Eph 2:11-13 What does Eph 2:11 reveal about the animosity of the Jews for the Gentiles? Do you think it is significant that the Greek word translated as “performed…by human hands” (NASB) or “made by hands” (KJV) is translated almost exclusively in the LXX (the Septuagint, or Greek version of the Old Testament) as referring to idols, i.e., objects of veneration and worship that are made by human hands? In what sense did the Jews’ reverence for circumcision border on idolatry? When does Paul refer to as “at that time” in Eph 2:12? See Eph 2:1-2, 4:17-18. How does he describe the former state of the Gentiles before they came to know Christ? What is the significance that they were “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel”? Note: “commonwealth” refers to one’s citizenship (see NIV). What advantage did the Jews have over the Gentiles in this regard? See Eph 2:17, Acts 22:28, Rom 3:1-2, 9:4-5. What are the key words in Eph 2:13 that explain the change in status of the Gentiles?
Eph 2:14-18 What is the barrier of the dividing wall Paul speaks of in Eph 2:14? Note: In the temple courts was a wall dividing the court of the Gentiles from the court of the Jews, with an inscription forbidding Gentiles with the threat of death from entering further; the Greek is ambiguous (see NASB text note) as to whether Paul refers to this wall or to the Law as being the enmity. In what sense was this wall a source of enmity? See Acts 21:28-29. What is the great significance that in Christ this barrier is broken down; i.e., what are the several results, especially to the Gentiles, of it being broken down? See Eph 2:14-15b, 17-18. By what means is this dividing wall broken down in Christ so as to bring peace? See Eph 2:15. What does Paul mean by the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, and in what sense was this the enmity? See Gal 4:9-11, Col 2:14,16,20-21, Rom 7:5-7. How is this Law different from the Law of Christ? See Jer 31:33, 2 Cor 3:3-8, Rom 13:8-10. How was the removal of it effected by His death? See Rom 7:1,4.
Eph 2:19-22 What grand conclusion does Paul draw in Eph 2:19 about the Gentiles’ new status in Christ Jesus? Remember that at this time Christians were viewed by others and by themselves as a sect of Judaism, all of the leaders were Jews, and if the majority of Christians were no longer Jews, the Jews were certainly still a large and controlling minority. Were the Gentiles at best second-class Christians as so many of these Jews believed? In Eph 2:12 Paul said that formerly the Gentiles were excluded from citizenship among the people of God; how is that changed in Christ? See Eph 2:19. In Eph 2:14 Paul alluded to the wall in the temple that kept the Jews separate from the Gentiles; how is that changed in Christ? See Eph 2:19b, 21-22. What is the nature of the true temple of God? See 1 Cor 3:16-17, 2 Cor 6:16. Is it surprising that the Jewish temple with its dividing wall of separation was destroyed in 70 A.D. and has never been rebuilt? Upon what, and of what, is the true temple of God built? See Eph 2:20,22, 1 Pet 2:4-5, Rev 3:12, 21:14. What temple does Paul have in mind in 2 Thess 2:3-4? Note: the picture in Eph 2:21-22 is of each individual believer, whether Jew or Gentile, being a separate sanctuary in which the Spirit of God dwells (see also 1 Cor 6:19), and that collectively these individual buildings are being fitted together so as to form a single unified temple. How is this similar to Peter’s description in 1 Peter 2:5? How is it consistent with the picture of the Church as the body of Chris, and similar to a human body? Think: Does the living spirit of a person dwell within each individual cell, even every group of cells (i.e., the organs, bones, etc…) within his or her body? If not, then what animates those living organisms?
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- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?