Study Resources - Ephesians & Philippians
At the start of the year, the Rt. Rev. David Reed introduced the annual diocesan scripture theme from First Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage one another and build one another up,” “Animaros y edificarnos unos a otros.” Linked with this theme is his call to study Ephesians and Philippians in 2022. During Pre-Council meetings, Bishop Reed shared the following reflection about these two letters:
“Paul’s beautiful descriptions of the essential nature of the church renews hope and calls on us to look higher, to remember God’s purposes in the midst of our daily work. The letters also speak to churches that are threatened by outside forces, by things beyond their control. They recall us to trust in the living Christ who gives us strength to resist despair. Both letters echo our theme of building up.”
In light of Bishop Reed’s recommendation to read the books of Ephesians and Philippians, the Christian Formation Committee is re-releasing two lesson plans for adult study, written by the Rev. Dr. Jane Lancaster Patterson and the Rev. Dr. John G. Lewis to help formation classes study these texts. These studies were originally written in 2011 and 2013 for congregations in the Diocese of West Texas.
Additionally, the Christian Formation Committee is releasing a set of eight children’s lessons and eight youth lessons, exploring both Philippians and Ephesians. These lessons are meant to be used at any time of year that best works for an individual congregation. Each individual lesson includes background information, an opening prayer, scripture to read, questions to wonder about, an activity (or two), and a closing prayer.
A list of other study resources, recommended by the Christian Formation Committee and available for purchase online through the St. Mark's Bookstore, is included below. St. Mark's Bookstore offers a variety of Episcopal resources, fiction and non-fiction books, and other items carefully chosen to support literary interests, spiritual needs, and religious learning efforts in the diocesan community. Recommended books can be found under the Christian Formation tab on the left-side of the Shop Page. Options for shipping from St. Mark's Bookstore include mail delivery or in-person pick up arrangements.
Congregations may also search St. Mark's Bookstore's online Bookshop Portal for other titles not included in the Christian Formation list. Bookshop is an online bookstore that supports independent bookstores. Both shops provide several options for shipping. Questions about St. Mark's Bookstore, books, or delivery options may be directed to email@example.com.
For assistance with these lessons or to discuss additional Ephesians and Philippians resources for all ages email Suzanna Green, Bishop's Deputy for Christian Formation, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for Adults
Click the links below to save the diocesan studies to your Downloads Folder and learn more about each book.
- Rooted and Grounded in Love: A Study of the Letter to the Ephesians, by the Rev. Dr. Jane Lancaster Patterson and the Rev. Dr. John G. Lewis (2011)
"The Letter to the Ephesians offers us an opportunity to read, study, and reflect on a different kind of letter in the New Testament canon. As we will discover, Ephesians does not address specific issues arising in a particular church. Instead, the letter offers important insights into what God has accomplished for the entire world in the person of Christ and what it means for us to grow into the full stature of Christ in the midst of a culture that tempts us to worship many idols and ideologies that are not of God."
Spanish Translation: Haga clic aquí para guardar una traducción al español del estudio de Efesios. (Click here to save a Spanish translation of the Ephesians study.)
- Love Overflowing: Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, by the Rev. Dr. Jane Lancaster Patterson and the Rev. Dr. John G. Lewis (2013)
"Paul’s correspondence to his beloved and trusted church in Philippi is possibly his most beautiful and certainly one of his most powerful, yet practical letters, for Christians then and now. As you work your way through this study, you will see that we discuss in detail many different passages from the letter. As in all of his letters, Paul addresses specific issues and circumstances affecting members of this particular church."
Spanish Translation: to be released soon
- Ephesians: 11 Studies for Individuals and Groups, by N.T. Wright
"This guide by Tom Wright can be used on its own or alongside his New Testament for Everyone commentary on Ephesians. It is designed to help you understand Scripture in fresh ways under the guidance of one of the world's leading New Testament scholars. Thoughtful questions, prayer suggestions, and useful background and cultural information all guide you or a group more deeply into God's Word. Discover how you can participate more fully in God's kingdom."
- Philippians: 8 Studies for Individuals and Groups, by N.T. Wright
"Things don't always go the way we intend. It's easy to feel discouraged because what we hope for is badly thwarted, or because people make life difficult. ... These eight studies will help us learn from Paul the art of seeing God's purposes working out through problems and difficulties, and will deepen our own confidence in God's power."
Resources for Children
- Ephesians & Philippians Children's Lessons for 2022 Bible Study, by Suzanna Green (Deputy for Christian Formation), Cheryl Smith (St. John's, New Braunfels), and Susan Turlapati (St. John's, McAllen)
"The Christian Formation Committee is releasing a set of eight children’s lessons, four on Ephesians and four on Philippians, to be used at any time of year. Each lesson includes background information, an opening prayer, scripture to read, questions to wonder about, recommended children’s books to accompany the theme of each lesson, an activity (or two), and a closing prayer. Our hope is that you may be able to find many of the books we suggest on your church’s shelves or in your local library."
Resources for Youth
- Ephesians & Philippians Youth Lessons for 2022 Bible Study, by Taylor Brown (St. George, San Antonio), the Rev. Kendrah McDonald (St. Alban's, Harlingen), Bennett Holder (St. Alban's, Harlingen), and Jennifer Murphy (Reconciliation, San Antonio)
"The Christian Formation Committee is releasing a set of eight youth lessons, four on Ephesians and four on Philippians. These lessons are meant to be used at any time of year that best works for your congregation. The lessons include some opening discussion, scripture to read, questions to wonder about, an activity and a closing prayer."