When it comes to Bible study, there are blessings when one verse is carefully and slowly read, and there are blessings when one reads as much as they can in one sitting. Try to read the entire letter to the Ephesians right now. Don’t worry; it’s only six chapters long. Reading the entire book allows the capture of a macro-theme. If you haven’t caught it already, Paul refers to the motif of unity in each chapter.
He starts out from the broadest of perspectives in writing about God the Father (1:3–6), then God the Son (1:7–12), and finally God the Spirit (1:13–14), and of how each Person played a part in the redemption of the church. This unity of the Godhead is reflected in the unity of God’s people in the church (1:15–23). In other words, the essence of oneness of the Trinity should be seen in the oneness in the body of believers.
Paul then speaks of how Jesus united and reconciled humanity with God (2:1–10). Through Jesus’ ministry, sinners were made whole, saved, and restored by the grace of God. This power and oneness then become the motif for Paul to exhort reconciliation between the Jewish and Gentile believers (2:11–22). He writes against racism, tribalism, and any other form of prejudice within the church body.
Chapter 3 speaks of Paul’s own role within the community. He should have been on the outside, but through this unifying mystery, God uses even people like Paul (3:1–19). Notice Paul starts broadly in the beginning and narrows down to his own ministry.
Chapter 4 starts with the Spirit and the purpose of His gifts: unity within the church (4:1–16). This, in turn, should affect every follower of Christ and his or her behavior, ethics, thinking, externals, and internals (4:17–5:21). It is here that Paul zooms in on each interpersonal relationship. The author isn’t just babbling about whatever comes into his mind. He is saying that since Christ can unify heaven and earth, the divine and human, God and sinner, Jew and Gentile, and persecutor and persecuted, God can also unify our homes, our marriages, and our families (5:22–6:9).
From this framework, Paul exhorts us to realize that we are in spiritual warfare against powers that seek to disunite us from heaven; hence, he writes about the armor of God (6:10–24). In light of the power, Word, and Spirit of Christ, no relationship is too strained that it cannot be united by God. Since Christ traversed the most distant divide to unite humanity with heaven, saying that a human relationship cannot be united misapprehends the death of Jesus. Of course, every wound needs its time to heal, but in Christ, we have hope of healing and perfect unity.