Current Bible Studies
Ephesians Chapter 4,
Having noted the Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts, we move on in vs. 11, to explore the four communication grace gifts Jesus Christ gave to the Church for its edification. These four gifts are a part of His agency in the filling of all things, especially the Church with Bible Doctrine for its edification.
, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.”
The four spiritual gifts mentioned here are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastor-Teachers. As noted above, the first two were temporary spiritual gifts of the pre-Canon era of the Church Age, and the last two are permanent spiritual gifts for the entire Church Age.
In the Greek it reads, “KAI AUTOS EDOKEN TOUS MEN APOSTOLOUS, TOUS DE PROPHETAS, TOUS DE EUANGELISTAS, TOUS DE POIMENAS KAI DIDASKALOUS.”
Pastors and Teachers are demeaned to be one gift not two, due to the contexts of this passage in comparison with others in the NT, where POIMEN, shepherds, and DIDASKALOS, teachers, are both instructed to “teach” the Word of God to the Church as the means of feeding them, guiding them and protecting them, ; ; ; ; cf. ; ; ; . Pastor is an old English word for shepherd.
In addition, the construction of this sentence has also led many to view them as one gift. Some view the KAI between Pastor and Teacher to be used as an Ascensive Conjunction of KAI that typically means, “even,” but is simply a hyphen. There are no such punctuation markings in ancient languages, therefore KAI sometimes acts as a hyphen and shows that Pastor is only a part of the title and that this is a hyphenated gift.
Many also quote the Granville Sharp rule as the determining factor, yet strictly speaking, Sharp’s rule only absolutely applies to Nouns or Pronouns in the singular case, whereas these are in the plural. It is possible that the rule applies here, but it does not follow the traditional definition of the Sharp rule. It is more likely from the NT context that these are one gift rather than from the construction, although the construct gives it credence too. (See Daniel Wallace’s discussion on this in “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,” Pg. 270-284.)
The First Communication Gift of Authority, The Temporary Gift of Apostle.
1. Definition and Etymology:
a) APOSTOLOS, ἀπόστολος is an Attic Greek word originally used for a high ranking admiral or general officer chosen by a counsel to command either an army or an Athenian fleet on a military expedition, generally against the Spartans. Therefore, it was an admiral, supreme commander, or one who has the highest rank. It was also used for whoever was in command of a band of Greek colonists when they would leave Athens and go elsewhere to establish a Greek colony. The governor of the founded colony was called an APOSTOLOS.
b) APOSTOLOS is a Greek noun from the verb APOSTELLOO that is a compound word from the Preposition APO meaning, “from, off, or away from,” and STELLOMAI a primary verb meaning, “to put something in order, to prepare, to arrange, gather up, etc.” Therefore, APSOTELLOO comes to mean, “to send out, forth, or away.” Likewise, APOSTOLOS comes to mean, “one who is sent, a messenger, or one sent on a mission.” It is transliterated and used for an apostle who generally was a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ, (sometimes with miraculous powers), or for the gift of Apostle. We noted this word in for “one who is sent” in reference to our Lord who was sent by the Father.
2. Apostle was a unique spiritual gift, , . It was the first and highest of all spiritual gifts ever given. This gift had maximum command authority appointed through the sovereign decision of:
a) God the Father, .
b) Jesus Christ provides the spiritual gifts, .
c) The Holy Spirit matches the gift to the individual, .
3. The qualification for being an Apostle included:
a. Seeing the Lord and being an eyewitness to His resurrection, ; .
b. Being invested with miraculous sign-gifts, ; .
c. Being chosen by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, ; ; .
4. The term apostle was used for the original twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, including Judas Iscariot. The list of the original 12 disciples is found in ; . These were the apostles to Israel. Yet, the Bible distinguishes between the apostles to Israel, the original 12, and the apostles to the Church, that includes Paul who replaced Judas Iscariot according to 10.
a. This is not to be confused with the term apostle that is used in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers like Barnabas, Timothy, and Silvanus for the early establishment of the Church. Others were given delegated authority and therefore occasionally had apostolic authority without having the gift. For example, Barnabas, ; , and James, the Lord’s half-brother, ; . James was not an apostle but he was given the authority of an apostle to write the book of James. Apollos, . Sylvanus and Timothy, ; .
5. The 12 Apostles to the church were given the gift of Apostle to establish the Church and exercised absolute authority over the churches until the Canon of Scripture was completed. The Canon is now the absolute authority. The spiritual gift of apostleship carried fantastic absolute authority. It was designed for two purposes.
a. The formation of the canon of scripture, the New Testament. This absolute authority was restricted to the pre canon period of the church age, from 30 to 96 A.D.
b. Leadership in the pre-canon period of the church age. This involved the establishment of local churches, the clarification of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age until the Canon was completed, the maintenance of a true systematic theology with dispensational emphasis, the training of Pastors, and the establishment of local church policy. The gift also functioned in sending out colonial apostles (super missionaries).
6. No gift of apostle was appointed to the Church until after the Ascension of Christ, .
7. To qualify, as one of the twelve Apostles, one must be an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ, ; .
, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?”
8. An apostle also had the temporary gifts of miracles, healing, speaking in tongues, etc. as signs and wonders for the Jews first and second as an identification card that they were from the Lord to establish the authority God gave them over the Church, ; ; , . For example, Paul did not have the gift of healing at the end of his life, it was removed from him before he died, some ten years before, in 57 AD, ; ; .
9. Apostles received direct revelation from God and communicated it to the Church. All revelation today is through the Word. All writers of the NT were either apostles or someone closely associated with an apostle, (e.g., Mark, Luke, James, and Jude). Once the Canon of Scripture was complete, (writing of Revelation), the gift of apostleship was withdrawn. The Canon of the NT became the basis and absolute criterion for the Christian way of life.
10. The spiritual gift of apostleship was temporary and discontinued after the completion of the Canon. The removal of this temporary gift began in the pre Canon period of the Church Age. There is no perpetuation of apostleship. No sons became apostles. We never receive anything in the Christian life through physical birth. Everything we have comes as a result of spiritual birth, regeneration. Therefore, today no one has the right to exercise authority over more than one church. Each local church should be self-sustaining and self-governing. No one has the gift of Apostle, nor should claim it.
The Apostle Code:
By aligning the list of Apostles given to us in Scripture, and understanding the definition of their name, we see a wonderful outline of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
From the list in .
Jesus Christ – the rock the corner stone (of our faith), being all-powerful (in hypostatic union), the one who has supplanted sin, He is the gift of the grace and mercy of the Lord, the warrior on horseback, , (who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict), by becoming the curse (sin) for man, [ff], in the likeness of Adam, , the gift of God who will come to collect His just due at the resurrection, , supplanting our sinful flesh by changing, (becoming a man). He is the courageous one. Praise God for His gift, the corner stone for all who hear and obey, (confess the name of the Lord). Praise the Lord you men of the world.
From the list in that is arranged slightly different and has the removal of Judas Iscariot and the adding in of Paul, in bold below.
Jesus Christ – the corner stone gift of the grace and mercy of the Lord, who has supplanted sin, (as our substitute), being all-powerful, (in hypostatic union), the warrior on horseback, (who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict), in the likeness of Adam, by becoming the curse, (sin), for man, the gift of God, supplanting our sinful flesh by changing, (becoming a man). The corner stone for all who hear and obey, (confess the name of the Lord), praise God for his substitution, little ones.
The Second Communication Gift of Authority, The Temporary Gift of Prophet.
1. Definition and Etymology:
“Prophet” is the Greek noun PROPHETES, προφήτης, which like Apostle, is transliterated into the English as Prophet. The term PROPHETES is related to the verbal form PROPHEMI, “to say, to foretell.” Because of the temporal force of the PRO prefix, PROPHETES is often interpreted as “one who foretells, a fortune-teller, or one who is divinely enabled to look into the future.” That definition is too narrow. As early as the classical period PROPHETES simply denoted a “preacher or speaker,” as PROPHETEIA meant, “prophecy, or an oracular response.”
This gift was second in order of merit for the Church, and is so listed in . It is also mentioned in ; ; 40, where it is presented in contrast to the gift of tongues.
2. The gift of Prophet was given to males only and had a limited teaching ministry related to contemporary events; that is why they are called “prophets and teachers” in . Foretelling was an important dimension of prophecy, e.g., f.; . Yet, a prophet in the Biblical sense of the term is someone more than a person who prophesies the future. A prophet proclaimed the Word of God to the people in response to a Divine call. At the center of the prophet’s urgency to speak for God, especially in the Old Testament, is often a circumstance of the day that God is addressing. The Lord used the Prophets in the OT to bring His people into conformity with the Covenant and His will.
3. Old Testament prophets were national leaders, especially in times of crisis. In times of prosperity, they were the final authority on Bible doctrine. Elijah and Isaiah are among many of the great national leaders who were prophets in the OT. However, this gift for the early Church Age was not related to national leadership. The gift of Prophecy was not a national leader like that of the OT prophets. Those with the gift of prophecy in the Church Age only functioned within the realm of the Church.
4. As a spiritual gift of the Church Age, the Prophets spoke as inspired by the Spirit of God the Mystery Doctrines for the Church Age, which also included eschatology, . The Prophet was a minister to the Church, , and ordinarily spoke a message of “edification, and exhortation, and consolation,” . Occasionally he was empowered to make an authoritative announcement of the Divine will in a particular case, ff., and in rare instances he uttered a prediction of a future event, ; f. Because of the tremendous amount of eschatology in the NT epistles, it is obvious that the writers who were apostles also had the gift of Prophecy.
Even so, in the New Testament, the gift of Prophet continued to foretell future events, including messages of Divine guidance or a warning of judgment, or a prediction about the immediate future. For example, Agabus’ prophecy of a famine, , and what awaited Paul in Jerusalem, f. In addition, others like Silas and Judas, (not Iscariot), had the gift of prophecy, ; as did some in the church at Antioch including Barnabus, .
Therefore, a NT prophet was one who proclaimed the Word of God, ; . Believers in the early Church did not possess Bibles, nor was the NT written and completed. How then, would these local assemblies discover God’s will? His Spirit would share God’s truth with those possessing the gift of Prophecy. Paul suggests that the gift of Prophecy had to do with understanding “all mysteries and all knowledge,” , meaning spiritual truths.
5. In exercising the temporary spiritual gift of Prophecy, the Prophet received his message from God, or he declared God’s will to someone in terms of prophecy, i.e., in terms of future events. The prophecy also had to be doctrinally accurate. Paul’s outline of the gift of Prophecy in , as noted above, emphasizes the functional nature of prophecy as “edification, exhortation, and consolation.” They, together with the apostles, were instrumental in revealing the “Mystery of Christ” with a fullness of revelation not known before, .
6. Prophecy did not involve a state of ecstasy or any relinquishing of the Prophet’s own personality and will, or any identification of the Prophet as possessed by God. The Prophet could control himself, as Paul wrote to advise them to have control over their prophetic words, .
7. False prophecies and Prophets were to be distinguished from genuine. This was to be carried out by those Spirit-filled believers who were present, , especially by those with another of the temporary gifts, Discerning of Spirits, ; cf. .
Philip’s daughters are said to have prophesied in which presents a problem, because the four daughters of Philip the evangelist are said to “be prophesying” in the Present, Active, Participle. However, they did not have a spiritual gift. Therefore, we must distinguish between people permitted by God to prophesy, and those who had the spiritual gift of Prophecy; similar to that of those who had the gift of Apostle, compared to various others who were called apostles in the missionary sense. No record of their prophecies is ever given, and obviously, they did not have the spiritual gift of Prophecy.
