Ephesians 1

Blessing Through Christ


To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:1).

Ephesus was in every respect the leading city of Asia Minor, and it was one of the four great cities of the Roman Empire—the other three being Rome, Alexandria, and Syrian Antioch. Politically, it was the provincial capital of Asia, and it was the seat of the proconsul, the official who was set over the whole senatorial province of Asia (cf. Acts 19:38). Ephesus was also a free city, allowing it a measure of self-governance, and members of the Roman Senate were to be chosen from among its citizens.


He lavished his grace upon us (Ephesians 1:8).

The word for “lavished” here is also used by Luke to describe the extra or “leftover” pieces of loaves and fishes after the feeding of the 5000 (Luke 9:17). This abundance illustrates the lavish gift of redemption and grace that God gives His people, according to Paul. This relief depicts several scenes from the life of Jesus. In the center of this photo, men are picking up the leftover loaves and fishes, collecting them in baskets.

"Summing Up"

The summing up of all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10).

The word “summing up” (Gk. anakephalaioō) is used here figuratively to summarize or recapitulate things (cf. Rom 13:9). The same word was used literally as a mathematical term, referring to the process of addition. The ancient Roman abacus pictured here was used for addition and multiplication. Some abacuses could be used for more complicated problems, including the calculation of fractions and square roots.


May God . . . give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17).

“Wisdom” (Gk. sophia) has to do with the ability to understand something and act accordingly. Wisdom was highly valued in the Greco-Roman world, and although the Greeks did not worship a goddess by that name, the virtue of wisdom was often personified as a woman. Shown here is a statue pedestal in Ephesus inscribed with the word for “wisdom.”


That you may know . . . what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18).

This hoard was discovered in Didcot, England. It was photographed at the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. A gold aureus was equivalent in value to 25 silver denarii, so the hoard of coins shown in this photograph was worth thousands of denarii.

Globus Cruciger

He gave Him to be head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22).

This ancient Christian symbol is known as the globus cruciger (Latin for “cross-bearing orb”) and represents Christ’s dominion over the world. This stone fragment was discovered at Hierapolis, located about 100 miles (160 km) east of Ephesus.

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