Knowing who you are in Christ
Part Three – Studying God’s Word
Welcome to the third and last section of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Ephesians 1 “Knowing who you are in Christ”.
In Part One, we studied Paul’s epistle to the church at Ephesus. We discovered that Paul was writing to the Ephesians to encourage them in their faith in Christ and to remind them that they are forgiven, loved, and chosen to be adopted by God into the Body of Christ.
God’s endgame to unite all nations under Jesus Christ through the church is also revealed.
Paul continues to tell the Ephesians that upon receiving salvation that they – and by extension, us – are stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit, who comes to reside in us. The Holy Spirit provides us with a portion of the blessings, which is known as a pledge, that we are to inherit as children of the Most High God.
Finally, Paul establishes Jesus as the Head of the Church, whose authority is greater than any entity or dominion and whose power is independent of space and time. If Jesus is the Head of the Church, then we as a community of Christians, are His body.
In Part Two, we explored the ways in which we can apply our understanding of God’s promise of love and blessings to our everyday lives. We also discussed how we can be ambassadors of Christ and spread the gospel as individuals and as churches to the nations.
Part Three of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study is intended as a study guide for those of you, who would like to delve deeper into the biblical and life themes presented in Ephesians 1.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of studying the Bible, then l recommend that you read our page “Why study the Bible?”
The aim of this study section
This study section of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study series is intended as a guide to promote discussion and reflection on Ephesians 1.
As a start, I suggest that you read Part One and Part Two of the Bible Study on Ephesians 1 that l have already posted, in order to fully appreciate the lessons portrayed in this epistle and to consider the chapter’s themes.
For whom is this study section intended?
You can apply this section within a group setting, such as a house group, a Bible Study group, or a prayer group.
Alternatively, you can also study on your own. If this may be the case, l have written some suggestions below in the section “If you are studying on your own” to assist you in your learning.
I encourage you to customize this study preparation by taking out of it what you wish and adding your own ideas and insight. Have fun with it!
What you will need:
- A Bible, preferable a study Bible. I personally use the “The Everyday Life Bible” from Joyce Meyer Ministries
- An exercise book or journal and a pen
- As an alternative to pen and paper, you could use a tablet or a similiar electronic device
This study section composes of five parts:
1. Discussion questions
3. Suggested reading
4. Journal writing
These are just guidelines to help you structure your group time. Feel free to add or take out elements as you see fit!
Additionally, talk with your group and ask them for suggestions about what they would like to do. The more ideas, the merrier!
If you are studying on your own
If you are not in a group and you would still like to apply this study section of Ephesians 1 to your own private study of the Bible, that is also great! Quiet time with God is valuable time, and you can learn a lot about Him during it.
The following are a few suggestions of how you can adapt the 5 sections of this study guide for private study purposes:
- Discussion questions:
You could start a journal and write down your thoughts to the listed discussion questions.
3. Suggested reading
Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes.
4. Journal writing
Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes.
You can speak the prayer at the end of this section over yourself. Your words have power, especially if you speak them over yourself:
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Let’s look at the 5 sections of our study guide.
The following are some discussion topics l have thought of to assist you in delving deeper into the themes of Ephesians 1. There is no right or wrong answer; these topics are merely suggestions to stimulate conversation and an exchange of views within your group. Also, feel free to ask others if they have suggestions regarding this topic that they would like to discuss and go with it!
As each person experiences a different walk with God, it is interesting to hear other people’s perspectives and thereby learn from each other and grow together as a Christian community. Happy talking!
Possible discussion topics on Ephesians 1:
- God loves us unconditionally. How do you define this kind of love? What are some examples of how God has demonstrated His unconditional love for you?
- Paul writes to the Ephesians that we have been foreordained, pre-chosen to be sons and daughters of God. Does that mean that those who aren’t believers of Christ have not been pre-chosen to be in a relationship with God? What role does free will play in all of this?
- God’s great plan is to unify all nations under Jesus Christ. That means having an end to all religious conflict in the world. Considering the extent of religious disunity, persecution, and acts of terror that occur in the name of religious conviction, do you see global unity under one God and one church as a possibility?
