I have started a 13-week study with my church called Journey To A Better Life, a study of the book of Ephesians. We did the first lesson last week (we are doing it on Wed nights) I am excited.. been craving and feeling a drawing to get back into the Word and it's about time.
I'm not going to post all my notes but just some neat tid bits I learned. The first lesson was for me like a refresher, this study is really good for new baby Christians but I still think I will get alot out of it.. The Word Does Not Come Back Void.
Since Paul is the author or who God used to pen the Book of Ephesians (and alot of the NT) there is going to be alot of info about him and his walk and how and where he wrote these books. Paul, formally known as Saul, was a zealous Jew, Pharisee who persecuted Christians thinking he was doing God a service. He had a radical conversion to Christ (read Acts 9) and lived an even more zelous life for the Lord and became an apostle (one who is personally commissioned by Christ). He wrote the book of Ephesians during his first imprisonment in Rome, 60 A.D.
The book of Ephesians is believed to be a general letter to Christians.. in the Bible it starts out, "To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus" but in older manuscripts where Ephesus would be, there is a blank. Kind of like a form letter that was sent out where the name was to later be filled in and there is no personal names in the closing of the letter like in Colossians.
I love learning the meaning of words from the Bible and the history behind them. I think we can get such a deeper understanding then the general English we use today. In this lesson there were a few definitions from the Greek that I would like to share and maybe chew on.
saint translates from the Greek Hagios, meaning "separated" and implies availability and usability in God's service. If you are a Christian who has separated yourself from sin and are dedicated to God you are a saint who this epistle is written to! The appeal for a saintly life can be found in Romans 12:1 -Holy and Acceptable, in his service. All saints are in Christ Jesus.. it is important to understand that.. IN Christ Jesus.. because on our own ofcourse we are not worthy, we all fall short and have times of selfishness. But if we are IN Christ Jesus, God only sees us threw Christ's righteousness. In the New Testament believers are refereed to being in Christ more than 75 times, 14 of that in in Ephesians. This was so neat for me to consider, because when in general we think of a Saint, we think of the Catholic system of a person being nominated and going threw a process of being able to be called a Saint after they are dead and there has to be some kind of proof of miracles and other criteria, like a saint is P E R F E C T (I'm not Catholic but that is my general impressions I get) But just because I AM IN CHRIST JESUS, I too am a saint. Read Romans 8:1 to see the wonderful promise and assurance given to those who are In Christ.
Eph. 1:2 Paul writes "Grace and peace to you" Grace translates from the Greek greeting Charis, where we get our modern day word Karen. Charis refers to receiving something completely undeserved. Peace (Shalom) the common Hebrew greeting referring to inner tranquillity, undisturbed by outward circumstances. Read Philippians 4:7- (my notes) God's peace goes beyond human understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds threw Christ. I know many times I have experienced this and it is awesome to have that kind of Peace, especially when the situation or circumstances or ppl around you say other wise and can't understand why you can be so calm, still have joy, still have hope : )
The word holy is the same Greek word as the word translated for saints, only in the singular. Meaning set apart from the world and dedicated to God. So to be a saint and to be holy goes hand in hand but remember we are not holy or a saint of our own work or accord. Again we need to be In Christ, only if we are born of God, he is with in us, and God can not sin. (1John 3:9)
(Eph)1:4 blameless means with out blemish or with out rebuke. Read 1 John 1:9 for the context showing that we do sin but what we should do if we do.. (my notes) Confess and he is faithful to forgive and CLEANSE ME. I know when I have that heavy weight on me, that conviction of the Holy Spirit showing me.. ohh Mary you know that was not right.. and I confess it to God.. that heavy burden is lifted.. I feel lighter right away, relief.. and I know I am forgiven.. I put in caps, CLEANSE ME, to remind myself that he is cleansing me, renewing me, making me a new creation and I will not be the same.
I feel like I have written the whole lesson but really this was just little nibbles and I like restating them, committing them to memory and grounding myself in what I have learned. You know we retain more info if we repeat it and write it out. : )
Feel free to share your thoughts or comments.