A Study in Ephesians – Part 1

The Church, of Which Christ Is the Head


There are so many churches in the world, yet they generally call themselves “Christian” in some way or another.  To be Christian means to be Christ-followers or Christ-like.  I can’t say they all act like it all the time, but perhaps this thought of Christ being the head of the church should be examined in this day and time.  There are differences in the churches – even differences between churches in the same denomination – yet there is a measure of unity, of commonality through their worship of God through Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Ephesus to be read to the entire church and other churches at about the same time he wrote a letter to the Church at Colosse, both written while he was in a prison cell in Rome about 60 AD.  We refer to this letter as the book of Ephesians in the Bible, while the second letter is called Colossians.  To give you an idea where these two cities were, they were in what was then called western Asia Minor but is now called eastern Turkey, just across the Aegean Sea, east of the modern country of Greece.  Both cities are now archeological sites with ruins from the Roman era with a grandeur of which one can only imagine.  If you open the computer application “Google Earth” on your computer, look for these two cities.  And look at the pictures that accompany these two sites.

If you were to glance at the books of Ephesians and Colossians, you would see marked similarities but a difference in theme.  Colossians’ theme could be called “Christ, Who Is the Head of the Church” whereas Ephesians could be said to have the theme of “The Church, of Which Christ Is the Head” (This came from a study book from some years ago, but I don’t recall the source).  If you are following along in a Holy Bible, I invite you to read Colossians all the way through (doesn’t have to be at one sitting) followed by reading Ephesians.  You will see for yourself the similarities and the differences.

And there is one more clarification when you are reading the New Testament of the Holy Bible.  You will often see the Son of God referred to as “Jesus Christ”, “Christ Jesus”, “Christ” but never (I don’t think) as just “Jesus” once you get past the Gospels and the book of Acts.  You see, “Jesus” is the Son of God’s earthly address, if you will.  People around him called him Jesus, just like my family and friends call me John.  People of his day referred to him as a rabbi or a teacher.  But which Jesus was he?  He was “Jesus of Nazareth.”  With that title, people would know his given name as Jesus and that he [edited to correct: was born] grew up in Nazareth.  The locals may even have known him as Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, to further pin down who he was on this earth.  If you’ll refer to my blog from August 18 entitled, “The Lord’s Prayer: What’s in a Name?”, I address the significance of names in ancient times.  Jesus is a form of Joshua, and both mean, “God saves.”

Even though Jesus is referred to as Jesus Christ, “Christ” is not his last name.  He’s not “Mr. Christ.”  Instead, it is his eternal title.  Christ is from the Greek word “Christos,” which means the same as the Hebrew word we transliterate as “Messiah” (the Hebrew word “Meshiach”).  Both mean “The Anointed One” which is a special title for the eternal Son of God.  For Jews, Messiah is the title of the savior and liberator in their theology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anointed_One) – and for most, the Messiah has yet to come in power to the earth.  For Christians, Christos (= Messiah) has already come as savior and liberator in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  Note that there are Jews who believe Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah today.  They worship him while retaining their Jewish beliefs but as those beliefs are given more meaning and fulfillment through Jesus, the Messiah.  They refer to themselves as “Fulfilled Jews” or “Messianic Jews.” 

I think that’s as far as I’m going to take this today, and we have yet to get into the book of Ephesians.  There is a lot of information here to take in, and I think I’ll just let it rest for this blog entry.

I hope this finds you doing well currently.  If you have worries about what is going on in your life or in the world, check out the blog “What? Me Worry? – Parts 1,2,3 and Reflection.”  Please don’t omit the Reflection segment as that is an especially important closure to the thoughts on worry.  I will dig into Chapter 1 of Ephesians next time. 

Have a blessed day!

Published by John M

I think differently. Every once in a while, I have an insight or a thought that could be useful to others. My background is over 30 years in church leadership & 30 years in social work with M.Div. and M.S.W. degrees - and yes, I do enjoy retirement. My heart is in teaching. And I try to teach in a way that you don't have to have a degree to understand it. So, join me on this journey we call Life as we explore God, the Bible, the Church and the world around us together. I've been married to my wife for 48 years. We have three grown and married children of whom we are very proud. And they have blessed us with seven grandchildren. We both grew up in Washington State, but we now live in North Carolina with a lot of experience between those two points.

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