- God considers us holy and blameless in His presence (Ephesians 1:4). Considering that we are all sinners and are constantly trying to find our way, what does this mean to you?
Note: These topics might be a bit sensitive for people to address, so introduce it into a group situation at your discretion.
Sharing your life experiences and the victories that God has vouchsafed you, is a verbal expression of your gratitude. It gives not only our Father glory, but it encourages fellow Christians who may be going through the same trial that you have undergone.
“I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.”
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians gives us reason to be joyful, for God declares that not only are we loved and forgiven for our sins, He lavishes us with His grace, blessings, and invites us into His family as His adopted children.
Possible testimony topics on Ephesians 1:
- How did you come into a relationship with Christ? Share your story of salvation with the rest of the group. Give a testimony of a time when God blessed you abundantly – over and above your expectations.
- It is stated often in the Bible that we should seek God, for example, in Matthew 7:7. However, in this epistle, Paul makes it very clear that God seeks us out. Share with the group of an encounter you had with God when He sought you out at a time when you needed Him the most.
- When we give our lives to Christ we are stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit and He comes to reside in us. How do you feel the Holy Spirit working in you since you have entered into a relationship with Jesus?
3. Suggested reading
Reading the Word of God teaches us about how much God loves us and gives us guidelines on how to live the life He wants us to live – a life of victory and joy.
The following are some scriptures you may enjoy reading about how much God loves you and that He always has your back.
Reading the remaining 5 chapters of the Book of Ephesians will give you more depth and insight into God’s unconditional love for you and the plans He has for you as an individual, as well as for the church.
- Ephesians 2 – God raised us from the death of a life of sin and has sat us in High Places with Him. It is by faith that we have been saved, not by works. Paul discusses the foundation of the Church, which are the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as her cornerstone.
- Ephesians 3 – Paul declares from his confinement in Rome of his role in revealing God’s eternal plan for His children. The power of God is greater than any other authority, and the Church under Christ should reflect His glory. Paul prays that the Ephesians have an encounter with Christ that embeds itself in their hearts.
- Ephesians 4 – In this chapter, Paul lists the spiritual gifts that God has given us to fulfill His vision of a functioning Church. Additionally, Paul reminds us to live in humility and morality that honors the Holy Spirit, such as to not steal, be obscene, or allow the sun to go down on your anger.
- Ephesians 5– God is love so we should also walk in love. Again, Paul gives us instructions on living a Christian life that reflects God’s will for us. He also talks about the role of men and women in a marriage.
- Ephesians 6– Paul gives instructions about family life, specifically the role of both parent and child in the home. Lastly, Paul teaches us that we have a spiritual enemy, Satan, and that we must put on spiritual armour daily to fend off the enemy’s attacks.
Interesting online articles relating to Ephesians 1:
theprayingwoman.com, “God has your back” Sophia Vilceus
www.joelosteen.com, “Claim Your Inheritance” Lisa Comes
www.crosswalk.com, “Teaching Life Skills: Practical Outreach for Any Church” Chris Bolinger
https://ymi.today, “5 lies to stop believing about yourself”
www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com, “Are There Some People God Will Not Save?”
Inspirational quotes relating to Ephesians 1:
‘God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.” ‘- Billy Graham
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” C.S. Lewis
“The life of success is one of going forward to posses our possessions. It has been said that God’s will does not send a man to where His grace cannot sustain him. God’s will and His grace go hand in hand.” – Benson Andrew Isahosa
Photo credit: Josh Applegate on Unsplash
4. Journal writing
Writing down all the good things that God has done in your life is a very powerful tool for a Christian. Not only does it help us to remember what God has done for us; reading over God’s past victories and blessings over you provides encouragement and empowerment in times of trouble. All you need to start is an empty exercise book and a pen. Alternatively, you can keep a digital journal.
There are a number of forms of journals, where regular writing in it will strengthen you in your walk with God:
- A testimony journal
- A dreams and visions journal
- A blessings journal
- My favourite – a gratitude journal
Try to write optimally once a day. All you need is 5-10 min to jot down everything good that has happened to you during the course of your day, no matter how trivial.
