Ephesians: In the Heavenly Realms

A Survey & Outline of the

Book of Ephesians

– The Living Commentary –

Paul J. Bucknell

Leave worldly ambitions for our heavenly calling!


The Purpose & Outlines of
The Book of Ephesians

Clarifying the Purpose of Ephesians

Outline of EphesiansBefore we can discuss the text, we must first confront a common misconception about the Book of Ephesians and the Christian life itself.

Ephesians 4:1 starts off the second portion of the Book of Ephesians. Those that like to get into studying the Bible and its ‘heavy' doctrines prefer to study the first part of Paul's letters and often treat the latter part as secondary or of less value (see the right diagram where a wall separates the two sections). They are content to study the doctrine in the first part and leave off the application of the second. This is a mockery of what Paul is teaching.

Ephesians structure interdependence - Belief and LifeIf the first part really was more important, then Paul would have left off the ‘life,' ‘practice' or application portion. He did not. It is essential to grasp the importance of the second section even though many would dismiss it. This separation of what one believes from what one lives is very common in the West and allows for the degeneration of the church. This is exactly contrary to what Paul was trying to teach. Our holy life is not a special add-on to the lives of some Christians but a true fixture of every believer.

Paul would have been very upset over this dichotomy that is so commonly made. We are not trying to argue that Paul was oblivious to the two sections of his letters (belief & life). Through a cursory look at his other books, the same pattern is repeatedly found. We might summarize the dissimilarity between the two sections by the word ‘for.'

The first section is the cause while the later is a result. Each section lives for its partner (see diagram on left). They share a symbiotic relationship. There is no true cause if there is no true following result. Again, we are not minimizing the doctrine being taught but maximizing it by giving its full force. If the Gospel of Christ does not radically change our lives, then it is not the Gospel at all.


The Book of Ephesians

A Brief Outline

A brief outline enables us to understand the whole book. A more extensive outline after this one helps understand how the many parts form the whole. Both are important for the student of God's Word.

The Empowering of God's People

Purpose: Call God's people to live in light of our heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

A. Our Heavenly Calling (1:1-3:21)

Learning of our high calling in Christ

Truth Believed: A Christian cannot grow without the truth of God.
1. Spiritual Blessings (1:1-2:10) Life with God
2. Corporate Blessings (2:11-3:21) Life with believers

B. Our Earthly Walk (4:1-6:24)

Living by our high calling in Christ

Truth Lived out: A Christian cannot grow without living out the truths of God.
1. Serving Together (4:1-16) Devoted to one another
2. Loving One Another (4:17-32) Personal Integrity
3. Living Close to God (5:1-6:9) Holy living like Christ
4. Designed to Win (6:10-24) The Armor of God

The Book of Ephesians
Preaching & Teaching Extensive Outline

Paul J. Bucknell

The Empowering of God's People

The Book of Ephesians God provides all that we need to live out strong godly lives on earth with the power of His Holy Spirit.

A. Our Heavenly Calling (1:1-3:21) Learning of our high calling in Christ

1. Spiritual Blessings (1:1-2:10) Life with God
  • Introduction to Ephesians (1:1-2)
  • Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3)
  • Choice & Predestination (1:4-6)
  • Lavish Grace (1:7-8)
  • God's Greater Purposes (1:9-12)
  • Steps of Salvation (1:13)
  • Pledge of the Holy Spirit (1:14)
  • The Need for Prayer (1:15-17)
  • Understanding the Heart of Prayer (1:18-23)
  • Understanding the glory of Christ (1:20-23)
  • Spiritual Death (2:1-3)
  • God's Rich Mercy (2:4-6)
  • God's Glorious Purposes (2:7-10)
2. Corporate Blessings (2:11-3:21) Life with believers
  • Unifying God's Redemptive Promises (2:11-12) Old Testament perspective
  • One United Body (2:13-18) New Testament perspective
  • The Call to One Body (2:19-22)
  • God's Mysterious Purposes (3:1-7)
  • God's Wonderful Call (3:8-13)
  • The Power of Prayer (3:14-19)
  • The Purpose of Redemption (3:20-21)

