Friday, 5 April 2013

Book Review: Ephesians by Sue Edwards

About the Book:  Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season.

This insightful Bible study uses the example of Paul's church in Ephesus to show readers how they can be victorious Christians, living in God's Word, and free from sin. Part of the discovery series, the Ephesians edition includes tips for either individual or group use, inspirational sidebars and short, 3-5 minute teaching videos. Scan the video QR code in the book with a smart phone or visit the series website to watch Sue provide historical and cultural background, teach important truths found in each week's lesson, or ask thoughtful questions to encourage deeper discussion.

My Thoughts:  Though I haven't had time to actually do the entire study before posting my review, I did do some of it and what I did, I thoroughly enjoyed.

I love the QR code scanning in each chapter which will take you to a video to watch Sue teach something about the week's lesson - truths, questions or cultural background.  I thought this was a really neat way to make the study "modern" and it was very easy to take the time to watch the videos.  Sue's compassion and love for the Word comes through so vividly through these videos.

I also love how you can tailor the study to fit your needs and the time you are able to commit to the study.  The sidebars provide options such as memory verses, quotes that go along with the week's study, insights about the original Greek, and options for digging deeper in the text with further Bible passage to study or commentaries to read.  

Ephesians is such a great book to study.  The historical background is fascinating - here's just a tidbit....
Ephesus was the grandest city in Asia, and God chose to plant a church there because of its strategic location. The economy was booming, making Ephesus an international trade center. Tourists flocked from all over the Roman Empire. They came to see the outdoor theater, which seated 25,000 people, and the Temple of Artemis, which housed the thirty-seven-breasted fertility goddess. Under Artemis's perverse influence, sex was big business in this red-light city of public baths, cult prostitution, homosexuality, and bestiality....  Under Artemis's influence, the Ephesians incorporated black magic into their religion. As a result, Ephesus was known as the Roman Empire's stronghold for the occult and magical arts.

Planting a church here was invading Satan's lair, no doubt about it. And, not surprisingly, this letter has a number of references to spiritual warfare.  At the time Paul wrote this letter (from house arrest in Rome) the Ephesians had only been Christians for six years old and many had been saved out of the occult.  If they could learn to live victoriously while living in such a debauched city, so can we!

In just the first week's lesson we see the blessings that our ours in the heavenly realms (not just later in heaven, but right now!), that we have been chosen by God, that we have been adopted into God's forever family, that we have a purpose from God, that we are sealed forever, and about who we are in Christ.  And that is so key to living our lives today.  If we don't know who we are in Christ, we can never live victoriously.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

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