Colossians 4:16 refers to a letter to the Laodiceans. There is no Epistle in our Bibles under that name, but Drane (quoting Marcion in the second century) says that it is quite possible that the Epistle to the Ephesians was originally sent to the Laodiceans as the start of a wide circulation. The earliest manuscripts do not mention the Ephesians as the original recipients in verse 1. The only other clue is that verse 15 implies that the letter was to a group of people Paul had never met face-to-face.
Some people say that since this book describes the elohim or gods as inherently evil, while Paul's other epistles do not (Galatians 3:19 says that they were involved in giving the law, for example), perhaps Paul did not write it personally. But frequent use of the phrase "in Christ" appears to be a Pauline characteristic[2 p.63]; Ephesians uses it several times, indicating authenticity.
Ephesians, especially chapter 2, is prized for presenting the gospel particularly clearly; it has therefore been hugely influential. See comments on Romans 12.
© David Billin 2002–2021