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11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.


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11. Greek, emphatical. "Himself" by His supreme power. "It is He that gave," &c.

gave some, apostles—Translate, "some to be apostles, and some to be prophets," &c. The men who filled the office, no less than the office itself, were a divine gift [Eadie]. Ministers did not give themselves. Compare with the list here, 1Co 12:10, 28. As the apostles, prophets, and evangelists were special and extraordinary ministers, so "pastors and teachers" are the ordinary stated ministers of a particular flock, including, probably, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons. Evangelists were itinerant preachers like our missionaries, as Philip the deacon (Ac 21:8); as contrasted with stationary "pastors and teachers" (2Ti 4:5). The evangelist founded the Church; the teacher built it up in the faith already received. The "pastor" had the outward rule and guidance of the Church: the bishop. As to revelation, the "evangelist" testified infallibly of the past; the "prophet," infallibly of the future. The prophet derived all from the Spirit; the evangelist, in the special case of the Four, recorded matter of fact, cognizable to the senses, under the Spirit's guidance. No one form of Church polity as permanently unalterable is laid down in the New Testament though the apostolical order of bishops, or presbyters, and deacons, superintended by higher overseers (called bishops after the apostolic times), has the highest sanction of primitive usage. In the case of the Jews, a fixed model of hierarchy and ceremonial unalterably bound the people, most minutely detailed in the law. In the New Testament, the absence of minute directions for Church government and ceremonies, shows that a fixed model was not designed; the general rule is obligatory as to ceremonies, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (compare Article XXXIV, Church of England); and that a succession of ministers be provided, not self-called, but "called to the work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation, to call and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard" [Article XXIII]. That the "pastors" here were the bishops and presbyters of the Church, is evident from Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1, 2, where the bishops' and presbyters' office is said to be "to feed" the flock. The term, "shepherd" or "pastor," is used of guiding and governing and not merely instructing, whence it is applied to kings, rather than prophets or priests (Eze 34:23; Jer 23:4). Compare the names of princes compounded of "pharnas," Hebrew, "pastor," Holophernes, Tis-saphernes (compare Isa 44:28).

12. Forwith a view to; the ultimate aim. "Unto."

perfecting—The Greek implies correcting in all that is deficient, instructing and completing in number and all parts.

for—a different Greek word; the immediate object. Compare Ro 15:2, "Let every one … please his neighbor for his good unto edification."

the ministryGreek, "ministration"; without the article. The office of the ministry is stated in this verse. The good aimed at in respect to the Church (Eph 4:13). The way of growth (Eph 4:14-16).

edifying—that is, building up as the temple of the Holy Ghost.

13. come in—rather, "attain unto." Alford expresses the Greek order, "Until we arrive all of us at the unity," &c.

faith and … knowledge—Full unity of faith is then found, when all alike thoroughly know Christ, the object of faith, and that in His highest dignity as "the Son of God" [De Wette] (Eph 3:17, 19; 2Pe 1:5). Not even Paul counted himself to have fully "attained" (Php 3:12-14). Amidst the variety of the gifts and the multitude of the Church's members, its "faith" is to be ONE: as contrasted with the state of "children carried about with EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE." (Eph 4:14).

perfect man—unto the full-grown man (1Co 2:6; Php 3:15; Heb 5:14); the maturity of an adult; contrasted with children (Eph 4:14). Not "perfect men"; for the many members constitute but one Church joined to the one Christ.

stature, &c.—The standard of spiritual "stature" is "the fulness of Christ," that is, which Christ has (Eph 1:23; 3:19; compare Ga 4:19); that the body should be worthy of the Head, the perfect Christ.

14. Translate, "To the end that"; the aim of the bestowal of gifts stated negatively, as in Eph 4:13 it is stated positively.

tossed to and froinwardly, even without wind; like billows of the sea. So the Greek. Compare Jas 1:6.

carried about—with every wind from without.

doctrine—"teaching." The various teachings are the "winds" which keep them tossed on a sea of doubts (Heb 13:9; compare Mt 11:7).

byGreek, "in"; expressing "the evil atmosphere in which the varying currents of doctrine exert their force" [Ellicott].

sleight—literally, "dice playing." The player frames his throws of the dice so that the numbers may turn up which best suit his purpose.

of men—contrasted with Christ (Eph 4:13).

andGreek, "in."

cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive—Translate as Greek, "craftiness tending to the methodized system of deceit" ("the schemes of error") [Alford]. Bengel takes "deceit," or "error," to stand for "the parent of error," Satan (compare Eph 6:11); referring to his concealed mode of acting.

15. speaking the truth—Translate, "holding the truth"; "following the truth"; opposed to "error" or "deceit" (Eph 4:14).

in love—"Truth" is never to be sacrificed to so-called "charity"; yet it is to be maintained in charity. Truth in word and act, love in manner and spirit, are the Christian's rule (compare Eph 4:21, 24).

grow up—from the state of "children" to that of "full-grown men." There is growth only in the spiritually alive, not in the dead.

into him—so as to be more and more incorporated with Him, and become one with Him.

the head—(Eph 1:22).

16. (Col 2:19).

fitly joined together—"being fitly framed together," as in Eph 2:21; all the parts being in their proper position, and in mutual relation.

compacted—implying firm consolidation.

by that which every joint suppliethGreek, "by means of every joint of the supply"; joined with "maketh increase of the body," not with "compacted." "By every ministering (supplying) joint." The joints are the points of union where the supply passes to the different members, furnishing the body with the materials of its growth.

effectual working—(Eph 1:19; 3:7). According to the effectual working of grace in each member (or else, rather, "according to each several member's working"), proportioned to the measure of its need of supply.

every partGreek, "each one part"; each individual part.

maketh increase—Translate, as the Greek is the same as Eph 4:15, "maketh (carrieth on) the growth of the body."




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