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Ephesians 4:11-12 & meaning...

He 

gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-12

Context

Ephesians 4 [9.] Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

Ephesians 4 [11.] He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 

Ephesians 4 [15.] but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ...


Meaning:

  • Diverse Roles within the Body:

Apostles: Those sent out with a mission, often with a pioneering spirit to establish and strengthen churches.

Prophets: Individuals attuned to divine revelation, bringing God's messages, guidance, and insights.

Evangelists: Bearers of the Good News, passionate about sharing the message of salvation.

Shepherds and Teachers: Those with a pastoral heart, guiding and nurturing believers in truth.

  • Purposeful Giftedness:

For the Perfecting of the Saints: The diverse roles are not arbitrary; they serve the purpose of maturing and perfecting the believers. It speaks to the holistic growth and spiritual maturity of the entire body.

To the Work of Serving: Each role contributes to the collective work of service, emphasizing the active engagement of every believer in the ministry.

To the Building Up of the Body of Christ: The ultimate goal is the edification and strengthening of the body of Christ. The church is envisioned as a dynamic, growing entity, constantly built up in love and unity.

  • Significance:

Unity in Diversity: Ephesians 4:11-12 beautifully portrays the unity in diversity within the body of Christ. The various roles and giftings contribute to a harmonious and well-rounded expression of the church.

Collective Ministry: The passage challenges a passive view of church attendance and encourages a paradigm shift toward active participation. Every believer is a minister, and each role contributes to the collective ministry for the growth and benefit of all.


Relevance for Today:

Empowering the Saints: In a culture that sometimes places ministry solely in the hands of a few, Ephesians 4:11-12 reiterates the biblical truth that every believer is called and equipped for ministry. It empowers individuals to recognize and utilize their God-given gifts.

Maturity and Service: The emphasis on perfecting the saints and the work of serving highlights the interconnectedness of maturity and service. Growth in Christlikeness is intricately linked to active engagement in serving others.


Cross-References:

1 Corinthians 12:4-7: "Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit... to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all." This passage from Corinthians echoes the theme of diverse spiritual gifts given for the benefit of the entire body.

Romans 12:4-6: "For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don’t have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us..." This aligns with the concept of diverse roles within the body of believers.


In Our Contemporary Context: In a world characterized by individualism and consumerism, Ephesians 4:11-12 invites us to reimagine the church as a vibrant, interdependent community. It beckons us to embrace our unique roles and gifts, recognizing that each contribution is essential for the thriving and building up of the body of Christ.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible