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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Letter of Paul to The Ephesians - Introduction

The main theme of the letter to the Ephesians is the church, the body of Christ, in which Jew and Gentile have been united and made “a single new humanity” ( 2.15 ). The letter presents itself as written by Paul during a time of imprisonment ( 3.1 ), and its close relationship to Colossians has led many to suppose a common situation for both: Paul's captivity in Rome (61–63 C.E.).

The best and earliest manuscripts lack the words “at Ephesus” in 1.1 . Therefore, some scholars have offered the suggestion that it was originally intended for many churches, not just the one at Ephesus.

Moreover, there is some basis on which doubts have arisen that the letter was written by Paul himself. Thus, though there are points of contact in thought and wording with every Pauline letter (except perhaps 2 Thessalonians) and especially with Colossians, yet in many instances these points of contact also reflect differences. For example, Eph. 2.8–10 is closely related to the thought of Romans, but does not mention justification, which is central to that epistle. Again, the “revealed secret” is conceived differently in Colossians and in Ephesians; in Colossians, it is the union of Christ and his people (Col. 1.27 ); in the latter, it is the union of Jew and Gentile in the one church (Eph. 3.6 ). Accordingly, many (perhaps most) modern scholars regard Ephesians as the work of a member of the Pauline “school” and date it around 100 C.E.

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