B. Our Earthly Walk (4:1-6:24) Living by our high calling in Christ

1. Serving Together (4:1-16) Devoted to one another
  • Team spirit (4:1-3)
  • Unity of worship (4:4-6)
  • Diverse Gifts (4:7-11)
  • Design of church (4:11-13)
  • Working together (4:14-16)
2. Loving One Another (4:17-32) Personal Integrity
  • Principles for the New Life (4:17-24)
  • Need of Truth (4:25) Overcoming falsehood
  • Need of Gentleness (4:26-27) Overcoming Anger
  • Need of Sharing (4:28) Overcoming Covetousness
  • Need of Kind Talk (4:29-30) Overcoming unhelpful speech
  • Need of Forgiving Spirit (4:31-32) Overcoming bitterness
3. Living Close to God (5:1-6:9) Holy living like Christ
  • Call of Love (5:1-2)
  • Need of pure living (5:3-4) Overcome lusts
  • Seriousness of pure living (5:5-7)
  • Walking in the Light (5:8-14
  • Living by the Will of God (5:15-17)
  • Being filled by the Spirit (5:18-21)
  • Calling of the wife (5:22-24)
  • Calling of the husband (5:25-27)
  • The Design of Marriage (5:28-33)
  • The Calling of Children (6:1-3)
  • The Calling of fathers (6:4)
  • Living in the Work Place (6:5-8)
  • The Responsibility of Management (6:9)
4. Designed to Win (6:10-24) The Armor of God
  • Two Commands; One Battle (6:10-11)
  • Understanding the Battle (6:12)
  • The Full Armor (Part 1) (6:13-14)
  • The Full Armor (Part 2) (6:15-16)
  • The Full Armor (Part 3) (6:17)
  • The Full Armor (Part 4) (6:18-20)
  • A Closing Word (6:21-24)

For further reflection on any part of this outline, please consult the commentary and notes below.



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Read more exciting and practical articles on the Book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:1-3 Every Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:1 Only by the Will of God
Ephesians 1:2 Only in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 1:3 Every Spiritual Blessing
Ephesians 1:1-3 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 1:4-6 Bible Study Questions
Ephesians 1:1-14 Redemption & Sovereignty
Ephesians 1:15-17 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2:1-3 Our Need, His Grace

Ephesians 2:1-3, an Introduction
Ephesians 2:1 A) Man's Nature
Ephesians 2:2 B) Man's World
Ephesians 2:3 C) Man's Heart
Questions (Ephesians 2:1-3)


Ephesians 2:8-10 Extraordinary Purpose
Ephesians 2:8-10, an Introduction
Ephesians 2:8-9 A) Purpose of Salvation
Ephesians 2:10 B) Purpose of our Lives
Questions (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Ephesians 2:19-22 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3:1-10 Growing in Our Commitment
Ephesians 3:1-10, Introduction
Ephesians 3:1 The Value of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:2-5 The Reliability of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:6-7 The Glory of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:8-10 The Calling of the Gospel
Questions (Ephesians 3:1-10)

Ephesians 3:14-21 The Fullness of God's Love

Ephesians 3:20-21 God's Unlimited Power
Ephesians 3:20-21 Unlimited Power
Ephesians 3:20 God's Amazing Power
Ephesians 3:21 God's Amazing Glory
Ephesians 3:20-21 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4:1-3 Preserving the Spirit's Unity

Intro: Problems of Disunity
Ephesians 4:1 Calling to Unity
Ephesians 4:2-3 Our Oneness of the Body
Ephesians 4:3 Preservation of Unity
Ephesians 4:1-3 Bible Study Questions
Ephesians 4:4-5 Reason for Oneness
Ephesians 4:6 One God & Father
Ephesians 4:4-6 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:11-16 The Purpose of Training

Ephesians 4:11-13: A) God's Word in the Church
Ephesians 4:11 Gifts in the church
Ephesians 4:12 Purpose of equipping
Ephesians 4:13 The final goal
Ephesians 4:11-13 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:14 B) Responsibility 1. Deceit
Ephesians 4:15a 2. Speaking the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15b 3. Grow up into Christ
Ephesians 4:16 Summary: Function of the Church
Ephesians 4:14-16 Bible Study Questions
Ephesians 4:17-24 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:11-14 Chart: Equipping of the Saints
Ephesians 4:25 Power of Speaking the Truth
Ephesians 4:25 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:26-27 The Urgency of Resolving Anger
Ephesians 4:31 The Tree of Bitterness

Ephesians 5-6

Ephesians 5:8-14 Bible Study Questions
Ephesians 5:21 Mutual Submission?
Ephesians 5:22,24 Wives be Subject mp3
Ephesians 5:25 Marital Love
Ephesians 5:31-32 Redemptive Analogy & Marriage
Ephesians 5:31-33 Building a Great Marriage

Ephesians 6:1-4 Parent-Child Relationships
Ephesians 6:1-4 Modern Family Problems
Ephesians 6:1-2a Obedience pleases God
Ephesians 6:2-3 Obedience brings profit
Ephesians 6:4 Obedience requires training | Questions

Ephesians 6:17 Sword of Spirit

Ephesians 6:18-24 Place of Prayer in Your Life
Overview of Ephesians A) Prayer in Ephesians
Ephesians 6:18-24 B) Prayer in Believer's Life
Ephesians 6:18-24 C) Prayer in your Life
Ephesians 6:18-24 Bible Study Questions


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Biblical Foundations for Freedom


Paul J. Bucknell


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