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Introduction Author  Date  Purpose  Theme  Summary

Welcome to a study of the book of Ephesians

The close study of any book of literature often begins with the questions of authorship, time of authorship, purpose, and themes. The authorship of Ephesians is contested; the dates for writing range from 60 CE to 90 CE; the purpose receives some general agreement: Paul or someone wrote to strengthen, fortify people in the church confronted with controversies or at least a temptation to live as children of the world; and finally, most writers would agree with Daniel P. Wallace's succinct statement: “The Church is to maintain the unity in practice which Christ has brought about positionally.” Pragmatically stated, “Christians, get along with each other!”

As for Paul himself, as a historical person, as founder of Christianity, the discussion is on-going. What is clear is that Paul's Christianity contained eclectic and hellenized components. That he did not know Jesus as a contemporary in the way of the other apostles but received his apostleship directly from the resurrected Christ is meriting on-going discussion. In back of this discussion is the on-going debate about whether Jesus was Jewish and how fully or completely. That Jews would have accepted an anointed one, a messiah--and even a resurrected messiah--as human is contrasted to Paul's incarnated, dying, and resurrected God. Sorting through the tangle of intellectual positions and counter-positions is a challenging task taking one back into early church history and continuing scholarly treatises in the present era. Deciding one's personal position is ultimately a matter, not so much of intellect although its rigor is needed, of responding in faith to a critical commitment: the relationship of the divine and human and bridging the divide between the two so often created by systems of logic.

This approach to Ephesians is largely one of reading what the epistle in six chapters has to say and responding to what the text in its current form seems to mean. Beneath such an approach are obviously complicated issues of authorship, manuscript and language in which originally transmitted, a history of the first century of emerging Christianity, and generally understood themes complicated by who the writer is and what the purpose for writing was as well as what has resulted from years of interpretation and application.

The reader will find links to other resources designed to encourage on-going study and enquiry.

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The debate continues whether Paul is the author of Ephesians. The Oxford Companion to the Bible quotes 1.1, 3.1-13:4.1, and 6. 19-22 as indicating this letter was written while the author was in prison. It goes on to say some postscripts in ancient manuscripts also indicate that the epistle is written in Rome. The conclusion, then, is that the letter was written about 61-63. Based on Acts 23-26 and the Caesarean imprisonment of Paul, some have suggested the letter could have been written as early as the mid 50's (Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, Oxford 1993, 186). Oxford Companion summarizes other scholarship questioning Paul's authorship:

In 1792 the English divine Edward Evanson first questioned Pauline authorship. During the nineteenth century, German scholars gathered arguments in favor of pseudonymous origin, and today most researchers treat the letter as non-Pauline, dating it between 70 and 100 CE. Some think the author was Onesimus, the runaway slave mentioned in Paul's letter to Philemon, who is then further identified with the Bishop of Ephesus bearing the name Onesimus (mentioned in Ignatius's letter to the Ephesians 1.3, 2.1, 6.2). 186

The Oxford Companion  then summarizes arguments against Pauline authorship:

Style: long sentences, new vocabulary (compared to uncontested Pauline letters), well-known words with new meanings, missing Pauline terms and phrases. Oxford Companion concludes, though, after comparing diction to Pauline prayers in other letters as well as citations referred to,  that "it is not astonishing that its style and vocabulary differ from Pauline prose usage" (186).

Historical reasons: a mutual relationship between Paul and the Ephesians is denied in 1.15, 3.23, and 4. 21, yet Acts (18.17-20.1, 17) indicates both short and long Pauline activity in Ephesus. Conclusion: letter is addressed not to Ephesus but an unknown city, Ephesus is the correct address, but Paul is not the author.  Oxford Companion indicates the dispute can be resolved if one suggests Paul wrote only to former gentiles who had joined the church after Paul left Ephesus. Other historical argument include content as reflecting more an apostolic and church authority proclamation than Paul's early justification by faith. Gnostic invasions, it is argued, have invaded the language, but Oxford Companion Nag Hammadi documents show gnosticism should be dated no earlier than the second century CE. In support of Pauline authorship, the Companion points out that Paul was capable of learning, developing, and correcting himself and that no "plagiarist would...have dared to be so independent of earlier Pauline letters. 187

Literary dependence: Ephesians seems to rely heavily upon Colossians. The Companion explains, "The similarity between Ephesians and Colossians might have a simple reason: at about the same time of his life, Paul may have used the same general outline to address the Colossians in polemical terms and to send a peaceful message to the Ephesian church, a kind of encyclical to all the churches in Asia Minor" (187).

