Ephesians Online: Chapter 3
Updated: May 12, 2021
(for individual, one-on-one discipleship, or community groups)
Here are a few questions to ponder as we move from Chapter 2 to Chapter 3.
In what ways do you/we measure our worth? How does the way we measure our worth compare to the way God gives grace?
How does it make you feel to think that God has put his kindness on display through us?
What two kinds of reconciliation did Jesus accomplish through his death and resurrection?
What do you think about this phrase: only radical grace produces radical unity?
How can you let God’s grace move you to pursue unified relationships?
For further learning: Paul talks in the first two chapters about the "heavenly realms." Check out the Bible Project's Heaven and Earth.
Let's Not Overcomplicate It
Hopefully, you enjoyed reading Scripture in a different translation and we would encourage you to continue to do that, perhaps using other translations to help understand clunky, wordy, or difficult passages.
This week we want to introduce you to helpful websites:
Our Scriptures were written originally in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Translators spend years creating the versions we read today with lots of discussion and debate about how best to translate words and ideas. So looking at a word's meaning in both English and the original language can help us better understand what the writers are saying.
In last week's online study we included links to the word workmanship. It seems obvious what the word would mean: "something made or produced; the art or skill of a worker." However, if we look further we see that part of the idea of "the art or skill of a worker" is "the quality imparted to a thing in the process of making," This expands our understanding.
We aren't just something that God has made (the obvious reality) but something happens in the process of God making us, redeeming us, and creating us for good works. We are imbued with value, worth, dignity, beauty. This takes us back to the original creation (Genesis 1-2) when we were made in the image of God, imago dei, and God thought it was good. And according to the Blue Letter Bible, good in Hebrew includes ideas like "pleasant, excellent, rich, appropriate, becoming, right."
To use Blue Letter Bible (click here for a visual step-by-step), you type in the verse or verses you want to look at and choose from one of the translations offered. You then click on the word you want to learn about and you can discover how to say the word, its definition, and see where that same word is used in other places in Scripture.
So look through Ephesians 3 and choose a word or phrase you might like to investigate a little more to get a fuller understanding of what Paul is saying.
So now let's talk.
We've talked about how it's always good when reading to look for what words, phrases, or ideas are repeated? Another way to read is to try to sum up the big idea, identify a problem if there is one, and then ask in light of the big idea or problem, what should our response be.
Here are a few other questions:
How was Paul’s ministry the result of grace?
Why do you think God chose Paul to reach the Gentiles? Would you have sent him? Why do you think it is so important to Paul that we experience at the deepest level the love of Christ?
What would have been some of the personal and cultural issues Paul would have had to wrestle with in preaching to the Gentiles? To being accepted by the Jewish believers?
What would you say are some of the unsearchable riches that are found in Christ?
Describe a time when you were overwhelmed by an experience of the love of Christ. What keeps you from living out of a daily experience of the love of Christ?
Does the thought of Christ, whom God appointed to be head over everything, taking up residence in your life scare you or excite you? Tell us why?
We've said it's always good to end with the question of what do we learn about God (his character) from a passage. It's also good to end by considering how we might apply what we have discovered as we read.
As you reflect on your background – interests, talents, skills, life experiences, roles, and how God has rescued you – who God might be calling you to be an ambassador? What are some steps you might take?
Feel free to share what you're learning in the comments below.
More Important than You Know
Talk to someone else about what you've read. These are great questions we'll use each week to apply the message and book of Ephesians to our daily lives.
Summarize what you've read in a couple of words or sentences.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
What do you need to do about it?
How can we help you do what you said you needed to do?
Did you know with this little blog post and those 4 questions at the end you could lead a community group or study with one other person? Seriously! You could! If you're interested, let us know and we'll help you get connected and get started.