It is important to understand the “big picture” when studying a particular book in the Bible. Think about a time in your life when you made false assumptions about something because you did not understand the “big picture”.
Paul writes the letter to the Ephesians to share God’s purposes in Christ and the implications for the church. Recall a time in your life when someone spoke truth to you that caused you to think of the results of your actions. How did that feel?
The major theme of the book is in Ephesians 1:9-10. Reread this verse and take a few minutes to make a list of the areas in your life where you feel you are experiencing unity under the authority of Christ. Write out, or talk through, some areas where coming under the authority of Christ would help bring unity.
What did Jim say was the “hinge verse” between the 2 parts of the book? Discuss further what it is “there for”.
Jim mentioned that it would be a mistake to try and separate doctrine from our Christian living. Discuss why doctrine (God’s will/purpose) is important and how it informs our Christian living (the practical way we live out our faith).
Discuss why it could be a recipe for disaster to try and live out a Christian life without an understanding of God’s will/ purpose?
Many people read the Scripture devotionally and focus on verses that give encouragement. Discuss the benefits and weaknesses of approaching Scripture that way.
Jim also emphasized the importance of context and seeing the letter as a whole. What are the benefits of studying Scripture in this way? Are there weaknesses to this method?
Jim suggests that a major theme of the book is “that God is bringing all things into unity under the authority of Jesus Christ.” Discuss the possible implications of this truth for your life— in your marriage, your family, your vocation, for our world. Utilize the list you made in the “Think” section as examples to discuss with the group.
Read the entire book of Ephesians in one sitting. (For the ambitious, do it twice and use a different translation the second time.) As you read through the book of Ephesians, highlight or note the hinge verse and how the themes in the “doctrine section” of Chapters 1-3 get played out in the “how to live section” of Chapters 4-6.
As a group, commit to praying for someone or an area in your life that you would like to see unity under the authority of Jesus Christ prevail.