Epistle to the Ephesians

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The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been credited to Paul, but it is now widely accepted by critical scholarship to be "deutero-Pauline," that is, written in Paul's name by a later author strongly influenced by Paul's thought.[1][2][3][4] Bible scholar Raymond E. Brown asserts that about 80% of critical scholarship judges that Paul did not write Ephesians,[5] while Perrin and Duling[6] say that of six authoritative scholarly references, "four of the six decide for pseudonymity, and the other two (PCB and JBC) recognize the difficulties in maintaining Pauline authorship. Indeed, the difficulties are insurmountable."

Contents

Theme

The theme of Ephesians is “the Church, the Body of Christ.”

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3

The Church is to maintain the unity in practice which Christ has brought about positionally. According to New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace, the theme may be stated pragmatically as “Christians, get along with each other! Maintain the unity practically which Christ has effected positionally by his death.”[7]

Composition

According to tradition, Paul of Tarsus wrote this letter while he was in prison in Rome (around AD 62). This would be about the same time as the Epistle to the Colossians (which in many points it resembles) and the Epistle to Philemon. However, as noted above, most critical scholars have questioned the authorship of the letter, and suggest it may have been written between AD 80 and 100.[1][2][3]

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