Notes on St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians and 1 Peter

The geographic proximity of the audiences of the letters of St. Paul to the Epistle to Ephesians and Peter's Letter to the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia, suggests that both letters would have reached some of the same people. Tradition hold that both letters were written near the same time, between, during the late 50's and earlier 60's, and in no case early the 50 or later than 67. The teaching of both letters ascetical, and parallels suggest a shared motivation by authors.

The arrangement of St, Paul's epistles is topical, not historical, and, in some respects, parallels the organization of the four gospels.

The gospels proceed from a manual of discipleship (Matthew) to instruction in the mysteries of faith (Gospel of St John), and include synopsis of community history (Mark) and a hagiographic guide to living according to the Way (Luke).

The Pauline Epistles present a compendium of doctrine (Romans), marks and discipline of local communities (Corinthians 1 and 2), an exposition on authentic mission and missionary activity (Galatians), the work of fellowship (Philippians), and through to specifics on care and selection of episcopal and ministerial leadership (Timothy 1 and 2, and Titus), and Hebrews, and typological treaties on mysteries.

St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesiansis the fifth in the thematic series of St Paul's letters, and among the most difficult, containing a number of controversial ideas, and is primarily concerned with explaining what it means to live a mature life in Christ.

St. Peter's letter addresses the Christian missionary diaspora on the content of a life in Christ, and revealing and raising some interesting issues concerning his missionary activity outside of Jerusalem and about the foundations of earlier Christian practices in Asia Minor.

The traditional picture of St. Peter's activity is divisible into four stages, a) time in and about Jerusalem (Acts and Paul), travel to Antioch (Acts), travel through Asia Minor, and, ending in Rome (non-canonical books of acts and documents, and Eusebius). However, the history and historiography of the Christian faith prior to the Fourth Century is obscure and therefore challenging.

The tables below are notes presenting the Epsitels in a skeletal form, based on their internal rhetorical structure, and aim at making their content more readily comparable.

to start of 1 Peter

Epistle to Ephesians

Chapter:VerseClusterTopicDiscussion Detail
1:5-11Salvation through Christ is God's plan. We are not specifically predestined. Adoption into Christ as extension of God's will as grace
1:12-14The Spirit validates belief in Christ. Salvation based on trust in Christ: word of God and sacrifice manifesting God in creation.
1:15-2:22Prayer of Paul for the Ephesians
1:17-18(a)Christ: giver of wisdom, knowledge, understanding
1:189(b)-21That they may know hope as:
1:18cFruit of holy lives
1:19-20Power of God as resurrection/ascension:
Christ from death to life in heaven
1:21-22 Universality of the body of Christ
2:1-3Obedience to God:
Free of sin/death
New life separated from old
2:4:-8That they may have:
Power over powers of the air (stylities)
Power over flesh that dies
Power over anger
2:8 Grace as gift
2:9-10Recreation in Christ
2:11-12Rememberance of being strangers/aliens/gentiles maintain humility
Status among saved as gift
2:13-14That they may have unity:
By the blood of Christ which:
2:15 Makes one flesh
2:16 Makes peace through sacrifice of reconciliation
2:17 Grants access to the Spirit and to the Father
2:19-22They are fitted together in holiness
As temples of the Spirit
Christ as cornerstone of the apostles and prophets of the Jews
3:1-13Introduction to homily
3:1-6Personal historyPrisoner of the Christ from Israel on behalf of Gentiles
3:14-21Prayer for before homily
4:1-6:21Homily on Unity in Christ
4:1-6Call to one body
4:7-16Holy living
4:7-10Asceticism: Christ brings all to God in unity
4:11-15 Multiplicity of gifts, manifest fullness in Christ
In church: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors teacher
In ministry: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors teacher
As fullness in Christ: Steadfastness, guilelessness, speaking truth out of love,
Firm-mindedness without tricks, craftiness, deceitfulness, and scheming
4:16Maturity: effectiveness in living life of love in unity with Christ
4:17-6:13How to achieve maturity in Christ
4:17-32Live as Christ, not World put on Christ
Reject: lust, greed, uncleanness, dishonesty
Reject: lewdness, ignorance, futility
Do not be angry: forgive and make peace
Do not steel: practice generosity
Do not spread evil: edify and be graceful
Do not lie: speak truth
Do not act according to the world; act according to the new creation of the Spirit
Practice quietness, kindness, tenderness, forgivene
Reject bitterness, malice, clamor, evil speaking
5:1 Imitate Christ through sacrificial love offered to God
5:3-6:9How to live ascetically
5:3-7Practice chastity: Fornication, it is uncleanness due to covetousness and idolatry
5:7Practice obedience: Exclusiveness of self to God's will
5:8-16Be creatures of light/Spirit
Be awake: Receive the light
Be fruitful: Goodness, righteousness, truth are the fruit that grow in the light
Darkness is unconsciousness: sleep, death, night
Practice wisdom:
Walk in light
Life in darkness is irrational: the days evil
5:17-6:9How to live to God and redeem time:
Discern the will of God: Do not act foolishly
5:18Be sober: Drunkenness is dissipation
5:19-21Speak from the heart: Be in harmony with God
Be thankful;
Practice gratitude
Practice submission to each other
5:22-6:9Examples of submission: producing unity of life
5:22-33Husband-wife relationship: Unity of person: as offering of unblemished sacrifice and companionship; unselfishly care and respect
6:1-4Child-parent relationship: Unity of family: fullness of life: honor do not provoke
6:5-9Slave-master relationship: Unity of will: service to God: sincerity and good will, be productive, without abuse or disregard for authority
6:10-20Wage spiritual warfare
6:10-12Fight is against powers of dark spirits, not other people or material conditions
6:14Speak truth and uphold righteous actions
6:15Practice and make peace
6:16Know Christ in the heart: have faith
6:17Be mindful that salvation is from God
6:17Use the Spirit, as the Word of God
6:18-6:19Persevere in watchfulness and prayer; intercede for/ask for intercessions with God
6:21-24Conclusion and blessing