8. Christians today do not get their spiritual knowledge immediately from the Holy Spirit through Prophets, but mediately through the Spirit teaching the Word via the Pastor-Teacher. With the Apostles, the prophets had a foundational ministry in the early Church, yet they are not needed today, . As such, the gift did not extend into the post Canon period because of the doctrine of historical trends. Every function of the gift of Prophecy during the pre Canon period is fulfilled by the doctrine of historical trends during the post Canon period. By metabolizing Bible doctrine in your soul, you become your own prophet. Therefore, with the completion of the Canon of Scripture in A.D. 96, and its gradual circulation, temporary gifts of communication ceased to exist. They were replaced by the permanent communication gifts of Evangelist and Pastor-Teacher.
The Third Communication Gift of Authority, The Permanent Gift of Evangelist.
1. Definition and Etymology:
“Evangelist” is the Greek noun EUAGGELISTES, εὐαγγελιστής that is related to the verb EUAGGELIZO that means, “Bring or announce good news, proclaim, or preach (the gospel).” The double G, (γγ), in Greek is equivalent to “ng” in English and is pronounced as such.
EUAGGELISTES is a compound word from EU that means, “good or well” and AGGELLO that means, “announce, proclaim, report, or bear a message.” So EUANGELISTES denotes a “preacher or proclaimer of good news,” (i.e., the gospel of Jesus Christ), and is transliterated into English as “Evangelist.”
In secular use, this word identified one who proclaimed “oracular announcements.” It was used for bringing news, especially of a victory in war or some other joyous event, in person or by letter. It carried the idea of fate. As such, the term became a technical one for “news of victory.”
Except in Church writings, this is a rare word. It occurs three times in the New Testament: referring to Philip as “the evangelist,” , (the only Evangelist named), to Christ’s gift of “evangelists” to the Church, , and to Timothy, who was the Pastor-Teacher at Ephesus, who was to do the work of an “announcer of the gospel,” . Epaphras no doubt also falls into this category, . The term denotes a function, which Apostles also exercised, though not all who had the gift of Evangelist were Apostles.
2. Being “bearers of the Good News,” the Evangelist does not proclaim oracles, as among the Greeks, but the good news of salvation in Christ, . It is the supernatural ability to effectively communicate the gospel and win the lost to Christ with exceptional clarity. Also included in this is the idea that the ministry of an Evangelist was itinerant, and it might be performed publicly or privately.
3. While the gift of Pastor Teacher communicates the whole realm of Bible doctrine inside the local church, the gift of Evangelism is designed to communicate the gospel outside the local church. By its title, it is clear that this gift has reference to effective preaching of the gospel message to the unsaved, and as such, it is to be compared to the teaching gift of Pastor-Teacher, which gives instruction to the saved. Therefore, Evangelists are not primarily Gospel compilers, but missionaries who pioneer outreach in areas where the faith has not yet been proclaimed.
4. Like the other three communication gifts in , only male believers receive the gift of Evangelism. Their gift is the God-given ability to communicate the gospel in a manner that holds the unbeliever’s attention, where people will gather or assemble to listen to the presentation of the gospel. These unbelievers will give attention and listen to the evangelist, where they would not listen to anyone else, cf. .
5. The Evangelist exercises his spiritual gift in a group of unbelievers. His gift is designed to reach the unreachable with the gospel message. It is the ability to teach and express the gospel so that unbelievers will listen and have a clear understanding of the issue of salvation; i.e., that faith in Christ means eternal life, and that rejection of Christ means eternal condemnation.
6. Often, an evangelist will have a speaking talent that goes with his gift, but it is the gift that creates the opportunity for unbelievers to give it a hearing. When this spiritual gift functions, the unbeliever will listen to the gospel almost by compulsion, as the man with this gift is sensational in his communication of the gospel to the unbeliever. He is a sensational speaker with a sensational personality; this is necessary in order to get a hearing from unbelievers.
7. Philip, as an example of an Evangelist, was a traveling missionary. He went from Jerusalem to preach in Samaria and was on the road to Gaza when he met the eunuch whom he baptized, f., 26f.. He afterwards came to Azotus, (known as Ashdod today), and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea, . Those like Philip, who acted as missionaries to the Gentiles in the early Church and went to those who never heard the gospel, were also called Evangelists.
8. Pastors do not have this gift, but they are mandated to do the work of an evangelist in , “Do the work of an evangelist.” Although Timothy was ministering for a while at the church of Ephesus, he was not to forget the work of an Evangelist; preaching the gospel to unbelievers. A local ministry should never in any way neglect evangelism. In addition, every Evangelist should be part of a local assembly and must continue to learn Bible doctrine from his own Pastor-Teacher so that he is better prepared to witness the gospel message.
9. Likewise, all believers are mandated to evangelize in . Jesus gave the “Great Commission” to the Apostles in order to evangelize the world, , “And you shall be my witnesses,” cf. ; . This work continues through all believers today. This is because, as a Royal Ambassador, every believer represents God before the human race. The fact that a believer may not possess this gift does not excuse him from being burdened for lost souls or witnessing to them. While all are called to bring the gospel to the lost by whatever means may be at their disposal, and accordingly, like Timothy, should do the work of an evangelist, it is the sovereign purpose of God that certain men should have a special gift in evangelism. Never the less, it is necessary that all believers personally witness for Christ and give the message of reconciliation as opportunity presents itself.
10. The Apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the Church, and Evangelists continue to build on to it, by winning the lost to Christ.
The Fourth Communication Gift of Authority, The Permanent Gift of Pastor-Teacher.
1. Definition and Etymology:
Pastors and Teachers are demeaned to be one gift, not two, due to the contexts of this passage in comparison with others in the NT, where POIMEN, “shepherds,” and DIDASKALOS, “teachers,” are both instructed to “teach” the Word of God to the Church, as the means of feeding them, guiding them, and protecting them, ; ; ; ; cf. ; ; ; .
Pastor-Teacher is the supernatural ability to shepherd a group of believers, sometimes called in Scripture the “flock,” , by teaching them the Word of God consistently and through personal application of Biblical truths. This is the highest rank of authority for the communication gifts remaining in the Church Age today, . There is no higher authority spiritual gift today.
The appointment of the Pastor-Teacher is described in . God the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows this spiritual gift to a few men in every generation at the moment of salvation, apart from human merit. It is given to male believers only and is designed to function primarily inside the local church. They are bearers of Christ’s message, where the authority is resident in their message and spiritual gifting. They do not represent institutional authority, as did the Apostles in the Pre-Canon period, in the sense of a supralocal church hierarchy. They are ministers of God’s Word to equip God’s people for the worship and service of God in the exercise of their spiritual gifts and ministries, .
In this one gift, there are two words used to describe the role and responsibility, Pastor and Teacher. The fact that the word “some,” TOUS, is not repeated in before for “pastor,” is another indication that we have one office with two responsibilities.
“Pastor” is the Greek noun POIMEN that means, “shepherd,” and “Teacher” is the noun DIDASKALOS. The permanent gift is also noted in our passage, 16, (“joint” is the Pastor Teacher too), and in ; .
POIMEN, ποιμήν means, “Shepherd or herdsman,” signifying one who cares for or tends a herd of animals, usually consisting of sheep, goats, and sometimes oxen. From its root POIA, it has the meaning of, “to protect.”
In classical Greek, it was also used figuratively for one who protected a group of others. For example, Cyrus was called the POIMEN AGATHOS, “the good shepherd,” because he protected the Persian “flock” from the barbarian “wolves.”
Regarding the LXX usage of POIMEN for the Hebrew equivalent RA’AH, (, f., ), Colin Brown noted, “It was expected that the shepherds, and the servants who worked with them, would show caution, patient care and honesty. In the dry summer on poor soil, it was not easy to find new pasture at the right time as the flocks passed through lonely regions, or to balance properly grazing, watering, rest and travel. The shepherd had to care tirelessly for the helpless beasts (cf. ff.). Devotion to duty was proved in the nightly guarding of the flock against wild animals and thieves.” (“Shepherd,” Colin Brown).
This term means, the general care of the Christian flock as the work of a Pastor, and to this end, some receive the gift of being a Pastor-Teacher. By its title, it compares to the work of a shepherd caring for his sheep. A Pastor is one who leads, provides, protects, and cares for his flock, the congregation. As in the natural figure, no small skill is required to care for the flock properly, so in the spiritual reality, a Pastor needs a supernatural gift to be to his flock all that a Pastor should be.
As noted in the gift from , the use of KAI, links Pastors and Teachers instead of the usual DE, which implies that one cannot be a true Pastor without being also a Teacher of the Word of God. It is vital to the work of a true Pastor that he teaches his flock. It is obvious that a shepherd who does not feed his flock would not be worthy of the name. Likewise, in the spiritual realm, the first duty of a Pastor is to feed his flock with the Word of God. This is very different from simply being an organizer, promoter, or social leader, as many Pastors are today. The true Pastor gives himself to teaching the Word of God consistently.
Interestingly, despite the difficulties and hazards of their profession, shepherds were often looked down upon in Jewish society. The Pharisees particularly seemed to despise shepherds, grouping them with the tax collectors and depriving them of certain rights in the community. For example, they could not be used as judges or even testify in a court of law. However, when the Messiah was born, it was the despised shepherds in the fields nearby who were the first to receive the angelic announcement and the first to witness His glory, ff.
In the New Testament, POIMEN is used for:
1. The spiritual shepherds of Israel, ; .
2. Shepherds in the field, especially those that received the announcement of the birth of the Messiah, .
3. God Himself, in parable, ; .
4. Jesus Christ Himself, both literally and metaphorically as the “Good Shepherd,” ; , (quoted from ); ; ; ; ; the Messianic Shepherd promised in the OT, ; , by;
a. Gathering the lost sheep of Israel, (and the nations), cf. ; ; , with Ezek 34.
b. Giving His life for the sheep, ; ; ; ; cf. .
c. Gathering His flock, the Church, and caring for them.
d. Separating the sheep from the goats on the Day of Judgment, .
e. Allowing the sheep to know their Shepherd, .
f. Not allowing anyone to snatch them out of His hand, f., speaking of the believer’s eternal security.
g. Providing for our eternal needs and comfort, .
5. Spiritual leaders for local assemblies during the Church Age, , as prophesied in the OT.
, “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.”
Only in our passage, , is POIMENO used for the Spiritual Gift of Pastor-Teacher. As noted above, it is used figuratively elsewhere in the NT, (with the meaning of shepherd; one who is responsible for the care and guidance of a Christian congregation), by:
1. Our Lord in , “He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep”.”
2. Paul in , “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
3. Peter in , “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
Principles of POIMENO – The Pastor-Teacher of a Local Assembly.
By way of analogy, the shepherd’s day began at dawn and ended at dusk. However, when the flock was pasturing far from the home village, the shepherd remained with the sheep and spent the night in the sheepfold. In this way uninterrupted care and protection was given to the flock. That is the role of a shepherd and that is the role for the Pastor-Teacher as well.
“Pastors” are literally “shepherds,” used for overseers in the OT, , as also identified in the NT as overseers of local congregations, ; . These men are called to shepherd God’s people by declaring His message accurately, .
