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Summary: The first two verses of Ephesians make up the salutation. This type of salutation was the usual way of starting a letter in Paul’s day. The custom was to give first the name of the writer, then to identify the reader and finally to express greetings.

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 11/7/16

Lesson 1: Dear Ephesians (1:1-2)

Series: Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

Ephesians 1:1-2 (NIV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Introduction

The first two verses of Ephesians make up the salutation. This type of salutation was the usual way of starting a letter in Paul’s day. The custom was to give first the name of the writer, then to identify the reader or readers and finally to express greetings. Paul in his letters followed this pattern. However, he always gave it a decidedly Christian flavor and varied and amplified it according to circumstances.

Evidently, the Ephesians letter was originally circulated as an epistle intended for all the churches of the Roman province of Asia (of which Ephesus was the capital city). The church at Ephesus likely received this letter first, and later was entrusted with its safe keeping. Thus the letter eventually became identified exclusively with Ephesus.

Commentary

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus[1], the faithful in Christ Jesus:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.” Ancient correspondence—like its contemporary counterparts—opened according to a traditional formula. Our practice is to write the recipient’s name at the beginning and the author’s signature at the end. Modern e-mails have reverted to the more sensible ancient form in which the names of both the writer and the recipient were given first, usually followed by some words of greeting. Paul (his name means “small”) adopted this basic formula in almost all of his letters. Only in his strongly worded letter to the Galatians did he refrain from all expressions of thankfulness to God for his blessings on the recipients.

Paul identifies himself as the author, describes his readers, and sends his greetings (v 2). The opening words— Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus—reveal both the name (Paul) and the status (apostle) of the author. Paul states that he is “an apostle.” What is an apostle? It is the highest office that the church has ever had. No one today is an apostle in the church for the simple reason that they cannot meet the requirements of an apostle. Here are the requirements:

1) The apostles received their commission directly from the living lips of Jesus. Paul made that claim for himself. He wrote, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)” (Galatians 1:1). This is the reason I believe Paul took the place of Judas. The disciples had selected Matthias, but I don’t find anywhere that Jesus Christ made him an apostle. Apparently all the apostles received their commission directly from the Lord Jesus.


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