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Equip yourself to fall deeply in love with God's Word through this unique, interactive Bible study. Delving into the book of Ephesians, Dive Deeper is a tool for women—those who might be satisfied and content with their Bible study and for those who find themselves fearful or numb—to d.i.v.e.(define, investigate, visualize, embrace) deeper into the living and active Word of God.
Dive Deeper comes from Jenifer Jernigan's heart. As a preacher’s daughter, she grew up with some pretty heavy expectations to live up to. Jenifer found herself becoming numb to the things of God because the Bible stories were all too familiar. She longed to break through the serene surface of her safe place and d.i.v.e. deeper into Scripture. She wanted to fall in love with the stories she knew so well. Over time, Jenifer learned to do just that. Her unique Bible study method is shared in this one-of-a-kind study. Dive Deeper takes readers by the hand and jumps with them into the exhilarating waters of Bible study.
- Personal, easy-to-understand language
- Helpful tips for Bible study beginners
- Useful tools to encourage familiarity of the Bible, its contents, and study helps
- Scripture from the book of Ephesians
About the Author
Jenifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose deepest longing is to please Jesus, only Jesus. Growing up as the daughter of a pastor, she knew church but she didn’t know Jesus. After years of rebellion and heartache, Jenifer found freedom and healing through God’s Word. Fighting an uphill battle against those who said her learning disability would hold her back, Jenifer created her own Bible study method, which ultimately led her directly to Jesus’ feet. Now, as founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip others to d.i.v.e. (define~investigate~visualize~embrace) head first into God’s Word so that they, too, can experience freedom and abundant living. You can find her at jeniferjernigan.com.
Read an Excerpt
finding deep faith beyond shallow religion
By JENIFER JERNIGAN
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Jenifer Jernigan
All rights reserved.
An Unlikely Becomes Extraordinary
Before you begin your time of study and learning, spend a few moments in prayer asking God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word.
Take a snapshot of Ephesians 1 by reading through the chapter at least three times so you understand the big picture. As you're reading, make note of any verse(s) that tugs at your heart; this may be the WOW God wants you to embrace from chapter 1.
In this lesson we're going to zoom in on Ephesians 1:1–2. As you read these verses again, begin to d.i.v.e. below the surface, jotting down words, asking questions, and outlining or paraphrasing the text. To help you get started, I've included my d.i.v.e. for Ephesians 1:1–2. In the lessons to come, I encourage you to open your beach tote and use the d.i.v.e. tools as they work for you, filling in the blank d.i.v.e. form as you go. Remember: we won't use the tools in a certain order, or use every one equally. In the first few passages we study, you may choose to work through only one portion of d.i.v.e., gradually adding more as we go; or you may choose to only read through my notes.
will of God
in Christ (NKJV)
Who is the author of this letter?
What is Paul's backstory?
Why did Paul write Ephesians?
Why was Ephesus so special to Paul?
When and from where did Paul write?
Under whose authority does Paul write, serve, and minister?
From where do grace and peace come?
Ephesians 1:1–2. Paul's greeting.
Ephesians 1:1–2 reminds me that God takes the unlikely and makes them extraordinary. My jaded past, full of regrets and hurts, rejections and losses, is a canvas upon which God desires to create a beautiful life masterpiece evidenced by the reality that He has gifted me with grace and flooded my life with peace.
ARE YOU READY? LET'S D.I.V.E. INTO EPHESIANS!
Read Ephesians 1:1. Who claims authorship of this letter?
Who was Paul?
Paul was chosen by God to be "an emissary of Jesus the Anointed, directly commissioned as His representative by the will of God." He passionately embraced his calling and cherished the message behind that calling, to make Christ known. However, he hadn't always been zealous about making Christ known. In fact, he'd been adamantly against Christ and all things pertaining to Christianity.
Born in the Roman city of Tarsus, he was given the name Saul (a Jewish name) at birth, a name most likely chosen in honor of Israel's King Saul of the Old Testament. Later in life, Saul would come to be known predominantly by his Roman name, Paul (Acts 13:9). Being raised in a Jewish home meant Paul was well versed in Jewish Scriptures and followed strictly the traditions of his religion. At a young age he was sent to synagogue, where he learned to read and write by copying passages from the Old Testament texts. From the same Old Testament Scriptures he also learned the Hebrew language. At home he learned Aramaic, and out in the community he learned Greek. As was customary for every Jewish boy, Paul was expected to learn a trade, a skill that would be useful to him later in life. From Acts 18:3, we learn Paul's chosen trade was tent making.
Scholars believe that sometime between age thirteen to eighteen, Paul left his hometown and went to Jerusalem, where he studied under the rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was thought to be the greatest Jewish teacher of his day, and under the influence of his teaching, Paul wrote, "I excelled in the teachings of Judaism far above other Jewish leaders, and I was zealous to practice the ways of our ancestors" (Galatians 1:14). Paul not only pronounced himself zealous to practice the ways of his ancestors; he also acknowledged himself to be a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5).
It's at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, where Paul, still referred to as Saul, is first introduced in Scripture.
Read Acts 7:57–58. Describe the scene.
Saul was puddle living; he'd made his home in the shallows. He stood there on the day of Stephen's death as a man well learned in tradition, religion, and the law. He had much intellectual knowledge of the Jesus Stephen preached, and he knew a great deal about the move of Christianity sweeping across the land. What Saul failed to grasp, though, from all his learning, was the Man behind the movement. Saul's head was filled with knowledge over the years, yet his heart remained empty and calloused toward God and His love for him. He continued to deny Christ as the Messiah and was dumbfounded by the idea that God desired a personal, intimate relationship with him.
Saul consented to Stephen's death and continued to persecute the young Christian church in Jerusalem, forcing many of those believers to scatter abroad. His zealous hatred for Christ drove him to go "on a rampage—hunting the church, house after house, dragging both men and women to prison" (Acts 8:3).
Read Acts 9:1–2. Describe Saul's behavior. Who was he adamantly against? For what reason did Saul go to the high priest? What was his ultimate goal?
A LIFE PLUNGED INTO THE DEEP
I'm sure he didn't expect anything out of the ordinary to happen that day. Saul got up that morning, ate breakfast, packed everything he'd need, prepared the donkeys for the weeklong journey, readied his traveling companions, and headed to Damascus. His mission: to arrest and put in prison anyone who proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Read Acts 9:3–6. As Saul got nearer to Damascus, what out-of-the-ordinary event occurred? Describe the scene.
I have no doubt this was one of those "shut-the-front-door!" moments in Saul's life. Can you even imagine what took place? Saul, his heart beating faster and faster the closer he gets to Damascus. The persecution of Christian believers, the dragging them out of their homes and throwing them in prison, is like a drug to him. He is eager for the high he's about to experience from the first "catch" of the day. BUT, in the presence of Jesus Christ, Saul is driven face to the ground. The voice of Christ rings loudly in his ears. It is stern, power-filled, authoritative, demanding of respect and awe. And yet, at the same time, Christ's voice overflows with love, spills forth with grace, and reveals a yearning for this knowledge-driven man to fall head over heels in love with Him.
Saul's life was based on traditions of the past, filled with religious rituals and checklists of how-tos and how-not-tos. He'd learned to live his life according to the law, dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's. On this day, however, everything he'd learned, all he'd been taught, when held up to the light of the presence of Jesus Christ, was unseen, poured out, drained dry. His knowledge no longer amounted to anything. Tradition was erased. Religious rituals were no longer practiced. The checklists of how-tos and how-not-tos were lost forever.
As he lay facedown on the ground, Saul heard a voice unlike any he'd ever heard. Just as he was smack-dab in the middle of his sin, Christ called Saul out, spoke his name, and questioned his actions.
"Who are You, Lord?" Saul asked with enough wits about him to recognize the voice as one of power and authority. I can't help but wonder if he cringed and held his breath as those words left his lips. Or did he dig his fingers deep into that dirt road, grasping for something tangible to hold on to?