Pastor, meaning “shepherd,” indicates that the local church is a flock of sheep, , and it is the Pastor’s responsibility to feed and lead the flock, , (“elder” is another name for “pastor”). He does this by means of teaching the Word of God; the food that nourishes the sheep.
They are to exercise the same watchfulness and care over the people of their charge, which a shepherd does over his flock, . In comparing John 21 with , it also tells us that Christ exercised a special care for His Church by appointing Pastors who would watch over it, as a shepherd does over his flock.
The Word of God is the staff that guides and disciplines the sheep. The Word of God is the local church’s protection and provision, and no amount of entertainment, good fellowship, or other religious substitutes can take its place. That is why the Pastor needs to teach the Word of God consistently.
The Pastor is not an administrator; he is a policy maker. He has the responsibility of seeing that the policy of administration for the local assembly lines up with the Word of God, and that it is a policy that fulfills the concepts of the NT. However, he does not involve himself in administration. For example, the Pastor should have nothing to do with the “handling” of money in the church or with the building and how it functions. He makes policy for the funds to be applied to and the building to adhere to, but the Pastor is not administratively responsible for their inter-workings.
Being a shepherd does not mean he is to visit the sick and tend to the needy. That is the function of the Deacons, and others in the local assembly with other various spiritual gifts like helps, showing mercy, exhortation, giving, etc., as is the administration of the local assembly. As a shepherd, he leads his flock to food and water, which is the Word of God. In that function he provides, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Word his flock needs each and every day.
Every Pastor is the dean of a Bible training school, which school is composed of those members in the local assembly that have been assigned to him. This follows with the second term for this gift, Teacher, which we will note below.
, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The great commission to the eleven disciples was to go out and “teach,” before they even had the gift of Apostleship, which included Pastor-Teacher and Evangelism plus others, albeit our Lord knew they would soon receive their gifts and apply them in that manner, cf. 13. Likewise, the Pastor’s responsibility is to teach the Word of God, as noted in our next word defining this one spiritual gift. Therefore, God’s ideal Pastor is one who engages in a didactic ministry, (expository instruction in the morality of the Christian way of life to improve and edify the soul), feeding the saints on expository preaching by giving them the rich food of the Word of God.
Principles of DIDASKALOS – The Pastor-Teacher of a Local Assembly.
Here we have the noun DIDASKALOS, διδάσκαλος that means, “Teacher, instructor, or master.” It is used more predominantly in the NT for the gift and office of Pastor-Teacher. Its root is the verb DIDAKSO that means, “to teach.”
There is another Greek synonym to DIDASKALOS, which is KERUX meaning, “herald” that emphasizes the fact that the Pastor-Teacher is to clearly and emphatically declare God’s Word to whoever will give it a hearing, regardless of response. It emphasizes simple declaration, cf. ; ; ; ; ; .
, “And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
DIDASKALOS in secular Greek meant the “teacher” who instructs the pupils, meaning cognitive learning in a didactic manner.
The spiritual gift is noted in ; ; . It is the supernatural ability to shepherd, provide for, care for, and protect God’s people through the ability to explain God’s truth to them.
It is distinguished from the Prophet, who had the gift of uttering fresh truths that came to him by way of direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, whereas the teacher was one who explained and applied established Christian doctrine, the rudiments, and first principles of the oracles of God, .
It is used in the NT of:
1. Jesus Christ. DIDASKOLOS appears 58 times in the NT, 41 times in the Gospels referencing Jesus Christ, being equivalent to the Hebrew Rabbi meaning, “master, lord, or teacher,” e.g., ; ; ; ; ; . Like POIMEN, Jesus Christ came from God as “The Teacher,” God’s spokesman, ; .
2. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a “Teacher” during the Church Age, ; . Yet, The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit is inseparably joined with the teaching ministry of Jesus, , “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
3. The apostles were to be teachers above all else, ; cf. . Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles was a “teacher of the Gentiles,” ; . The apostles were teachers who were distinct from all later teachers in the Church. They were bearers of revelation on a level equal to the prophetic disclosure of the OT, signifying the gift of Prophet that was also a part of the gift of Apostleship, as noted above. The promise that the Spirit would teach in ; , was fulfilled in part by the Apostles. Through the Spirit, Jesus Himself taught through the Apostles, .
, “The one who listens to you, (Apostle – Teachers), listens to Me, (Jesus Christ), and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One, (God the Father), who sent Me.”
4. The “Pastor-Teachers” of the Church, . This term is synonymous with the “Overseers / Bishops / Guardians,” EPISKOPOS, and “Elders” PRESBUTEROS of the Church, who ought to have a teaching ability, ; ; ; ; ; .
, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
, “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
, “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love, (AGAPE), Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love, (PHILEO), You.” He said to him, “Tend, (BOSKO = feed / pasture – emphasis on teaching), My lambs.” 16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love, (AGAPE), Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love, (PHILEO), You.” He said to him, “Shepherd, (POIMANO = shepherd – emphasis on overall care, guidance and protection), My sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love, (PHILEO), Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love, (PHILEO), Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love, (PHILEO), You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend, (BOSKO), My sheep”.”
“Teachers” are expounders of the Scriptures, offering Biblical instruction to the congregation, as well as, training others to expound the Scriptures. The thrust of this gift is to equip the Royal Family to carry out the various aspects of the ministry, to edify the body, and bring positive volition to maturity, .
The duty of the Teacher is to express the “unfathomable / unsearchable riches of Christ,” . As the Shepherd, the Teacher is responsible for protecting the Church against the false teachings that may threaten it, ; cf. . The Pastor-Teacher in the Church after the time of the Apostles, does not have any authority to introduce any new teaching, but only to teach the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles, as found in the completed Canon of Scripture.
These leaders are exhorted to be “shepherds” of God’s flock under their care and protection. Such “shepherds” are not to lord it over those under their care, nor to serve with the prospect of personal profit, but as models for the flock to imitate, , as they teach them the Word of God with both word and deed.
The principle of the right Pastor-Teacher, right congregation is taught in ; cf. . Every believer has a right Pastor. Geography is usually the issue, but there has to be a right Pastor, your right Pastor, the one who gets to you with doctrine, the one who causes you to be occupied with the person of Christ, because you see who and what He is.
Teachers assume a tremendous personal responsibility, and are accountable before God. As the Chief Shepherd, ; , Christ will one day call His “undershepherds” to account for the sheep they have been entrusted with, f; . Therefore, only the one called by God should exercise the gift of teaching to guide and help a congregation, as well as, to teach.
Therefore, we see that the “Pastors and Teachers” are a single group of ministers with one gift, not only from the text of , but by the responsibilities laid out for them in the Scriptures. Pastors are to care for the congregation, seek the lost, and combat error. The Chief Shepherd is the example, and he will reward those faithful Pastor-Teachers at His coming, .
Having noted the giving of the four communication spiritual gifts to the Church by Jesus Christ, we now see in vs.12, the reason why He gave these gifts, (with the word, “for”), and in vs. 13, His desired result for giving the Church these gifts, (with the phrase, “until we all attain”). Since the first two communication gifts of Apostle and Prophet have ceased, and are no longer given, it leaves the Evangelist and Pastor-Teacher to build the Church in the post-Canon era, and especially the Pastor-Teacher to edify the Church. So beginning in vs. 12, we see the primary responsibility of the Pastor-Teacher.
The reason why our Lord gave these four communication spiritual gifts; there purpose.
, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
This begins the key passage of this chapter, vs. 12-16, which tells us of the purpose of the communication gifts, (and in effect all spiritual gifts); building up of the body of Christ, individually and collectively.
This verse does not begin with the usual Greek word for “for,” which is GAR. In fact, even the second “for” in this sentence is not GAR. Instead, they are two Prepositions, PROS and EIS, used for a purpose clause.
PROS, πρός with the Accusative here is used for purpose, and can be translated, as it is here, “for,” or “for the purpose of.” It means to strive or to move toward the goal with conscious purpose. So it is used here for the goal of our Lord, that is, what He is aiming for or striving towards in regards to giving the Church these communication gifts.
With PROS we have the Accusative Article HO, “the” and the Noun KATARISMOS, καταρτισμός that means, “Equipping, equipment, complete furnishing, or a perfecting.” This is a hapaxlegomena, meaning it is only used here in the NT. Its root word ARTIOS means, “complete, capable, or perfect.” It is similar to KATARTIZO, which is a medical term in classical Greek denoting the “setting of a bone.” It is the act of making something perfect or fitting, in that it denotes the process in progress. However, our word has a more general sense meaning, “preparation, equipment, or equipping,” denoting the process as completed. As such, it is used here metaphorically of Christ’s giving of these gifts, “to equip or perfect” the saints for the work of ministry. Liddell-Scott notes it could also be translated “training” or “discipline.” So we will translate it “for the purpose of equipping,” with emphasis on the completed results of having equipped believers of the Church Age with Bible Doctrine in their soul.
Those being equipped by the communication gifts are here called “the saints,” which is the Genitive of Relationship in the Plural of HO HAGIOS. The relationship here is with God the Father. HAGIOS, ἅγιος means, “holy, consecrated, perfect, pure, upright, or saint.” Rather than being the idea of cultic ritualistic holiness rooted in an earthly sanctuary and Levitical priesthood, it means in the NT, the congregation of God that now consists of a spiritual temple, , and holy priesthood, , which offers spiritual sacrifices, .
, “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
As a result of our election into the family of God, , and being reconciled to God at the moment of salvation, we have been made positionally holy before God, , in which we currently stand as part of our royal priesthood, . Therefore, it emphasizes our relationship with God the Father based on position in Christ Jesus.
, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Even though we stand positionally holy before God, we are still sinners and need to overcome our sin by means of the Word of God, not for salvation, but for our daily walk with Christ, which is our experiential holiness or sanctification. That is why we need to be equipped in our souls, so that we can walk in holiness each day. In addition, it is by the equipping of the Pastor-Teacher feeding us the Word of God on a daily basis that we can be victorious against the influence of our sin natures and walk experientially in our positional holiness.
Never the less, this HAGIOS refers to our status as members of the Royal Family of God. Believers called the holy ones, (saints), are those that need to be trained and equipped by the Pastor-Teacher.
The gift of Pastor-Teacher is designed to train and equip the body of Christ, for spiritual warfare; the Angelic Conflict. He is to train believers to live as a member of the Royal Family while we are on this earth, which is Satan’s cosmic system. This training and equipping comes through the teaching of Bible doctrine, not through church programs, religion, systems of legalism, etc.
Next, we have the first sub-purpose within the main purpose, “for the work of service.” Once again, in the English, we have “for,” but in the Greek, it is not PROS. This time it is EIS, which we will see again in this verse. EIS, εἰς, which is typically translated, “into, to, or toward,” is also used here for a purpose clause. Therefore, we translate it “for, in order to, or to,” in regards to something being accomplished.
Our first sub-purpose is “the work of service,” ERGON, ἔργον that means, “work, deed, action, or task,” and means vocation or occupation. Here it is used for the professional shepherd- teacher, the Pastor-Teacher of the local assembly. With this is the Genitive of DIAKONIA, διακονία that means, “service or ministry.” It is the noun for the activity of “service,” which is rendered by a DIAKONOS, “servant,” and used for a very personal service one renders to another, often suggesting a service out of love. In Christianity DIAKONIA should become the central attitude toward life. Therefore, the Christian professional Pastor-Teacher is designed to render the work of service to Christ by serving His body through teaching the Word of God.
