Ephesians chapter 4

In the midst of our great diversity, we Christians should aim for unity. Paul describes the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. He calls us to live the New Life. [UPDATED]

 


 

UNITY IN THE MIDST OF DIVERSITY

 

VERSE 1. I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Ephesians.

walk worthily. We are to live lives that are worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 2. with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Ephesians.

lowliness and humility, with patience. Living a life worthy of our calling in Christ means being humble and gentle and patient.

bearing with one another in love. We are called to “put up with” one another in a loving way.

 

VERSE 3. being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

the unity of the Spirit. Unity is a high priority for the Christian community.

In large part, unity flows from the mindset of the leaders. If the leaders are unifiers, their people will be unifiers. If the leaders are divisive, their people will be dividers.

 

VERSE 4. There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling,

one … one … one. Paul places a very strong emphasis on unity.

However, we Christians are often sources of division. We are divided against other Christians, against other denominations, and against people of other religions.

 

VERSE 5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 

VERSE 6. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in us all.

one God and Father of all. The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »

 

VERSE 7. But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

 

VERSE 8. Therefore he says, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to people.”

 

VERSE 9. Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

 

VERSE 10. He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

 

THE MINISTRY GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

VERSE 11. He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers;

He gave some to be. This passage is one of the key sources for our understanding of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

apostles. The Greek word is ἀποστόλους (“apostolous”). It means a messenger, one who is sent, an envoy, a delegate, one who is commissioned.

Paul and Barnabas were sent out from Antioch as apostles. In our day, local churches send people out on a mission. They are acting as modern-day apostles.

prophets. The Greek word is προφήτας (“prophētas”). It means an interpreter or a forth-teller of God’s will. They speak forth under inspiration from God, and tell us the mind of God for a particular situation.

Many of the Old Testament prophets exhibited this gift.

It can also mean a person who is gifted at expositing divine truth.

evangelists. The Greek word is εὐαγγελιστάς (“euangelistas”). It means a bringer of good news, a bearer of glad tidings. Every Christian is called to the ministry of evangelism.

But this Holy Spirit gift of euangelistas is someone who is called to do it as a vocation. They preach the full message of salvation.

shepherds. The Greek word is ποιμένας (“poimenas”). It means a shepherd, a feeder, a protector, one whom the Lord raises up to care for his flock.

teachers. The Greek word is διδασκάλους (“didaskalous”). It means teacher, master, a teacher who is an avowed master in their particular field of learning.

Many preachers are more gifted as “teachers” than they are as “prophets.”

 

VERSE 12. for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ,

perfecting. Why does the Holy Spirit give these unusual gifts to certain individuals? It is not for their own sake. Rather, it is for the sake of other believers.

One of those purposes is to train the other believers so they can do the work of ministry.

saints. The Greek word is ἅγιος (“hagios”). It means sacred, holy, set apart.

serving. The Greek word is διακονία (“diakonia”). It means waiting at table, active service with a willing attitude.

Many Christians assume that they are not qualified to do Christian ministry, and that ministry is meant to be done only by their professional clerics. Hence in some denominations the laypeople feel their only task is to Pay, Pray, and Obey.

However, the reverse is the case. The clerics exist to train the believers so that the believers can go out and do the ministry. Perhaps laypeople do not feel quailified because their clerics have not been training them.

to the building up. When believers are trained for ministry, the entire church is built up. The entire church is edified and advances.

Conversely, when Christian leaders are derelict in their obligation to train their people, as many are, the entire church is stunted. The entire church regresses.

 

VERSE 13. 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,

unity. The Greek word is ἑνότητα (“henotēta”). It means oneness, unity, unanimity, harmony.

Many Christian leaders behave as if unity is achieved only when all their people agree with all their own personal biases. They create disunity and division.

However, the unity that is required is centered on Jesus Christ. If a leader is focused on Jesus Christ, that is the key for unifying the flock.

knowledge. The Greek word is ἐπιγνώσεως (“epignōseōs”). It means knowledge, discernment, recognition. It is an experiential knowing, a contact-knowledge.

The leader is to bring the flock to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. If a leader is derelict in this duty, the entire church is damaged.

full grown. The Greek word is τέλειον (“teleion”). It means to have reached its end, be complete, be full-grown, mature.

Many Christian leaders are not moving their flock toward maturity in the faith.

 

VERSE 14. 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;

tossed back and forth. Christians often misinterpret this verse. They imagine that it means we should be doctrinally rigid, or that we should avoid learning new insights.

 

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

 

VERSE 16. from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.

 

LIVE THE NEW LIFE

 

VERSE 17. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,

 

VERSE 18. being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts.

 

VERSE 19. They, having become callous, gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

 

VERSE 20. But you didn’t learn Christ that way,

 

VERSE 21. if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus:

 

VERSE 22. that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit,

 

VERSE 23. and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

As lovers and disciples of the LORD God, we are called to develop wholesome thinking patterns. We are to renew our mind. Read more »

 

VERSE 24. and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

 

VERSE 25. Therefore putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members of one another.

 

VERSE 26. “Be angry, and don’t sin.” Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath,

Be angry, and don’t sin. This does not require us to be angry. Rather, if we become angry, we should not let our anger lead us into sin.

 

VERSE 27. and don’t give place to the devil.

 

VERSE 28. Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

 

VERSE 29. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.

corrupt speech. Many Christians assume this verse is about cussing. However, it is about “corrupt” words. Think of a corrupt politician. Their words are deceptive.

Proverbs 4:24. Put away from yourself a perverse mouth. Put corrupt lips far from you.

Proverbs 25:28. Like a city that is broken down and without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint.

Sirach 6:5. Sweet words will multiply a man’s friends; And a fair-speaking tongue will multiply courtesies.

Ephesians 4:29. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

VERSE 30. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Isaiah 63:10. But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. Therefore he turned and became their enemy, and he himself fought against them.

 

VERSE 31. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander be put away from you, with all malice.

 

VERSE 32. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Ephesians.

be kind to one another. This should seem so obvious. Yet the Bible repeats such simple things for us, again and again. Perhaps it is because many of us Christians are not very kind.

 


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EPHESIANS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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