Thursday, March 1, 2007

understanding ephesians


i think that lots of times, people do not understand the context of what they are reading in the bible. the personalize the message of each book, not realizing that each book in the bible was written by a person to a person (or group of people) that existed in a specific time and place. Christians also believe that while it was a word from one man to others, that message was inspired by God and can be applied today, in our lives and churches. we must first understand what God was saying to those people before we can understand or begin to understand how God wants to apply that eternal truth to our lives. consider paul's letter to the ephesians. below i'll describe what the city of ephesus was like. consider the context to which paul was writing when you read that book.

Ephesus was located on the eastern coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It was a leading Roman city at the time, along with Rome, Corinth, Antioch and Alexandria, but is now uninhabited. The city was located on a harbor that was essential to make it an economic power and had about 250,000 inhabitants. There was a long road that led to the harbor that was about 11m wide and was lined with marble pillars to welcome visitors,

One of the most important aspects of Ephesus was its worship of the fertility goddess Artemis (Diana). The amazing temple that was built for worshippers was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, until the Goths destroyed it in 263. There was open prostitution in the temple. The temple and Artemis-worship actually generated much of the economic robustness of the city. Each April, there was a festival for Artemis where about one million people descended on the city. Artemis was not the only attraction, though. The city was full of amazing architecture. There was the stadium that seated 25,000 people (the mob scene of Acts 19), as well as the Library of Celcus. While Artemis worship dominated the religious scene in Ephesus, there was also a very strong presence of those involved in the magical arts. There was such a magical arts presence in the city that books written on the subject were often referred to as “Ephesian Writings.”

this letter, as were all parts of scripture, were written to people who lived in time and space. we must first understand what God was saying to them before we can understand how God wants to apply that eternal truth to our lives.

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