Here are some ideas for learning and teaching a few of the great principles in Ephesians. And while you’re here, I recommend you check out my free online course, “Seeking Jesus.”
Videos for Ephesians
Paul teaches about the importance of marriage in Ephesians 5. I draw on Paul’s teachings in this video about creating Christ-centered marriages. (Note, this is from “Seeking Jesus Class 3,” the above link starts you at the relevant portion of Ephesians 5).
One of my all-time favorite seminary videos is called “The Whole Armor of God.” Watch it here.
The Bible Project does a great job of helping us understand the big picture of Ephesians. Here’s the link.
Ideas for Learning More About Ephesians
***Modern Prophets and Ephesians***
Several years ago I co-authored a paper that looked at which verses from the Pauline epistles have been most frequently quoted in General Conference. You might be surprised to learn that after 1 Corinthians, Ephesians has been quoted in General Conference more than any other Pauline epistle. In fact, two of the top-three quoted passages from Paul come from Ephesians! What have prophets said about these passages from Ephesians? You can learn all about it in this article. If you’re interested in the “method” behind this article, learn how to use the Scripture Citation Index.
***Ephesians and Marriage***
In Ephesians Paul gives some counsel about marriage. Significantly, he tells husbands that they should be willing to lay down their lives for the wives, just like Christ laid down his life for the church. Christian leaders Timothy and Kathy Keller make Ephesians 5 a key part of their valuable book, The Meaning of Marriage. I quote from this book in this video on Christ-centered marriages. If you’re interested in a deep dive on Ephesians 5:22-29, or just want to read a great book on marriage, I highly recommend The Meaning of Marriage.
Paul tells the Ephesians, “Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Recently I’ve been thinking about the power of music in our lives–it is significant! I helped create this activity that you might enjoy; it takes about an hour, but if you love Christ and love music, I think you’ll love it.
If I only had ten minutes to teach this principle I might share one minute each from 3-4 of the different genres of Christ-centered music throughout the centuries. I think it’s especially fun to share the earliest Christian music, as well as contemporary songs. Then I would invite students to take a few minutes and create a music playlist that is specifically focused on Jesus Christ (as an example, here’s my Spotify playlist of songs focused on Jesus Christ). If you have an extra five minutes, here’s one of my favorite modern Christian songs, set to some powerful visuals.
***Paul’s Thoughts on Coarse Humor***
Many years ago I had an experience teaching seminary where some young women brought up how uncomfortable they felt when young men made crude comments in front of them. Frankly, I was surprised that young men would do that. In a different class period, I asked the class if this was an issue. Nobody said anything. But then I gave people pens and paper and asked them to share their thoughts. Nearly every person wrote that it was a problem. This experience helped me see that this is a real issue, and one that people might feel uncomfortable talking about.
If I were teaching youth this week, I might introduce this topic with a fun attention getter like having students say some tongue twisters, like “Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.” We would then talk about how even though it can be hard to control our tongues, we should still make the effort to do so. We would then read Ephesians 5:4, which says, “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God” (New Living Translation). From there I might ask students to write down how they see these verses applying in their lives and to share some specific examples (either positive or negative). I’ve also had a lot of fun with students doing role plays or skits where they come up with a scenario in which 2 people are saying inappropriate things, and another person intervenes and says, “Let’s not talk like that.” (Pro tip–I tell students, “Please don’t actually say inappropriate things, just use the phrase “inappropriate things.” In other words, something like this: Jeff: Hi Michael, hi Sally, do you want to hear something funny? Inappropriate things. Sally: Whoa Jeff, do you kiss your mom with that mouth? Let’s not talk like that.”) Many students enjoy creating and performing short skits that help illustrate the principle Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:4.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on the words we use, I have a talk for teens called “You Are What You Speak.” It’s free with the Deseret Bookshelf+.
Grant Underwood’s artice, “The ‘Same’ Organization That Existed in the Primitive Church,” has some interesting insights on Ephesians 4:11-16, which is directly connected to the 6th Article of Faith.
I hope these resources are helpful to you in your learning and teaching this week!