Ephesians – Interpretation

Welcome back to another post in my series on Ephesians! Thank you for returning!

As you may have read previously, the first step in the Inductive Study Method is Observation. I posted my personal observations in 3 parts earlier in this series. The second step if this study method is Interpretation.

 

Determining Chapter Themes

My first step toward interpreting Ephesians was to read each chapter and come up with a theme for each one. By determining a theme for each chapter (and as you’ll see in the next step, the book as a whole), it can be easier to make accurate interpretations of the text. I’m not great in the area of discovering overall themes, but here’s what I was able to come up with:

  • Chapter 1: Our inheritance in Christ
  • Chapter 2: Our old ways vs. our walk in Christ
  • Chapter 3: Gentiles have access to the Inheritance
  • Chapter 4: Our new life as one body
  • Chapter 5: Live as wise imitators of God
  • Chapter 6: Stand firm wearing God’s provided armor

 

Determining the Overall Theme for Ephesians

Based on the themes present in each chapter, the next task was to think about the theme for the entire book. Again, I struggle with this sort of thing, but what I wrote down as the Theme for Ephesians is

Live like Christ using the armor God provided for us

Not overly profound, I know, but there it is.

 

Dividing the Book by Themes

Following this, I came up with segment divisions based on the themes of each chapter. I titled my segment divisions as “Topics of Discussion”. Then I separated the entire book into two main sections, as follows:

  • Chapters 1-3: Our inheritance as believers
  • Chapters 4-6: How to live the way God desires

In other words, the first half of the book discusses who receives the inheritance, what the inheritance is, and how it has changed believers from who we once where to who we now are in Christ. Then the second half of the book explains what our new life should look like, provides specific examples for the various stations in life, and even explains the tools God has given his people to help them live the way he has declared.

 

Interpreting Ephesians

Without much more direction than that, the rest of my Interpreting step was to read through the entire book one last time and write down thoughts that jumped out at me based on the text. (Perhaps that should have come before determining the themes, so I will switch that around for next time.)

Here’s a list of what I wrote down:

  • Christ gives his people spiritual blessings
  • I am adopted as God’s child through Jesus Christ (to me this “adoption” seems to imply that those who do not have (believe in) Jesus Christ are not considered to be God’s children. They most certainly are loved by God, but they are not his “children” until they have been adopted as such through a belief in Jesus Christ.)
  • Because I am his child, I have an inheritance provided by God
  • The Holy Spirit is my guarantee of the inheritance God has given me
  • All things are under the feet of Jesus, meaning he has authority over all things.
  • I was once separated from God because of my sin, but now I have been brought near to God.
  • God’s people are all one body: We do not all have the same jobs or roles — just as eyes do not have the same job as ears — but we are all used by God to fulfill his purpose.
  • God extended the inheritance beyond the people of Israel so that anyone who believes in Christ may receive it.
  • Anger is ok as long as it does not cause you to sin (Realizing this was a big one for me after the death of my mom. For a long time, I was angry that she was gone, but when my pastor told me that it was ok to be angry — “God can take it” he said — it was a huge relief to me. Seeing it again here in my study of Ephesians was a good reminder.)
  • Husbands are told to love their wives sacrificially; wives are told to submit to the husband’s wisdom.

Since this final point is often a touchy subject and the idea of a wife being submissive to her husband is loathe in today’s society, I am going to go into more detail about it. The verses I am referring to in my Bible say,

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:22-25

If you read these verses carefully, you will see that God is not telling women to become their husband’s doormat. I understand the first part to be saying that when making decisions for the family, a wife — although she can certainly express her thoughts and views on the situation — ultimately should be willing to take the path decided by her husband, in the same way she would follow the path for her life as determined by God.

On the flip side of the coin, the husband is told to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. This means that a husband is to love his wife sacrificially — even to the point of death if need be. If a husband is obeying this command the way God intended, then any decision he makes would be made with his wife’s (and family’s) best interests in mind.

To show this playing out in a real-life example, let’s imagine a husband and wife are about to have a baby, and they need to decide whether or not someone will stay home to care for the baby or if they will put the baby in a daycare facility. (Really controversial example, I know!)

If the husband and wife are following the commands given in this section of Ephesians, they would discuss the various options available to them. Then the husband would weigh all of those options, thinking sacrificially about the needs of his family, and come to a decision that is best for all of them. Then the wife’s job, after the decision is made, is to support whatever decision her husband chose (knowing that he made the decision with a sacrificial love for her needs) and be willing to take the route he has deemed to be the best for their family.

I hope this adequately explains what is being commanded in this section. Being submissive does not have to have the negative connotation that society gives it today.

So there you have it… These are the interpretations I have discovered in the book of Ephesians.

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Energy Dance Out

Our family started a new tradition today. I wanted a way for my very active son to burn off some energy as it gets closer to bedtime, so I came up with an idea. 

After I put Little Miss to bed, The Boy and I (and Hubby a little too) had an Energy Dance Out. We turned on some music, and spent a few minutes dancing out our wiggles. The idea is that the Dance Out is our last big energy activity and that the last hour before bed (and after the Dance Out) will be designated for calm, relaxing activities. 

The song that played was one I like so I’m sharing an image here. Enjoy! And have a great night!


Good night everyone!

February Meal Plan

Hello everyone! If you’ve been following my BabySteps series, you may be wondering why this morning’s post isn’t Day 21 of my progression through FlyLady’s BabySteps. Here’s what happened to me yesterday…

I needed to have breakfast ready and on the table by 8:30am — which is not always as easy as it sounds when you eat “dinner” during the “breakfast” time slot — so that we could eat before Hubby left for work. Breakfast was going to take 1 hour to make, so I should have been up and out of bed at least 30 minutes before that in order to get my Morning Routine finished.

