ and so this ought to be expressed in their love for one another.  Paul is also interested in the practical implications of Christian behavior.  And the Christian needs to put on the whole armor of God to be protected from spiritual warfare.  There is also the importance of the marital relationship and that of the entire family but that is not said to be one of the primary purposes (Ephesians 5:22 – 6:1-4).

Audience & Geographical Location

The recipients of Ephesians were the resident of Ephesus which was the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor.  Their city was a center of pagan worship and was home of the Temple of Diana (or Artemis).  The residents lived in an important commercial center that ranked close to Alexandria in Egypt in importance and as an educational and political base.  The Ephesians letter may have been circulated and read by churches in Laodicea and in Colossae.

Part of the calling of the church is to be giving praise to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul writes about predestination in the first two chapters of Ephesians.  Predestination is a comfort for Christians who are steeped in the secular world, like the church at Ephesus was. Ephesians is an amazing descriptive letter about God’s election and His predestining of believers that describes God‘s calling of us before the earth even existed.  That He predestined us before the earth was even created is just too awesome to consider in all its implications.  This call from God is entirely from His good pleasure and His own call alone (Ephesians 1:4).  His call of believers and our salvation is God’s doing alone.  We simply have to throw ourselves on the mercy of God and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  That is the only thing that the believer contributes to their salvation.

Even though we are saved by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, a believer is nonetheless called to become holy and blameless in His sight.  Our obedience is an expression of our love for Him.  God’s goal of our election is that we will be a praise of His glorious grace.  Christians are chosen so that they will praise God and the Father and this is part of the great purpose of God in calling men, women, and children to Him. The Westminster Catechism is along this same line that our purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

Ephesians Summary

The Power to Save

The Holy Spirit seals us as a guarantee of our salvation so we don‘t have to worry that one day we are saved only to believe that the next day we might be lost.  When the Holy Spirit seals us He gives Christians inheritance rights that we already hold since we now already belong to and are a possession of God’s.  How much more is God glorified in us than by taking wrath-deserving sinful vessels and making them “trophies” in God’s showcase of His grace?  This defies human logic.

Another part of our calling is that He brings dead corpses to life by His power alone which brings Him glory.  The miracle that Jew and Gentile, which were in relationship to each other hostile by nature, are made to be in union with one another in Christ and is further cause for God’s glorification and praise worthiness.

To Glorify, be Holy and Humble

And we were called by God for good works that God has ordained for us eons ago so that His workmanship can be displayed to the world (Ephesians 2:10).  This absolutely glorifies God because it is not for us to brag about but a sovereign work of God alone (Ephesians 2:9).   We are saved for good works and never by good works.

For the church to walk in unity and holiness the church should live worthy of their calling by God.  Humility promotes unity as believers consider or esteem others better than themselves (Walvoord and Zuck, 632).  Humility is the opposite of pride.  The Greeks saw humility as a weakness and as something to be practiced only by slaves but God highly esteems meek and gentle spirits because pride and humility can not coexist. Holiness and unity are bedfellows because if we are bearing with one another we are treating others with love and respect.  Since believers all have the same hope we should act as a unified body of believers.

Gifts of the Believers & Unity

Gifts are given as equally distributed among the members of the body of Christ for the benefit of all its members (Ephesians 4:7-11).  Paul stats that every member of the body is fitted perfectly together as it pleases God and since we are joined together carefully, there should be unity in this body.  Since each of the members support each other there is made possible a growth in holiness.  Unified growth is by the means of a unified body.

God tells the church to walk in holiness and to be separate from the world (Eph 4:17-32).  Putting off the old self of the former carnal nature enable believers to walk as a new creature in Christ; in holiness and in righteousness.  Walking in love is to be more like Christ and thus more holy, however if we hold grudges and try to avenge ourselves then Satan can get a foothold in us and we can turn to bitterness and become slanderous and unforgiving.  The church is made to walk in love in light of their lives.  Walking with God is basically living out God’s principles in a Christian’s daily life just as Enoch walked with God and never tasted death (Genesis 5:24)  Holiness is displayed when we love each other as Christ loves us and when we are unified in purpose as Jesus was in unity with the Father and was one in purpose with Him.

My children and grandchildren imitate me and so I should be imitating God so that they will imitate God.  When we walk in love (that is living it out) we imitate God because He is the consummate expression of love.  Walking in love is sacrificing our time, energy, and assets for others.  As He gave Himself up for us, we should give up ourselves and even our own agendas to serve others.

