I was fortunate in that, when I first began reading the Bible, I had nothing already formulated about Paul of Tarsus. Feminist studies were only beginning, and I was naive to the nuances of patriarchy and male-centred language. So I had fresh eyes when I read the letters of Paul – to what J. B. Phillips, Biblical scholar and translator in the middle of the last century, called “Letters to Young Churches”.
Of the thirteen letters that bear Paul’s name, seven are recognized as from the Apostle, while the other six were likely composed by his disciples, sometimes with portions of Paul’s writings we do not have.
Ephesians falls in this second group. It starts off with a salutation and then proceeds to bless Gd. In the blessing and what follows we will hear clues as to what the substance of the letter will address.
This week we hear further emphasis by the writer on the message of last week: the adoption of the Gentiles into the grace of Gd, or the ‘Common-wealth of Israel,’ as the reading puts it.
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