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Speak only that which ministers grace

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Today’s bible study is Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has traditionally been regarded as written by Paul from his Roman prison to which the church in Ephesus, as one of the last of his letters, sent at the same time as Philippians and Colossians. This is the view reflected in the title, which of course was provided by later church tradition, not by the author himself. As is the case with other New Testament documents, the titles represent the conviction of early Christianity that the document represents the apostolic faith, that it is a trustworthy guide to the meaning of God’s act in Christ, rather than necessarily providing accurate historical information. If written by Paul, the letter was most likely written from Rome in the early 60s.

The Christian faith is transmitted by teaching. The readers have become Christian and have entered into a new life by learning. The author lived in a pre-Constantine world in which the church could not expect the culture to transmit the faith; people did not learn what it meant to be Christian by absorbing the ethos of the dominant culture. The Christian culture of the West has dissolved. As the world of the twenty-first century becomes more and more secularized, he church finds itself in the same situation as the readers of Ephesians and must develop its teaching/learning strategies to pass on the authentic Christian faith.

This is what we are told to do, are implored to do, and what we must promise to do if our faith is to continue. We must learn and teach, through act, commitment, word and writing. Every time we take our children to church or say grace at the dinner table, we are passing along a small part of the great Christian faith to the next generation.

We try very hard not to allow any corrupt communication to come from our mouths. Rather, we try our best to speak the truth as we understand it. As we grow in understanding, so shall we grow in the ability to pass it along to succeeding generations. May Christianity continue to live and to flourish and may the name of Jesus be ever present on our lips, each day of our lives and for generations and time eternal to come in the future.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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