Greetings (1:1-2)

1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in    
      Christ Jesus."


A Jew and a Roman citizen, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, sent to Jerusalem to receive education in the school of Jewish Rabbi Gamaliel, a radical of Judaism, persecuted Jesus’ followers, saw a great “light” at noon on the road to Damascus for the purpose of arresting Jesus’ followers with warrant letters from Jerusalem leaders, and then instructed by Jesus to preach gospel to the Gentiles.

Apostle by the will of God

Paul claimed himself “apostle”, declaring that his authority to be an apostle is directly assigned by God. That makes his message of the letter much more powerful and authoritative. John the Baptist and Jesus were both challenged by the religious leaders with the question of who gave them the authority to do things (Matt 21:23). Paul wanted to make it clear his apostleship was not given by men (the other apostles). He was not one of the twelve disciples following Jesus in His ministries, nor was he the one who replaced Judas the betrayer. Therefore, his apostleship was inevitably suspected. However, his experience on the road to Damascus confirmed his direct encounter with Jesus. And he was designated by Lord Jesus to preach to the Gentiles, a mission apparently distinguished from the other apostles.


Saint means “holy” or “separated”—“set apart for special purpose.” The vessels placed in the tabernacle or Holy Temple are called “holy vessels”. A saint is simply a believer set apart for God’s use. It is not because he is morally perfect to earn such a name.

“In” Christ Jesus

The phrase “in Christ/Jesus/the Beloved/Him” occurs about 30 times in the Letter. Everything is accomplished in Christ. Nothing happens if we are not in Christ.

In Christ, God

  • (past), set His eternal purpose (3:11), demonstrated His power of raising Christ and placing him at his right hand (1:20), blessed us (1:3), chose us (1:4), bestowed grace on us (1:6), showed kindness to us (2:7), forgave us (4:32);
  • (present) is glorified (3:21);
  • (future) gather all things in one (1:10).

In Christ, we

  • (past) obtained inheritance (1:11), put our trust (1:12), trusted the gospel of salvation (1:13), believed and were marked with the Holy Spirit of promise (1:13), had faith (1:15), were created to do good (2:10), were brought near to God (2:13), were framed together to become a holy temple (2:21), were built together for God to dwell in;
  • (present) put our faith (1:1), share God’s promise to the Israelites (3:6), have boldness to access God (3:12), are light (5:8), obey our parents (6:1), are strong (6:10);
  • (future) have redemption (1:7).

1:2 "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
Grace and peace

Grace is “charis” in Greek, a greeting word spoken among the Gentiles in Paul’s days. Peace is “shalom” in Greek, a greeting word among the religious people. So, both words are formal greetings sent by Paul to the believers. Grace comes from God because it is the means by which God saves us, not by our efforts. Peace also comes from God. Paul usually puts grace before peace to mean that we receive God’s grace before we can experience peace. It is by God’s grace that we have peace with Him—through Christ Jesus.

The Lord Jesus Christ

By calling Jesus “the Lord,” Paul admits he is Christ’s servant. “Servant” means “bondslave.” In Paul’s days, slaves can be bought or sold in the market by law. When a slave is sold to a family, he is owned by the landlord for his service. Paul claims he is the slave of Jesus Christ and works for him.

“Jesus” is Christ’s human name given by his father Joseph. The name “Jesus” and “Joshua” are the same word in Greek and the name means “Jehovah saves.” So, “Jesus” reflects the role of our Savior. “Christ” in Greek is “Christos” and in Hebrew is “Messiah,” meaning “the Anointed One.” This is the title given to Jesus, like the title “Emperor” given to a king’s name. So, Christ reflects the status of our King.