“Work of service” means any deed or task that testifies of God in service to Him in the gospel labor, , and here, as His servant, the Pastor-Teacher is to offer ministry to His body.
, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
When the Shepherd-Teacher does his job, the congregation in turn is prepared to do their jobs, in the work of service unto the body of Christ.
Next, we have the second sub-purpose, “to the building up of the body of Christ.”
Once again, we have the Preposition EIS, translated “to” here, to indicate purpose. We could translate it as “for, in order to, or to (indicating purpose).”
Then we have “the building up,” where in the Greek there is no article. We just have the Accusative Noun, OIKODOME, οἰκοδομή that means, “building, edifice, or edification.” It comes from the words OIKOS that means, “a house or a temple,” and DEMO that is a Classical Greek word for, “construction or to build.” Combined, it literally means, “to build or construct a house or temple.” The house being constructed here is the temple of God, i.e., the Body of Jesus Christ.
We noted this word in , regarding the believers of Church Age being built by God, “into a holy temple in the Lord.” Here, rather than being used for the edifice itself, i.e., that which is built, it speaks of the building up or edification of the body of Christ that is the growing up spiritually of the body of Christ collectively, as a result of many individual believers personally growing up spiritually. It resembles the verb usage, but the emphasis is on the results of being built up or edified in our souls through the Word of God. We will see this word again in .
, “All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.”
As we have noted regarding the four communication gifts, the Apostle’s authority was given to “upbuild” or edify the Church, ; , as we that of Prophets, ; as well as the Pastor-Teacher, . In fact, Paul declared that the task of every believer is the edification or upbuilding of the community of believers, ; . Therefore, whatever ministry takes place in the community of believers ought to contribute to this edification of the believers in love, ; .
, “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Next, we see the recipients of edification, “of the body of Christ,” which is HO SOMA HO CHRISTOS, for “of the body of the Christ.” Here it is speaking of the earthly community of believers throughout the Church Age, which brings us back to the reasoning for giving spiritual gifts in the first place, to edify the body of Christ, f.; f. There are three basic ways in which we can serve the Lord: 1) Serving God personally; 2) Serving in the Church; 3) Serving in the World. Though all three are in view, here number two is emphasized.
As you know, “by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body,” , and each believer belongs to the body of Christ, ; , where Christ is the Head of the body and to whom all others are subordinate, ; ; ; ; . As the body of Christ, the Church is to mature and to strive for unity, . Through the grace of the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of Pastor-Teacher, God builds and edifies His Church, ; cf. .
Interestingly, at the beginning of this verse we are called, “saints,” identifying our position as members of the Royal Family of God and our status, standing, and relationship with God the Father. At the end of this passage we are called, “the Body of Christ,” a synonymous term, but specifically identifying us with Jesus Christ, and representing our working and functioning status, (our experience), as members of the Royal Family of God.
Each of these three Prepositional phrases emphasizes the importance of the communication gifts throughout the Church Age, and especially the permanent gift of Pastor-Teacher in the post-Canon era.
1. The first Prepositional phrase emphasizes the general purpose of the Shepherd-Teacher, to train and prepare all believers for spiritual warfare.
2. The second Prepositional phrase emphasizes the first sub-set purpose of the Shepherd-Teacher, to function in their professional vocation in the service of others, so that other believers exercise their spiritual gifts in service to others.
3. The third Prepositional phrase emphasizes the second sub-set purpose of the Shepherd-Teacher, to edify or build up the body of Christ, which too, all believers have a hand in when they apply their spiritual gifts.
Therefore, the goal of the Pastor-Teacher is to shepherd and teach the flock with the Word of God, so that they have Bible Doctrine in their souls, grow to spiritual adulthood, achieve the supergrace life, serve others, edify the body of Christ, and glorify God to a maximum. Combined with those who have the permanent gift of Evangelists, they will win new “members” to the living Body of Christ, and deepen and develop the cohesion of the whole, as the body grows in maturity by all holy influences of word and deed. Those gifted with communication gifts equip the saints so that the saints can carry on the ministry’s work, which, in turn, produces the edifying or building up of the body of Christ.
As we will see in the following verses, this building has three overlapping goals:
1) A two-aspect unity of faith and knowledge, vs. 13;
2) Maturity, vs. 14; and
3) Christlikeness, vs. 15-16; cf. “fullness” in .
In vs. 12, we had three purposes for Christ giving the communication spiritual gifts to the Church. The main purpose utilizing the Preposition PROS was 1) To “equip,” train and prepare, all believers to live the Christian way of life inside of Satan’s cosmic system, i.e., spiritual warfare. Then with the Preposition EIS, we had two subordinate objectives to the main purpose of “equipping the saints” that includes; 2) To function in our Christian professional vocation, (the application of our spiritual gift), in the service of God and others; 3) To edify or build up the Body of Christ. Each phrase was led by a Preposition of Purpose, PROS, EIS and EIS.
Vs. 13, then transitions from a Purpose Clause to a Result Clause with four desired outcomes, which too employs the subordinating Preposition EIS as the markers. Here we have EIS, KAI, EIS, and EIS to identify Jesus Christ’s four desired results for giving the Church the communication spiritual gifts, especially the permanent gift of Shepherd-Teacher.
, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Here we have our Lord’s desired results for giving to the Church these communication spiritual gifts. There are four results laid out here. Each a subset of “until we all attain.” Similar to vs. 12, these results are divided by the Preposition EIS, but here they are used as Prepositions of Result, where in vs. 12 they were Prepositions of Purpose. Knowing that these are “results” is identified by the first phrase. It indicates the fact that if we are faithful in coming to hear the teaching of God’s Word, are faithful in the reception of Bible doctrine, inevitably and eventually we will reach spiritual maturity and the four desired goals of our Lord.
“Until we all attain,” begins with the Improper Preposition MECHRI, μέχρι that is typically used as a marker of continuance in time up to a point, that is “until.” Even though it is a Preposition, it is used as a Conjunction or even a Temporal Adverb, as here, in this indefinite temporal clause, because it is before a verb in the Subjunctive mood. Nonetheless, it is translated, “until,” cf. .
, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”
In addition, MECHRI indicates a future contingency from the perspective of the time of the main verb, which is in vs. 11, when Christ “gave” communication spiritual gifts at His Ascension. In other words, He gave these gifts for achievement of the four desired results, but it is contingent on the positive volition of believers throughout the Church Age.
Then we have the verb for “attain” in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of KATANTAO, καταντάω that means, “to come to, arrive at, or attain to.” It was used for “crossing the goal line, to arrive at a goal, and to attain or reach a goal.” It is used here in a metaphoric sense of achieving an objective or result. The Culminative Aorist tense, views the entirety of the action of the Body of Christ with emphasis on the desired result of achieving these four results. The Active voice, the body of Jesus Christ, identified as, “we all,” HO PAS, (which Paul was a part of), is to perform the action of this verb, “attain.” In the Subjunctive mood, it is a potential that the Body of Christ achieves the four results based on each individual’s free will volition to advance to supergrace in the spiritual life or not.
Therefore, MECHRI HO PAS KATANTO, “until we all attain,” indicates the desired result for attainment and links the three Purposes of vs. 12, with the four Results noted in vs 13.
The desired “attainment” or results of our Lord giving the communication gifts, is found in the next four phrases:
1. “To the unity of faith.”
2. “And of the knowledge of the Son of God.”
3. “To a mature man.”
4. “To the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
The First Result
“To the unity of faith,” is the Preposition of Result EIS meaning, “so that or with the result that,” identifying Christ’s desired results or attainment for His body, with HO HENOTES. We noted the only other occurrence of HENOTES in the NT in . It is a cognate of the number one in Greek, HEIS, and means, “unity or oneness.” This unity is having the like-mindedness of fellow believers who are going forward inside the Plan of God for their lives. As vs. 3 told us, it is unity gained inside the Body of Christ by means of the Holy Spirit working through us. The connotation of this unity is that we all grow spiritually and achieve the supergrace status; the Life Beyond GNOSIS, to the Life Beyond Dreams, to the Life Beyond Glory of .
The unity we are to attain is by means of “of faith,” which is the Genitive of Agency in the Singular of HO PISTIS. PISTIS can mean, “Faith, trust, trustworthiness, reliability, confidence, assurance, conviction, belief, what is believed, or doctrine.” Here it represents, “what is believed” which is the Word of God in our lives. Therefore, PISTIS is translated here as “the Word of God” or “Bible Doctrine.” We can only achieve unity inside the Body of Christ when we all think in the same terms of Bible Doctrine being resident within our souls. Moreover, it is through the teaching ministry of the Shepherd-Teacher that we are taught and learn God’s Word, which provides for our unity as members of the Body of Jesus Christ. This is emphasized in the next phrase.
Therefore, the first desired result for giving the communication gifts is for the Church to have unity with each other as members of the Royal Family of God, based on Bible Doctrine being resident within our souls.
The Second Result
The next phrase emphasizes the means of our unity, “and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” It begins with the coordinating Conjunction KAI for, “and” that links this phrase with the last, so that this result complements the previous one. In other words, they go hand in hand. Then we have HO EPIGNOSIS that means, “recognition or knowledge.” It is from EPI meaning “upon or on the basis of” and GNOSIS meaning “knowledge, science, doctrine, or wisdom.” Therefore, EPIGNOSIS comes to mean, “on the basis of knowledge, doctrine, or wisdom.” It also expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner than GNOSIS does. It means knowledge that very powerfully influences the believer to live the Christian way of life.
EPIGNOSIS also emphasizes the relationship of the learner to the object of his knowledge, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , which here is “of the Son of God,” HO HUIOS HO THEOS. Therefore, it represents the mind of Jesus Christ, which is the Word of God, Bible Doctrine, , and refers to being Occupied with the Person of Jesus Christ, the 10th Problem Solving Device.
, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
, “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
PISTIS for “faith,” (what is believed / Bible Doctrine), goes hand in hand with “EPIGNOSIS knowledge of the Son of God,” which is the mind of Jesus Christ / Bible Doctrine. Therefore, the second desired result for giving the communication gifts is that all believers of the Church come to the EPIGNOSIS knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The Third Result
“To a mature man,” is the Preposition of Result EIS with the Adjective TELIOS, τέλειος that means, “complete, perfect, whole, full grown, mature, or adult.” With this is ANER, ἀνήρ that means, “male, man, husband, or bridegroom.” Notice this is not ANTHROPOS, which is the generic term for man. Instead, ANER emphasizes the relationship of a man to another. The “other” here is our Lord Jesus Christ, as He is the Head and we are the Body.
TELEIOS for “mature” was a significant term in Greek philosophical and ethical writings. In simplified terms, “perfection” is variously expressed as “attainment of purpose,” an “acquisition of wisdom or insight,” and the “ability to make the correct ethical or moral choices.”
Therefore, in our relationship to God, He is TELIOS, “absolute perfection.” Only through our Lord Jesus Christ can we as imperfect beings have a relationship with a perfect God. Jesus Christ achieved that positionally for us on the Cross, and Christ achieves that experientially for us through His Word when we obtain and apply it in our lives.
TELIOS also has the idea of “wholeness or completeness,” here in reference to the Body of Christ. When we achieve spiritual adulthood and the supergrace life, it means we have attained a mature spiritual character, ; cf. ; ; ; ; , that coalesces with God’s “perfect nature.”
, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
, “And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Therefore, to go along with our positional relationship we have with God through the Cross of Jesus Christ, we attain experiential relationship with God through the Word of Jesus Christ being resident in our souls. This is achieved when we present ourselves in positive volition to our right Shepherd-Teacher.
Mature Christian behavior is the result of teaching and exhortation, f.; ; the result of the communication spiritual gifts. Moreover, spiritual maturity is a relational quality rather than a positional state, achieved by being walking in righteous by means of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God resident within our souls.
, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
, “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”
Therefore, the third desired result for giving the Church the communication spiritual gifts is for the Church to individually and collectively grow to spiritual maturity, obtaining and maximizing our experiential relationship with God.
The Fourth Result
“To the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
This too begins with the Preposition of Result EIS, “to the,” that identifies Christ’s desired result or attainment for His body. Then we have, “measure” that is the noun METRON, μέτρον that means, “a measure or standard by which something is measured.” The figurative standard of measure here is the “stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” where “stature” is the Genitive noun of HELIKIA, ἡλικία that means, “age, maturity, stature, or size.” Here the spiritual maturity of the believer relatively compared to Jesus Christ is in view. In other words, how much of the mind of Jesus Christ do you have in your soul?
As you know, the desired result of the teaching ministry of the Shepherd-Teacher is for you to have a maximum amount of Bible Doctrine, the mind of Jesus Christ, in your soul. We see this in the phrase, “which belongs to the fullness of Christ” that begins with HO and the Noun in the Genitive Singular of PLEROMA πλήρωμα, the noun equivalent to PLEROO, that means, “that which fills, complement, fulfillment, that which makes something complete, full number, abundance, or fullness.” Then we have HO CHRISTOS for “the Christ” our Lord. It means that Christ achieved spiritual maturity during His First Advent, and we should emulate that. This is what you might call following in the footsteps of the Lord. You follow in the footsteps of the Lord by taking in Bible doctrine until you attain spiritual maturity, the super-grace life, and you never stop taking it in. This means that there must be progression in your daily walk instead of retrogression.
We noted PLEROMA in that referred to the body of Christ as the full expression of Christ in the world. In that passage, the context is the Church, the body of Christ, which is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” It means that Christ’s body, the Church, is to be the full expression of God in the present world. Moreover, as individual members of His body, we have been given spiritual gifts, which are to be used as the manifestation of God here on earth. Therefore, the Church, (all believers in any given generation of the Church Age), is the manifestation of God on earth that fills “all in all,” which means we are the physical working and functioning ministry of God here on earth during the Church Age. It also indicates that the Church is filled with God’s Divine assets and that the Church receives its fullness from Christ, who is receiving complete fullness from God, as He builds the body of Christ through the Church. It also speaks of Christ giving all things, namely gifted people, to the Church for its edification.
Then we noted in , PLEROMA concerning the life of the believer and the Church, where Paul prayed that believers might experience the “fullness” of God in that we realize the total nature and significance of God in the attainment of spiritual maturity in the “Life Beyond GNOSIS.”
Now in our verse, we see once again, the theme of spiritual maturity but in the corporate setting as the overall body of Christ is to be the “fullness of Christ,” which means maturity of character by functioning in the Christ-like nature, collectively.
Now that Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father, He has given communication gifts to the Church so that His body could be the full expression of Jesus Christ in the world. Based upon the Ephesian passages, we can say that Christ’s body, the Church, is to be the full expression of God in the present world.
Putting this final phrase together, the fourth desired result of Jesus Christ in giving communication gifts to the Church is so that the Church collectively would grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ to spiritual maturity representing God and Jesus Christ in the World.
Summary of Vs. 13
Here we have four desired results for giving to the Church the four communication gifts, especially the gift of Pastor-Teacher in the post-Canon era. They include:
1. That we have unity in the Body of Christ through like-mindedness, by means of the inculcation and application of Bible Doctrine.
2. That we collectively gain the thinking or mind of Jesus Christ, , coming to the EPIGNOSIS knowledge of Jesus Christ.
3. That we collectively grow to spiritual adulthood/maturity, obtaining and maximizing our experiential relationship with God.
4. That we collectively put on the Christ-like nature and represent God in this world.
These are the desired results for the appropriate application of the communication spiritual gifts.
Summary of Vs. 11-13.
In we see the complete cycle.
1. Jesus Christ, the Fullness of God, gave communication spiritual gifts to the Church.
2. They included the temporary gifts of Apostles and Prophets, plus the permanent gifts of Evangelist and Shepherd-Teacher.
3. There are three purposes for Christ giving His Church those communication gifts:
a. Prepare believers (the body of Christ) for the Christian way of life and spiritual warfare.
b. Prepare them to function in their Christian professional vocation; use their gifts in ministry for the Godly ordained effect, .
c. Prepare them so that they can collectively build up / edify the body Christ.
4. Then there are four desired results for the application of the communication gifts:
a. That we have unity in the Body of Christ through like-mindedness, by means of the inculcation and application of Bible Doctrine.
b. That we collectively gain the thinking or mind of Jesus Christ, .
c. That we collectively grow to spiritual adulthood / maturity.
d. That we collectively put on the Christ-like nature and represent God in this world, (i.e., Satan’s cosmic system).
5. When we do, we represent the Fullness of Christ to a lost and dying world.
, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”
Here we have a secondary desired result of our Lord for giving the four communication spiritual gifts to the Church. Using the Conjunction, HINA, with a Subjunctive mood, gives us another “results” clause, which because of the negative is also a command. The conjunction links the desired results of vs. 13, with the desired result of vs. 14. It is translated in the NASB “as a result.” From that translation you would think this is the overall desired result, but it should actually be translated, “that, so that, or in order that,” cf. , indicating a secondary desired result.
The secondary desired result is that “we are no longer to be children,” which in the Greek begins with MEKETI, μηκέτι that means, “no longer, no more, or no further.” It is from the negative ME and adverb ETI that means “yet or still.” It is used with the moods of possibility, (subjunctive, optative, or imperative), like it is here with the Subjunctive mood of EIMI. Together they indicate a negative command.
EIMI, εἰμί is used in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, 1st Person, Plural, translated here “we are to be.” The Present tense is a Stative Present for the ongoing condition of childhood, which here we are to end. The Subjunctive mood is for potential indicating our free will to grow up spiritually or not. With the negative MEKITI, it is a command of prohibition that we do not remain children spiritually and instead grow to spiritual adulthood to achieve the supergrace life. The Subjunctive mood means maybe you will and maybe we will not. Notice also the 1st Person Plural where Paul includes himself. We all have free will, we all have and Old Sin Nature, and we all need to make the right decisions to learn the Word of God from our Pastor-Teacher and grow up spiritually.
“Children,” is the Nominative Plural Noun NEPIOS, νήπιος that means, “infant, minor, child, childlike, etc.” Here it is speaking of our spiritual life, where Jesus Christ’s desire is that we do not remain as baby believers, but instead we grow up spiritually through the teaching ministry of our right Pastor-Teacher. So this is a potential based on our free will volition, but is also a command of negation. Stop being babies!
As we will see, instability is a definite sign of immaturity. Paul himself reprimanded some Corinthians who were still “babes in Christ” after apparently being Christians for about 5 years, . He also dealt with the same basic problem in his letter to the -.
NEPIOS is in contrast to ANER from our previous verse, which meant a “mature or noble man.” It refers to a person who is childish in his thinking, no matter what his chronological age may be. This means:
1. It is used for immaturity spiritually, for the various stages of reversionism.
2. To be childish means to be encumbered with reactor factors, i.e., disillusion, boredom, discouragement, self-pity, frustration, and filled with mental attitude sins, which intensify them.
3. To be childish is to be on a frantic search for happiness, emotional revolt of the soul, negative volition, blackout of the soul, and practicing reverse process reversionism.
4. The scar tissue of the soul presented in vs. 17-19 is anticipated by this exhortation.
Then we have a naval analogy to warn us of the damaging effects that result from not growing up spiritually. Here we have two descriptions of what happens to the reversionist believer that keep them in the baby believer status. It is linked by the Conjunction KAI for “and.” The number two in Scripture means division, and here we see the division of believers as a result of not growing up spiritually. They are:
1. “Tossed here and there by waves,”
2. “Carried about by every wind of doctrine.”
The First Warning
“Tossed here and there by waves,” is found in the one Verb KLUDONIZOMAI, κλυδωνίζομαι that means, “to be tossed around or agitated.” It is used here in the Present, Middle or Passive Deponent, Participle, Nominative, Plural. The Participle is circumstantial describing conditions that accompany reversionism. The second meaning, “agitated,” reminds me of someone being thrown into a washing machine. It also means a ship out of control, a ship without a rudder that is at the mercy of the wind and waves. It also means this person cannot handle the storms of life. This is a hapaxlegomena, meaning it is only used here in the N.T.
The lexicon Liddell-Scott notes that this verb appears frequently in classical Greek as KLUDONIZO meaning, “to be buffeted by heavy seas,” or metaphorically, “to be disturbed or thrown into confusion.” It is used in the LXX of the OT for a similar meaning in , “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud.” It speaks of being tossed to and fro like a cork in a surging sea, .
, “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
“The word pictures someone who is unprepared to combat the conflicting and confusing doctrines urged upon him by false teachers with evil motivations. He is helplessly “tossed” around like a small craft on raging waters.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
When we do not grow up spiritually by learning God’s Word from our right Pastor-Teacher, this will be the result. Instead of knowing God’s Word and standing steadfast in its principles and promises, we will be smashed by the various waves of false doctrines that are in the world, never coming to the calm; (peace, love and steadfastness of God).
The Second Warning
This is another analogy, “Carried about by every wind of doctrine.” This is from the Verb PERIPHERO, περιφέρω in the Present, Middle or Passive Deponent, Participle, Nominative, Plural. PERIPHERO means, “carry about or bear about; something unsteady or wavering.” BDAG notes that it is, “a tendency or trend that causes one to move from a view or belief.” In the NT it has the overall suggestion of something carried passively. In other words, we receive being carried from place to place. It is used of spinning tops and feeling dizzy. Such is the confusing effect of false doctrine. The Participle is circumstantial to indicate the influence of false doctrine and the receptivity of false doctrine by those in reversionism. It is also used in ;
, “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.”
, “These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted.”
Then we have the Dative of Means Adjective PAS for “by every,” with the Noun ANEMOS for “wind.” It denotes “the wind” in classical as well as Biblical Greek. This included different kinds of winds such as gales, breezes, directional winds, and even the breath of a person blowing. The metaphors of intangible and hence worthless, invisible yet strong, effective but uncontainable, make it a suitable metaphor for false doctrines that are empty but have a strong effect on a person to drive them off course, especially those who are not safely anchored in the Word of God.
With this is the Genitive Singular of HO DIDASKALIA, διδασκαλία that means, “teaching or instruction.” “Teaching” could be either the activity of instruction or, as here, the passive reception of false teaching or false doctrine. It speaks of being whirled around by every chance gust of fashionable heretical doctrine and speaks of the false doctrines taught by false teachers. False doctrine is called in , “doctrine of demons,” that is the false and worldly doctrine that enters the vacuum of the soul of the negative believer.
, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”
Correct DIDASKALIA was a crucial plea from Paul in the Pastoral Epistles. “Sound or good teaching” is the solution to these erroneous teachings, cf. ; ; ; ; ; ; .
