THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS
FROM ROME A.D. 63
BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION
There are some problems of a special nature that confront
us about the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians.
It is not admitted by all that Paul wrote it, though no
other adequate explanation of its origin has ever been given. So
far as subject matter and vocabulary and style are concerned, if
Colossians is Pauline, there is little or nothing to be said
against the Pauline authorship of this Epistle.
RELATION TO COLOSSIANS
As we have seen, the two Epistles were sent at the same
time, but clearly Colossians was composed first. Ephesians bears
much the same relation to Colossians that Romans does to
Galatians, a fuller treatment of the same general theme in a more
detached and impersonal manner.
The oldest documents (Aleph and B) do not have the words
en Ephes(9369) (in Ephesus) in Eph 1:1 (inserted by a later
hand). Origen did not have them in his copy. Marcion calls it the
Epistle to the Laodiceans. We have only to put here Col 4:16
"the letter from Laodicea" to find the probable explanation.
After writing the stirring Epistle to the Colossians Paul
dictated this so-called Epistle to the Ephesians as a general or
circular letter for the churches in Asia (Roman province).
Perhaps the original copy had no name in Eph 1:1 as seen in
Aleph and B and Origen, but only a blank space. Marcion was
familiar with the copy in Laodicea. Basil in the fourth century
mentions some MSS. with no name in the address. Most MSS. were
copies from the one in Ephesus and so it came to be called the
Epistle to the Ephesians. The general nature of the letter
explains also the absence of names in it, though Paul lived three
years in Ephesus.
The same date must be assigned as for Philemon and
Colossians, probably A.D. 63.
THE PLACE OF WRITING
This would also be the same, that is Rome, though
Deissmann and Duncan argue for Ephesus itself as the place of
writing. Some scholars even suggest Caesarea.
THE CHARACTER OF THE EPISTLE
The same Gnostic heresy is met as in Colossians, but with
this difference. In Colossians the emphasis is on the Dignity of
Christ as the Head of the Church, while in Ephesians chief stress
is placed upon the Dignity of the Church as the Body of Christ
the Head. Paul has written nothing more profound than chapters
Eph 1-3 of Ephesians. Stalker termed them the profoundest thing
ever written. He sounds the depths of truth and reaches the
heights. Since Ephesians covers the same ground so largely as
Colossians, only the words in Ephesians that differ or are
additional will call for discussion.
SPECIAL BOOKS ON EPHESIANS
One may note Abbott (_Int. Crit. Comm_. 1897), Gross Alexander
(1910), Beet (1891), Belser (1908), Candlish (1895), Dale
(_Lectures on Ephesians_), Dibelius (_Handbuch_, 1912), Eadie
(1883), Ellicott (1884), Ewald (_Zahn Komm._, 2 Auf. 1910),
Findlay (1892), Gore (_Practical Exposition_, 1898), Haupt
(_Meyer Komm._, 8 Auf. 1902), Hitchcock (1913), Hort (_Intr_.
1895), Knabenbauer (1913), Krukenberg (1903), Lidgett (1915),
Lock (1929), Lueken (1906), Martin (_New Century Bible_), McPhail
(1893), McPherson (1892), Meinertz (1917), Moule (1900), Mullins
(1913), Murray (1915), Oltramare (1891), Robinson (1903), Salmond
(1903), E. F. Scott (_Moffatt Comm._, 1930), Stroeter (_The Glory
of the Body of Christ_, 1909), Von Soden (2 Aufl. 1893), F. B.
Westcott (1906), Wohlenberg (1895).