1-2: Paul wrote this letter to the faithful Christians in Ephesus and begins with his standard greeting.
3-6: Before God created the world He predestined all Christians to receive His grace through the atoning work of Jesus.
7: Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. God set up a sacrificial system so justice could be satisfied and sinful man could be reunited with Him. Jesus shed His blood on the cross as the Father poured out His wrath. It's only through the cross that we receive forgiveness and the grace of God.
8-10: The "mystery of God's will" (a mystery only to those before Christ) was that God wants to unite "all things" in Christ at the right time. This seems to be speaking of Christ's reign after His second coming. We can only be united with God because of Jesus' atoning work on the cross.
11-12: We were predestined by God to receive an inheritance for His glory. Even the existence of sin is subject to His will, in that without it redemption would not be possible. The sole purpose for our existence and salvation is His glory.
13-14: We receive the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our salvation when we put our faith in Christ. It is a guarantee because our righteousness comes from Jesus, not ourselves.
15-22: Paul was thankful after hearing of the Ephesians' faith and prayed they would have wisdom and a deeper knowledge of God. He wanted them to understand the glorious inheritance we have in Jesus, who is above all things in this age and the age to come. As part of the church, we have intimate fellowship with the creator and ruler of the universe.
1-3: We are all sinners who seek pleasure and follow Satan. Because of this, we are under God's wrath and will face him on judgement day.
4-10: But God is loving and merciful so He makes spiritually dead sinners alive in Christ through the resurrection. We are saved by God's grace which can be accessed through Faith. To have faith in Christ means to trust that his punishment on the cross was sufficient to pay for our sins and we will be raised to eternal life through His resurrection. It's a transfer of trust from our works to Jesus' atonement. Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned through good works.
11-22: God made his covenants and promises to the Jewish nation, who were set apart from Gentiles through circumcision, ceremonies, and the law. Gentiles were lost and could only access God through Israel and the temple ceremonies. However, Jesus' blood sacrifice abolished the law and broke down the barriers between Jew and Gentile, killing the hostility between them. We are now one group in Christ's body. The Church (referring to all Christians, not a building) has replaced the temple and the Holy Spirit now dwells in us. Verses 14-15 are a clear demonstration that ceremonial laws no longer apply in the new covenant.
1-6: The mystery of the Gospel was revealed to Paul and the Apostles by the Holy Spirit. Verse 6 explains the mystery; that Gentiles are united with Jews in Christ through the Gospel and may partake in the promises God made to The Jews.
7-11: God changed Paul from being a work righteous pharisee to a minister of the Gospel. The Gospel was a mystery to those in previous ages. One of the purposes of the Gospel is so God's wisdom could be made known to the heavenly beings.
12: We can confidently access God in prayer because we now approach Him by faith through Jesus' merits rather than our own.
13: Paul was willing to undergo persecution so people could hear the Gospel. His mind was set on eternal things rather than his current situation.
14-19: Paul closes the chapter with prayer asking God to strengthen the Ephesians through the Spirit so they can comprehend the deep love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God.
20-21: God is able to work powerfully through us and does it for his own glory.
1-7: We have the high calling of representing Christ to the world. We must live our lives in a way that glorifies Him and maintains unity in the church.
8-14: Jesus gave us the Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in order to equip us for ministry and knowledge of God. He equips us so we can be unified in our knowledge of God, mature as believers, and discern false teachings.
15-16: When Christians properly fulfill their roles in the church it grows in number, maturity, and love for one another.
17-19: We must repent of our sinful lifestyles as unbelievers (The word Gentile was often used to speak of pagans).
20-32: This is a clear picture of repentance. We must have a change of mind that leads to action. The thief not only stops stealing, but works with his hands so he might be able share with others.
1-2: As a response to the Gospel, we should imitate God by loving others in a sacrificial way as Jesus did.
3-5 : Christians must repent of sexual impurity, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talk and crude joking. Those who's lives are defined by these behaviors have no inheritance in the kingdom of God. These sins may seem harmless to us, but they bring about the
wrath of God.
8-12: We should not participate in these sinful lifestyles but expose them and live in a godly way, trying to discern what is pleasing to God.
13-14: When a person's sin is exposed by the law, he may be convicted of his sin and repent, trusting in Jesus for salvation. We are all spiritually dead on our own and conviction is the first step to receiving Jesus.
15-20 : We are to live our lives wisely and make the best use of our time because idleness leads to sin. To do so we must avoid foolishness and substance abuse and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The result will be praise to God in singing and thankfulness, while living peacefully and submissive to fellow believers.
22-24: Although God created man and woman equal, he gave us different roles that illustrate His relationship with the Church. Wives should submit to their husbands. This does not mean they need to submit if their husband commands them to sin. God is a higher authority and commands us not to sin.
25-30: Husbands should love their wives self-sacrificially as Jesus loved the Church. They are to treat their wives as if they were an extension of themselves. Any man who is abusive or selfish towards his wife is not following his God ordained role in marriage. Just as wives are to submit, husbands are to lead in such a self-sacrificial, loving way that his wife is happy to submit to him.
31-33: Marriage is an intimate bond that illustrates Jesus' union with the church. That's why marriage roles are important to God.
1-4: Children are commanded to be obedient to their parents, and parents must raise their children in the "discipline and instruction of The Lord".
5-8: We must treat our employers as if we were serving Christ rather than man, despite wether or not our hard work is noticed. This means Christians should be the best, hard working people even if we are not treated fairly. Our service will be rewarded by God.
9: Masters are commanded to the same principles as slaves; they must treat their slaves as if they were Jesus himself. It is wrong for him to even threaten his slave. Slaves and masters are completely equal in the eyes of God, according to this verse. Both are made in God's image and are ruled by Him. These verses, along with many Old Testament scriptures completely dismantle the idea that the Bible promotes the type of slavery we saw in the antebellum south. God allowed Christians to participate in slavery (the economy of the day) but He made rules to protect slaves from abuse and injustice.
10-20: We must resist the temptations and evil schemes of the devil through The Lord, rather than in our own strength or righteousness. Paul gives the metaphor of physical armor to illustrate the protection we need against spiritual forces. Each piece demonstrates that our power comes from God alone. The belt of truth gives us discernment against false teachings and promises. The breastplate of righteousness is recognizing that our righteousness standing comes from Jesus. The shoes of readiness given by he Gospel of peace is a willingness to share the Gospel that saved us. The shield of faith can protect us because when we are trusting in God we desire to obey Him. The helmet of salvation is the knowledge that we are saved no matter how tough our situation is. The sword of the spirit is the word of God to shed light on the evil and temptations we face.
21-24: Paul sent Tychicus to inform the Ephesians how he was doing in Rome and encourage them. He then closes with a personal greeting.