The Shepherd-Teacher in the Church, after the time of the apostles, does not have any authority to introduce any new teaching but only to teach the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. The duty of the teachers is to express the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” . The teacher is also responsible for protecting the Church against the false teachings that may threaten it, ; cf. .
Next, we have a gambling analogy depicting the manner by which these false teachers influence the baby believer. This answers the question “how” the false teacher tosses and carries about those who are spiritually immature.
1. “By the trickery of men,”
2. “By craftiness in deceitful scheming.”
The First Manner of Deception.
“By the trickery of men,” is the Dative Preposition EN with the Article HO and the Noun KUBEIA, κυβεία. It comes from a word that means “cube or dice” and means, “dice playing, craftiness, or trickery.” It is only used here in the NT. “In its earliest occurrences in classical Greek, this word meant dice playing. Later it came to refer to the crafty sleight of hand and the trickery commonly practiced with dice playing. A clever dice thrower could conceal two sets of dice in his hand and throw at any time he chose the set which had been altered. This meaning of “clever deception” is used in . Paul warned believers not to be tossed to and fro “by the sleight (trickery) of men.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
With this is the Genitive of HO ANTHROPOS, “of men,” meaning man-made doctrines, principles and precepts, that they have manufactured and fabricated, rather than teaching the truth of God’s Word.
By way of analogy, this is what the false teacher of false doctrine does. In one hand, they have passages of God’s Word and in the other, false principles and precepts that are man-made. They throw out, (read passages of) God’s Word and then throw out false principles regarding His Word to suit their own needs, lusts, and desires. The men involved here are gamblers who make their living by loading the dice.
These “tricksters,” who use crafty methods, appeal to immature Christians who do not grow spiritually. Likewise, the “babes in Christ” seem always to be looking for something a little more sensational than the last thing that appealed to them. Unfortunately, these individuals help many religious hucksters to build their own kingdom, rather than concentrating on building God’s kingdom.
The Second Manner of Deception.
“By craftiness in deceitful scheming,” is once again the Dative of Manner of EN and the Noun PANOURGIA, πανουργία that means, “shrewdness, skill, craftiness, cunning, subtly, trickery, or to cheat.” In classical Greek it was used for negative and pejorative meanings for those who had an “unprincipled ability or readiness to do anything.” It means those who are unscrupulous and stop at nothing.
This craftiness is that craft that is used by seducers, people in error, and the tricksters noted above. It is used for those who “pervert” the Word of God, which is a continual device of Satan himself, cf. ; ; ; .
, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”.”
, “But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the Word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”
, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
With this evil craftiness we have, “in deceitful scheming,” which is the Preposition PROS, meaning “with,” that speaks of personal interaction, and the Accusative of HO METHODEIA, μεθοδεία that means, “Method, strategy, scheming, craftiness, or planned deceitful procedure.” It is only used here and in regarding Satan’s schemes. It is derived from a word which means “to follow anyone, or to track him,” as a wild animal tracks its prey. So it means, “deceitful strategy,” and has the connotation of deceit.
Therefore, the reversionistic believer is shooting craps with the devil and the devil has loaded the dice, as it were, with false deceptive doctrines. The devil cheats those members of the royal family who neglect and reject true Bible doctrine. Your neglect of Bible doctrine inevitably results in being outsmarted by the devil. False doctrine loads the dice.
Then we have “deceitful,” which is the Genitive of HO PLANE, πλάνη that means, “wandering, (from the path of truth); error, or delusion.” It comes from the Verb PLANAO that means, “to lead astray, to cause to wander, or to deceive.” So we understand twice now that deceit is involved here. It denotes a “wandering or roaming,” or a “digression” in the literal sense, and in a metaphoric sense, “error, delusion, or deception.” “Deception and error” dominate its use in the NT. So we translate this “the deceptive.” Combined it is “with craftiness in the deceptive strategy.”
“Deception” is a trick employed by religious hucksters who sell religion for profit, ; ; cf. .
, “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error.”
, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”
“Delusion, therefore, is not simply being deceived; rather, it is active acceptance of the lies of the Evil One. People can only willfully be deceived by Satan. He has no power to make them believe his lies. He tricks them because of their own sinful willingness to delight in evil (cf. ).” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
This is the direct opposite of the faithful Pastor-Teacher who sticks to teaching the truth of God’s Word no matter what, .
By either or both of these manners of deception, the believer who does not grow up spiritually is easily tossed here and there and carried about by these teachers of false doctrines, never coming to spiritual adulthood, the supergrace life or glorifying God.
1. The childish believer, (reversionist), is compared to a ship out of control in a storm and floundering that indicates his instability, and this instability is related to the reactor factors of life. An unstable person reacts.
2. The childish reversionist is compared to a sucker in a crap game playing against the house with loaded dice. This means that no matter how smart you are, or think you are, you cannot hold up against the opening of false doctrines entering your soul and the infiltration of demon doctrines into your soul. Your only hope is GAPing it with Bible doctrine. No matter how you slice it, the odds are totally against the reversionistic believer.
3. The two analogies (naval and gambling) are designed to awaken the reversionist to his status, to encourage him to change his mind toward doctrine and to recover through the function of GAP.
4. Therefore, the secondary desire of our Lord for giving the communication spiritual gifts to the Church is for each believer to grow up spiritually and avoid the pitfalls and schemes of Satan and His cosmic system designed to lead us astray and defeat us in spiritual warfare.
, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,”
This passage begins with the Contrasting Conjunction DE for “but,” which comes second in the Greek. It contrasts the failures and deception the baby believer falls into.
Then we have the Verb ALETHEUO, ἀληθεύω in the Present, Active, Particle that is related to the Noun ALETHIA that means, “true or truth,” and the Noun from ALETHES that means, “real, actual, or not counterfeit.” With the Participle, some expositors translate it “truthing it.” It means the Pastor is to teach the unadulterated truth of God’s Word. This is in contrast to the deceitful schemers who teach a lie, as noted in vs. 14. It is in the Present, Active, Participle and comes to mean, “be truthful or speaking the truth.” In the Customary Present tense, it is something the Pastor is to be doing habitually; teach the truth of God’s Word. It is only used twice in the NT, and only by Paul, here and in , “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
Here it means to reflect the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and present the larger body of Christian truth / doctrines with the goal of leading others to spiritual maturity. This is why the communication gifts where given, especially the Shepherd-Teacher. In addition, we are all Royal Ambassadors and all have a responsibility to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the greater truths of God’s Word, to the lost and believers alike. God means for believers to present the truth to others, and it should always be presented in love.
Therefore, the Pastor and Royal Ambassadors are to speak/teach the truth of God’s Word “in love,” the qualifier for teaching the truth. “In love,” is in the Dative of Sphere of EN and AGAPE. Therefore, in the sphere of impersonal and unconditional love, that is Divine love, the Pastor is to teach the Word of God to his flock.
I pray that people would say about this church, “they teach the Bible faithfully.” I hope they also say, “They love each other like family and their neighbors as themselves.” If people do not agree with our doctrine, at least they will see that we love them. Ask yourself, “are you known for truth and love personally”, and “is your church known for truth and love corporately?”
This reminds us that all spiritual gifts, including the communication gifts, must be utilized in the sphere of AGAPE Love or it is all for not, . In that passage, we have a list of qualities that we must apply in order to function properly and effectively in our spiritual gifts. Those qualities are a good test to determine if a Pastor is a trickster with deceitful scheming, or one who teaches the truth out of genuine love for God and others. The list of qualities that represent AGAPE Love is found in .
This passage has 15 qualities for verification of spiritual gifts operating in Divine love, as opposed to human good or human power, as the deceitful schemer would. The number fifteen being a multiple of 5, (grace), and 3 (Divine perfection), comes to represent acts wrought by the energy of Divine grace. In , Paul’s ship was anchored in 15 fathoms, a reference to how the Word of God is the anchor of our souls. In addition, the feast of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles are on the 15th day, of the 1st (Unity) and 7th (Spiritual Perfection) months respectfully.
1. “Love is patient.”
2. “Love is kind.”
3. “Is not jealous.”
4. “Love does not brag.”
5. “And is not arrogant.”
1. “Does not act unbecomingly.” (Sinfully in public)
2. “Does not seek its own.”
3. “Is not provoked.”
4. “Does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (Does not hold a grudge.)
1. “Does not rejoice in unrighteousness.”
2. “But rejoices in the truth, (ALETHEIA).”
1. “Bears all things,” Cf. ; , (Enduring with regard to others.)
2. “Believes all things,” (With a good conscience you give other the benefit of the doubt and think good to another’s credit. In trust and faith you believe the very best you honestly can at all times).
3. “Hopes all things,” (Confidence in everything you say and do).
4. “Endures all things,” (Steadfast even in difficult circumstances, having a patient and loving spirit).
Then in , we have a reiteration of the second desired result for the communication gifts; “we are to grow up,” which is from one Greek Verb in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of AUXANO, that means, “Grow, increase, or become greater.” It is used in our verse for the spiritual growth and maturation of individual believers, as well as groups of believers, including the entire body of Christ, ; ; ; ; .
, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”
, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
, “So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
The Aorist tense views the entirety of the action of our spiritual growth with the Subjunctive mood of potential for growth, as maybe we will, and maybe we will not, because is it a volitional issue. This is the principle found in Proverbs 8.
Our spiritual growth is to be, “in all aspects into Him,” which is EIS AUTOS HO PANTA, literally,” unto Him the all things.” In other Words, we achieve spiritual growth one way and one way only; through Jesus Christ our Lord, which indicates that we grow by means of His Word resident within our souls. It tells us that spiritual growth means that in all areas of our life, Jesus, His Word, is present and leading us. If Christ is not leading you in all aspects of your life, you will not have spiritual growth. Yet, when His Word is, you will have spiritual growth and achieve the supergrace life.
As such, we are to grow into resemblance unto Him, (i.e., put on the Christ-like nature), and our growth is to be according to His example. This means that as He is the source from which the grace and power comes that makes it possible for us to grow, He is also the object and goal to which our growth, in its every stage, must look and is to be directed towards. Therefore, Jesus Christ, His Word, is the source from which the ability to grow spiritually comes, and He is the object or goal of that growth. That is why the communication gifts where given, so that we could learn God’s Word and grow spiritually in the likeness of Christ and for Christ.
In contrast to vs. 14, instead of falling for the trickery or sleight of hand of false teachers of false doctrines, Christians should be obedient to Christ. Obedience to Christ and the ability to recognize religious charlatans are definite signs of Christian maturity. Those who fall for the counterfeit have not matured in doctrine because of their lack of obedience to Christ. Christ is the source from which the ability to grow comes, and He is the object or goal of that growth.
Finally, we have, “who is the head, even Christ,” which is HOS, “who,” used pronominally with the Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI for “is” referring to Jesus Christ. With this is the Nominative Singular of HO KEPHALE, κεφαλή meaning, “the head or authority,” and CHRISTOS, Χριστός meaning, “Christ, anointed, or the Anointed One,” identifying Jesus Christ as the Head over the Body called the Church. He as the Head is the source of our spiritual growth and the well-being of each member.
Bible Doctrine causes the believer to grow up, and the intake of Bible doctrine causes the growth. Seed stored does not grow; seed in the ground is what grows. Bible doctrine must be in the soul before you can grow up spirtually.
The Headship of Jesus Christ Over His Body.
