Ephesus was a large seaport. The people there worshipped many idols, the most important being the goddess Diana (called Artemis by the Greeks). The temple of Diana was one of the "seven wonders of the world". Local silversmiths made and sold many images of the goddess. When they saw many people becoming Christians, following the Apostle Paul's preaching there, they started a riot.

The people who became Christians at Ephesus included many who had previously practised magic. They brought all their books together and burned them publicly.

Even after the uproar had ceased, it was still dangerous to be a Christian in Ephesus. Paul stayed there for 3 years helping to establish a "church" (assembly of Christians).

The Epistle (letter) to the Ephesians was written by Paul from Rome during the 2 years in which he was awaiting trial before the Emperor. Copies of the letter were probably made and taken to other churches.

The main theme of the letter is unity. Paul write of the wonderful way in which God has planned from the beginning that He and His people would be one. Gentiles, as well as Jews, were called to be God's people, made one "church" in Christ. He likens the people of God to a temple (much better than the temple of Diana!) built on "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" with Jesus as the cornerstone, holding everything together (4:4-6).

The Church is also likened to a body - with Christ as the Head and others being the various parts. There is only one body - with one true set of beliefs (chapter 2).

Chapter 5 reminds us of the way a Christian is joined to Christ and that husbands and wives should also show love and understanding. Marriage is intended as a pattern of Christ's love for the Church.

Chapter 6 contains advice to parents and children, masters and slaves. Obedience is something we need to learn in life, so that we can also be obedient to God.

Finally, Paul gives details of the "armour" needed by the Christian if his own life and that of the Church is to be preserved. The Roman soldier guarding Paul would have been dressed in his armour.



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