Theology: "Ecclesiology overshadows Christology, gnosticizing knowledge  and cosmological speculations encroach upon the genuine existential faith; ...institution and tradition  replace trust in grace and eschatological hope; ...biblical ethics have yielded to petit-bourgeois moralism" (187)  Part of the argument is that Ephesians seems to be social with cosmic dimensions whereas other Pauline letters spoke of a personal encounter between God and the individual. Yet, the Companion counters, Paul has spoken of justification, reconciliation and solidarity of Jews and gentiles under grace, peace, mission, and the final liberation of the cosmos.

I tend to agree with the Oxford Companion's general conclusion: "Ephesians should be considered an authentic Pauline letter. Its irenic and embracing character distinguishes it among the more bellicose letters of Paul. It deserves to be called his testament" (187).

Stephen Carlson also argues for Paul's authorship:

It is important to recognize that there is a cumulative argument against Pauline authorship. If genuine, Ephesians would not be a typical Pauline letter; nevertheless, many of its concepts are not outside the ambit of his thinking. The fact remains that we have excellent evidence for its authenticity, so we should consider Ephesians to be yet another testament to Paul's versatility.

Arguments for non-Pauline authorship are summarized by Oxford Companion  as four distinguishing traits:

1. Ephesians speaks of only one mystery: a secret that has been recently disclosed, the eternal will of God to save gentiles as well as Jews. "The liberation of individuals takes place within the framework of God's kingdom, in the victory of his love and righteousness over all injustice and misery" (188).

2. Ephesians is the magna carta of the one, holy apostolic, and catholic church. "God's love for Jews and gentiles, not the church, is the 'mystery of God,' 'mystery of Christ,' and 'mystery of the gospel'" (188).

3.  The good and evil principalities and powers, and a devilish realm are antiquated language. "...the author of Ephesians probably means by these terms biological and psychological, social and political, cultural and religious forces that are unseen and yet encountered in human existence" (188).

4. Chapter five tends to require submissiveness. The Companion rightfully points out that mutual subordination in love has nothing to do with loss of honor and self-hood. Christ subordinated himself to the will of the Father.

Several positions for or against Paul's authorship have been advanced; following are a sampling of these:

1. Edgar Goodspeed's position is that Ephesians may be an introduction to Paul's collected leters:: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/ch14.html

 Jülicher long ago perceived that on most accounts the natural explanation of the purpose and aim of Ephesians was to serve as an introduction to a collection of Pauline letters. I had come to that position independently and find great satisfaction in his interest in it. It was in fact only what he considered its excessive use of Colossians that prevented him from adopting that explanation and led him to declare the problem of the origin of Ephesians still unsolved. But of course the extreme use of Colossians in Ephesians simply means that the writer of Ephesians has known Colossians longest and so must be an Asian Christian. This is the explanation of that excessive influence:

The collector of the letters, aware from his possession of Colossians-Laodiceans that Paul was a powerful writer of letters, informed by the Acts of his relations with other churches, and stimulated by its heroic picture of Paul, collects all the Pauline letters he can find with its aid and writes Ephesians as a general introduction, to introduce the collected letters to the churches. In doing so he makes use of all the Pauline letters he has found, but of course he has known Colossians longest and is most pervaded by its language.

But if a name and an identity be demanded for the author of Ephesians, the name of Onesimus of Ephesus comes at once to the mind. The Pauline corpus came into being in the days when Onesimus and Polycarp seem to have been active in Christian work in Asia—Polycarp in Smyrna and Onesimus in Ephesus. Onesimus may have been the Laodicean Christian who brought Colossians-Philemon to Ephesus; who so likely to have cherished and pored over them as he? He may have been the collector of the Pauline corpus, of which he thus had the nucleus. And he may have been the writer of the great preface which we know as Ephesians, building thus a splendid monument to his great friend and teacher, who had saved him from slavery and paganism and opened before him a new life. One would like to think so. [1]

