Captivity Epistles

Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20
Phil 1:12, 13
Colossians (1:24); 4:3, 10
Philemon 1, 10, 13, 23

During his first Roman imprisonment, referred to in Acts 28:16ff

Carson and Moo have a good chronological outline for the life of Paul. pg 369.

Remember: 30 AD (Pastor H.) was the Crucifixion, ascension, pentecost. Traditional date for birth of Christ is 5 BC. Some start the public ministry of Jesus in AD 28 or 29. Some accept 33 AD (C&M) as the crucifixion, ascension, pentecost of Jesus. Baptism of Jesus could have taken place in the fall of 26 AD.

Public ministry of Jesus was 3 1/2 yrs.

Luke 3:23 states that Jesus was about 30 when he began his ministry.

Relationship between the letters.

  1. Tychicus delivered the letter from Paul in Rome to Ephesus (6:21) and Colossae (4:7,8).
  2. Onesimus traveled with Tychicus to Colossae. (4:9). “ek” implies Onesimus is out of the Colossae area.
  3. Philemon was written to a man Philemon concerning his runaway slave, Onesimus.

Conclusion by C&M most likely, the letters were written at the same time, because it appears that all three were delivered by Tychicus and Onesimus. Regarding three letter. It is thought that Philipians was written at a later date.

Scripture is majesterial. It is over us.
Our reason is ministerial. It is under Scripture.

Think of an original document being copied on various types of copy machines. Through the ages the copies are a bit faded here and there but overall they are a very accurate copies of the original.

1/20th of the copies have some sort of variant within them. These variants do not involve doctrine. Of these 1/20th we have questions about them. So it is actually a very small percentage of that we have questions about and it does not affect a doctrine.

A good book “Surprised by Faith” Chapters 2 and 3 by Bierly. Another is “A Popular Survey of the NT” by Giesler.

event > perception of event > report of t


Ch 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him

Authorship came under question in the 19th century as historical criticism became popular. The testimony of Scripture is that Paul wrote the letter. 1:1 and 3:1 Paul is named.

There is a fragmentary theory that claims that Paul only wrote portions. This is still another attack on Scripture. Reasons given for rejecting Pauline authorship: a. language and style not Pauline. They argue regarding his use of “devil” verses “satan”. Note how satan is used 1 Cor 5:5; 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11; 12:7 and 1 Thess 2:18. b. “in the heavenlies” isn’t used elsewhere in Paul’s writings. c. They argue that the writer copied from Colossians. d. doctrinal differences with other Pauline writings. Church is not local but universal in Ephesians. apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church in Eph 2:20 and in 1 Corin Jesus is the foundation of the church. Eph 5:23-33 marriage is exalted and 1 Cor 7 they claim the writer has a low view of marriage.

However in the Pastorial Epistles he goes back and forth between the use of devil and satan. Many liberal scholars totally reject Paul’s authorship of these epistles. Their opinion is extremely subjective.

Purpose of Eph
6:21, 22
To let the reader know how things are going with Paul. He does emphasize the unity between Jew and Gentile in chapter 2.

Spiritual blessings come through the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of Justification is that of Christ Jesus. The work of Sanctification is that of the Holy Spirit and He preserves our imputed holiness while we live in this fallen world.

Jesus is the sender of Paul. Verse one there is a subjective Genitive.
διὰ means “between” or “through” sort of like a bridge between two things. Paul’s role has changed through the act of God.

καὶ also expresses that the saints are also faithful.

verse 3
Εὐλογητὸς means “well spoken of” We get eulogy from this word. [be] also carries the idea of imperative. So you have an adjective functioning as an imperative.

εὐλογήσας Note that God has spoken well of us. His word is powerful. The Lord, when speaking well of us speaks us WELL.

ἐν Χριστῷ in the Christ event. In the event of the cross we are blessed beyond our understanding. It is a historical statement. We are connected to the cross of Christ which is an spiritual event in history.

Verse 4
The choosing is the predestining. The predestining is the choosing. He is speaking us out.

verse 5
εὐδοκίαν The great joy of the Father in choosing us. A great joy with coming together with what was lost.

verse 6
ἐχαρίτωσεν by which He graced us. Using the grace word to express giving of grace.

The ‘iva’ clause is a substantival clause. The content of his prayer is that God would give a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Not through the work of the people. The result of faith is that God gives wisdom and revelation.

“with the result that” the ‘iva’ clause can be purpose, result. Theological issues cause caution when looking at this as purpose. It can make prayer a work and the better you pray the more you get and this is common in many evangelical settings. But with result it is not about the work of the people.

verse 18
we know by insight. Not experience. In this life we experience by insight the glories of God. We will experience in full when we come into his presence. He uses two different words for “to know” one in this text is by insight. He does not use the “to know” that is experienced.

verse 23
Christ fills the church with himself and for himself.

Hebrews 2:
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Ch 1
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

The third article of the Apostle’s Creed notes the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Ch 1
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

The work of the Spirit is to enlighten.

