If you’re looking for Paul’s happiest letter, Ephesians, you’ve found it.
What’s odd about his cheerfulness is that he’s writing while under arrest, possibly in Rome, shortly before his trial—which early Christian writers say was followed by his execution.
This letter reads like a warm sermon to a lovable congregation. Paul gives the people practical advice about how to live like Christians in a real world that doesn’t play by Christian rules.
A bachelor, he gives marital advice to couples, and he offers family counseling to parents and their kids. He even gives what is today considered controversial advice to Christian slave owners as well as their slaves. It’s controversial because he stops short of telling the slave masters to free their slaves.
Paul also warns the Christians that they may have to suffer because of their belief in Jesus. After all, he reminds them, the letter they’re reading came from a man under arrest because of his faith.
“From: Paul, appointed by God as an official messenger of the Messiah, Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1).
Ephesians was probably one of Paul’s last letters, written near the end of his life sometime around AD 60-62.
Paul wrote that he was “the Lord’s ambassador in chains, under arrest” (Ephesians 6:20). Many Bible experts speculate he was writing from Rome, at the trial reported in Acts 28.
Destination of letter
Some ancient copies of Paul’s letter quote him as writing to “all the followers of Jesus living in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1). Other ancient copies, the oldest, drop the phrase.