2. Catholic bishops apparently question the authorship of Paul:

Paul, who is designated as the sole author at Eph 1:1, is described in almost unparalleled terms with regard to the significant role he has in God's plan for bringing the Gentiles to faith in Christ (Eph 3:1-12). Yet at the time of writing he is clearly in prison (Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20), suffering afflictions (Eph 3:13). Traditionally this "Captivity Epistle" has, along with Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon, been dated to an imprisonment in Rome, likely in A.D. 61-63. Others appeal to an earlier imprisonment, perhaps in Caesarea (Act 23:27-27:2). Since the early nineteenth century, however, much of critical scholarship has considered the letter's style and use of words (especially when compared with Colossians), its concept of the church, and other points of doctrine put forward by the writer as grounds for serious doubt about authorship by Paul. The letter may then be the work of a secretary writing at the apostle's direction or of a later disciple who sought to develop Paul's ideas for a new situation around A.D. 80-100.


3. Daniel B. Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary summarizes the traditional evidence of Paul's authorship as external evidence (Marcion, Clement of Rome, Hermas, Barnabas, Ignatius and Polycarp, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origin), internal evidence (explicit statements, literary affinities, and  theological consistency). He then cites three reasons against Paul's authorship as historical, linquistic/literary arguments, and theological discrepancies. He then responds to each argument:


4. A. D. Howell-Smith emphasizes the doubtful authorship by Paul  (Jesus Not a Myth, pp. 132-133):

If the Pauline authorship of Colossians is doubtful, that of Ephesians is still more so. In style it differs even more than the Epistle to the Colossians from the earlier Epistles attributed to Pual. Though it has stylistic peculiarities, as well as expressions, which differentiate it from Colosians, there are such close resemblances, in places, between the two as to suggest that Ephesians was written in imitation of the other work. The Christologies of both Epistles are similar. It is hard to believe that Paul wrote that the Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephes. ii, 20); would one who had to fight so hard for his claim to apostleship against those who denied it have spoken in this impersonal way of the Apostles as a closed and sacred body? Still harder is it to regard as Pauline the statement that the "mystery which from all ages has been hid" - to wit, "that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs" of the Gospel of Christ - has been now revealed "unto (Christ's) holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit" (Ephes. iii, 5, 6, 9). The "holy apostles" are here represented as joint recipients of the same revelation, and Paul is merged in the group as having no special status of his own in the divine economy. That which Paul called "my Gospel" is no longer recognized as such, and the long struggle he had undergone to win for his Gentile converts spiritual equality with Jewish Christians has been quite forgotten.


  5. B. W. Johnson remarks on the uncertainty of Paul's authorship:
The People's New Testament (1891):http://www.ccel.org/j/johnson_bw/pnt/PNT10-00.HT

  It is not possible to determine the date of this Epistle with exactness. It was written at a time when Paul was a prisoner (6:20), and hence must have been written either at Cæsarea or at Rome. Meyer inclines to the first place, but the general consensus of opinion is that it belongs to the group of the Epistles which were sent forth from his Roman prison. Tychicus was the messenger to whom, on the same journey, were entrusted both this (6:21) and the Epistle to Colosse (Col. 4:7).

6. Bible Basic questions both the authorship and date of Ephesians:

The letter states that it is from Paul, writing from prison, however some commentators are not convinced due to it's difference in style, different use of words (such as 'church'), and theological differences from other Pauline letters. Due to these controversies, the date of the authorship of this letter is not clear, although it was probably written before 95 A.D., perhaps as early as 62 A.D.. If it wasn't written by Paul himself, it was certainly written by a Jewish Christian who was a devoted admirer of Paul.


7. G.A. van den Bergh van Eysinga "The Spuriousness of So-Called Pauline Epistles"

Are the Letters of Paul Real Letters?

