home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted June 9, 2010

Book: Ephesians
Author: Peter S. Williamson
Baker Academic. Grand Rapids, MI. 2009. Pp. 217

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

The Epistle to the Ephesians is the most eloquent of the letters attributed to St. Paul and contains some of the richest theological writing in the Christian tradition. For nearly two thousand years Christians have thrilled to read its inspiring prayers, its awesome depiction of Christ as the head of creation and the Church, its narrative of grace and salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection, its proclamation of the oneness in Christ of Gentile and Jew in the sevenfold unity of the Church, its lofty ethical invitation to “be imitators of God, as beloved children”, and its lyrical comparison of marriage to the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church. Many of the themes from Paul’s earlier writings are recapitulated in Ephesians and expressed in a highly polished manner, in contrast to the rough and ready style that characterizes the earlier Galatian and Corinthian letters. The impact of Ephesians has been immense. According to Raymond Brown, “Among the Pauline writings only Romans can match Ephesians as a candidate for exercising the most influence on Christian thought and spiritualit.”

An Excerpt from the Book:

Building up the Church Ephesians 4:1-16

Sometimes our need for growth, as individuals and as communities, is painfully obvious. How often do we hear fellow Catholics, or ourselves, express dissatisfaction with parish life, with our Church’s witness in the world, or with some other aspect of the Church’s life? And when we turn our gaze on our own discipleship, we notice many shortcomings.

Ephesians 4:1-16 explains how spiritual growth comes to the Church, to our local communities, and to ourselves. Paul teaches us that as each member strives for unity and fulfills his or her role of ministry, the body of Christ advances toward maturity. Paul begins his teaching about Christian conduct by talking about life in the Church rather than individual behaviors because he understands that individual Christians are transformed through community life in the body of Christ.

The first part (4:1-6) of this teaching on growth addresses the subject of unity. The second part (4:7-12) discusses ministry in the Church. The third part (4:13-16) describes the outcome of effective ministry, namely, Christian maturity.

Table of Contents:

Part I Proclamation of God’s Gracious Plan of Salvation in Christ

Blessing God for every spiritual blessing

A prayer to know God and to understand his gifts

Saved by grace through faith for Good works

Gentiles and Jews reconciled to God and united in the Messiah

Commissioned to proclaim God’s secret plan

A prayer for divinization

Part 2 Exhortation to Christian Conduct

Building up the Church

The new self and a new way of living

Children of life

Wives and husbands, Christ and the Church

Children and parents, slaves and masters

A summons to spiritual battle