Tag Archives: Questioning Ephesians

Questioning Ephesians: I “Heart” Ephesus

19 Dec

i-love-ephesus.jpg

As you can see from the image above I have made a purchase for the upcoming Ephesians study our 20/30’s group will be going through. Why do I love Ephesus? Glad you asked! In one word…Artemis. And after I tell you about the goddess of Ephesus just try telling me that you do not love Ephesus as well:

Who was Artemis?
The supposed goddess of fertility.

Who worshiped her?
She was probably the most-worshiped deity in Asia and perhaps the world during Paul’s time.

What was worship like?
Hundreds of eunuch priests, virgin priestesses, and religious prostitutes served her. Worship rituals were quite erotic.

By what other names was Artemis known?
“Queen of Heaven,” “Savior,” and “Mother Goddess.”

What role did Ephesus have in Artemis worship?
Ephesus was considered neokoros for Artemis, which meant the city was the center for Artemis worship and was responsible for maintaining the cult’s purity of worship.

How did Ephesus benefit financially from the worship of Artemis?
The cult brought great wealth to the citizens of Ephesus because the temple of Artemis became the world’s largest bank during that time.

What were Artemis festivals like?
Devotees came from all over the world to worhsip and celebrate during her festivals. Huge processions honored her statues.
Celebrations were held with music, dancing, singing, dramatic presentations, and chanting of allegiance.

What were Artemis statues like?
They portrayed Artemis as having many breasts- a symbol of her fertility. The main statue in her temple may have been a black meteorite because she was said to have fallen from the sky.
artemis.jpg

What was the Artemis temple like?
The temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

How else do we know that Artemis was important to Ephesus?
Two statues of her have been found in the Prytaneion- the “city hall” of Ephesus- indicating that she was considered to be the basis for life in the city.

What attracted people to Artemis?
The promise of fertility, long life, sexual fulfillment, and protection during preganancy and childbirth; the seductive sexuality of her worship.

Questioning Ephesians part 2

15 Dec

I’m going to be teaching through Ephesians I believe this upcoming January so I thought I’d take the next week or two and ask as many questions as I can while I read through the text? Feel free to throw in some of yours!

Ephesians 1:1b
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Where is Ephesus? What was the religious climate like in Ephesus? What was the governmental structure of Ephesus? What were their sources of income? How similar or different was Ephesus to America? Did the people of Ephesus have any kind of understanding of the Hebrew scriptures? In what ways would the message of Jesus confront the people who lived in and made a living in Ephesus?

“the saints”
If a saint means to be set apart then what are we as Christians set apart from? Specifically, what did it mean in Ephesus to be set apart? In what ways would this sainthood exclude them from the daily life of Ephesus and in what ways would it free them from cultural restraints under the way things had always been done there?

Questioning Ephesians part 1

12 Dec

I’m going to be teaching through Ephesians I believe this upcoming January so I thought I’d take the next week or two and ask as many questions as I can while I read through the text? Feel free to throw in some of yours!

Ephesians 1:1a

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,”

Who is “Paul”?
Wasn’t his name originally Saul? Why did it change? Is there any history behind the names of Saul and Paul? How did he go from being a Jew to being a Christian? In fact, are those distinct categories or is one an extension of another?
It sounds like a guy named Paul wrote this letter. Why do we say that God wrote the Bible? How does that work? If God wrote it how could a human be involved? Did Paul write his letters or did he have a scribe? Where did he write this letter from? If it was from jail, what was jail like back then? Why did he land in jail in the first place? What is so wrong with being a Christian? How do you get arrested if your primary occupation is “lover”?
Who did Paul learn under? What city was he born in? What city did he grow up in? How did he become affiliated with the church? How did he become a leader? What was his relation in role to the church? Was he a pastor? Was he an elder? What is an apostle? What are the qualifications? Can women be apostles? Did Paul and Jesus live at the same time? Did Paul know Jesus? If not what were his sources? How did the church’s recognize that Paul had authority to lead them? Did they accept him at first or did it take time?

Who is “Christ Jesus”?
What does “Jesus” mean? Is this the way that we pronounce it today and it sounds different in it’s mother tongue? How common was the name? What does “Christ” mean? Does it have any roots in the Hebrew scriptures or was it just picked up from the language of the day? How would a Jewish person view this title? How would a Greek view this title? How would a Roman soldier feel about this? Can they be used in interchangeable order and still make sense? If Paul is Jesus’ apostle it means that he is doing something for Jesus. What is Paul doing that Jesus can’t do?