Surveying the Sublime
The 20th century Welsh minister Martin Lloyd-Jones said that there was ‘nothing more sublime in the whole of Scripture’ than Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. When it comes to showcasing the sheer scale of Jesus Christ’s cosmos-shaping work, then I’d have to agree.
Ephesians is a great book to get to know, especially because at just six chapters, it’s not too difficult to feel like you’re getting your head around it’s structure. And there’s a good argument for the claim that Paul didn’t just send this letter to the church in Ephesus, but that he used it as a sort of discipleship manual for churches across the region. I love to read through it one-to-one with people, and it was the first book of the Bible that I taught through after we planted Grace Church.
Recently I had the opportunity to write a series of twenty-five daily devotions going through the whole of Ephesians, which was a really rich experience. When preaching I’ve typically broken the book up into ten or so sections, so splitting into twenty-five passages felt like we were going much deeper.
If you’d like to join me, you can pick these devotions up in the October-December 2020 edition of Explore, a set of quarterly dated Bible-reading notes which aim to “help you read, understand and apply the extraordinary truths of God’s word, every single day.”
One of the surprising blessings was reflecting on the repeated language of fullness throughout Ephesians, something I’d not really made much of before. This is really fascinating to explore when you then read Paul encouraging Christians to be ‘filled with the Spirit’. This is often read as if we’re a jug and the Spirit is the liquid being poured into the jug. But perhaps it’s better phrased as to indicate that the Spirit is not the liquid, but the one doing the pouring. The Spirit loves to fill our lives with Christ – as part of God’s plans to fill the universe with Christ.
In slightly more unchartered territory, you can also journey with me through the Old Testament book of Nahum over five days as part of the same Explore.
In fact, not only do you get thirty Bible devotionals on Ephesians and Nahum, you also get seventy-two others (i.e. enough to last you three months) on Romans 1-6, Habakkuk, Ruth, and Christmas. All for just £4.24 – bargain!
More on Explore
If you’ve not come across Explore before, it’s well worth checking out. Spending a little bit of time reading and praying through the Bible each day is a brilliant rhythm to get into – even if it’s just five minutes.
There are lots of ‘daily Bible reading notes’ out there, but one of the things I love about Explore is that it aims to push you into the Bible, rather than just skimming along the surface. Anyway, that’s what I’ve valued about Explore in the past – I hope this doesn’t tarnish that reputation!
You can hear a bit more about the vision behind Explore from Carl Laferton, one of the Senior Editors, here: