I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book. NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Study Prompts #1
- As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- Read Ephesians 1:15-16
- STUDY NOTE: In the original language (Ephesians was originally written in Greek) verses 15-23 are one long sentence! This was the same as 1:3-14. Paul uses two of the most complicated sentences in all of the New Testament to kick off this great letter! The punctuation you see in our English translations is designed to make the passage more readable. The punctuation does not take much away from the intended meaning of the passage, but understanding that these verses basically form one long thought in Paul’s mind might help us better see the big idea in his prayer for the Ephesians.
- Paul begins 1:15 by saying “For this reason.” These words help connect what Paul just said (1:3-14) with what he is getting ready to say (1:15-23). Take a moment and write out your own summary of 1:3-14. The truth of 1:3-14 is the reason Paul is praying for the Ephesians!
- In 1:15, Paul thinks of two things he has observed in the Ephesian Christians that authenticate the fact that they are genuine believers. What are these two observations? In what way do you see these two observations being great markers of any genuine Christian?
- STUDY NOTE: At the end of 1:15, Paul refers to the Ephesians “love toward all the saints.” in our modern vernacular, we often use the word “saint” to only refer to a select group of special Christians who have been especially honored by the church and/or God. However, the biblical idea of a “saint” is much broader. The term actually means “holy one.” As we saw in Ephesians 1:4, all who are “in Christ” have been made holy. When Paul uses the term “saint” he is not referring to a select group of Super-Christians. Instead, he is referring to ALL Christians. If you have placed your faith in Christ, you are a saint to Paul . . . and (more importantly) God.
- Quickly scan Revelation 2:1-7. The events of Revelation (including the letter to this same Ephesian church) took place about 40 years after Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 1:15, the Ephesians are commended for their love, however in Revelation 2:1-7, they were rebuked for their LACK of love. What do these events remind us about the nature of the Christian life and/or church life?
- Paul tells the Ephesians in 1:16 that he is praying for them without ceasing. This does not mean praying for the Ephesians was all he did, but it implies that he was regularly bringing the Ephesians before God in prayer. Think of someone (or a group of someone’s) in your life that God has placed on your heart. Make it a regular practice to pray for them . . . AND take some time this week to write them a note to let them know that you are regularly praying for them. No doubt Paul’s statement in 1:16 was greatly encouraging to this group of believers in Ephesus. Your statement that you are praying for another will most likely encourage them as well!
For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:
- Packed – Series Introduction
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #3)
- The “In Crowd” (Devotional/Sermon Preview)
- Packed Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #1 Sermon Audio/Video