The book of Ephesians has much to say about the Headship of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as the head of the body refers to the integral relationship between our Lord and each member of the Royal Family. The head and body analogy indicates relationship. The Royal Family of God is one organic body with the Lord Jesus Christ as the head. In addition, it identifies Jesus Christ as the supreme ruler over the Church as His body, , , .
There are three concepts of Christ as the head.
1. Christ is the ruler over all creation, including the angels, . Jesus Christ is the victor of the Angelic Conflict.
2. Christ is the “Head of the Corner,” which means He has two crowns. Jesus Christ as the son of David is the ruler of Israel. He is also the ruler of the Church because of His victory on the Cross, Eph 2; ; .
3. Christ is the supreme ruler over the Church as the body of Christ, , , . There is only one head to the body, and that head is the Lord Jesus Christ, .
In addition, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the Body, , the sanctifier of the body, , , as He is Head of the body, , . The function of Christ in the formation of the body is not just as an active agent, but also as the source of its life and as its ruler. Therefore, the Lord has an authority over us. We can recognize it and have great blessing, or we can reject it and be the most miserable people in life.
The analogy of Christ as the Head of the Body emphasizes the importance of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age, where the believer receives his thought pattern, mental attitude, and motivation from Bible doctrine, described in as the mind or thinking of Christ. Just as the function of the body is based on the mentality of the soul, so the way of life for the Church Age believer is based on the thinking of the head, which is our lord Jesus Christ. The communication spiritual gifts where given so the Body can learn and understand what the head is thinking and grow in spiritual maturity, .
Therefore, in the analogy, the body is totally dependent upon the Head to provide the thinking, motivation, decision making, and execution of the Plan of God. All Church Age believers have a common life based on the Plan of God provided for us. We also have a common purpose, which is to become spiritually mature and be invisible heroes.
, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
This is the conclusion of the purpose and desired results for the Lord giving the communication gifts to the Church. The first half of this verse emphasizes, “The Building and Unity of the Body of Christ is provided for through Pastor-Teachers.”
“From whom the whole body,” is EK HOS PAN HO SOMA referring to Jesus Christ as the source of the Church called His body, which includes all believers from the day of Pentecost to the day of the Rapture of the Church. These are the ones benefited by the communication spiritual gifts, especially the gift of Pastor-Teacher.
“Being fitted and held together,” is the Verb SUNARMOLOGEO the Conjunction KAI with the verb SUMBIBAZO. Both verbs here are in the Present, Passive, Participle in the Nominative, Neuter, Singular.
SUNARMOLOGEO, συναρμολογέω means, “to fit closely, join together, or frame together.” It is used only here and in , which we previously noted, as an architectural metaphor of the Church being built into a “holy temple” of the Lord.
It is a compound word from SUN, “together,” and HARMOLOGEO, “to join together,” which is from HARMOS, “joint” and LOGOS, “word, account, or reckoning.” Combined, it means here being joined together through the teaching of God’s Word. The metaphor here is that of a living organism, where all believers are members of the body of Christ, who is the head, vs. 15, and we are being joined and knit together through the Word so that we advance to spiritual adulthood and maximize the exercise of our spiritual gifts.
The Progressive Present tense describes continuous action of being joined together through the Church Age.
In the Passive voice, the Church receives the action of being fitted together, we do not do the fitting ourselves; God’s Word through the teaching ministry of our right Pastor-Techer does that work.
The Participle represents this as a position or thing the Church receives as the body of Jesus Christ and the Temple of our Lord.
SUMBIBAZO, συμβιβάζω means, “to unite, bring together, prove, conclude, teach or instruct.” In extra-Biblical Greek it means, “to cause to stride together,” and includes various connotations, such as, “to bring together, to reconcile, to conclude, or to unite,” and even “to teach or instruct.” Notice that both SUNARMOLOGEO and SUMBIBAZO have to do with teaching or instructing.
In the LXX it is used exclusively for, “to teach someone something, or to instruct about something,” e.g., ; ; ; ; .
It is used six times in the NT, ; ; ; ; ; . Each time, it has the connotation of something being accomplished as a result of teaching or instruction, and sometimes translated as, “concluded or proved.” In our passage, as in , it speaks of the Church being united or held together because of the communication of Bible Doctrine. The Progressive Present and Passive Voice means the Church continually keeps on receiving this unity and the Participle says we become unity.
, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”
. “And not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”
Next, we see how this “fitting and holding together” is accomplished, “By that which every joint supplies,” is the Preposition of intermediate agency DIA that means, “through, by, with, or because of,” and the Adjective PAS for, “all or every,” with the Singular Noun HAPHE, ἁφή that means, “ligament or that which connects a joint,” and HO EPICHOREGIA, ἐπιχορηγία that means, “supply, provision, support or aid,” used here and .
In classical Greek the noun HAPHE had three basic meanings, 1) “lighting, or kindling,” 2) “touch,” including the grip of wrestlers, and 3) “junction, or point of contact.” Some even say it became a technical term for the arena. The grip of wrestlers in the arena yielded the meaning, “fastening,” hence, as a physiological term it means, “ligaments.” Thus the body, as a metaphor for the union of God’s people, is being “joined together and held together by that which every ligament supplies.” The ligaments are called Pastor-Teachers.
The term “joint” is used here and in , primarily because in Colossians HAPHE is joined together with the word SUNDESMOS that means, “bond, that which binds together, fetter fastening, etc.” Pictorially it represents a ligament better than HAPHE. So SUNDESOMOS is translated “ligament,” where HAPHE defaults back to “joint,” in both passages. Be it joint or ligament, the analogy is of the Pastor-Teacher, as teaching the Word of God is the principle reference.
Then we have EPICHOREGIA whose root meaning is, “sufficient support of provision for a choral dance troupe,” hence the metaphoric meaning of, “abundant support, or ample supply.” So by analogy, it comes to mean, “the abundant teaching of God’s Word.”
Therefore, we should translate this phrase as, “by means of that which every ligament, (Pastor-Teacher), abundantly supplies, (Bible Doctrine).”
Doctrine of Joints and Ligaments
A. Definition and Description.
1. From the Greek word HAPHE we get the word “joint” or better, “a ligament that connects.” Either way, it is used metaphorically for the Pastor-Teacher who teaches the Word of God that fits and holds together the Body of Jesus Christ. You could say that the Word of God is in view, as it is, but more specifically the one who teaches the Word is in view, as the main topic in and , is the provision and importance of the communication of Bible Doctrine to the Church.
2. By way of analogy, every part of the human body is linked by joints and connective tissue called ligaments. It is where bones or parts the skeletal structure are joined together. Joints and ligaments allow for motion and coordination of the entire human body. The joints and ligaments being used as one analogy in and , provide for the unity of the body and give it cohesion, because joints and ligaments are the point of contact and connection between various parts of the body. In analogy, all coordination in the body of Christ is based upon the function of joints and ligaments, which represent the Pastor who teaches the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age.
3. In 1 Cor 12, different parts of the body represent different members of the body of Christ in the exercise of their spiritual gifts. Different parts of the body represent the variety of differences among believers from the standpoint of spiritual gifts, varieties of ministry, and varieties of effects. Likewise, we all have different spiritual growth, progress, function, and personality, there are different parts to the body.
4. Regarding the joints, there too are differences in the body, so there are differences among Pastor-Teachers inside the Church. The spiritual gift is given to many different types of men with varying ministries, effects, personalities, vocations, attitudes, activities, functions in life, etc.
5. In analogy to “supply,” EPICHOREGIA, in the theatrical use, the joint or Pastor supplies everything necessary for the other members of the cast, (body of Christ), to learn, grow, mature, and perform. The casting director is God the Holy Spirit. In His marvelous sense of humor, He has given the gift of Pastor-Teacher to many different types of personalities.
7. All the members of the Royal Family of God are linked together by the doctrinal teaching of the Pastor, not by similarity of personalities, conformity to standards of legalism, human rapport concepts, nor conformity to false standards or doctrine. They are united by doctrinal teaching from the Pastor and resultant advance toward spiritual maturity. Christianity is not changing your personality to a certain mold, but it is growing spiritually through the perception of Bible doctrine.
8. There are all kinds of Pastors, just as there are all kinds of joints. The Pastor’s function must not be related to his personality, but to the content of his message. The less there is of content in the message, the more there is of emotional preaching and nonsense.
9. You can receive limited blessing from reading the Bible for yourself, but you can never learn how to execute the Plan of God for your life. Only the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is equipped to dig out the truth of the Mystery Doctrine and communicate it to you. Without joints, you go nowhere, both physically and spiritually.
B. Joints are the basis for exercise and building strength in the body.
1. As the basis for exercise and building strength in the body, without joints, the human body would atrophy. Likewise, without the faithful function of Pastor-Teachers, the body of Christ would lack spiritual growth and retrogress from lack of spiritual food, vitality, and power.
2. Muscle is constructed from consistent exercise, which involves the use of the joints. Repetitious and beneficial exercise involves the consistent and constant function of the joints. The constant use of the joints in exercise is analogous to the faithful and consistent teaching of Bible doctrine by whoever is your right Pastor-Teacher.
3. In the development of strength, the joints function against pressure, which they overcome through the function of their own perception, metabolization, and application of Bible Doctrine. So, there must be both pressure and the use of that which overcomes the pressure, (i.e., God’s Word, especially the Eleven Problem Solving Devices). This applies to both the Pastor and those in his congregation.
4. As a result of the congregation’s consistent perception of the Mystery Doctrine, the believer becomes the muscle of the body, possessing definition, symmetry, strength, endurance, and coordination. This is analogous to the believer’s advance through the three stages of spiritual adulthood by which an invisible hero is manufactured.
C. Joints provide body action.
1. By analogy, every function and action in life must be motivated by thought energy. For the spiritual life, it is the Divine viewpoint printed on the neurons of the brain in the form of metabolized Bible doctrine. Two categories of doctrine cause you to function and grow spiritually.
a. EPIGNOSIS is the metabolized doctrine that goes into your right lobe.
b. SOPHIA is the metabolized doctrine on the launching pad of your right lobe being applied to experience in life.
2. Joints provide the information so that the body of Christ can have action, (function and grow spiritually), which refers to believers who grow spiritually, produce Divine good, serve others, glorify God, and become invisible heroes.
3. Body action can be described in terms of expending tremendous energy. The atom represents energy with its core of protons, neurons, and electrons in the outer ring. The power that holds the atom together, or the energy locked in the atom, equals its mass times the speed of light squared. This energy or power is nothing compared to metabolized Bible doctrine in the right lobe printed on the neurons of the brain.
4. The faithful teaching of the omnipotent Word of God by Pastors, provides the dynamic energy for the Royal Family of God, reflected in the use of Problem Solving Devices and in the execution of the Plan of God for their life.
D. Joints provide body coordination.
1. Without the function of the joints, there would be neither body action nor body coordination. Without the faithful teaching of the Pastor, there would be no fulfillment of the Plan of God and therefore, no invisible heroes to have impact in five areas, Personal, Historical, International, Angelic, or Heritage.