IN ORDER TO ANSWER this question we must first define what we mean by a letter. A letter is a medium for the mutual exchange of ideas between two persons, or in certain cases between the writer and a limited circle of readers; hence it is not intended for the public. Deissmann has already distinguished between the letter and the epistle, the latter being a literary production which is not really intended for the persons to whom it is addressed, but for the general public. In the case of a real correspondence the writer naturally reveals his own personality, and enters at once into the thoughts and feelings of the person addressed. Such a document, therefore, enables us to form some idea not only of the writer, but also to a certain extent of the readers. Cicero's letters to Atticus belong to this class; be shows himself in his true character. In his letters to his friends, on the other hand (Ad Familiares ), he [63] reckons on other readers than trusted friends alone, and therefore they not without a certain amount of rhetorical embellishment. Towards the end of the first century A.D. we find the writing of letters a regular form of literary composition. In the schools of rhetoric letters dealing with some historical event, and written under some fictitious historical name (the so-called suasoria), were composed as exercises, and became a part of the literature of the period. Varro was the first to write scientific essays in the form of letters, and his example was followed by many others after him. The didactic letter came into existence; treatises on jurisprudence and medicine took the form of letters. The letter of exhortation we find especially favoured by the Stoics; Panaetius and Posidonius wrote ethical treatises in epistolary form; and Seneca's Epistles, in particular, may be described as a handbook of practical wisdom for everybody. The form of literature which may be described as the Letter of Edification was particularly in vogue with the Christians.

To write letters in another person's name was at that time just as common as to introduce well-known persons into narratives, and to put sayings and speeches into their mouths - like those of Jesus, for example, in the Gospels, or those of Peter and Paul in the Acts. In all this there is not the remotest intention of deceiving. Anyone who had anything to say by way of exhortation or edification wrote a letter, without troubling himself about deficiencies in the external form. Thus the Epistle to the Ephesians is without an address, that to the Hebrews without a suitable introduction, that of James without a proper conclusion; the First Epistle of John lacks [64] both introduction and conclusion.

At first no one thought of regarding these productions as actual letters written by the men whose names they bear. Gradually all this was changed. The desire for information, reverence for the authority of the written word, the formation of a canon - these are the factors that brought about the result that, from the time of Irenaeus (c. 180 A.D.) onward, the thirteen (or even fourteen) Pauline Epistles and the Catholic Epistles - nay, all the documents of early Christianity so far as they were accepted by the Church - passed for the work of the writers whose names they bore, and were also supposed to be intended for the readers who were named either at the beginning, or the end, or in the title, or by tradition. This applies also to letters which are universally admitted to be later compositions - as, for example, Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans, the Third Epistle to the Corinthians, the letter of Jesus to King Abgarus, and others.

Modern times brought a reaction against this attitude. The apocryphal letters were rejected immediately after the Reformation; later the genuineness of some of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers was also doubled; since Semler, many of the Pauline and Catholic letters were added to the list; the Tübingen School left little but the four principal letters. The Radical School has arrived at the conclusion that the so-called letters are not letters at all, thereby returning to the point of view of the time in which they were composed. The Muratori fragment, a list of New Testament books belonging to the end of the second century and named after the Italian scholar by whom it was discovered, tells us of Paul: [65] "Although the blessed apostle writes only to seven churches" - whose names follow - "nevertheless it is clear that one single Church was spread over the whole earth. And John, although in the Apocalypse he speaks to seven churches, nevertheless addresses all churches equally."

8. J. Peter Bercovitz, Ph.D  in the The Pauline Legacy acknowledges the noble and thoughtful work of Ephesians but leaves open the question of Paul's authorship:

As post-Pauline Christianity was seeking to meet competing world views, with their speculations and rituals, the pseudonymous author of Colossians defends the Pauline tradition. The writer sets forth an eloquent and exalted view of Christ (Colossians 1:15-20), with references to

Christ’s pre-existence (1:17);
His function as the agent of creation (1:16);
His divine nature (“in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”), 1:19; and
His rôle in reconciling all things to himself (1:20).

The author views Paul’s sufferings (and martyrdom, retrospectively) as completing “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (1:24). If the author’s language and style are not quite what Paul’s were, this letter is nevertheless a noble and thoughtful work.

