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Many major cities around the world have some kind of icon that comes to mind when you think about them. New York has the Statue of Liberty, London has Big Ben, and Sidney is well-known for its Opera House.
When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter, the city of Ephesus was well-known for a large statue built for the goddess Artemis. It was such a popular icon that thousands of travelers would flock to Ephesus for an opportunity to see it.
But Paul recognized that this statue was not merely a cultural symbol but a deeply religious one. As such, he focusses much of the letter on the grace of God, strongly encouraging the Christians in Ephesus to remain grounded in true gospel principles.
Interestingly, Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. While he probably wasn’t denied the opportunity to have visitors pray for him, he probably been beaten and had experienced harsh living conditions. Nevertheless, he doesn’t allow his living conditions to deter him from remaining focused on the gospel.
READING & PRAYERS:
Today, take the opportunity to read the Introduction to Ephesians in the Study Bible of your choice. Some recommendations include the Life Application Study Bible, NIV Zondervan Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, among others. I’ve provided the links for two different introductions to Ephesians available online below.
(Note: If interested, read Acts 19:1-41 to get a better understanding of how deeply ingrained the worship of Artemis was in Ephesus.)
What are some of the major themes that will come up as you read and study through the Book of Ephesians?
Why do you think these themes were so important to Paul?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, as I enter in a New Year, I simply pray that all throughout this year, no matter what circumstances I may encounter, that I will come to more fully know You and reflect Your goodness upon the world around me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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