Karl Von Clausewitz wrote the book, “On War.” In book one of chapter three, he said, “Every specific calling in life requires special qualities of intellect and temperament. When these are of a high order and manifest themselves by extraordinary achievements, the mind to which they belong is termed genius. Genius is a superior mental capacity for certain activities. The essence of military genius is to bring under consideration all of the tendencies of mind and soul in combination toward the business of war. We say “in combination,” for military genius is not just one single quality bearing on war, as for instance courage, but it is a harmonious combination of powers in which one or the other may predominate, but none must be in opposition.”
a. Our special calling is the fact that we were elected into the Royal Family of God at the moment of our salvation. Now our life has meaning, purpose, and definition. Therefore, special qualities are required of us.
b. By attaining spiritual maturity, you should become a spiritual genius.
c. “All of the tendencies of mind and soul” refers to our concentration on the message under the filling of the Spirit.
d. When we have different parts of ourself in opposition, we are living the fragmented life in the cosmic system. For none to be in opposition, we must attain spiritual self-esteem, which requires the consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. You must consistently listen to the teaching of a prepared Pastor.
2. Just as military genius must have the coordination of all of its faculties, so the body of Christ must have the coordination of all the spiritual gifts, which function to the maximum when the believer involved has attained spiritual maturity.
3. This coordination depends upon the communication of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age by whomever is your right Pastor-Teacher. Therefore, body coordination demands communication of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age by the Pastor-Teacher, so that tactical victories and winners may be produced in very generation of the Church Age.
Therefore, joints are the basis for building muscle and strength in the body. Without joints the human body would be in a state of atrophy. Without Pastor-Teachers, Christianity, the Royal Family, would be in a state of spiritual atrophy on the earth. If you want to have muscles, you have to bend at the joints. Repetitious exercise demands the use of joints (sometimes this is painful). Repetitious exercise is analogous to repetitious GAPing to super-grace. Using the joints in exercise is like using the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP). The inevitable result of exercise is muscle, strength, endurance, coordination, and so on. The inevitable result of GAP under the authority and teaching of the joint / Pastor-Teacher, is the construction of the Edification Complex of the Soul, (ECS), and entrance into the super-grace life. Joints also provide body action and body coordination. Every function and action in life must be motivated by doctrine and the mental attitude dynamics of Divine viewpoint. Therefore, Bible teaching from the Pastor is like the joints that make action, coordination, and team function possible. Without the function of joints, there would be no body action and no coordination for tactical victories inside the Angelic Conflict.
Next, we have, “according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
In the second half of the final verse of our section, we see that in addition to the fact that a mature Christian will be stable and obedient, it also will result in a coordinated “body” with each member fulfilling his function. Just as the human body grows as a total organism with each part being involved, so the body of Christ grows when believers allow Christ His rightful place in their hearts, as they do their part in the total process.
“According to the proper working of each individual part,” tells us that the Pastor does not build the Church on his own, but that it takes all of us working together to build the body of Jesus Christ. The Pastor has an important role to play by teaching the truth of God’s Word and nothing but the truth, yet every individual member must do their part as well.
“According to” is the Preposition KATA that tells us of God’s Plan for the building of the body of Christ through each individual believer working in conjunction with the other members of the body.
“The proper” is the Dative singular of EN METRON that means, “measure.” The broad meaning of this word includes the standard by which something is measured. We noted this word in vs. 13, regarding the standard measurement for our spiritual growth being that of Jesus Christ’s, which we are able to emulate. Here, it represents the standard that God has assigned or allotted to each individual part in the exercise of their spiritual gift. In other words, God has a plan for your life and the exercise of your spiritual gift. We are to follow that plan, and never think we need to do more or less, than what God has planned for us. That is what Paul was saying in , “But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.”
Two things come from this.
1. First you should never fool yourself, if you are living inside of Satan’s cosmic system and not having much spiritual impact that is all God has designed for you to do, thereby remaining in the cosmic system and not advancing spiritually and not having much impact.
2. Second, if you are living inside of God’s Plan for your life and having impact, you should never think that you are a failure because you are not doing more.
God has allotted or assigned our gift, service for application of our gift, and the effect or impact we would have utilizing our gift inside of His Plan, .
“Proper” also means to utilize your spiritual gift in the way God has designed it for the Church Age. Remember there are pre-Canon gifts and post-Canon gifts. We should not claim or try to use pre-Canon gifts in the post-Canon era. Likewise, we are not to bastardize, abuse or wrongly apply our spiritual gifts. Tongues is a great example of or pre-Canon gift being tried to apply in the post-Canon era. In trying to apply that gift today, they do not even use it in the right way, that is, to speak in a legitimate foreign language for today, one that they never learned or spoke before, so that those whose native tongue it is, can understand their message, which should be the gospel of Jesus Christ or the truth of Bible doctrine principles found in the Word of God. But because we have the completed Canon of Scripture that is translated into just about every language in the world, this gift is no longer necessary. But as always we leave room for the grace of God, where there may be a tribe deep in the jungle somewhere who do not have a Bible translation or anyone who can speak that language, where a missionary could come in and speak their language to give them the gospel. If this were to occur, it would be extremely rare. However, if you ask any missionaries today, the first thing they do is try to learn the native language. Therefore, “proper” also means doing a right thing in a right way.
Then we have “working” which is ENERGEIA, ἐνέργεια that means, “working, power, or efficiency.” We have noted this word twice previously in ; . In both of those instances, it was concerning the power of God working in our lives, including the giving of spiritual gifts cf. ; ; 2 12; .
It should be translated, “according to the operational power.” The operational power is God the Holy Spirit controlling the Pastor-Teacher in his preparation and teaching, and controlling the Royal Priests in their listening and learning of God’s Word. God the Holy Spirit is the one who makes every part of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP), function from the deliverance to the reception.
In our passage, ENEREGIA refers to the application of our spiritual gift, which, as you know, can only be accomplished through the power of God working in us. That means that the Word of God must be resident and applied within our souls and we must be filled with the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit.
, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”
When we are in line with the Word and Spirit, the power of God is “working” inside of us and in the appropriate application of our spiritual gifts.
This “proper working” is “of each individual part,” which is from the Adjective HEKASTOS, “each or every,” the Cardinal number HEIS, “one,” and MEROS, “part, portion, piece, or allotment.” Therefore, the whole is benefited when each individual part does their job. God has a Plan for each one of us. When we execute and fulfill that Plan, the whole body is blessed and God’s Plan for the overall body is fulfilled. This does not say that if we do not fulfill God’s Plan for our individual lives, His overall Plan fails too. We have to keep in mind God’s Omniscience and Omnipotence. If one member fails, God will raise up another so that His overall Plan is fulfilled.
However, in our passage, when we do our part inside the body of Christ it, “causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
“Causes the growth” is POIEO, “to do or make,” Ho AUXESIS that means, “growth or increase.”
POIEO, ποιέω is in the Present, Middle, Indicative. The Extending from Past Preset tense is for action begun in the past that continues into the present, with the emphasis being on the present time. The Middle Voice says the action has an effect or benefit back to the one who is producing the action. The Indicative mood is for the reality that when we do our jobs individually, the collective body of Jesus Christ grows. So this encompasses the overall process of the provisions from Jesus Christ giving His Church prepared Pastor-Teachers who do their job so that each individual member can to their job too. When all is in coordination, the body of Christ grows. Therefore, when we function in our spiritual gifts towards others, it has a benefit back to us as members of the Body of Christ, in that we too will grow spiritually and be part of a stronger body.
“Growth,” is the noun AUXESIS, αὔξησις that refers to the increase or growth of that which lives either physically or spiritually. But, in the NT only, in regard to spiritual growth, it is used for the spiritual growth of the members of the Church as the body of Christ. It is used only here and in the parallel verse of , where both the Verb AUXANO and the Noun AUXESIS are used and states that the Church “grows as God causes it to grow.” Therefore, the exhortation in our passage is that we individually, in the exercise of our spiritual gift, have an impact on the overall body of Christ, to increase its numbers and increase its level of spiritual maturity. God uses us all in that endeavor, not just the communication gifts.
This growth is “of the body,” HO SOMA meaning the body of Jesus Christ, of which He is the head, and “for the building up,” which EIS, “unto,” and OIKODOME, “building, edifice, or edification.”
This building up or edification that means, “spiritual growth,” that also has a benefit back to ourselves using the Middle voice, goes with the next words, “of itself,” which is the personal Pronoun, HEAUTOU, meaning “himself, herself, or one’s self.” Therefore, the individual who serves others with their spiritual gift has an impact on the overall body of Jesus Christ and on themselves. Both increase or grow spiritually.
Our last words tell us of the sphere in which we apply our spiritual gifts, “in Love,” the Dative case of EN plus AGAPE, that means impersonal and unconditional love, as we noted above in . The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, says that AGAPE, “Expresses a love that wills to initiate a relationship and shows kindness and self-sacrifice regardless of whether the object of the love is worthy or even likable. Thus, it is a love that does not depend on emotional response. Rather, it is an expression of the nature and character of the one who loves.”
As a believer Priest and Ambassador, as well as, a member of the Royal Family of God, AGAPE love can only be expressed through us when we are saturated with God’s Word and are filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in the exercise of our beneficial spiritual gift, we are to do so in the sphere of God’s AGAPE love, .
, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Pastor-Teachers are placed in the Church by Christ to help equip the saints so they in turn can minister and help others mature in the Lord. Even the Apostles were concerned about being able to give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, , and a careful study of chapter 6 will show that the Apostles considered themselves, “in the service of the Word” or “the deacon of the Word.” The first obligation of Shepherd-Pastors is to pray and expound God’s Word. If the Pastor is not allowed to focus in those areas, the congregation can grow only to a certain point, because one person can accomplish only so much. However, it is refreshing to see a local assembly where most of the members are involved in some kind of ministry. That church will be a growing assembly, meeting the needs of people in the area and reaching the lost for Christ. They will personally grow spiritually, and at the same time grow and edify the overall body of Jesus Christ.
We now begin the second half of Chapter 4 that includes vs. 17-32.
By way of review, in the first half of Chapter 4 the main theme was, “The Believer’s Walk in Unity; God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church to Build the Church,” .
Concerning our “walk in unity,” this half was broken down into the three sections including:
1. The Appeal to Preserve Unity, Walking worthy of the calling by which we have been called, .
2. The Basis for Unity, The seven unities given to us by God, .
3. The Means of Unity, The ministry gifts of Christ Given to His body, , where we also noted two sub topics including:
a. Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension proclaimed, as well as being the giver of gifts, vs. 8-10.
b. The purpose of our gifts; building up of the body of Christ, individually and collectively, vs. 12-16.
Now in the second half of Chapter 4, we will note, “The Believer’s Walk in Righteousness; God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church,” .
This half is broken down into two sections:
1. The Previous Walk of the Old Life, .
2. The Present Walk of the New Life, , that has two points.
a. The New Man in Christ Jesus, vs. 20-29.
b. The Believer as indwelt by the Spirit, vs. 30-32.
Having seen in the first half, God’s prescription for “The Practice of Believers,”
1. In Relation to Other Believers, .
2. In Relation to Spiritual Gifts, .
Now we will note the practice of believers:
3. In Relation to the Former Life, .
In addition, as we have seen, our spiritual walk in Christ should be:
1. A walk that is worthy, .
2. A walk that expresses doctrinal unity, .
3. A walk in application of our ministry of gifts, .
Now in the second half we see that our spiritual walk should also be:
4. A walk as a regenerated man, .
5. A walk as indwelt by the Holy Spirit, .
Therefore, we begin the second half of Chapter 4 with the backdrop theme:
The Believer’s Walk in Righteousness
God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church,
Section 1: The Previous Walk of the Old Life, .
Here we will note the practice of believers in relation to the former life, , and that our spiritual walk should be as a regenerated man, .