Have you ever read a verse (or verses) in the Bible and wondered, "What does this mean?" Well, you're not alone. Many times when you read a passage in the Bible from the context of the people who were living at the time, it opens up a whole new understanding of what the author was trying to say. For example, here is an excerpt from an assignment one of our students completed while they studied Ephesians:
Observation: parts of speech
Interpretation: How would this have spoken to the circumstances of the Christians living in Ephesus?
Ephesus was a spiritually dark and heavy place because it was the center of worship and sacrifice for the goddess, Artemis, as well as other cults such as the imperial cult (emperor worship) or mysteries cults. The people of Ephesus grew up with a great fear of demons and spirits, believing that they were all around them, had loads of power, and whose goal was always to harm and torment people. Knowing that God had ultimate power over and above all other powers and dominions would have given the believers in Ephesus great comfort. They could trust in the goodness and power of the One True God, regardless of what might be happening around them.
Timeless Truth: Jesus has ultimate authority over all.
How can you practically apply this to your own life?
I know that no matter how crazy the world around me may seem, Jesus has ultimate power and authority. Nothing is stronger than He is. I don't have to fear when things seem a little beyond my reach or out of my control. He is the One I can turn to when I need help. This week, if I feel afraid or like things are out of control and I want to worry, I'm going to read these verses out loud and speak truth to the lies of fear.
When you take time to really dig into the text of Scripture, you never know the depths or richness that Holy Spirit will show you!