Study Guide

Ephesians and Colossians Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Not only does this play take place in Ephesus, but the Bard also throws in some references to Paul for good measure. Luciana says that, in preparation for becoming a wife, she'll "practice to obey." She's taking Ephesians 5:22 pretty darn literally.

Paradise Lost  by John Milton 
God alludes to Colossians 1:16—"In [Jesus] all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers"—when he declares his son, Jesus, to be Lord over everyone. The Almighty announces, "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers, Hear my Decree, which unrevok't shall stand. This day I have begot whom I declare My onely Son." Satan is not amused.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Will Shakespeare really loves him some Pauline epistles. Katharina (the shrew) seems to allude to Ephesians 5:22-24 in her final speech when she says, "Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, the keeper, thy head, thy sovereign" and that wives are "bound to serve, love and obey." Is Kate being sarcastic? It all depends on how you read it.

The Sleeper Awakes by H.G. Wells 
This book about a man who literally wakes up after sleeping for 203 years has a title that sure seems like a shout out to Ephesians 5:14—"Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
This 2004 self-help book is based on Paul's advice to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:33: "Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband." Basically, the author agrees with Paul and thinks the key to a happy marriage is providing your man with respect and your lady with love.

Pop Culture References

The West Wing
The episode "War Crimes" opens with a discussion of a sermon on Ephesians 5:22-33. President Bartlet doesn't mind the whole wives obey and husbands love part—he just hates a lackluster sermon. And there's oh-so-much walking and talking going on!

The X-Files
In the episode "The Field Where I Died," the main baddie is Vernon Ephesian, the leader of an apocalyptic religious cult who gets his last name from The Epistle to the Ephesians.

The Care Bears
Some folks have speculated that the name of Tenderheart Bear actually comes from Ephesians 4:32: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another." Who knew Paul could be so warm and fuzzy? Can we get a Care Bear stare up in here to celebrate?

This Christian superhero wears the armor of God with protective items straight out of Ephesians 6:13-17: "fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace […] take the shield of faith[…] Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit." He's fully dressed and fully blessed!

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