The Christian Restoration Association

Serving Christ and His Church since 1922.

Exegesis of Ephesians

Introductory Notes:

  1. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, and exegesis is the application of the laws of hermeneutics.
  2. Both hermeneutics and exegesis are necessary for teachers and preachers of the Word of God.
  3. Exegesis must be distinguished from “eisegesis.” In exegesis the expositor draws out the author’s intended meaning. In "eisegesis" the expositor interprets a text by reading into it his own ideas. The expositor is not responsible for what the author has said, but he is responsible for a faithful rendering of the text.
  4. This subject will involve some exercises in exegesis in Ephesians. We make no pretense at being exhaustive but will try to give enough different exercises to illustrate the work of exegesis.
  5. One exercise will be paraphrasing. Published paraphrases are not to be used. In order to paraphrase, the student must understand what the author has written and then put it in his own words. Difficulty in doing this will indicate uncertainties in the mind of the exegete concerning the author’s intended meaning.
  6. Another exercise will be that of writing commentary. This, also, will be independent work. It will not reproduce the work of published commentaries. Grammar, word study, philosophy, and other disciplines will come into play in this exercise.
  7. The study of exegesis is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The end is effective teaching and preaching; therefore, there will be exercises in finding and developing themes for lessons and/or sermons.
  8. Published commentaries will be helpful in this study, but care must be taken to keep them in proper perspective. Differences in interpretations remind one that these are of human origin and are not to be confused with the text of Scripture. Commentaries should not be used as crutches or artificial limbs; they should be used as friends who lend a helping hand but expect you to stand on your own feet.
  9. The ability to exegete the Scriptures should be a prized possession. Jesus reminds us in John 8:31,32, “If you abide in my word, then are you truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Lesson 1

  1. Prepare an introduction to Ephesians. Read as many sources as possible for this exercise and identify the sources used. Prepare this introductory material as you would want it for introducing this book as a Bible study for a class of adult students.
  2. The following or similar outline should be used.
    1. The author of the book
    2. Audience to whom the book was written
    3. The time, place, and occasion for writing the letter
    4. The theme of the book, if it can be identified, and/or other objectives of the book
    5. A brief outline of the book
    6. Other general comments about the book

    At least one or more paragraphs should be devoted to each of these topics.

Lessons 2-12

Do the following for each section of Ephesians listed below. There are from one to three sections in each lesson.

  1. Write a paraphrase using the same chapter and verse numbering as used in the text of the Scriptures.
  2. Write a brief verse-by-verse commentary.
  3. Show how, if possible, a law or principle of hermeneutics is illustrated in this passage of Scripture. Consider, especially the content of chapters 2 and 12 in the Stein text.
  4. Indicate words or phrases that might give a problem in interpretation in any sections (passages) in which they appear. State the nature of the problem.
  5. Prepare an outline for a lesson or sermon based on the texts of lessons 2, 5, and 7.

Lesson 2

1:1-14

Lesson 3

1:15-23

Lesson 4

2:1-10

Lesson 5

2:11-22

Lesson 6

3:1-13; 14-21

Lesson 7

4:1-16

Lesson 8

4:14-24:25-32

Lesson 9

5:1,2; 3-14

Lesson 10

5:15-21; 22-33

Lesson 11

6:1-4; 5-9

Lesson 12

6:10-20; 21,22; 23,24

Further instructions for lessons 2-12

  1. The following is an example of paraphrase for Ephesians 1:3:

    We are to praise God our spiritual Father who is also the spiritual Father of Jesus who came to be our Master and Savior—our Messiah. We praise God also because He has blessed us with all kinds of spiritual blessings through our Messiah in heavenly relationships.

    This verse could be paraphrased in many different ways since the task of the student is to understand what the text means and then to express that meaning in his own words. Different students will use different words to express the same meaning.

  2. A commentary involves exegesis—bringing out the meaning of the text. If the commentary expresses opinions, these should be clearly identified as such.

    Here is some commentary on Ephesians 1:3:

    We cannot add to God’s glory, so to bless God has the idea of praising Him or recognizing the glory that belongs to Him. He is identified as the Father of Jesus. This is because Jesus took on sonship. (Philippians 2: 6-9) He became a son in human form so he could more easily show us the Father—His love for us and our faith in and obedience to Him. Jesus’ taking on sonship did not mean that He was any less divine—God. (John 1:1) There was no conflict in the minds of the Apostles about the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were equal in their understanding and were represented as working in concert. (Matthew 28:19)  The word “heavenly” is a bit of a problem. The word “places” is not in the original text., and it seems to limit the word “heavenly” too much. It is used in connection with the spiritual blessing that the Christian receives through Christ. Therefore, it seems that he is speaking of heavenly relationships rather than heavenly places. Our relationships to God and fellow Christians through Christ are related to heaven. Christ came from heaven to give us the hope of eternal life in heaven. These blessings culminate in our eternal relationship with the Godhead. We praise God because He has blessed us so richly. Our blessing God goes beyond lip service. He expects our self-sacrifice. (Romans 12: 1,2)

  3. You are not required to find a hermeneutical principle in every verse. One or more could be pointed out for the section(s) in each lesson. These might include figures of speech, definition, and/or a rule of interpretation that is illustrated in the section(s).
  4. The outline of the lesson or sermon should contain a minimum of the following:
    1. The title of the lesson or sermon
    2. The Scripture text (all or part of the section)
    3. A few sentences of introduction ending with a proposition that encompasses the whole lesson
    4. Two or more main divisions in the body of the lesson
    5. Two or three subdivisions under each main division
    6. A few sentences of conclusion which show that the proposition has been established
    7. An appeal to action

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