Thabiti Anyabwile has just brought out a Bible study guide on Ephesians for small groups in the The Good Book Guides series of which I am the series editor. It’s called “God’s Big Plan for Christ’s New People“. Thabiti Anyabwile is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands, a Council member with The Gospel Coalition and the author of The Decline of African American Theology and What is a Healthy Church Member?
Here’s the blurb …
“Why should I be a member of a local church? I’m a part of the body of Christ. Isn’t that enough?”
An increasing number of people think of the Christian faith primarily in terms of themselves as individuals. Faith is not only a personal but also a private matter. For these believers, church has become an optional extra, a matter of convenience and personal choice.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul says a firm “no” to this idea. The church of Christ far from being an optional extra; it is the display of God’s wisdom to the universe! The church is God’s handiwork, made up of people from every conceivable background, living under the gracious rule of Jesus himself. To be a part of the church is to be hand-selected by God through Christ to make visible the mystery of God’s electing love.
In short, Christianity is far more corporate and public than we might first expect. We are redeemed as individuals, but we are placed in a family. And living out the Christian life requires we live together with others who love the same Lord. It requires we actively participate in the church, for the church is God’s only plan to raise us to full maturity in Jesus Christ.
“Ephesians is one of the most beautiful books in the Bible,” Thabiti said. “The symmetry between rich theology and applied living can hardly be matched. So, if a Christian wants to think carefully about what he/she believes and then walk out their beliefs, Ephesians is an excellent book to study. I also love the book because of the honored place the book gives to the local church. If we would be healthy Christians, we would be wise to build our lives around the kind of church that emerges from the book of Ephesians.”
The ten studies in this Good Book Guide will help groups and individuals discover the richness of God’s grace towards His people, and grow as the body of Christ.
Table of contents
1. Blessed in Christ (Ephesians 1 v 1-3)
2. Saved by God (Ephesians 1 v 4-14)
3. Eyes opened by the Spirit (Ephesians 1 v 15-23)
4. Raised with Christ (Ephesians 2 v 1-10)
5. United in Christ (Ephesians 2 v 11-22)
6. Given God’s message (Ephesians 3)
7. Growing in Christ (Ephesians 4 v 1-16)
8. Clothed with new life (Ephesians 4 v 17 – 5 v 17)
9. Filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5 v 18 – 6 v 9)
10. Ready for battle (Ephesians 6 v 10-24)