God is light and His light shines before us and just as the moon has no source of light in itself but reflects the sunlight, we should reflect the light given to us by God and shine it on others.  Love inhabits lights as John said, “He who loves his brother abides in (or dwells in) the light” (I John 2:10).  The children of light live according to Him Who is life and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).  Light is opposed to darkness and exposes the darkness and thus the fruit of the light are righteousness, goodness, and living a holy life.  There is no iniquity in light, no sexual immorality, greed, or disobedience and so Christians should not be walking in (living in) darkness but in His light.

The Bride Groom & the Bride

True wisdom is living in submission to the Lord and as the husband submits to God and he is the head of the wife, the wife ought to submit to her husband as in the same manner as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-33).  The husband-wife relationship is like the church’s relationship to Christ Who is its head.  Christ loves the church and He expressed this love by giving up His life for her so husbands should be giving up their lives (in living it out day by day) for their wives.  I am a pastor but it is not my church, it is Jesus’ church.  I am simply an under-shepherd or overseer of it.  I too must submit to Jesus as my head.

Christ’s purpose is to present the church spotless, perfect, and without blemish and so the husband being the spiritual head of the family must be the spiritual leader in striving for his wife and the children to live as perfectly as possible.  Like Christ and His church become one in unity and purpose so husband and wife become one in flesh and also in unity and purpose.  True wisdom is the husband loving the wife as his own body and the wife being in submission to her husband as the church should be in submission to Christ.  This is how Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for the church and so the church reasonably ought to be in submission to Him Who is the head of the church.

Be Ready for Battle

 The shield of faith is able to extinguish the wicked spirit's fiery darts that will be fired at them.

The shield of faith is able to extinguish the wicked spirit’s fiery darts that will be fired at them.

If the church is to survive in her spiritual warfare she needs to have the full armor that a warrior would wear as he goes into battle (Ephesians 6:10-20).  The arrows and fiery darts are not literal arrows but they are no less real and dangerous.  To stand is like a warrior digging in and taking up arms with which to fight.  To stand is not to be passive but to be proactive.  The enemy is too much for mere mortals so Christians had better be equipped with the weapons and armor of God.  This is the only way we can stand in defense of the powerful spiritual forces of evil.

God’s truth is the believer’s integrity and faithful obedience secures the belt on them.  Christ’s own righteousness is the breastplate that believers wear for protection from the enemy’s assaults and protects them in knowing that they are secure in Christ.  The Gospel’s assurance for the believer gives them sure footing in this battle.  The shield of faith is able to extinguish the wicked spirit’s fiery darts that will be fired at them.  Faith in the Lord enables the believer to stop these otherwise deadly arrows of Satan.  The helmet of salvation is close to the believer’s brain and typifies the knowledge of their future deliverance which protects their thoughts and keeps them from giving up.  The Word of God, the Bible, is the only offensive weapon the believer has.  It can be used offensively when needed and is a good reason for believers to hide God’s Word (Scripture) in their heart or memorize it.

Ephesians Key Verses

Ephesians 1:4-7For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Ephesians 1:11-14In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,  in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

Ephesians 2:1-2As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

Ephesians 2:8-9For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 3:17-19so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 4:4-6There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:11-12So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

Ephesians 5:21-25Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Ephesians 5:31For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Ephesians 6:12-13For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Conclusion

This letter to the church at Ephesus encourages, admonishes and teaches believers even today of God’s plan for His church. Paul offers so much information in these six chapters. When you read and study this book you can understand that the Holy Spirit gives the believer what they need to be saved, holy and God-honoring. You will also come to understand and perhaps even consider the gifts that God has given to you as a believer. Paul compares and explains the purpose of our earthy marriage and how that relates to things in eternity. He finishes the book by explaining that all believers will be faced with spiritual warfare and he gives six examples of the weapons that are at every believer’s disposal to thwart the wiles of the devil. This is a book in the Bible that should be studied and understood by all believers.

What is your favorite Bible verse from the book of Ephesians? Share it in the comments!

