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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 5:1-21 – Study Prompts #2


  1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
  2. Read Ephesians 5:1-21
  3. In Ephesians 5:7, Paul draws a contrast to Ephesians 5:1.  At the beginning of the chapter, Paul challenges Christians to imitate our Heavenly Father.  In 5:7, he contrasts and challenges Christians to NOT imitate (or join) the world in its sinfulness.  In what ways are you personally tempted to “imitate” the world instead of following God’s plan?
  4. The overall context for this chapter focuses on believers in Jesus Christ imitating their Heavenly Father.  From 5:1-6, we are encouraged to imitate the love of God.  From 5:8-14, Paul mentions that we are also to imitate (or follow) in “light” and not darkness.  The root of this comes from the fact that God is light.  This is a notion that is mentioned throughout the Scripture.  A few references to God being light are:  Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 60:19, Isaiah 49:6, John 1:9, 8:12, and 1 John 1:5.  What do you think the main idea is by saying that “God is light”?
  5. STUDY NOTE:  Understanding the biblical idea of “light” is very important to understanding this section of Ephesians.  John MacArthur has accurately summarized the biblical meaning of “light” when he says, “In Scripture the figurative use of light has two aspects, the intellectual and the moral.  Intellectually it represents truth, whereas morally it represents holiness.  To live in light therefore means to live in truth and in holiness.  The figure of darkness has the same two aspects.  Intellectually it represents ignorance and falsehood, whereas morally it connotes evil.”
  6. Based on what you have seen in the book of Ephesians so far (in particular review Ephesians 2:1-3 and 4:17-19), what does Paul mean when he says that before Christ, people ARE “darkness” (5:8)?  Based on what you have seen in Ephesians so far (pay special attention to 2:4-10 and 4:20-24), what does it mean that we are now “light” (5:8)?
  7. To walk in as “children of light” means that we are living in truth and holiness, not ignorance and evil.  “Walking” is a biblical figure for the everyday action and rhythm of our lives.  We are to live out our days marked with holiness and truth.  5:9 speaks of our lives producing holy “fruit” or actions, and 5:10 points to our lives organized around God’s truth that we vigorously pursue.  While this is the pattern of the Christian life, the Bible does not imply that we will live a perfect life.  Far from it.  Take a moment and read a parallel passage on living in the light: 1 John 1:5-9.  What does this passage add to your understanding of what it means to “walk as children of light”?
  8. Instead of joining the world in sinful behavior, the Christian is called to “expose it” (5:11).  What do you think Paul has in mind when he calls on believers to expose sin, not join it?  Is this a call for Christians to become the world’s moral police, or is there a different idea Paul has in mind?
  9. STUDY NOTE:  One of the most effective ways Christians expose sin and darkness is to live a life of purity and holiness.  An honest person makes dishonest people uncomfortable.  Their mere example contrasts the sin around them.  However, there are times when an example is not enough, and sin must be confronted with words.  While it is appropriate to do this, we must be careful (according to 5:12) to not speak to explicitly about the evil that is practiced.  Describing the details of past or present sin might enflame others to sin themselves.  Some modern preachers (and Christians) feel it necessary to speak in vulgar detail about sin under the banner of “telling it like it is” however, this passage would warn us to use discretion and moderation when speaking of sin.  We are to expose sin, but we do not have to break it down verbally in all its parts.
  10. STUDY NOTE:  There is some debate over the correct translation of Ephesians 5:13-14.  The ESV translates this section, “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. . .”  A better translation of this verse is the NIV which says, “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible . . .”  In other words, the big idea here is that Christians help the world understand things in “truth” and not “ignorance.”  It is not that the Christian will make EVERYTHING “light” as the ESV implies.  The idea is that God will use the Christian to help add truth to life.
  11. The quotation in 5:14 is apparently from an ancient Christian hymn (extra-biblical) but based on Isaiah 60:1.  The big idea is that Christians are not to sleep walk through life, but to be alert and live intentionally according to God’s commands.  Is there an area of your life right now where you have been “sleep walking” and not actively seeking to walk with Christ?

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:


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