Ephesians incorporates significant portions of Colossians, and presents a kind of compendium of Paul’s thought. The pseudonymous author rehearses some of Paul’s favorite themes, such as human sinfulness and the gospel of grace (Ephesians 2:1-10). The emphasis upon the unity in Christ of gentile and Jew (2:11-22) gives an ecumenical tone to the work, at a time (perhaps 80-95 A.D.) when Jews were expelling Christians from synagogues, and Christian writers were comparing Pharisees to white-washed tombs (Matthew 23:27). In the opening address (Ephesians 1:1) some Greek manuscripts include the words, “To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful,” while other manuscripts have only, “to the saints who are also faithful;” from this fact we may conclude that this was originally a circular letter addressed perhaps to a group of churches in the province of Asia, with one copy addressed to Ephesus.

9. Robert Price The Evolution of the Pauline Canon

Finally, I observe that the idea of the Pauline collection serves as something of an allegory of reading (Paul de Man), or rather perhaps an allegory of writing, for the present paper. For one finds oneself in the role of Onesimus or Marcion, rounding up all the various theories on the origin of the corpus, collecting both the well-known and the obscure. One puts them together and finally writes one's own Laodiceans/Ephesians, this paper, to introduce one's collection to a wider audience.

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As previously indicated, the authorship and date of Ephesians are both questioned: The Oxford Companion suggests a 61-63 date but then points to a date as early as the 50's. This uncertainty in date is reflected in most scholarly research:

1. Daniel B. Wallace  settles for a date of about 60 CE:  http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/ephotl.htm

This letter was sent while Paul was in prison in Rome (59-61 CE). Since the apostle gives no indication that he will be released soon (contra Philippians), it is likely that this was written before the end of his imprisonment. Further, it is obvious that it was sent along with the letter to the Colossians and the letter to Philemon. Once the occasion for the writing of Colossians/Philemon is established,24 it can be reasonably supposed that all three letters were written sometime during the middle of Paul’s imprisonment—hence, c. 60 CE. But more than that can be said here.  

2. Matthew Henry merely says the letter was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome:

** This epistle was written when St. Paul was a prisoner at


3. The Preface to Ephesians  from Web Early Christian Writings suggests a date of 80-100 CE. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ephesians.html

Against Wallace, it is not the case that 1 Clement is familiar with Ephesians. The earliest author to show clear dependence upon Ephesians is Ignatius (Eph 12:1, Polyc 5:1). Kummel reasons (ibid., p. 366): "If, then, it is determined that Eph was written in the post-Pauline period, the fact that Ignatius knows it implies a date no later than the first decade of the second century. A more exact date might be determined if we could prove a literary dependence of I Peter on Eph, but in view of the common paranetic tradition this is not convincing. And since Eph seems to know the collected Pauline letters, an earlier date is not likely. The date of writing cannot be determined more closely than sometime between 80 and 100."

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1. Goodspeed explains the purpose of the book of Ephesians as a rhapsody on Christian salvation written to remind people of their faith in a time when  sects were appearing everywhere.

Ephesians is a great rhapsody on the worth of the Christian salvation. Like Hebrews it belongs to an age when men needed to reflect on the worth of their faith. The situation lying back of it is twofold: the sects are beginning to appear, and the Pauline letters have been discovered and collected. To introduce this collection to Christians everywhere, to remind apathetic Christians of the great values of their faith, and to check the rising tide of sect and schism Ephesians is written. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/ch14.html

2. Daniel B. Wallace  explains the purpose for writing Ephesians as , partially, growing out of a need to address heresy:

While Paul was sitting in prison, contemplating his upcoming trial and potential work in the west, he began formulating some parting comments to make to the churches of Asia Minor. As he dialogued with his amanuensis over its contents, a rough draft of Ephesians was probably put together in outline form. The amanuensis then began to fill in the details.

Then, startling news from the east came: there was a new heresy in Colossae which was infecting the church there. At about the same time, Onesimus appeared before Paul with his confession of abandoning and robbing his owner, Philemon.29

At this juncture, Paul decided several things: (1) write to the Colossians with appropriate warnings, though taking the material mostly from a letter which already addressed some of the very same issues in a larger perspective; (2) write to Philemon, urging him to take Onesimus back, as a freeman—and even to prepare a room for the apostle himself; (3) finish the letter to all the churches in Asia Minor and have it sent with the other two letters.


