Church of the Simpletons.
Out of all the troubles that Paul wrote down that he was having in his ministry this book never really goes into any of that. It instead focuses on how the Church is the Body of Christ and the spirituality it is supposed to have. As one reads it though it is understood that this one is definitely for the ages since the issues dealt inside are for the whole church. It was written around 60 AD, 8 years before Paul's death. Paul was in prison the time he was writing this. Ephesus was a city he loved and wanted to spend more time there than time actually allowed.
Being a Greek city Ephesus was heavily into the pagan myths of Greek legends about gods and goddesses (Acts 19:23-27). But it was also inhabited by Greeks who had adopted earlier religions of the original people located in the area. The main goddess of the city, the matron, if you will, was Artemis, aka Diana, the goddess of fertility. The temple of Diana may have been the largest Greek building at the time. Ephesus was part of a culture center, one of the largest of ancient times and grew to a city the size of about 250,000 people. It was a leader in politics, religion, and commerce. In 189 BC it became part of the Roman Empire and thus took on many Roman lifestyles as well. It's theater, which could sit roughly 24,000 people, became of the seven wonders of the world. The church that was located here Paul said was strong in its faith (1:15) but didn't know exactly what to do with it (1:17-23).
Some of the main points are:
- The Church is the Body of Christ and is powerful (1:19-23)
- Salvation is a gift, not a reward for works (2:8-10)
- There is so much more to grasp that we don't use (3:17-20)
- There can be unity and strength through the understanding of each one's gift (4:2-16)
- We are in a spiritual war, not a physical one (6:11-12)
It was written to the Church that Jesus was our great example and that no matter where we are in our walk with Him we need to constantly grow in our spirits. Jesus is our goal for our character. But character is something we do not care about in this world anymore. We live for the moment. We worry about what others think about us (reputation) instead of what we really are. The main difference between character and reputation is this: reputation is what we want others to think about us, character is what we do when no one else is around.