(Several years ago I did a Bible study with friends in which we studied Ephesians 1:1-14. Though the following notes are somewhat rough and sketchy, I thought someone might find them useful.)
Main idea(s)/key verse(s):
Blessings — verse 3
Chosen/predestined — verses 4,5,11
Sealed with the Holy Spirit — verse 13
What does this passage tell us about our identity in Christ?
We are holy, blameless, adopted children; we have been forgiven & redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice.
What does this passage tell us about our purpose?
Verse 12 says “might be for the praise of his glory.”
Verse 6 says “to the praise of his glorious grace”
So our purpose is to glorify Him, that even our existence is a glory to Him, since it demonstrates his mercy & grace.
What is the “mystery” in verse 9?
The mystery surrounds what God’s ultimate will is, that through Christ, at the end of all time (ie. when Christ comes back), that Christ will rule everything (under the Father), heavens, earth, people (Jews & Gentiles??? Another mystery Paul mentions elsewhere is that Christ died for the *Gentiles* as well as the Jews, something hard for Jews to accept in their Messiah.
What role does each member of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) play?
Father – 3-5, 11 says He blessed us in the heavenly realms; chose & predestined us before creation; the Father was the one who showed mercy & grace. He gave Christ as a blood sacrifice for us. He is the Master planner, adopts us as children. He is Creator.
Son – 3, 5-7, 10 The symbol of the Father’s ultimate love, the redeemer through His sacrifice & blood. The Father uses the Son to bless us in the heavenly realms. The Son will be the final/one ruler over all heaven & earth, at the end of all time. He is Savior.
Holy Spirit – only mentioned 13 & 14; a promise given now, upon acceptance of Christ. He is here, with each believer & is a prepayment of what we will receive later (a deposit of our later inheritance.) His presence marks me as being God’s. (Rev. 9:4 talks about having the seal of God on their foreheads; this would protect the people from the plague of locusts.)
What difference does it make that we’ve been adopted into God’s family? Does this effect the way we live? Should it? How?
The some of the differences that it makes that we’ve been adopted into God’s family is that we have been saved from the final destruction, are part of God’s master plan, and have been chosen to be blessed beyond what we can possibly imagine. We were chosen to bring glory to God — so we ought to be living to bring glory to God. We shouldn’t be doing anything that would make God ashamed to call us His children. (Of course, we do — which is why we need Christ’s blood & sacrifice.)
Women’s Devotional Bible. New International Version