(Review) Ephesians: The Love We Long For, Study Guide with Leader’s Notes by Scotty Smith

Publisher and Publication Date: New Growth Press. August 24, 2020.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Bible study.
Pages: 160.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook copy from New Growth Press, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Christian readers who love Bible study.
Rating: Very good.

For more information on the Ephesians study at New Growth Press.

Author Info:
Scotty Smith graduated from The University of North Carolina, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary (DMin). Smith planted and pastored Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, for twenty-six years. He worked on pastoral staff of West End Community Church as teacher in residence and also served as adjunct faculty for Covenant Seminary, Westminster (Philadelphia), RTS, Orlando, and Western Seminary in Portland, OR. He authored Unveiled HopeObjects of His AffectionRestoring Broken ThingsEveryday PrayersEvery Season Prayers, and Ephesians: The Love We Long For. Scotty and his wife of over forty-five years, Darlene, live in Franklin, TN.

Follow Scotty Smith on Twitter (@ScottyWardSmith) and Facebook.

Summary:
There’s Nothing More than the Gospel
New Bible study of the book of Ephesians reveals the boundless, timeless, endless, bottomless love we all long for.

Am I loved? The central question of every human heart is answered with a resounding yes in Ephesians: The Love We Long For (New Growth Press/August 24, 2020) by Scotty Smith. Through this easily accessible, self-contained small group study, each participant will grow in their understanding of the riches of God’s grace and how the love of Christ shapes every relationship and interaction they have with others.
 
Smith invites men and women to reflect on the God of the Bible by reading the book of Ephesians slowly. Through the study guide, they will discover the implications of God’s love for every aspect of their lives and relationships—including husband and wife, parent and child, in the workplace, and within the church family.
 
The author describes Paul’s letter to the church as swinging on a hinge. The first five lessons of the study guide examine the first three chapters of Paul’s letter, on the first side of the door. “Having explored the wonders of salvation in Christ, at the end of chapter 3, Paul kneels to pray that the Father would fill the Ephesians with that gospel,” Smith writes. “He asks that they ‘may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge’ (Ephesians 3:18–19). This is the boundless, timeless, endless, bottomless love we all long for.”
 
The seven lessons that follow go into an in-depth examination of the second half of Paul’s letter. “Paul swings open the door, as it were, and walks into the Ephesians’ daily lives. The Ephesians were the fruit of Paul’s missionary work, so he realized they were living in a culture that neither knew nor understood Jesus and his life-giving message. With this in mind, he addresses topics that range from patience and contentment and industriousness to parenting and singing and sex. But he never forgets how he got there. He keeps calling the Ephesians—and us—back to the hinge. The love we long for is the why and the how, and importantly the who, of a believer’s whole life.”
 
Each of the twelve lessons in Ephesians: The Love We Long For includes rich discussion questions, exercises, and articles to encourage deep examination of the text for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings. The study will help readers see how the New Testament letter presents God’s great love for us in Jesus. As Smith explains, there’s nothing more than the Gospel, just more of it. Ephesians is a book crammed full of the riches of God’s grace.
 
Of Smith’s Bible study, Scott Saulsauthor and pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church (Nashville) writes, “This wonderful, practical work on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a treasure. Part commentary and part devotional, we learn about the church and also ourselves as seen through the eyes of the One who loved us and gave himself for us. Whether you use this book to prepare talks or sermons, as devotional material, or for group discussion, I pray that its effect on you will be contagious, and that the very truths that have gripped the author’s heart will also get a grip on yours.”
 
Ephesians: The Love We Long For is part of The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible series published by New Growth Press in partnership with Serge. Each book in the series examines how the gospel story is revealed throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The other new releases in the series are Revelation: Hope in the Darkness (also by Smith) and Titus: Life-Changing Truth in a World of Lies by Jeff Dodge. Ruth: Redemption for the Broken by Jared Wilson and Jonah: Grace for Sinners and Saints by Iain Duguid are also available. The Gospel-Centered Life for Students series includes studies of Exodus and Mark.

Endorsements:
“Titus is one of the most potent but often overlooked books in the New Testament. In this helpful resource, Jeff Dodge admirably brings Titus’s message to bear for contemporary believers.”
~ Jason K. Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College
 
“If you ever spend any time with Jeff Dodge, you will notice within five minutes that he exudes gospel clarity, missional gravity, and Christian joy. That combination comes through in this book, as he guides the reader through the riches of Paul’s letter to Titus. This book shows how similar our world is to that faced by Paul and Titus, and then applies the triumphant power of that letter. You will be strengthened and equipped by this book.”
~ Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
 
“With a shepherd’s care and a teacher’s insight, Dodge excavates fresh, helpful, and clarifying riches from this important epistle that are sure to strengthen your heart and your walk with Christ.”
~ Jared C. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Spurgeon College; author of The Gospel-Driven Church

My Thoughts:
What I love about the Ephesians study:
~A Gospel Glossary is included at the end of the book. Words like glorification and propitiation are sometimes unknown to new Christians. The glossary is not lengthy but beneficial.
~Leader’s Notes. These notes (over lessons 1-12) are not just for the leader in the study, but for people who are reading the book and want clarification and understanding. This is important additional teaching to clarify the “conversation sections.”
~Each of the 12 chapters have a lesson section, article to read, and exercise (questions). These are brief reading sections.
~I feel the Bible study is clear, concise, approachable, and reflective.

The Ephesians study is more for a group study. The study can be managed for single personal use.

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