Culture of the Ephesians:
- Ephesus was wealthy and populous. It was a trading hub located near the coast.
- Ephesians were superstitious and magically oriented. They worshiped many gods (primarily Artemis) and had many spells and incantations that steered their daily lives. Even the Jews probably took part in this to a degree.
- Ephesus was diverse and tolerant. In addition to the predominant Gentile population, there was a significant minority of Jews. Both groups were amiable to each other.
Opening of Paul's letter to the Ephesians:
- Paul tells the Ephesians (and us) of the blessing bestowed upon them (and us) by the Father: the predestination to adoption into His family.
- We have been given an inheritance - the adoption mentioned earlier. We have been guaranteed the eventual acquisition of this inheritance by the Holy Spirit.
Thoughts on predestination:
- This is a hugely debated topic. Many Christians battle over "Free-will vs. predestination."
- Many volumes could be (and have been) written on Ephesians 1:3-14 and we will never understand 100%.
- When examined in comparison to Israel of the Old Testament (Yahweh's Chosen People) perhaps it should be seen as more of a "predestination of the church" rather than "predestination of individuals." Our highly individualistic society makes this line of thought less than intuitive.