I, however, did not awaken until The Boy climbed into my bed — practically pulling my hair out in the process, I might add — at 7:15am. That gave me just enough time to go to the bathroom and then get into the kitchen to feed the cat and get the oven preheated.

I told myself, “I’ll get to my Morning Routine after breakfast.” Here comes the problem though…

Shortly after breakfast, a migraine hit me with such force that the sounds of my children playing were painful, the light hurt my eyes, and I became nauseated. I trudged through the morning, until it was time for Little Miss to take a nap and The Boy to go to Quiet Hour (this is 1 hour of every day when The Boy must play quietly upstairs), at which time, I promptly fell into my bed and tried to sleep it off.

Of course, I was not able to fall asleep and The Boy came bounding in my room, full of energy, 1 hour later. I tried explaining to him that I had a very bad headache, and to please talk quietly, and although he did his best, he is still only 4 1/2 so he was not overly successful at keeping a low profile.

I spent most of the afternoon on the couch, curled up under a blanket, halfway (who am I kidding, a quarter of the way) playing the dozen different games The Boy made up to play.

By around 5 or so, the migraine had dissipated enough (though not completely gone) that the thought of venturing to the bread store 2 blocks away was tolerable, and I thought that perhaps the fresh air would help a bit too.

Needless to say, I did not get much done yesterday in the way of my BabySteps routines. I apologize. I was, however, able to sit down last night and work on my meal plan for the month of February.

February Meal Plan

This is mostly a tentative meal plan. I try to stick to them as much as possible, but life isn’t always a breeze (as was evidenced yesterday), so it does occasionally get changed. It does at least give me a plan to focus on and it allows me to easily make shopping lists each week.

On a side note, I have tried in the past to buy all of the pantry items for the entire month all at once, and then only having cold items during my weekly shopping trips. I actually liked doing it that way, because it made my weekly shopping trips faster (fewer things to buy). Over the course of the entire month, it was actually less expensive to buy groceries this way. The problem with that approach was that we were living paycheck to paycheck, so having a larger, monthly shopping trip was difficult to handle financially with the upfront cost of it. I’d like to someday get back to that method of shopping, but for now, we have weekly shopping trips.

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Ephesians – Observations, Part 3

Welcome back! If you have been following my new Ephesians series, thanks for reading and coming back today!

Today’s post is Part 3 of my personal observations for the book of Ephesians. This will be my final post on my Observations, and tomorrow I will move on to the next step of the Inductive Study Method, Interpretation.

In the Bible I used for this study — The New Inductive Study Bible — there is an Observations Chart at the end of each book of the Bible where the student of the Word can write down their own observations pertaining to certain topics or themes.

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BabySteps Day 19 & Day 20

Morning everyone! Did you miss me yesterday? I did have a new post, but if you’ve been following my progress through the BabySteps, you may have noticed that yesterday’s post was not BabySteps related. (Shock! Horror!)

I promise you, it was not because I missed a day or because I forgot to post about it. There was actually good reason to combine Days 19 & 20 of the BabySteps process — reason being, Day 19 was exactly the same as Day 18. There was no new task to add to my routine; everything was the same.

The only extra thing for the day was to read a testimonial someone had sent from however long ago about a Bed and Breakfast she and her husband had gone to which actually turned out to be their own home because the FlyLady system had revolutionized her home. Nice to read for motivation purposes, but I figured my readers would not enjoy reading the same routines from Day 18 on Day 19 as well.

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Laundry Detergent

I make my own laundry detergent, which I use for everything except cloth diapers (because Borax is an ingredient — cloth diapers and Borax do not mix well). I thought I’d share my recipe with you.

This recipe was given to me by a family friend. I have not had any issues with it so far, and it lasts for a long time. The last batch (prior to the most recent one I made two weeks ago) I made was sometime in early summer. I don’t remember the exact time, just that it was before we moved into our current house, and that was in June. So that means one batch of this detergent, for my family of 4, lasted for about 6 months.

I know some of you are thinking it lasted that long because it was used infrequently, but no! Most weeks, I did 3-4 loads per week (sometimes more, sometimes less) so it’s a good amount of detergent, and you only need 1-2 Tbsp per load — depending on how dirty they are.

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Ephesians Study – Observations, Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 of my Observations of Ephesians, you may wish to do so. There is so much teaching and insight to glean from a study of this book. Continuing on from Part 1, here are a few more observations I made.

What God Does

For chapters 1-3, I made a list of everything God does. (I probably should have continued on with chapters 4-6, but oops, I did not.) Here’s what I came up with for Chapters 1-3:

  • He blessed us in Christ (1:3)
  • He chose us in Christ (1:4)
  • He predestines for adoption (1:5)
  • He blesses us with grace (1:6)
  • He redeems and forgives (1:7)
  • He lavished grace upon us (1:8)
  • He makes his will known to us (1:9)
  • He sealed us with the Holy Spirit (1:13)
  • He gives wisdom and knowledge (1:17)
  • He raised Christ from the dead (1:20)
  • He put Christ at his right hand (1:20)
  • He gave Christ authority over all things (1:22)
  • He makes us alive with Christ (2:5)
  • He raises us up and seats us with Christ (2:6)
  • He saves by grace (2:8)
  • He created us to do good works (2:10)
  • He gave grace to Paul (3:2)
  • He made known the mystery of Christ to Paul (3:3)
  • He strengthens us (3:16)

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