The Ephesian letter begins with Paul’s typical greeting, but let’s not rush past it as though it contains nothing of substance. First of all, Paul establishes his authority and credibility by saying, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (Eph 1:1). That’s not a minor detail. If you have your Bible open to Ephesians, turn over a page to the end of chapter 2. In verse 19, Paul writes:
You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19-21)
This holy temple, of course, is the New Testament church. God individually chose the prophets and apostles to be vitally instrumental in building his church. Not only did God choose them—Paul claimed to be an apostle by the will of God (Eph 1:1)—but he also gave them his words to deliver to the world. Both the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New spoke and wrote the message which God gave them. And again, they were specifically chosen for this task. Christ told the apostles, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you” (Jn 15:16).
When we read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we should read it carefully and take it seriously. It’s not Paul’s religious or academic training that gives his writing credibility. We don’t study his words because he was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, or a Pharisee (Php 3:5). No, we study this text because Paul reveals to us the will of God. Christ chose him for that purpose.
Ephesians, in particular, represents a very special brick in the church’s foundation. I’ve said before that I would encourage every new believer to study this book from beginning to end. It contains some of the most fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Paul provides a remarkably concise yet profound explanation of the gospel of God’s grace, not to mention a summary of essential Christian behaviors. In my opinion, Ephesians is the perfect place for a new believer to start.