Never has the disparity in the distribution of wealth in the world been so evident as in modern times. It is not simply that most of the wealth is in the hands of a few. In the Western world salaries and disposable income have escalated across the board. The sad truth is that the relative wealth of Christians in the West does not seem to have affected the conditions of needy Christians in other parts of the world.
Paul's readers also knew economic disparity. The Ephesian church consisted of slaves, poor widows, well-to-do women and householders, and some of these could be categorized as "the rich." To the latter Paul has left important instructions. They come at the end of the letter because of the preceding discussion about the false teachers' greed. He has written already of the dangers of wealth. Now his concern is for the spiritual state of wealthy believers. He focuses on the responsibility and proper attitude toward wealth that comes from a proper understanding of God.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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