The Letters of Paul
This is part of ‘the epistles*’. The word epistles* means ‘letters’.
A leader of the new church*, named Paul, wrote these letters. These letters tell the readers how to live as God’s people. The letters remind them that God will keep his promises.
THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE LETTERS OF PAUL
PEOPLE TO KNOW
Gentiles (a people)
PLACES TO GO
Praise* to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit*.
We were once dead, but now are alive.
Jews* and Gentiles* are one in Jesus.
Paul taught wives and husbands.
Stand up and fight.
Paul wrote this letter to the church* in a place named Ephesus. Paul once lived in that city. He knew many of the people there. He wrote them this letter to tell them more about how to follow Jesus.
Paul began the letter with a greeting. Then he told the Ephesians to think about the great plan of God. God’s plan did not just start when Jesus came. Nor did it start with Adam. God’s plan started before he created* the world. His plan was to choose a people for himself. Then he would give them many blessings* from heaven*. Paul told the followers of Jesus that all of these blessings* belonged to them. Those blessings* belonged to them because they belonged to Jesus.
God’s plan was so big that it included all of the heavens and the earth. And one day, God would put everything under the rule of Jesus. All people and all things would belong to Jesus. And he would share the things with his people. Those people were the ones who he gave his life for. They were the ones who now followed Jesus. They were the ones who he had called out to be his. They were the church*. Jesus would some day share all of the blessings* of heaven* with them. And he had already begun giving them these blessings*. And they could be sure that they would get what God had promised them. They knew this because Jesus had already given them the Holy Spirit*.
Paul told them that he prayed for them. He prayed that they would understand how great Jesus was. He asked God to help them see God’s great plan. He asked God to help them see that they were part of that plan. God’s plan would not fail. God’s plan was working out in Jesus. God chose him to bless* us. No one had more power than Jesus.
Paul told them many things they needed to know. They needed to remember that God welcomed them because of his grace*. They deserved God’s anger because they did not love or obey God. But Jesus gave his life for them. So God gave them new life instead.
Paul said that the plan of God included people who were not Jews*. Now the church* was made up of all kinds of people. So the people that followed Jesus should be one people. They should be kind to every kind of person. They should welcome people of all nations. They should not act like they are better than anyone else. God welcomed all kinds of people. They should not refuse anyone. The church* was made up of people of every nation. The church* was made up of people of every skin colour, and of every language. Many people did not know this. So God gave Paul the special task to tell everyone.
Paul taught them these things in the first half of the book. He told them how they should live in the second half of the book. God chose them. He gave them a new purpose. Now, Paul wanted them to live like people who belonged to God. They were God’s people. So Paul told them how to follow God’s ways.
They must be humble and gentle. They must always tell the truth. They should love people the way Jesus loved them. They must not be greedy or angry. They must not steal from other people or say bad things about other people. Paul wanted them to turn away from their old ways and live the new life that God had given them. This would not always be easy. But Paul told them that God would help them. God had given them other people in the church* to encourage them. God gave them his own power to make them strong. God had given teachers to the church* to help them know what God says. And God had given them the Holy Spirit*. The Spirit* would change their hearts to be more like Jesus. He would make them strong.
God changed all parts of a person’s life when they trusted* him. God would help husbands love their wives. He helped children obey their parents. He helped people work hard and be honest in their work. God gave them what they needed to do the right things. Even if the devil* tried to make them fall, God would protect them. God had given them what they needed to help them stand.