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United in Christ: The Building of a Spiritual Temple
Ephesians 2:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
This verse is explaining that believers, as individuals, are being built together with other believers to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. The phrase “being built together” suggests that believers are being connected and united with each other in Christ and that this unity is important for the growth and development of the church.
The phrase “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” suggests that believers, as a community, are a place where God dwells and is present. The phrase “by his Spirit” suggests that it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that God is able to make His presence known and felt in the lives of believers.
Overall, this verse is a reminder of the importance of unity and fellowship within the church, and the fact that as believers are united in Christ, they become a dwelling in which God is present and able to work through His Spirit. It is a reminder of the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and the fact that it is through His presence and power that we are able to experience the presence and love of God in our lives.
In whom – refers to Jesus Christ. This phrase emphasizes that the process of salvation and becoming a dwelling place for God is only possible through faith in Jesus.
You also – indicates that this process of salvation is not limited to a select few but is available to all believers.
Are being built together – implies that this process of salvation and becoming a temple for God is ongoing and not yet complete. It also emphasizes the unity and community among believers as they are all being built together into this spiritual dwelling place.
Into a dwelling place of God – suggests that believers are becoming a sacred space where God resides. The idea of a dwelling place for God emphasizes the intimate relationship that believers can have with God through faith in Jesus.
In the Spirit – emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in the process of salvation and the building of the spiritual temple. The Spirit is the one who is doing the building and enabling believers to become a dwelling place for God.
Historical and Cultural Context
In the historical context, the early Christian community in Ephesus would have been made up of both Jewish and Gentile converts. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians addresses the issue of unity between these two groups and emphasizes that in Christ, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.
The phrase “dwelling place for God” would have been a familiar concept to the Ephesian Christians, as the city of Ephesus was home to the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This temple was considered a dwelling place for the goddess Artemis and was an important religious center for the people of Ephesus.
In light of this cultural context, Paul’s use of the imagery of a “dwelling place for God” would have been particularly powerful for the Ephesian Christians. It would have been a reminder that through faith in Jesus Christ, they are becoming a spiritual temple, a sacred space where God resides. The imagery also emphasizes that through faith in Jesus, they are part of a new spiritual community, united and indivisible, transcending the divisions of ethnicity, gender, and social status.
In summary, Ephesians 2:22 is a powerful verse that emphasizes the ongoing process of salvation and the unity of the believers in Christ. Through faith in Jesus, believers are being transformed into a spiritual temple, a sacred space where God resides. The imagery used in this verse would have been particularly powerful for the early Christian community in Ephesus, which was made up of both Jewish and Gentile converts and where the Temple of Artemis was an important religious center.