Exegetical Notes #1

Ephesians 1:1-3

Because I started out slow in Ephesians there’s not going to be too many notes for this first edition of Exegetical Notes.

Paul probably wrote this letter around 60-62 AD. This letter was probably delivered to the Ephesians by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21-22), who also took Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. 4:7-9).

Ephesus was a leading center in the Roman Empire. Paul had spent a short time in Ephesus on his way back to Antioch from his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-22). On his third missionary journey he stayed in Ephesus three years (Acts 20:31). When Paul returned to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey he gave his moving farewell address to the Ephesian elders at the coastal town of Miletus (20:13-35). This statement has been the model for the final sermon of thousands of Pastors down through the years.

Ironically enough one of the first real issues with Ephesians is the phrase in verse one “in Ephesus.” Those words are not in the Vatican and Sinaitic codices, the two oldest and best manuscripts.  Furthermore, in the 3rd century, Origen didn’t know about them either.

Scholars are divided about what this might mean. Could it mean that originally Ephesians was met to be circulated to several different churches in that general area? This might help explain why there are no personal greetings in the book, which are usually found in Paul’s writings.

No proof, either way, is available however, so all attempts to explain this mystery are simply conjecture. As such they are free and worth every penny!

So have at it!

Ephesians, like many of Paul’s books, is divided into two main sections. Of course you can divide it up in other ways when you are outlining it. For example there’s Watchman Nee’s famous three-part take on the book – Sit, Walk, Stand. (This is an excellent book, https://urlzs.com/z5cj ).

However the two main sections of the book are chapters one through three, which are doctrinal, and chapters four through six which are practical. Paul first lays out the theological truths we need to believe and then he applies them to our lives. [By the way – even Nee’s outline fits into the two main sections as Sit is the doctrinal section and Walk and Stand are the practical part.]

Paul likes to teach this way and you can see this basic structure in many of his books. For those of us who teach or preach it’s an excellent model to follow. First you focus on the Gospel and it’s implications in our lives, then you get practical and show it applies to every area of our lives.

Exegetical Notes #1

Exegetical Notes for Authentic Spirituality Introduction


The purpose of these notes is to provide the kind of information that I’d like to put into my sermons but just don’t have room for. The first Exegetical Note will be published this Sunday afternoon and will, hopefully, add some value to the sermon I’ll preach that morning.

I realize that many of you reading these notes might be surprised by what I’ve chosen to leave out. So let me start by saying that I believe quite strongly that there’s a huge difference between Bible lectures and sermons. Lectures can be filled with lots of details, not all of them important, and can cover all sorts of issues and information on a variety of subjects.

Sermons on the other hand are (or should be in my opinion) finely tuned instruments that are designed to drive a very few points home. My preaching tries to focus on the application of God’s Word to our daily lives, so there’s just not room for a lot of things that are interesting or important but off the point being made.

This is truer today than it’s ever been as modern people have ever-shortening attention spans. They simply won’t sit still for a lot of excess baggage in a sermon, nor should they. Today’s preacher doesn’t have the luxury of being either lazy or a windbag! Instead, we have to prune our material ruthlessly, taking everything out of our sermons that either hinders the message or distracts from it.

The end result is often decried as simple and shallow, not at all like preaching was back in whatever day the decrier thinks was the golden age of preaching. I disagree. The end result can be if it’s done right and I’m not holding myself or my sermons out as examples of this ideal, a message that looks a lot like Jesus sermons did.

Look at the Sermon on the Mount for example. How compact it is. Every phrase in it is pregnant with meaning, yet Jesus did not stop and unpack it. He left it there for us to ponder and explore, and 2000 years later we’re still doing it!

You could point to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as another example of being deep and pithy at the same time. That’s what I’m trying to do when I preach, which is why I try and stay around 30 minutes and rarely hit 45 minutes.

What I hope to include in these notes is exegetical information such as Greek word meanings, notes from commentators I’m using, cross reference material and points and meanings in the text that I’d love to put into the message but just had to cut. Historical information will also be talked about when I think it’s important, etc.

The goal is to give the reader many of the things needed to understand the text that I couldn’t or didn’t put into the sermon. I’m not one to pretend that one sermon can completely the meaning of any text of Scripture so these notes can serve to further educate and illuminate our understanding of God’s Word.


Exegetical Notes for Authentic Spirituality Introduction

So Long For Now Rick Elias

Most of you have probably never heard of Rick Elias. If you were into Contemporary Christian Music in the 1990’s then you probably did, otherwise probably not.

Back then I was volunteering as a DJ on our local Christian station playing Christian Rock, Rap and Metal music on Friday nights. Along with my friend Keith we had lots of fun and were blessed to interview many of the artists by phone.

We also went to a Margaret Becker concert in Phoenix and that’s where we heard Rick’s wife Linda sing and go to very briefly chat with Rick afterwards.  I was a big fan of his music, especially his first album “Confession of Love.” It was amazing and I still love listening to it today.

I listened to several songs right before I taught Bible Study tonight because I saw online that Rick had died of cancer. It made me sad, and I’m still bummed to know that his voice has been stilled. But I’m grateful he can make all the music he wants now in the presence of his Lord.

I’m embedding a couple of his songs below for those of you who haven’t heard them. Take a few minutes and give a listen, you won’t be disappointed.

So Long For Now Rick Elias