When we study the Bible, we start by reading and observing what the passage says. In this step we don’t concern ourselves with what the passage means, but rather what it says. To observe, it helps to ask the 5 W’s questions: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. For example, who is the passage talking about, who is doing the action in the passage, who is speaking, what is being said, what is happening, what lists are given, where is it taking place, when is it happening, why did the person say that, why did they go where they went, etc. So in looking at Ephesians chapter 1, having already looked at the background of the book and its historical and cultural context, we ask these questions.
Who is being talked about in Ephesians 1?
What are some repeated words?
What is being described?
Where is it taking place?
When did it take place or when will it take place?
Why did God do this?
Take some time to read through Ephesians 1 and write down the answers to these questions and any others that you make think of. Who is the main person being talked about? What is the overall theme or flow of this chapter?
Ephesians 1 gives us a beautiful description of what God has done for us as believers in Christ. Rich with encouraging words like ‘lavish’, ‘blessed’, ‘glorious’, this chapter helps us as Christians to hang onto hope in this troubled, volatile world that we live in today.
We have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We may seek material, physical blessing in this world but the reality is, if we are a believer and follower of Jesus, we have all the blessings we need spiritually through Him. Nothing can take that away. We are then reminded that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be blameless before Him. We have been chosen – not to live life as we want it – but to be blameless before God. Later in Ephesians it talks about being prepared for good works that God wants us to do. His plan for us is remarkable, yet too often we think we know best how to plan our lives. But God chose us for His purposes and His work.
We have been predestined for adoption as sons of God. God Himself, the Maker and Creator of this vast universe, chose to adopt us as believers to be His own children. Adoption means we legally belong to Him and have all the rights and privileges of being His child. Jesus, the Son of God, is our brother, and we share our inheritance with Him. This is a marvelous and astounding truth! No matter how ugly and broken this world is, we have an eternal reality that is beyond our imagination to consider. God did this according to the purpose of His will – His choice to make us His. And it results in our praising Him for his glorious grace that He has given us through Jesus.
Does this truth not make your heart sing? The wonder that God would make us His own children, not because we did anything to deserve it, but through His grace, unmerited favor given to us.
Next week we’ll continue our look at Ephesians 1.