Ephesians

What Is the Book of Ephesians About?

Time: 5 Minutes

Hey Friend!

Our editorial team wrote this book introduction for you. We hope it helps you find your bearings in the Bible story, and inspires you to open this book of the Bible!

The New Testament teaches that the promises made in the Old Testament are kept and fulfilled in Jesus, who carried out God’s mission to rescue humanity from sin and bring us back into a relationship with God. This grand story spans thousands of years. The God of the Bible planned to redeem fallen sinners and reconcile their relationship with him, creating them into a “new humanity,” that crowns Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians summarizes this message of the whole New Testament and helps us understand the big picture of God’s mission accomplished in Jesus.

Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians in prison, likely in AD 60. Paul wrote to spiritually direct and encourage God’s people. In the first three chapters, Paul explains God’s plan to save the world from sin. In chapters 4-6, Paul shows the Ephesians what Christian life looks like in response to God’s salvation.

Ephesians opens with a prayer, praising God the Father for planning our salvation, (Ephesians 1:4-5), God the Son for accomplishing our salvation (Ephesians 1:7-12), and God the Spirit for assuring us of that salvation (Ephesians 1:13). This three-fold work of God is what Christians call the gospel: God’s plan to save sinners.

God is the kind of God who plans and gives salvation to his people: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a gift from God—not something we do or achieve, but something God does for us.

The “mystery” Paul talks about in Ephesians about the gospel is that God offers salvation even to non-Jews (Ephesians 3:5). By grace, God saves both Jew and Gentile, “that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:15 ESV). This would have surprised some Old Testament readers, who thought God’s blessing would be only for the nation of Israel. But God helps us understand through Paul’s letter that his plan has always been to save people from all nations.

Everyone who experiences salvation through Jesus Christ is part of a community that forms a “new man”—a unified group of people called the church.

Everyone who experiences salvation through Jesus Christ is part of a community that forms a “new man”—a unified group of people called the church.

God planned that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10 ESV).

The mere existence of a local church proclaims God’s manifold wisdom—it’s proof that God has saved sinners and transformed them into new people who love him and love others! The church carries out God’s plan for the world, furthering his ministry of redeeming and saving sinners, as we tell others what God has done for us in Jesus.

So, what does that mean for a Christian? Simple: “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV). Because Jesus Christ has saved you by his grace, live for him as the Lord of your life.

Believers in Jesus don’t live solitary lives but are part of a huge community of people who have also been saved from sin and brought into relationship with God. That’s why we have local churches—so that we can gather with other believers to worship Jesus and witness about him to the world.

Are you part of that group of believers in Jesus? Read Ephesians and consider whether you have a relationship with Jesus and are part of his church.