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For videos, study guides and other resources, visit Third Millennium Ministries at thirdmill.org.


Lesson Three

Paul and the Ephesians

Discussion Forum



Paul’s Prison Epistles
© 2012 by Third Millennium Ministries

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Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 International Bible Society. Used by Permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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Contents


Question 1:
Why do some people question Paul’s authorship of Ephesians?
1

Question 2:


In what ways is Ephesians similar to Paul’s other writings? 2

Question 3:


Why is the authorship of Ephesians important? 2

Question 4:


Why would someone forge a letter in Paul’s name? 3

Question 5:


Did Paul really write this letter to the Ephesians? If not, what difference does it make? 4

Question 6:


Does this letter address local problems in Ephesus, or only in the wider community? 5

Question 7:


Why should a Gentile be excited about a Jewish Messiah? 6

Question 8:


Do God’s promises to Old Testament Israel apply to the church? 6

Question 9:


Have significant distinctions between Jews and Gentiles been eliminated? 7

  7


Question 10:
In what way is the modern church one body? 7

Question 11:


Does God love diversity? 8

Question 12:

Did Paul downplay the idea of the kingdom of God for Gentile readers in Ephesians? 9

Question 13:

Is the idea of the kingdom of God just a metaphor? How does it affect us today? 10

Question 14:


What is the relationship between spiritual gifts and church offices in Ephesians 4? 11

Question 15:


Do all church offices mentioned in Ephesians 4 still exist? 12

Question 16:


Does Paul’s instruction that wives submit to their husbands apply to every culture? 13

Question 17:


Is the armor of God entirely defensive, or does it also have an offensive quality? 13

Question 18:


What is the main way we engage in spiritual warfare? 14

Question 19:


Are praise and worship supposed to be primarily musical? 15

Question 20:


How does worship in the gathered church differ from other types of worship? 17

Question 21:


How do we reconcile the individual and corporate aspects of the gospel? 17

Question 22:


What is the relationship between the gospel and the kingdom of God? 18

Question 23:


What are some practical ways to build the kingdom of God? 19

With

Dr. Reggie Kidd


Students

Larry Gwaltney

Rob Griffith

Question 1:

Why do some people question Paul’s authorship of Ephesians?


Student: Reggie, we do have an account, written by Luke of Paul’s ministry to the Ephesians yet some people question Paul’s authorship of the book of Ephesians. Why do they do that, it strikes me as odd?
Dr. Kidd: Well, when you read Ephesians you realize that some things are a little bit different here than the way Paul customarily expresses himself. The language is more elevated. Sometimes people call it more full. For instance, in Ephesians 1:19, Paul piles up four different words for power. And if you just read the Greek and kind of get used to the way Paul expresses himself in say, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans and you read Ephesians, it just feels a little different, a little bit more elevated, and a little more exalted. Then you notice that sometimes he’ll use a similar word, or the same words, only they mean something a little bit different. Like in Colossians, he talks about the mystery as being Christ and in Ephesians mystery is Jew and Gentile being brought together.

Some ideas that seem kind of important to him in the early letters have changed. Like in the early letters, every time he uses the word “works” in the plural, he means works of the law as some sort of attempt to establish a relationship with God. Well, all of the sudden now in Ephesians, “works” in the plural gets used for what we do on the far side of salvation. In the early letters, when he talks about gifts he seems to be talking more about function in the church. And here in Ephesians, when he talks about gifts it’s more about people who are gifted for an office to help other people serve. And in the earlier letters, it’s clear that he thinks relationships ought to be worked out in a godly way. But here in Ephesians, he’s talking about ordered patterned relationships along with Colossians: fathers and children, masters and slaves, husbands and wives. And so, some folks just feel that there’s just a different hand, a different mind in view here that’s in play. Now, as far as I’m concerned, it’s to the very extent that you notice the differences. It’s a little harder for me to imagine how somebody trying to pretend to be Paul would be so different. And how much easier it would be for Paul himself to unselfconsciously to express himself differently, to speak to a particular situation.

 

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