05 – Ephesians – Chapter 1


Ephesians was a letter to the Ekklesia at Ephesus from the apostle Paul. The letter begins, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” and tells a few things.

  • The identity of the sender of the letter, Paul
  • Whose apostle he is, of Jesus Christ
  • How he came to be an apostle, by the will of God
  • * Apostle: Apostolos; sent one
    • Also, a title of men whom God uniquely chose
      • In this case as foundation for the Ekklesia to be built upon
    • * His credentials were not in his training but in the calling of him by God
      • Of Christ and by the will of God
        • Son and Father
        • Empowered by Holy Spirit
      • * Ephesians
        • Chapters 1-3; doctrinal and theological
        • Chapters 4-6; behavioral and practical
        • Written between 60 and 62 A.D.
          • By Paul the Apostle
          • While imprisoned in Rome



For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 3:1 KJV



  • ** Paul and Ephesus
    • First visit – Acts 18:18-21 – with Priscilla and Aquila
    • Second visit – Acts 19:1-7 – establishes the Ekklesia
    • Apollos: Acts 18:24-26 – Aquila and Priscilla take on leadership responsibility


  • * Verses 3-14 are actually one sentence in the Greek


  • Verses 3-6a – referring to that of the past – Election
    • Chosen before the foundation of the world
    • Predestined us to adoption
  • Verses 3-6a – Focusing on the Father
    • Blessed be the God and Father
    • Who has …
    • Just as he chose …
    • To Himself … His will … His grace


  • Verses 6b-10 – referring to that of the present – Redemption
    • We have redemption through His blood
      • Forgiveness of our sin
    • Verses 6b-10 – Focusing on the Son
      • In Him we have redemption
        • He is the Redeemer
      • He lavishes grace upon us
      • He makes known the mystery of His will
      • Summing up all things in Christ
        • In heaven and on earth


  • Verses 11-14 – referring to that of the future – Inheritance
    • According to His purpose and His will
    • Sealed in Him
    • For the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him
  • Verses 11-14 – focusing on the Holy Spirit
    • Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
    • The Holy Spirit who indwells us



Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:1-3 KJV



  • * “to the saints”, and to “the faithful in Christ Jesus”
    • Those who have trusted in Christ Jesus as Lord
      • The believers are the saints
      • The faithful are those who trust and obey
    • The faithful operate in the grace of God and in the righteousness of Christ


  • * The phrase, “which are at Ephesus”
    • Not in many early manuscripts
    • Meant for all assemblies?
    • First sent to Ephesus?


  • Remember the closeness of Philadelphia, Ephesus, Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis



Paul begins the letter with a blessing of grace and peace from God for those to whom the letter is sent, and he then praises God from whom the blessings flow. He states that the Father and the Son has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” which alone may be worthy of a study.

  • God blessing us
    • What does it mean to be blessed by God?
  • “all spiritual blessings”
    • How do we define this?
  • “in heavenly places”
    • So, is this for now or for some future time and place?
  • “in Christ”
    • What does this mean?



The term “in heavenly places” is used four times in this letter. The other three are:



Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, – Ephesians 1:20 KJV


And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: – Ephesians 2:6 KJV


To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the [church Ekklesia] the manifold wisdom of God, – Ephesians 3:10 KJV



Ephesians 1:20

  • Who: the Father – vs 17: “That the God … the Father of glory”
  • What: raised Him [Christ] and set Him
  • Where: heavenly places, or, the Father’s own right hand
  • When: at the resurrection and the ascension of Christ Jesus
  • Why: vs. 22: “to be the head over all things to the [church Ekklesia]
  • How: vs. 19: “according to the working of His mighty power”


Ephesians 2:6 states that we are with Him, and Ephesians 3:10 says it is to make known the wisdom of God.


This letter is to make known to the saints their position in Christ, by the power of God, and what is expected of them as members of the body of Christ. It also makes clear that this is all done under the care of a loving Father who has plans for our good and that our position is in Christ Jesus.



The letter continues:



According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace,

Ephesians 1:4-6a KJV



To say, “he hath chosen us in him” is to say that Christ Jesus chose us to be in Him – the mystery of the Body of Christ. Also, He did so before the creation of the world. His desire is that we would be holy and blameless with Him in a loving relationship.



Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

1 Peter 1:16 KJV



The Son did this with the Father before the creation of the world. This was and is Their plan, that we were designed and ordained to be adopted by and to Himself, the Son, as children of God, the Father.


The Father draws us to the Son.



No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 KJV



The Son presents us to the Father.



And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:11-12 KJV


Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

2 Corinthians 4:14 KJV



We are brethren of Christ, the firstborn, in the family of God.



For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29 KJV



Continuing with the letter:



wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Ephesians 6b-10 KJV



Whereas the term “He hath made us” relates to the past, “accepted in the beloved” reflects our current position in Christ. So it is her that we see the transition from past to present in these opening verses.


