Paul Wouldn’t Let the Ephesians Forget They Were Gentiles

When Paul wrote Ephesians, he was writing to a church consisting of mostly Gentiles. Stephen E. Fowl, in his commentary on Ephesians[1], goes further, saying, “Indeed, it does not seem that the Ephesian Christians have much, if any, direct contact with Jewish Christians.” So Paul is writing in a context in which circumcision is not … Continue reading Paul Wouldn’t Let the Ephesians Forget They Were Gentiles

Living in Kairos Time

There are two different Greek words translated as "time" in the New Testament. Their meanings are somewhat different. E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien define the two terms in their book, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (IVP Books, 2012). Chronos is the way of speaking about time … Continue reading Living in Kairos Time

Counter-Cultural Kingdom Giving

In Luke 6:35, Jesus told his disciples to lend expecting nothing in return. This was radically counter-cultural in a world in which people didn’t even give gifts without expecting something in return. It's counter-cultural to us as well. However, in the Western world, at least our economy runs on rules. In the Roman Empire of the … Continue reading Counter-Cultural Kingdom Giving

David, Bathsheba, and Uriah: What Really Happened?

Understanding Honor/Shame Culture We all read the Bible with a set of cultural assumptions and values. This affects our interpretation. For those of us in the Western world,  many of the these assumptions and values are addressed by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien, in Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand … Continue reading David, Bathsheba, and Uriah: What Really Happened?

When God Say, “In Closing…” (The Rhetorical Language of Ephesians 1:10)

Ephesians 1:10 is the verse where the apostle Paul tells us what everything is all about. And everything means everything: “…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in … Continue reading When God Say, “In Closing…” (The Rhetorical Language of Ephesians 1:10)

The Grace of Prudence in Ephesians 1:8

The word "prudence" is fading from the English language. It's being replaced by other words. Normally, this kind of thing is fine. Words fall out of usage all the time. But biblically, in terms of translating from Greek to English, "prudence" does its job so well that we may not want to part with it—at least … Continue reading The Grace of Prudence in Ephesians 1:8

“Unworthy and Narrow Conceptions of Their Redeemer” – Charles Gore on the Connection Between Galatians and Ephesians

Paul's theology comes across differently in Ephesians and Colossians than it does in his earlier letters. The reason for this is that he was addressing different problems. Actually, he was addressing the same problem manifesting in two different ways. Charles Gore made this argument in 1897, in St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians A Practical Exposition. … Continue reading “Unworthy and Narrow Conceptions of Their Redeemer” – Charles Gore on the Connection Between Galatians and Ephesians

“The Apostle Is Too Full for Words” – T. Austin-Sparks on the Background of Ephesians

Does the letter of Ephesians mark a new stage of development in Paul's thought, or is it a fresh statement of the vision Paul had carried within himself, fully-developed, for many years? T. Austin-Sparks took the latter view. He shared it in a 1962 message titled "The Greatness of Christ." As Austin-Sparks told the story, … Continue reading “The Apostle Is Too Full for Words” – T. Austin-Sparks on the Background of Ephesians