Meditate upon what you wrote and acknowledge that it is God who was responsible for these good things happening today, and not you or your own works.
‘”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.’
Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)
Journaling in your group:
You can e.g. allot 10-15min for journaling in your group, and afterwards share your written thoughts with each other.
An alternate suggestion, is to incorporate journal writing as part of your quiet time with God, then discuss your results when you meet as a group.
Journaling on the Bible Chapter Ephesians 1
- In your journal, divide your page in half to form two columns. In the left column, write the title “How the world sees me”. In the right column, write the title “How God sees me”.
Fill out in the left column how your family, colleagues, friends, and neighbors sees you. Include not only roles and job descriptions but also personality and behavioral traits.
Example: “mother”, “husband”, “reliable”, “shy”
In the right column, write a list of everything that God says about YOU.
Example: “beloved Child”, “forgiven”, “redeemed”
As an extension, consider starting a gratitude journal, where you write down the great things God is doing in your life every day. I personally love using the Five Minute Journal from Intelligent Change.
If you wish, you can read the following prayer aloud as a group, or one person can read it aloud on behalf of the others.
Oh, Great and Almighty God,
You are the Alpha and the Omega, the God who is, who was, and who is to come – You are the Almighty and the Ruler of All.
I come to You today full of awe and humility. I lay myself at Your feet, overcome by the love, grace, and mercy that You lavish upon me. Your acts of kindness towards me are countless, as are Your blessings which are as numerous as the stars in the night sky.
Precious Lord, l thank you that You chose me to be your child, before l was even in my mother’s womb. Thank you, that when l was swayed by the temptations of this world and dwelled in the darkness of spiritual death, Your love was a light that shone out and brought me back to life through the redeeming blood of Your son Jesus Christ.
Now, l am seated in heavenly places with You, adopted into the Body of Christ as Your child. I am Yours, marked with the stamp of the seal of the Holy Spirit that denotes me as belonging to You and You alone. Your grace and love fill me with wonder that You would have chosen me into Your heavenly family.
Father, teach me Your ways, in order that l may live the life You have planned for me. Instruct me in the ways of Your love and grace and imprint it on my heart, in order that l do not sin against You. For without You, where l would l be?
Mature me in my gifts through the teachings of the Holy Spirit, in order that l may serve You well in my church and help further Your great plan to unify all mankind under the leadership of Jesus Christ, Your son.
To You be given all the honor and the glory, for You are worthy to be praised.
In Jesus’ name,
We hope that you enjoyed our Bible study on Ephesians 1 in our series Jacob’s Ladder Bible Studies.
In August, we will be studying Joshua 6, which describes the fall of Jericho, a fortress city in the land of Canaan. We would love for you to join us!
Until then, my friends, be safe and may God’s love and blessings be upon you!
https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary, “Ephesians 1 – God’s ulimate plan”
https://www.studylight.org, “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible
www.jcblog.net/ephesians/summary, “Summary of the Book of Ephesians”
https://www.gty.org/library, “What Does It Mean to Be Sealed With the Holy Spirit?“
https://www.ephesus.us/, “St. Paul in Ephesus”
https://www.gotquestions.org, “What does the Holy Spirit do?”
https://www.bibleref.com, “What does Ephesians 1:15 mean?”
johnkking.wordpress.com, “Applying Ephesians to my life”
withalliamgod.wordpress.com, “Application Of Ephesians 1:3-11 in Local Churches Leadership”
www.gotquestions.org, “What is a blessing according to the Bible?”
www.lsmradio.com, “What is God’s Blessing?”
www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com, “10 Effective Ways To Spread Christianity”
http://www.crosswindschurch.com, “Bible Study Basics – Ephesians 1”
http://dsntl8idqsx2o.cloudfront.net, “Ephesians Small Group Series Lesson 1 – Introduction to Ephesians & Chapter 1 The Extent of God’s Love and Power”
biblesummarybychapter.blogspot.com, “Ephesians Bible summary by chapter”