© 2000 by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.
Neptune, New Jersey
First Edition, In the Heavenlies, 1937
Revised Edition, Ephesians, 2000
Unless otherwise indicated,
Scripture quotations are taken from the King James version of the Bible.
Introductory Notes taken from
Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
© 1970, 1985 by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.
By Arno C. Gaebelein
The Destination of the Epistle
The city of Ephesus was a place of considerable commerce and the center of the worship of the goddess Artemis (called Diana in Acts 19:24-29). Her magnificent temple was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
From Acts 18:19-21 we learn of Paul’s first brief visit to that city. He was then hastening to Jerusalem to be there at Pentecost. After his visit to Jerusalem he returned to Ephesus (Acts 19:1) and labored there for about three years, so that later he could say to the elders of Ephesus, “Remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31). During this time the Ephesian assembly was founded, being composed of Jews and Gentiles who heard and believed the gospel. On his last journey to Jerusalem Paul did not visit Ephesus, but called the elders of the church to meet him at Miletus, where he said farewell and earnestly exhorted them (Acts 20:18-38).
The Epistle to the Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul while he was a prisoner. It was carried from Rome to Ephesus by Tychicus about a.d. 62 and may have been used as a kind of circular letter, being sent to and read by other assemblies as well.
The Message of the Epistle
The highest and most glorious revelation that God has been pleased to give, He has given through the apostle Paul; and his Ephesian Epistle holds the place of pre-eminence. The revelation that is given in this Epistle concerning believing sinners, whom God has redeemed by the blood of His Son and exalted in Him to the highest possible position, is by far the greatest revelation. Here God is revealing His own loving heart and telling out by His Spirit how He loved us and thought of us “before the foundation of the world” (1:4). He is showing forth “the riches of his grace” (1:7) and making known the secret He held back in former ages. How rich it all is! Like God Himself, this revelation coming from His loving heart is inexhaustible.
We may speak of Ephesians as the rich Epistle of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” who, being “rich in mercy,” tells us of “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (1:3; 2:4, 7). But even this definition does not tell out half of all the glory this wonderful document contains. It is God’s highest and God’s best.
In the Psalms we read, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (19:1). We lift up our eyes and behold the wonders of God’s creation, which He called into existence by His Son and for Him (see Colossians 1:16). In the Epistle to the Ephesians another heaven is opened. If the heavens of creation are so wonderful and their depths unfathomable, how much more wonderful are the heavenlies into which Christ has entered to be seated far above all principality and power and might, and into which God’s grace has brought us in Christ!
Therefore Paul pleaded, “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (4:1). What the calling is, is revealed in the first three chapters of Ephesians; and the last three chapters contain exhortations and instructions to “walk worthy” of this high calling in order to display the great masterwork of God, which is the redemption of sinners.
God’s creation and His revelation, the Bible, may be studied by the telescope and the microscope. A telescopic sweep of this wonderful Epistle is hardly sufficient; it is the microscopic examination that brings out its wonders. The more we read and study this Epistle, the more we will be impressed with the greatness and the glory of the revelation it brings to our hearts. It is a theme for eternity.
Outline Of The Book Of Ephesians
I. The Precious Doctrines Of Christ (1:1-3:21)
A. Our Inheritance (1:1-23)
1. The Christian’s Calling (1:1-3)
2. Election and Predestination (1:4-5)
3. Accepted in the Beloved (1:6)
4. Redemption by His Blood (1:7)
5. Gathered into One (1:8-12)
6. Sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13-14)
7. Paul’s Prayer for the Saints (1:15-23)
B. Our Peace (2:1-22)
1. The Christian’s Past, Present, and Future (2:1-7)
2. God’s Workmanship (2:8-10)
3. Made Nigh by the Blood of Christ (2:11-18)
4. Built Together for a Habitation of God (2:19-22)
C. Our Confidence (3:1-21)
1. The Revelation of the Mystery (3:1-13)
2. The Love of Christ (3:14-21)
II. The Practical Duties Of Christians (4:1-6:24)
A. Be No More Children (4:1-32)
1. Walking Worthy of Our Calling (4:1-6)
2. Gifts from the Ascended Christ (4:7-13)
3. Manifesting the Truth in Love (4:14-16)
4. Put On the New Man (4:17-24)
5. Grieve Not the Holy Spirit (4:25-32)
B. Be Followers of God (5:1-33)
1. Purity of Life (5:1-7)
2. The Fruit of the Spirit (5:8-14)
3. The Filling of the Spirit (5:15-21)
4. The Christian Family (5:22-33)
C. Be Strong in the Lord (6:1-24)
1. The Christian Household (6:1-9)
2. The Christian’s Conflict (6:10-12)
3. The Whole Armor of God (6:13-17)
4. Prayer in the Spirit (6:18-24)