Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 1:1-2 ESV)
Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians by identifying himself and by calling himself “an apostle”. Here Paul is stating his authority for what is to follow. He knows what he is talking about. This is the equivalent of someone putting PhD or similar credential after their name, indicating that they have the education and experience to be qualified to make certain statements.
The Greek word translated apostle is αποστολοσ (pronounced: ap-os’-tol-os). It means “one sent forth with a message”. Paul has a message that he has been tasked with giving not only to the Ephesians but to the Gentile world. He was given this task by God Himself.
When belief in Jesus began to spread throughout Israel and the surrounding area after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, there were many who opposed it. But no one opposed it more than than a young, Jewish man named Saul. This man was extremely zealous for the traditions of his ancestors and as a result persecuted this new movement, which was known as “The Way” [Galatians 1:14; Acts 8:3, 9:1-2].
But one day while travelling to Damascus to arrest new believers there Saul met Jesus [Acts 9:3-4] who changed his life forever. Saul stopped persecuting followers of The Way and became a follower himself. He changed his name to Paul and began teaching others about Jesus with the same fervor with which he had been persecuting believers. He did not do this on his own. It literally took an act of God.
Paul was the fourteenth, and final, apostle. Jesus called the first twelve during his earthly ministry. Judas left the group and was replaced by Mathias [Acts 1:23-26]. Then, finally, Jesus called Saul/Paul along the Damascus Road.
These men have a unique purpose in history. They were called to do something special – write Scripture so that God’s message of love and forgiveness could be passed down from generation to generation. They were called by, and learned from Jesus Himself. Once they passed from the scene there would be no more apostles.
So clearly Paul has the authority to write this letter to the Ephesians. He is not just some guy that no one knows with an opinion – like me and my blog ☺.
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