Source – The Holy Bible, New International Version, THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide; Image courtesy of / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

val August 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

God is precise: It is a woman Rev 12 that delivers the true word John1:1, Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 who restores Acts 3:21 all things to the world before Christ’s return. This woman exposes the lies of Satan who has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9. This woman creates a new thing in the earth by fulfilling God’s promise to Eve Gen 3:15, Jer 31:22, Isa 14:16. Moses and Elijah are together with the word Matt 17:3 they all three are in this one woman. She is like unto Moses Num 12:3. She was raised up Acts 3:22 from the Laodicean church that becomes lukewarm because they refused to hear her Rev 3:14-17. She is bold like Elijah Matt 17:11, Luke 1:17. As Elijah was alone declaring the true God to the people 1 Kings 18:22 so also her witness alone turns the hearts of the fathers to the children Mal 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the Lords return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord Matt 17:3, Luke 9:30. Those who will not hear Acts 3:23 the true word of God she now delivers to the world free of charge, as a witness, at the heel of time from the wilderness Rev 12:6 will not be allowed inside the walls of God’s coming kingdom from heaven Rev 21. This true testimony of the true value of the blood of the Lamb delivers the truth that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. God created evil Isa 45:7 to teach his children the knowledge of good and evil Rom 8:7, Gen 3:22 so that at their resurrection they become a god Matt 22:29-30, Ps 82:6. Prove all things. You cannot rightly judge this unless you read all that has been written by this woman first Pro 18:13. Start here http://minigoodtale.wordpress.com Check out the bruising of Satan and the reason for all of mankind’s sufferings. This is the Gospel that shall be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end will come.

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Jack August 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Thank you for your comment but I disagree because the Bible says that God is in the masculine form although God is not a man and He is not a woman either. The “woman” you mention so many times is the church which is what the bride of Christ is and Jesus, marries the church. HE marries SHE…the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7 and elsewhere)

I have espoused you (the True Church) to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin (a bride) to Christ. (2 Cor 11.2b, KJV)

And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom (Jesus) mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? (Mt 9.15a)

just as He (the Father) chose us (the True Church) in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world (Eph 1.4a)

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him (God) glory, for the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) has come, and His wife (the True Church) has made herself ready.

And to her (the bride) it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he (an angel) said, “Write: `Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Rev 19.7-9)

Also you mentioned that we are to be gods…this is false. The definition of God is having always existed, without beginning and without ending. Humans have NOT always existed and were created. Gods are not created..they create. You have taken Psalm 82:6 out of context. God was not saying we are gods at all in the sense you mean it. Read the next verse as we can not take text out of context in the Bible. God will not hold him or her guiltless who distorts the Word of God. I tell you that as a friend would a friend.

Psalm 86:6-7 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”

God’s can not die, thus God was using satirical because, if you read the whole chapter, Israel was abusing the poor and destitute in the land during the times of the Judges. Read any Study Bible or Bible commentary and it will tell you the same thing.

Thank you for visiting.

Thank you Val for visiting anyway and for your comment.

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BJ March 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Brother thank you for so elequantly stating the obvious from the word of God! I am amazed at what people with good intentions come up with. I praise God for wisdom and understanding. You cannot have one without the other! We must be careful of all extremes Ecclesiastes 7:16-18… Be encouraged Man of God!

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Jack March 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

You blessed my heart. I am so overjoyed but truly the praise and glory belong to God. The Holy Spirit reveals the meaning of Scripture to us so I can only deflect the credit to our Mighty God…and pray that I can reflect the Great Son of God, Jesus Christ. Words full of grace and the love of God BJ make me so happy, even though I am just an empty vessel without His Spirit. Please come back again soon…and thank you so very much.

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Pam August 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

My favorite from Ephesians is 2:8-9 because I was so amazed and delighted when I learned that the gift of grace is available to all and we don’t need to work for it. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

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Francis September 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

Thanks for the exposition.

He predestined us for adoption to sonship. Our Father and Jesus his son our saviour have PRINCIPLES. The principles are laid clearly in the word: obedience thus bearing fruit. Jesus said, “he who listens/ obeys my word will be like one who built his house on the rock…” Matthew 7:24-27 Obedience is key. Even better Christ sent us the Holy Spirit on whom we rely for spiritual strength, wisdom, insight… and maintenance of our focus on serving Christ. He said, “but when the spirit of truth comes he will guide into all truth…” John 16:12-13. Therefore it is important to live lives that are worthy of the calling we received. Sin destroys, but the blood of Jesus washes it away for those that confess and do everything in their power to overcome its reign in their lives (repent).

We are sons and daughters in Christs kingdom. We must abide by the principles of his house into which we have been adopted. Failure to do so can culminate into adverse outcomes. Revelation 2:5.

