"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The setting for the letter to the Ephesians is the city of Ephesus, which was a large commercial city located off the coast of the Aegean Sea in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. Ephesus served as the capital for that part of Asia Minor, and the city was located at the intersection of several major trade routes. It's likely the Gospel was first brought to Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila, who were left there by Paul on his second missionary journey. Paul wrote his letter because the church was plagued with false teachings brought in by two men. These false teachings caused distraction and arguments within the church body.
Grace and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus Our Lord - (Ephesians 1:1-2)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The city of Ephesus was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis (or Diana). It was a city that thrived on a pagan cult worship and the making of idols. This letter was written from a Roman prison where Paul was jailed for preaching the Gospel of Christ. Here in the opening verses we see Paul was an Apostle, called directly by Jesus on the road to Damascus where he was heading to persecute Christians. The word "apostle" means messenger and Paul along with the twelve disciples were the only Apostles of the church who were given authority directly by Jesus to start His church. All of them having seen the risen Christ, were chosen by God directly to lay the foundation for the church.
They were given authority by Jesus Himself for the preaching, teaching and writing of scripture. The rest of the believers are called saints, and the word "saints" refers to the godly men and women made holy before God by the blood of Christ. The phrase "in Christ" is repeated by Paul more than one hundred and thirty times in his letters. And it refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who through the process of sanctification keeps us in communion with Jesus. The Holy Spirit does this through prayer, study of God's word and reflection on the Gospel and the person of Jesus. In this greeting Paul blesses us with peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "and" used in this phrase is a word which indicates that Jesus and God the Father are equal in essence, character and divinity. Paul deliberately uses this terminology in reference to the Trinity.
The Bethel series: a new format in adult biblical studies Harley A.Swiggum - The Foundation - 1961
Scripture taken from the Modern King James Version of the Holy Bible Copyright © 1962 - 1998 By Jay P. Green, Sr.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Study Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: Word Bibles, 1997. Print.
ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Print.
"Olive Tree." Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 Vols.) by Roy B. Zuck and John Walvoord... for the Olive Tree Bible App on IPad, IPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, Mac, and Windows - Olive Tree Bible Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Publishers, Hendrickson. "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge." Barnes & Noble. N.p., 30 Nov. 6719. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Koehler, Edward W. A. A Summary of Christian Doctrine; a Popular Presentation of the Teachings of the Bible. St. Louis: Concordia, 1971. Print.
Comfort, Philip Wesley., and Walter A. Elwell. The Complete Book of Who's Who in the Bible. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2004. Print.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Handbook. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003. Print.
Miller, Stephen M. The Complete Guide to the Bible. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Pub., 2007. Print.