Ephesians is addressed to a group of believers rich beyond measure in Jesus Christ, but who continue to live as beggars. Why do they remain in spiritual poverty? Because they remain ignorant of their true wealth.
No Christian has to live like a spiritual beggar when God offers riches beyond all imagining. To move from poverty to prosperity, however, believers must first listen to and meditate on what God’s Word says about their true standing, and then access it and begin living it by faith. There is no other way.
The traditional title of this epistle is Pros Ephesious, “To the Ephesians.” Many ancient manuscripts, however, omit en Epheso, “in Ephesus,” in 1:1. This has led a number of scholars to challenge the traditional view that Paul directed this message specifically to the Ephesians.
The encyclical theory proposes that Ephesians was a circular letter sent by Paul to the churches in Asia. This viewpoint holds that the letter is really a Christian treatise designed for general use, since it involves no controversy and deals with no specific problems in any particular church. If Ephesians really did begin as a circular letter, however, eventually it became associated with Ephesus, the foremost of the Asian churches.
Another plausible option is that this epistle was directly addressed to the Ephesians, but written in such a way as to make it helpful for all the churches in Asia. Finally, some scholars accept the ancient tradition that Ephesians is Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans (Col 4:16), but there is no way to be sure.
Themes: The spiritual bounty of the Christian and the unity of the church in Jesus Christ.
Author: The apostle Paul.
Time: Likely written from prison in Rome about A.D. 60–62.
Structure: The first half of the book (1–3) describes the content of the Christian’s heavenly “bank account”: adoption, acceptance, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, inheritance, the seal of the Holy Spirit, life, grace, citizenship—in short, every spiritual blessing. The second half (4–6) lays out a spiritual walk rooted in that spiritual wealth. Ephesians 2:10 gives a good outline for the book: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus [1–3] for good works, … that we should walk in them [4–6].”
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), Eph.