Whether his body cringed, the breath escaped his lungs, or he searched for an anchor to secure himself to, I'm almost certain that his "shut-the-front-door!" turned into an "I'm toast!" when the words "I am Jesus ..." reached his ears.
Jesus. He knew Jesus. He'd learned about this Man his entire life. He was familiar with the stories and each character that played an active part. He also knew how to flip any conversation with a Jesus follower, causing that unwitting soul to doubt what he believed. He knew it all, yet he knew absolutely nothing.
His ears ringing and his mind now swirling with the words, "I am Jesus ... ," his heart could no longer play silent partner. Saul had left his home days earlier, prepared and enthusiastic to arrest any Christian he could find. But in this moment, it was Saul who'd been captured. His heart had been captured by the truth: that he'd been imprisoned all his life to rules and regulations, perceptions and expectations. The truth that he really knew nothing of who Jesus truly was. The truth that he needed to step forward from his life of shallow living into one of deeper faith in Jesus.
Saul was instantly smitten by Christ's love for him. He was blanketed by God's magnificent grace. He was rocked to his core, and life as he knew it was turned upside down. In response, he immediately asked the Lord, "What do You want me to do?" His thoughts, his plans, his desires no longer existed. Humbly, he submitted himself to the lordship of Christ in his life.
Years passed, and Saul came to be known as the apostle Paul, a great defender of the faith. His passion for God and his willingness to do whatever God called him to do led him from place to place, house to house, synagogue to synagogue—and prison to prison.
When and from where did Paul write this letter?
Being an emissary, a messenger of the Gospel, wasn't easy or safe, and often afforded one the opportunity to rustle the feathers of those in charge of rule following and tradition keeping. Jesus followers who spoke openly and freely about Christ's love, forgiveness, and acceptance of all were often accused of wrongs they hadn't committed and forced to serve time for "crimes" that were made up in the minds of the powers that be. As a result of those very things, we find Paul imprisoned under house arrest in Rome when he penned this letter.
His crime? Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem, accused of bringing a Gentile believer into areas of the Jewish temple that were forbidden places for any Gentile to enter (Acts 21:28).
Imprisoned physically? Yes. Bound spiritually? Not at all. Paul was able to endure his physical imprisonment because he'd been set free from the bondage of sin.
Because Paul penned this letter during his first Roman imprisonment, this epistle is known as one of Paul's four prison epistles, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon being the others. All of the prison epistles can be dated between AD 60 and 62.
Why did Paul write this letter, and who were its intended recipients?
The phrase "in Ephesus" isn't included in many of the early manuscripts. So who were Paul's intended recipients? Scholars believe Paul meant for this letter to be circulated among the churches of Asia Minor, the church of Ephesus possibly being the first stop, hence the titling of this letter "Ephesians."
The city of Ephesus held a special place in Paul's heart. He spent three years there, teaching, discipling, and ministering (Acts 19–20). He'd invested emotionally, spiritually, and physically into the lives of the believers there. Paul meant for this letter to encourage them to continue loving God and their brothers and sisters in Christ unconditionally and without reserve.
Encouragement wasn't Paul's only purpose. It was also his hope and prayer that his words would further help believers understand the importance of their relationship in Christ over a life of tradition and rule following. Many had been taught that following rules and acting out rituals would make them accepted in God. Paul knew firsthand this wasn't the case. He knew that living deep faith was an overflow of one's position in Christ. He wasn't out to offer shallow religion, filled with perceptions, expectations, and regulations; his desire was to open the door of relationship with God and between individuals.
Paul paints a picture of what the church, the body of Christ—His hands, His feet, His heartbeat—should be. Diverse, yet unified. Bold, yet compassionate. Christ-centered, not me-centered. Broken and poured out for the lost, hurting, and lonely. Loving on the widow and the orphan, the homeless and the prisoner. Doing life with the stripper, the drug addict, the gay or lesbian neighbor. Chatting, grappling, and searching for answers with those wondering what the heck life is all about. Looking past the piercings, the tats, and the masks that hide, into the heart of the person. Accepting people where they are, realizing none of us are any better than the others. He paints the picture and challenges the church to live life deep as the extension of God's nature, His character, His person.