  • “accepted in the beloved”: our current position by the grace and mercy of God through the work of the cross
    • We are in the Body of Christ, our place in the Beloved
    • Jesus has redeemed us
      • By the forgiveness of our sin by the shedding of His blood
      • This is among the riches of His grace
    • Jesus came to us in the earth and still comes to us
      • He comes with all wisdom, that is, supernatural insight with understanding
      • He comes with all prudence, that is, cautiousness in important matters


  • The goal, or the end result, is to be the gathering together in unity all things in Christ
    • This includes all in heaven and on earth
    • Gathering all unto and into Himself


  • “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will”
    • The will of God made known to man, which in times past was hidden
    • That all mankind, not Israel only, has access to the mercies of God and forgiveness of sin through Christ Jesus
    • That our loving God desires a relationship with all of His creation



For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV



  • This was God’s plan and design and was for His good pleasure
    • He has made it possible for us to come into a right relationship with Him
    • He wants to share a loving relationship with us, and He wants us to desire it of Him



The future phase of this letter’s opening is:



In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-14 KJV



We see not only the desire from God for a relationship, but also the promise of an inheritance as members of the family of God, as the Body of Christ. The inheritance was also part of His plan from before the creation of the world.


  • “In whom”: in Christ


  • “also”: in addition to being in Him


  • “we have obtained an inheritance”
    • This again was according to the plan and will of God
    • That having trusted in Christ, we obtain it
      • Having heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation
      • Having believed the word


  • We are sealed with the Holy Spirit
    • The Spirit of promise
    • The earnest, or down-payment of the inheritance we are to receive


  • We are the “purchased possession”
    • The earnest payment is to hold us until the redemption
    • Our redemption is guaranteed in Christ and in being sealed by the Holy Spirit
    • God will be glorified in the day of the fullness of our redemption



Verses 15 through 23 of the first chapter reveal what is available to us in Christ Jesus, our Redeemer.



Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Ephesians 1:15-16 KJV



Paul, through visitors and letters received, heard reports on the status of the assemblies he had ministered to over the years. He heard the good reports of the life in the Ekklesia at Ephesus.


  • Paul heard of:
    • Their faith in the Lord Jesus
    • Their love unto all the saints
      • Most likely beyond their own assembly as well as within


  • Paul interceded for them before God
    • Giving thanks for them
    • Praying for them
      • Needs, faith and faithfulness, courage



Verses 17 through 19 give some specific things that Paul sought for the Ekklesia from the God and Father of our Lord.



That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 1:17-19 KJV



  • “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:”
    • Revelation of the knowledge of God
      • I believe this would include things previously unknown to us about God
      • A continuing revelation, or revealing, of Himself to us
    • Spirit of wisdom: as in Isaiah 11:2?
    • Wisdom: knowledge beyond that of man, or beyond our intellect, that reveals aspects of God we may not otherwise see.


  • “the eyes of our understanding being enlightened;”
    • Spirit of understanding as in Isaiah 11:2?
      • Understanding is paired with wisdom as understanding is necessary to properly use the wisdom given and wisdom is necessary to knowing what to do with an understanding
    • Understanding being enlightened: further revelation from God
    • The eyes of our understanding: supernatural, something beyond seeing with our natural eyes
      • An understanding of what we are perceiving spiritually concerning the revelation to us by God concerning Himself


  • “that ye may know what is the hope of His calling,”
    • We should know the purpose for which we are called by God
    • “His calling”: the calling of God for each of us
      • Individually and corporately
      • Knowing who we truly are in Christ Jesus
    • And the hope, or the promise, of that calling
      • The eternal outcome of our salvation
      • Knowing our true destiny in Christ Jesus


  • “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe”
    • That we may develop full confidence in the power of God
    • How that power affects the believer and the Christian life
      • Including the power He gives to believers
        • To be overcomers
        • To accomplish His will
        • To do the work of the Kingdom
      • Including the great power of God to bring about His promises
        • Including our day of redemption
        • Including our inheritance


  • “according to the working of his mighty power”
    • Remembering that all power comes from Him
    • According to His will and His plan
    • We can do nothing apart from Him



Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:4-6 KJV



And to conclude chapter one, verses 20-23 express the glory of Christ Jesus, exalted in power above all else.



Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians 1:20-23 KJV



  • “Which he wrought in Christ”: referring to the “working of His mighty power”
    • It was brought forth in Christ; empowered by Holy Spirit
    • Holy Spirit also empowers those who are in Christ



But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:11 KJV



  • The earnest of our inheritance
  • The Spirit that indwells us
  • Another great promise
  • What: the exceeding greatness of His power


  • How: wrought in Christ by Holy Spirit


  • Who: Christ, and those who are in Christ, those who believe


  • When: “when he raised him from the dead” and when He was set at the right hand of God


  • Where: “in the heavenly places” and “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:”


  • Why: Christ is “to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
    • How is this to happen?
    • God will “put all things under his feet”



The saints are called to do the work of the Kingdom, fulfilling the mandates God has given to man.

  • In Christ: the only way we can accomplish anything
  • The power of God: the only power that can accomplish anything



We must continue to draw close to God through an intimate relationship with Christ, the Son, and Father and Holy Spirit. This all begins with worship in spirit and truth and is carried out through obedience in love.





This concludes this portion, chapter one.




*Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Ephesians

John F. MacArthur

1986 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago


**Adapted from a video study on YouTube, July 28, 2017

Ephesians Bible Study / Mike Mazzalongo / BibleTalk.tv

1 – Ephesians for Beginners – Introduction

This appears to be a 12 video series.



Next: 06 – Ephesians – Chapter 2