The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 4:11-12 ~ The Communication Spiritual Gift of Pastor-Teacher

Vol. 15 No. 32 – August 28, 2016

 Shepherd Eph 4 vs 11-12 Shepherd the flock

The Fourth Communication Gift of Authority:

The Permanent Gift of Pastor-Teacher.

Definition and Etymology:

Pastors and Teachers are demeaned to be one gift, not two, due to the context 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, Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28-29; Heb 5:12; James 3:1; cf. John 21:15-17; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 9:7; 1 Peter 5:1-3.

Pastor-Teacher is the supernatural ability to shepherd a group of believers, sometimes called in Scripture the “flock,” 1 Peter 5:2, 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, 1 Cor 12:28. There is no higher authority spiritual gift today.

The appointment of the Pastor-Teacher is described in 1 Cor 12:11, 28. 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, Eph 4:12-16.

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 Eph 4:11 before “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, Eph 4:11‑16, (“joint” is the Pastor Teacher too), and in 1 Tim 3:1-7; Acts 18:24-28.

POIMEN

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, (Gen 46:32, 34, Ezek 34:7f., Zech 11:3), 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. Ezekiel 34:1ff.). 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 Eph 4:11, 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, Luke 2:8ff.

In the New Testament, POIMEN is used for:

  1.) The spiritual shepherds of Israel, Mat 9:36; Mark 6:34.

  2.) Shepherds in the field, especially those that received the announcement of the birth of the Messiah, Luke 2:8-20.

  3.) God Himself, in parable, Mat 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7.

  4.) Jesus Christ Himself, both literally and metaphorically as the “Good Shepherd,” Mat 26:31; Mark 14:27, (quoted from Zech. 13:7); John 10:2, 11-16; Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4; the Messianic Shepherd promised in the OT, Ezek. 34:23; 37:24, by:

  • Gathering the lost sheep of Israel, (and the nations), cf. Mat 10:6; 15:24; Luke 19:10, with Ezek 34.
  • Giving His life for the sheep, Mat 14:27-28; 26:31-32; Mark 14:27-28; John 10:11; Zech 13:7-9.
  • Gathering His flock, the Church, and caring for them.
  • Separating the sheep from the goats on the Day of Judgment, Mat 25:31-32.
  • Allowing the sheep to know their Shepherd, John 10:2-16.
  • Not allowing anyone to snatch them out of His hand, John 10:27f., speaking of the believer’s eternal security.
  • Providing for our eternal needs and comfort, Rev 7:17.

  5.) Spiritual leaders for local assemblies during the Church Age, Eph 4:11, as prophesied in the OT.

Jer 3:15, “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.”

Only in our passage, Eph 4:11, 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 John 21:16, “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 Acts 20:28, “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 1 Peter 5:2, “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, Jer 23:2-4, as also identified in the NT as overseers of local congregations, Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-2. These men are called to shepherd God’s people by declaring His message accurately, Jer 23:18-22.

Pastor, meaning “shepherd,” indicates that the local church is a flock of sheep, Acts 20:28, and it is the Pastor’s responsibility to feed and lead the flock, 1 Peter 5:1-4, (“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, John 21:15-16. In comparing John 21 with Eph 4:11, 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.

Mat 28:19-20, “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. Eph 3:7‑13. 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. Mat 12:41; 1 Cor 1:21; 2:4; 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11; 2 Peter 2:5.

1 Tim 2:7, “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 Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11. 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, Heb 5:12.

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., Mat 23:7-8; 26:25, 49; Mark 9:5; 10:51; 11:21; 14:45. Like POIMEN, Jesus Christ came from God as “The Teacher,” God’s spokesman, John 3:2; Heb 1:1.

  2.) Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a “Teacher” during the Church Age, John 14:26; 16:12-14. Yet, The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit is inseparably joined with the teaching ministry of Jesus, John 16:13, “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, Mat 28:20; cf. Acts 6:4. Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles was a “teacher of the Gentiles,” 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11. 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 John 14:26; 16:12-14, was fulfilled in part by the Apostles. Through the Spirit, Jesus Himself taught through the Apostles, Luke 10:16.

Luke 10:16, “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, Eph 4:11. This term is synonymous with the “Overseers / Bishops / Guardians,” EPISKOPOS, and “Elders” PRESBUTEROS of the Church, who ought to have a teaching ability, John 21:15-17; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:1-4.

Acts 20:28, “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.”

1 Peter 5:2, “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.”

John 21:15-17, “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, Eph 4:12-13.

The duty of the Teacher is to express the “unfathomable / unsearchable riches of Christ,” Eph 3:8. As the Shepherd, the Teacher is responsible for protecting the Church against the false teachings that may threaten it, Eph 4:14; cf. 1 Tim 4:13, 16. 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, 1 Peter 5:2-3, 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 1 Peter 5:2-3; cf. John 10:4-5, 27. 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, Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, Christ will one day call His “undershepherds” to account for the sheep they have been entrusted with, James 3:1f; 1 Peter 5:1-4. 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 Eph 4:11, 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, Heb 6:10.

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 no longer are 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.

Vs. 12

The reason why our Lord gave these four communication spiritual gifts; there purpose.

Eph 4:12, “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, Eph 2:19-22, and holy priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9, which offers spiritual sacrifices, 1 Peter 2:5.

1 Peter 2:5, “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, Eph 1:4, and being reconciled to God at the moment of salvation, we have been made positionally holy before God, Col 1:22, in which we currently stand as part of our royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:5, 9. Therefore, it emphasizes our relationship with God the Father based on position in Christ Jesus.

Eph 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”

Col 1:21-22, “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.

Principle

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, Rom 12:1, and here, as His servant, the Pastor-Teacher is to offer ministry to His body.

Rom 12:1, “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 Eph 2:21, 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 Eph 4:16, 29.

2 Cor 12:19, “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, 2 Cor 10:8; 13:10, as was that of Prophets, 1 Cor 14:3, 5, 12; as well as the Pastor-Teacher, Eph 4:12. In fact, Paul declared that the task of every believer is the edification or upbuilding of the community of believers, Rom 15:2; 1 Cor 14:26. Therefore, whatever ministry takes place in the community of believers ought to contribute to this edification of the believers in love, 1 Cor 14:26; Eph 4:16, 29.

1 Peter 2:5, “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, Rom 12:4f.; 1 Cor 12:12f. 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,” 1 Cor 12:13, and each believer belongs to the body of Christ, Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12:27, where Christ is the Head of the body and to whom all others are subordinate, Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18; 2:19. As the body of Christ, the Church is to mature and to strive for unity, Eph 4:1-6. Through the grace of the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of Pastor-Teacher, God builds and edifies His Church, Eph 4:4, 12; cf. 1 Cor 12:27.

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.

Summary

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 of 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 Eph 3:19.

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins.  He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

 

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