God took an unlikely and made him extraordinary. He knew what Saul was and He knew who Saul was. He knew the makeup of Saul's heart, its hatred, bitterness, and pride. God knew the venomous words Saul spoke against Christ followers and the evil plans he had set in motion. Yet, He saw past all of Saul's unlikeliness and into the heart of the man Paul, knowing exactly what He could make Saul into. God knew that inside Saul, sin and all, was someone great.
Saul was chosen and appointed to take the message of the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, specifically, the lost Gentiles. He became as passionate about sharing Christ as he'd once been about persecuting others for their belief in Him. Saul wasn't a likely pick for one who could be used of God. Based on his background and according to the world's standards for those who "deserve" God's favor, he wasn't even in the lineup. But it's so like God to take the unlikeliest of people, the ordinary, run-of-the-mill individuals, and make them into extraordinary men and women of God—extraordinary only because it's God who works from the inside out to accomplish the mission at hand. It's God who transforms and sanctifies and leads us from the shallows to the deep. And it's God who empowers and enables those He chooses to deeply live out the task He's set before them.
* Do you feel like an unlikely candidate to be used by God? What circumstances, past or present, do you feel hinder God from giving you an extraordinary testimony?
If you're anything like me, you have a long list of "circumstances" staring back at you. You're probably scanning it from top to bottom, confirming in your mind what you already thought to be true ... Yep, with all this crap in my life, there's no way God can use me for anything at all, much less anything extraordinary. I want you to understand something: those "circumstances" we've just written down don't hinder God from working in us and through us. We hinder God from doing extraordinary things in our lives because of our disobedience and refusal to hand over to Him all our unlikeliness.
Excerpted from DIVE DEEPER by JENIFER JERNIGAN. Copyright © 2014 Jenifer Jernigan. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Diving Deeper Bible Study xi
Section 1 In Him: Ephesians 1 1
Lesson 1 An Unlikely Becomes Extraordinary (Ephesians 1:1-2) 3
Lesson 2 Let Me In! (Ephesians 1:3-14) 21
Lesson 3 Meaning Behind the Message (Ephesians 1:15-23) 37
Section 2 Operation Peace: Ephesians 2 51
Lesson 1 Life After Death (Ephesians 2:1-10) 53
Lesson 2 A Coming Together as One (Ephesians 2:11-13) 75
Lesson 3 He Is Our Peace (Ephesians 2:14-22) 87
Section 3 He's Got the Whole World in His Hands… That Includes You: Ephesians 3 99
Lesson 1 God's Mystery Made Known (Ephesians 3:1-13) 101
Lesson 2 Worship the Lord (Ephesians 3:14-21) 119
Section 4 So Happy Together: Ephesians 4 139
Lesson 1 From Knowledge to Action (Ephesians 4:1-16) 141
Lesson 2 Off with the Old, on with the New (Ephesians 4:17-24) 165
Lesson 3 Standards for New Living (Ephesians 4:25-5:2) 173
Section 5 Monkey See, Monkey Do: Ephesians 5 183
Lesson 1 Have NO Part In… (Ephesians 5:3-14) 185
Lesson 2 Walking in God's Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-21) 201
Lesson 3 Strength in Submission (Ephesians 5:22-33) 209
Section 6 Warrior Girl: Ephesians 6… 219
Lesson 1 The Believer's Role (Ephesians 6:1-9) 221
Lesson 2 Where's the Love? (Ephesians 6:10-17) 235
Lesson 3 Pray Without Ceasing (Ephesians 6:18-24) 259
A Final Word 269
Appendix I Bible Study Tools 271
Appendix II A Simple Guide to Finding the Right Bible for You 275
Appendix III Getting to Know Your Bible 277
Appendix IV Investigative Questions that Lead to Important Spiritual Discoveries 279
Appendix V Implant. Embrace. Enact 281
About Diving Deeper Ministries 290