3. Matthew Henry's Commentary

The design appears to be to strengthen the Ephesians in

the faith of Christ, and to give exalted views of the love of

God, and of the dignity and excellence of Christ, fortifying

their minds against the scandal of the cross. He shows that they

were saved by grace, and that however wretched they once were,

they now had equal privileges with the Jews. He encourages them

to persevere in their Christian calling, and urges them to walk

in a manner becoming their profession, faithfully discharging

the general and common duties of religion, and the special

duties of particular relations.


4. B. W. White The People's New Testament

  It was probably written to meet certain difficulties which were arising in the church. It was asked why the imperfections of Judaism and the errors of the Gentile religions existed so many ages before the Gospel was revealed? Was the Gospel an afterthought of God? Probably the leading thought is that, "The church of Jesus Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are made one, is a creation of the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit, decreed from eternity, and destined for eternity." In chapters 1-3, he shows the church was foreordained of God, that it had been redeemed, and that Jew and Gentile have been made one in Christ. In chapters 4-6, the Apostle enters upon a practical application, enforcing unity, love, newness of life, walking in the strength of the Lord, and the armor of God. [186]

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Allen Turner http://www.allanturner.com/eph.html

Paul does not write this letter to the Ephesians to rebuke them for any irregularity of conduct, like he does the Corinthians, nor for any perversion of the gospel, as he does the Galatians. His letter was one of joyous praise for God's eternal purpose. As such, it would serve as an antidote to the pagan mystery religions which were all around them, and to the arguments of the Judaizers who would be using all their powers of persuasion to impress these former pagans, who had prided themselves as guardians of the great Temple of Diana, with the pomp and ceremony of Judaism, along with its Jerusalem Temple. But why, someone might ask, did God permit Judaism and the pagan mystery religions to exist so long before He revealed the gospel? Was the gospel simply an afterthought of God? Absolutely not! God was working out His eternal plan for the redemption of mankind in Christ Jesus. In fact, the leading thought of this letter is: “The church of Jesus Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are made one, is a creation of the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit, decreed from eternity, and destined for eternity.”


1, Daniel B. Wallace

The theme of Ephesians is “the Church, the Body of Christ.” Put in a sentence, the theme is found in Eph 4:1-3—“The Church is to maintain the unity in practice which Christ has brought about positionally.” Pragmatically stated, “Christians, get along with each other!”


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From Goodspeed, a quick overview of Ephesians characterizes it as a summary of Pauline thought:

It is cast in that half-liturgical style so characteristic of the last decade of the first century; we see it in the canticles of Luke-Acts, in Revelation, Hebrews, I Peter, I Clement. The first and second chapters constitute a summary of Pauline Christianity in the form of a jubilate over the blessedness of the Christian salvation. Ephesians is like the overture of an opera, foreshadowing the melodies that arc to follow. All these great aspects of Christian truth the reader was to find more fully dealt with in the letters themselves, which of course followed Ephesians. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/ch14.html

Second-generation Christianity needed to be reminded of the great religious values it had inherited, as the Revelation and Hebrews show. Ephesians opens with a jubilant summary of Pauline thought, 1:3-14. The writer sets forth the supreme worth of Christianity, which his contemporaries were in danger of forgetting, 1:15-23. The Christian experience is nothing less than a new life through the mercy of God, 2:1-10. The death of Christ has opened to the Greeks a way to God, 2:11-22.

Paul in his writings has declared the Greeks' full rights in Christianity, 3:1-13, as they will see when they read his letters. In a prayerful appeal the writer sets forth the grandeur of the Christian's experience


of Christ's love, and an exultant doxology marks the conclusion of the main part of the epistle, 3:14-21

Christians must be united against the sects, 4:1-15 There is but one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. We must not be blown about and swung around by every wind of doctrine through the trickery of men with their ingenuity in inventing error. Christians must live the new, upright life of purity, patience integrity, and forbearance, 4:17-5:2. They must give up their old sins and live in the new light, 5:3-21. The marriage relation is made the symbol of the union of Christ with the church, 5:22-33. Children, parents, slaves, and masters have their special duties as Christians, 6:1-9. They must all put on the Christian armor and carry on the Christian warfare, 6:10-20. The farewell, 6:21-24, mentions Tychicus, Paul's well-known messenger of Col. 4:7, Acts 20:4. This is a part of the Pauline disguise, like Timothy in Hebrews 13:23 and Silvanus and Mark in I Pet. 5:12, 13.

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