Ch 2
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by 5 the Spirit.

This indicates a process taking place. Also there is a community that is being built together.

2:6 we are seated with Christ now. No matter what our situation we are with him and He is with us. He is ruling now.

2:1 This represents on of Paul’s unique sentence structures. He completes his thought in verse five. The ὑμᾶς in verse one is the direct object of the verb συνεζωοποίησεν in verse 5.

ὄντας in verse 1 is a present participle and shows continuously dead. total depravity. Bondage of the will. Look at Romans 5:6, 8 , 10.

The only thing we contribute is our deadness.

verse 2
ποτε περιεπατήσατε how formerly one walked

τῆς ἐξουσίας in verse 2 is an direct object or objective genitive. It can also be seen as an genitive of apposition. The apposition is then redefining a previous thing.

It may have been understood that the place that demons worked was in the air. So to say the prince of the power of the air may have been an idomatic expression that the Greek audience understood. This does not mean that Paul believed in this. He may have been using a commonly understood thought to make a point in his main thought. His point is that we are children of this power. Not good, but he is building the case that we are basically evil in nature.


Ch 3
3 show the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The Spirit is the one who reveals to the Apostle Paul that the Gentiles were fellow heirs.

3:10 Christ is the wisdom of God. Paul in this text is overwhelmed by the wisdom of God. The Lord is wise in so many ways we cannot even begin to understand.

rulers and authorities are spiritual forces. Everywhere the church is the announcement to spiritual forces annouce God’s rule. We Christians are a constant reminder to the powers of this world that God has victory.

Ch 3
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

The POWER that is at work in us is that of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the ability to believe and understand and ultimately to have faith.

Ch 4
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit

The Spirit creates a unity and bond and Paul is urging that this relationship be maintained.

Ch 4
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

The Lord gives various roles for the growth of the believer, somehow these roles related to the work of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that the role of the Spirit is to grow believers to maturity too.

Ch 4
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

How does this happen if not daily and with the help of the Holy Spirit!?

Ch 4
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We also walk with the Spirit and can grieve him by our thoughts, words and deeds.

The Spirit’s special work is to seal us for the future day of redemption.

Ch 5
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The apostle is talking about how life should be lived as a believer.

Ch 5
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

Ch 6
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

The work of sanctifying takes place in a fallen context or one could say it takes place in a context of war.

In our walk, the apostle encourages us to:
A. Know and use the truth. Be people of Truth. Seek the Truth. Love the Truth.
B. Be people of Righteousness. Live in our new Alien Righteousness. Dwell in that Righteousness.
C. We have a gift of Peace that comes from the Gospel. We have peace with God and our fellow man. This gift should free us up and encourage us to be ready for the work He has for us. Eph 2:10.
D. We are to be people of Faith.
E. We are a saved people. Saved by the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ.
F. We are to be a people of the Word. We are a unique people because we have been given a unique Word.
G. We live in conversation with the Lord. We pray and give supplication.
H. We are to be Alert to our context and the Lord’s activities in that context. We are to be Alert to the needs of our neighbors.
I. We are to Persevere in life. Hang in there. Don’t quit.
J. We are to be in prayer for the saints. Care for our fellow believers in our prayer life.

In ch 6 there are powers and rulers that are spiritual that the Lord is fighting against. These are in the heavenly places. Every place you are engaged in spiritual battles and that is everywhere for the Christian. The home, the classroom, the mission field. The Lord is there ruling.

Election cannot be viewed “nude” and this means that we cannot take this doctrine apart and give such a close example that we can explain it with great details.

The only place to look at election is in Word and Sacraments. This is where we find assurance. God wants to save all people and come to the knowledge of the truth.

intuitu fide attempts to resolve something that we are not permitted to discuss or know. We are not allowed to know.

Some say that we all are elected and the sinner rejects the gift. We are not allowed to go there either. This is a position I have held.

The unsaved are those who have hardness of heart and unbelief and that is all we are allowed to say because this is what Scripture says.

2 Thess 2:13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2:14 He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2:15 Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter.

Election is God’s saving work.

John 6:44 No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draw him.
John 12:32 When Jesus is lifted he will draw all men.

Saved tension with lost

Baptisitic. The solution is in man. Man does something that causes himself to become a Christian. Some work done to chose Christ or reject.
Lutherans. Allow the tension to stand.
Calvinist. Resolve the tension in God. God chose some for life and some for eternal death.

When preaching make the Gospel joyful and for the broken hearted.

Eph is a portrait of the nature of the church.
A strong tradition that this letter was written to the Ephesians. Some manuscripts have the title “To the Ephesians” at a very early date.


The focus is on the Christ of the church. The significance of the Christ.


Focus on the power of the Gospel to affect social change. The Gospel can transfigure even the darkest aspects of human life.

Brotherhood within the Gospel. The Gospel changes everything.


Focus on hope and joy in the midst of discouragement and suffering.