After Paul was released from prison in Rome, he discovered that leaders in the Ephesian church had distorted the genuine message they had first heard from Paul himself. They had misapplied certain Jewish practices and borrowed some others from the philosophies of the day. They restricted certain foods, forbade marriage and stressed controversial speculations as the path to spiritual progress. At the same time, they tolerated immoral behavior. So Paul sent his co-worker Timothy to Ephesus and wrote him a letter, which he was expected to share with the church. He hoped it would give Timothy the power and influence to set things in order until Paul could get to Ephesus himself.
Paul’s focus is on what true leadership in the church looks like. This would help the Ephesians reject those who weren’t qualified and replace them with those who were. Paul includes a special warning toward the end of his letter about the dangers of greed, which seemed to be at the root of their problems.
Throughout the letter Paul uses the phrase Christ Jesus—that is, Messiah Jesus—which emphasizes the kingly rule of Jesus. This helped remind the church that Jesus is their real leader and is the clearest model of authentic leadership.