You probably already use a variety of versions as your study the Bible. I’ve found that looking at different versions can help me to see and hear things I haven’t noticed before. For that reason, I will include different versions throughout this study. The first four versions I go to are:
- (NIV) New International Version
- (NLV) New Living Translation
- (MSG) The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson
- (TPT) The Passion Translation, heart-level translation, using Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, focusing on God’s love
BIBLICAL HISTORY OF EPHESUS:
- The exact meaning of the name ‘Ephesus’ has been lost in time, but many believe it comes from the Greek word for ‘Desirable’, which sounds similar. Three thousand years later, the now-ruined city of Ephesus is still known by the same name, despite the many different cultures that have controlled it.
- On his third missionary journey, the apostle Paul lived for several years as a tent-making missionary in Ephesus. That means, he literally made tents to pay his living costs while serving as a missionary. His tent-making partners were Priscilla and Aquilla. They may have even sold their tents in the city’s marketplace, a 360-foot square area surrounded on all sides by arched shops about 40 feet deep. It was located next to the harbor and was the city’s main commercial center.
- People in the Mediterranean world of the time believed that there were many layers of “heaven.” The highest heaven (which Paul refers to in verse 3) was the most pure and therefore was home to the greatest deity of all. Closer to earth were the heavens where birds flew (atmosphere), which was also inhabited by demons and/or semi-divine spirits. (See also: Ephesians 1:20-21, 2:6).
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. (Ephesians 1:3-6, NLT)
What do you learn about God and about us as believers in these three verses? Fill in the chart below.
What is God saying to you in particular as you read through these verses today? Write it out in your own words, doodle a picture/graph/photo that shows what God is speaking to you, or do both.
Check in on Tuesday for my answers. Share yours with me by commenting on the blog or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.