to start of Ephesians

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First Epistle of Peter

Chapter:VerseClusterTopicDiscussion Detail
1:1-2OpeningPilgrims in dispersion
Election according to foreknowledge
Sanctification of the spirit
Obedience and sprinkling of blood in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
1:3-2:10Exhortation to salvation
1:3-9Invocation begotten in the resurrection from the dead,
Inheritance of incorruption and undefilement/purity,
Reservation for revelation of the last time
1:6-9Trials/suffering trials are temporary: Salvation eternal
1:7-8Method for discerning the value of faith:
Demonstrated in praise, honor, glory.
Loving Christ
Believing without seeing
End(goal) of faith is salvation
1:9-25Path of salvation
Rejoice over reception of salivation
Revealed by prophets
According to Christ's foreknowledge:
Salvation from suffering
1:12-13 Is prophetic revelation preached by the Holy Spirit
Desired to be seen by angles
1:13-21Entails responding to the call of God (Father) so faith and hope rest in God
1:13 Be brave
Be sober
Hope in grace
1:14-15 Be obedient as children who are called
Be holy
Be like Christ
Do not lust
Do not be ignorant
1:16-18Pray to the Father for:
Fear, faith, and hope
Deliverance from aimless conduct by tradition
Knowledge of redemption
1:20-21Praise Christ as:
Incorrupt though in the blood (flesh)
Foreordained before creation
Manifest in the world/last time
Raised from the dead
Lamb of God
Foundation of world
1:22-2:10Honor Christ by living the gospel Peter preached
Obey truth through the Spirit
Have love for each other
1:22-25 Have purity of heart
Be reborn to incorruption and eternal life
2:1-5Live gracefully lay aside:
Evil talking (gossip)
2:2-3Desire the milk of the word of God
Taste and see the Lord is good
2:5-6 Be living stones of the temple and priests within it
Disobedient stumble on the corner stone who, they as builders, reject
2:9-10 You are royal priesthood
You are chosen generation
You are called out of darkness into light
Made people of God
Shown mercy
Proclaim praise
2:11-4:11Exhortation to Repentance
You are sojourners and pilgrims:
2:11-17Practice asceticism:
Abstain from fleshly lusts
Honor those who speak evil against, good works may call them to repentance
Submit to civil authority, who punish evil doers
2:15Do the will of God
Good deeds make ignorant fools silent
2:16 You are a slave of God
Know the correct use of liberty
2:17Imperatives for the day:
Honor all people
Love the brotherhood
Honor the king
2:18-3:12Examples of Ascetical Life
Submit to masters, both gentle and harsh conscious of God, endure suffering
No credit for suffering for having done wrong
Suffering for having done good
Die to sin being as Christ on the Cross, returning souls to the Shepherd and Overseer
3:1-7In marriage:
Submit to husband, adorning self with virtue hidden in the heart:
Chaste conduct, incorruptibility, gentleness, quietness.
Be as Sarah to Abraham
Conduct can led the husband to salvation
Be her companion
Heirs of grace with her
Understand your wife
Honor her
Respect the limits of her strength
Pray freely
3:8-12In society:
Have compassion
Be tender-hearted
Be courteous
Do not return evil for evil
Bless to inherit a blessing
Ps 32:13-17
3:13-4:11Suffer with Christ
3:13-16aAct with righteousness do good
Do not be afraid
Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness
Have good conscience in Christ
Be ready to confess with meekness and fear that Christ as reason for hope
3:16bBy example, call evildoers to repentance
Good conduct in Christ may shame evil doers to repentance
3:17-22Christ's suffered in time to preach and have power beyond time:
Baptism is entry into the mystery of Christ
Conformance with will of God, not self-willed good conduct, that makes suffering for going good virtuous;
Christ suffered once for everyone
Christ's death in flesh brought life to the spirits
Christ preached to the disobedient spirits in prison (death)
Noah's ark saved eight souls, Baptism into the Resurrection and the life and power of Christ in heaven saves all
Angles, authorities, and powers are subject to Christ
4:1-6Crucify the passions arm self with the mind of Christ
Suffering in the flesh brings sin to an end
Do not live in the time of human material lusts but in the will of God
4:3-4Do not walk in the will of the gentiles:
Gentiles speak against you due to the running with them in works of:
Lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, abominations, idolatries
Living in the Flood of dissipation
4:5-6Christ preaching to the Dead is beyond time
Christ is ready to judge living and dead
The dead judged the same as flesh, and live according to the Spirit
11aLiving at the end of time:
Be serious, sober
Be watchful in prayer
Love one another, covering a multitude of sin
Be hospitable
Do not grumble
Be good stewards of the manifold of gifts
Minister to each other according to ability supplied by God
Speak as oracles of God
Glorify all things through Christ
4:11bDoxology of the end of the exhortation
4:12-5:11Discourse on suffering
Pastoral guidance on suffering:
4:12-14Merited suffering
Rejoice in trials experienced for righteousness: expect suffering as Christ suffered
Rejoice: blessed are those who are persecuted for Christ
Reproach for the name of Christ is blessing
Blasphemy for them, glorification by you
Suffering under laws not meriting blessing:
Busybody into other people's business
In daily afflictions:
Be partakers in the suffering of Christ
Seek the will of God
In persecutions/end-time
Righteous one is scarcely saved
Commit the soul to God, the faithful Creator
Do will of God
Be faithful, do not turn back
Shepherd the flock
Oversee: do not compel
Be not as lords but examples
Chief Shepherd will award crown of glory when He appears
5:5-8Young people:
Submit to elders
Submit to each other
Be clothed in humility
Be sober
Be vigilant
Resist the roaring, devouring Devil
Be steadfast in faith
Know the sufferings are experienced by the entire brotherhood
5:10-11Concluding benediction
5:12-13Personal closing
5:12Messenger Silvanus, a worthy brother
5:13a, bGreetings from others She who is Babylon and elect together with you Mark my son
5:13c-dExchange a kiss
Blessing peace to all

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