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Jack Wellman September 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Francis, thank you so much for your comment and for visiting us at the website. We appreciate you.

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naomi September 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I totally loved this. Very inspiring. I needed the understanding and insights on what you taught here. I pray that the good lord continues to bless and give you power to enlighten others in Jesus name. I just want to say thank you so very much. Remain blessed.

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Jack September 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Wow Naomi. What a blessing you are with such words filled with grace. May God bless you and thank you for visiting us my friend. I want to also thank you for such edifying words of encouragement.

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BJ March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

My favorite verse from Ephesians is Eph 1:16-23! This is a prayer that Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus… Powerful and revealing prayer. I pray this prayer often!

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Jack March 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Wow BJ. I am sorry I missed that one. We would do well to include that in an article called “Great Prayers of the Bible” and include it along with Jesus’ Great Priestly Prayer in John 17 and Nehemiah’s Prayer for National Revival. I need to pray that. Thank you. As a pastor, it is even more relevant to me but truly to all of us. Thank you for that. I needed it.

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Psalms 27 August 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

my favorite verse is Chapter 6:1-2. I memorized it since I was a child. Application is really difficult but by God’s grace I did it and still doing it. Now I’m a father, I will pass this verse to my baby Girl. Hoping and praying that when she has come of age she will also accept the Lord Jesus Christ as her savior and she will also obey this verse by God’s grace.

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Jack Wellman August 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Wow…that is so awesome. You sound like such a good and godly father…and in this day and age, there are not enough like you sir. What an awesome thing to pass on your spiritual heritage of the Lord to your children. May God richly bless you dad. Congratulations.

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Ron Boren January 13, 2013 at 12:03 am

Hi Jack, by what I’ve read this evening, you are a very knowledgeable pastor. Would you please allow me an explanation to the two accounts of the creation in Genesis? Thank you, Ron

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Jack Wellman January 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Hello Mr. Boren. I am not sure about being knowledgeable but how can I help you sir? I will try my best.

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DAVID March 5, 2013 at 6:15 am

Hi thank you so much for revealing the truths in ephesians so clearly you are a man after my own heart
and my God continue to use you for his glory

bless you brother

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Jack Wellman March 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

Thank you David. Of myself, I can boast of nothing but must reflect all glory, honor, and praise back to God Himself, who truly deserves it all.

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Norma April 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I have 2 favorites- Eph 1 v 3 statind that we have all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms in Christ and verse 19 which tells me believers have been given the incomparably great power and this power is like the power the Father exerted when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him above all other powers and dominion.
I have never heard any comment on this fantastic power that believers have. This confirms that by His Divine power He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus

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Jack Wellman April 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Norma, you make an excellent point. It is hard to single out some above others and I see I should have well included these as they are most powerful. I am glad you are enjoying this most special book of Paul’s. Thank you for contributing an important component to it.

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Grant May 20, 2013 at 1:11 am

This is by far one of the most important books in the Bible, for me anyways. Thank you for these insightful summaries of the lessons taught throughout the book. I am at a troublesome spot in my relationship with God and my pastor asked me to read this book again. These explanations God has presented me with through you are greatly encouraging. Thanks again!

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jenny clarke August 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Hi.greetings in the name of JESUS our LORD and SAVIOUR..you do not find many people who can simplify the word of GOD or should i say the revelation of the scriptures.i truly see you have studied to show yourself approved .i am reading the book of ephesians ,and truly this elightenment helps alot ,it truly brings to light the purpose GOD has for his children ,those who would accept him as SAVIOUR.we all have sinned and fall short of his glory ,but HIS AMAZING GRACE has truly made a difference in our lives.GOD BLESS …

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Jack Wellman August 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Ephesians is one of my favorite books of the Bible and reminds me of Romans chapter 8. How gracious, loving, merciful, and full of grace is our God to call us out before even anything existed! That blows my mind but of course, that is why He is God! Praise His holy name.

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Joana April 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

Wonderful teachings. I pray His favour shines on you, Man of God. Can you please send me an exposition of Ephesians Chapter 6:10-20

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Jack Wellman April 2, 2014 at 11:51 am

Thank you Joana. Instead of sending you Eph 6 commentary notes or an expository study, please check this wonderful Bible study and Bible commentary link at: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/ephesians/ephesians-6.html which deals with all of Ephesians chapter 6. Thank you for your kind words and please let me know if it helped you Joana.

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