Main point summary
The church is established by God in oneness but also in diversity of gifts for the purpose of maturity. Therefore Paul begs the church to walk in a way that measures up to their calling - striving for unity and peace.
I therefore, m a prisoner for the Lord, urge you
to n walk in a manner worthy of o the calling
to which you have been called ,
with all p humility and q gentleness,
with r patience,
s bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in t the bond of peace.
There is u one body
and v one Spirit —
just as you were called to the one w hope
that belongs to your call —
x one Lord,
y one faith,
z one baptism,
a one God and Father of all,
b who is over all
and through all
and in all.
But c grace was given d to each one of us
e according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says,
f “When he ascended on high
g he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.” 1
( h In saying,
what does it mean
but that he had also descended into i the lower regions, the earth? 1
He who descended
is the one who also j ascended k far above all the heavens,
that he might l fill all things.)
And m he gave the n apostles,
the o evangelists,
the p shepherds 1
and teachers, 2
q to equip the saints for the work of ministry,
for r building up s the body of Christ,
until we all attain to t the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
u to mature manhood, 1
to the measure of the stature of v the fullness of Christ,
so that we may no longer be children,
w tossed to and fro by the waves
and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in x deceitful schemes.
Rather, y speaking the truth by truthing in love,
we are to z grow up in every way into him who is a the head, into Christ,
b from whom the whole body [makes bodily growth],
joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,
c when each part is working in measure working properly ,
makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The effective call to be a Christian: 1:4, 12, 18-19; 2:10, 3:10-12 to the praise of God's glory the calling of faith (salvation/Christianity) living lives of holiness displaying the multifaceted wisdom of God to the heavenly rulers
God's power is already at work (1:19-21) and Paul has prayed for it and so walk in the light of that mighty power
i.e. move step by step
Cf. Col 3:5-17
the participle is probably functioning as the goal of all the virtues prior
not create, but maintain
(cf. Col 2:19 - body parts bonded together) what Christ has achieved through his Spirit (cf. 2:11-22 )
1:23, 2:15-16 (cf. 2:20-22), 3:5-6 See 4:12, 16; 5:23, 30
The sign of the new age under the new covenant. cf. Lk 24:49 , Acts 1:6-8 ; 2:16-39 Also, seen before in the letter: 2:16-22
cf. 1:10-14, 1:18, 2:7, 2:12, 1 Pet 1:3-5, Rom 5:2, Col 1:27, 3:15
Just as the church (Jew and Gentile) was called (see note on v1) to a singular hope, it makes sense that there be a single united body in the one Spirit. This hope stemmed from the church being an entity that displayed God's multifaceted wisdom —as they maintained the reconciliation bought by Christ (cf. 2:11-22). Now, with bold access to the Father, as the multi-ethnic dwelling place of God, there is hope to much more in Christ (cf. 1:9-10, 18).
Paul's usage of 'call' is consistently effective - referring to our calling to faith as Christ-followers See: https://www.esv.org/search/?q=called&sort=reference&phrase=no&forms=yes&source=bible&product=&category=&book=Romans-Revelation&page=1
Note the Trinity and the unities that stem from the unity of the Godhead
The work of the Spirit seen already in building up the body - 2:20-22
The call of Christianity is more or less the basis of oneness in body. After all, from a point of no hope (2:11-12) we now look forward to a uniting of all things in Christ (1:10)
Jesus is the object of our faith and an outworking of that faith is seen in baptism (water and spiritual). We also see the progression from body (ver 4) to head (1:22, 4:15-16) to God over all 2:4-10 (note the baptism language), 3:12 It is only natural, then, that one Lord would head up this listing (Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:11). Jesus is the one through whom all these benefits are filtered. It is no wonder he is also called the head of the church (1:22; 4:15–16). Elsewhere in the letter, Christ serves as the central figure in redemption (1:7), hope (1:12) and reconciliation (2:13–18). It is also significant that in a Jewish Greek-speaking context the confession of a person as Lord (kyrios) would point to the confession of God as one Lord from Deuteronomy 6:4, while for the Ephesians in particular the confession would exclude giving Artemis or any other god, not to mention any emperor, such a description. Its placement next to the coming confession of the ‘one God’ shows the ‘conceptual tensions’ of Trinitarian logic. Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (p. 104). IVP. Kindle Edition.
cf. Col 2:12, 1 Cor 12:13, Eph 2:4-7, Rom 6:1-4
An issue in the verse is whether the all here is masculine, referring to all believers, or is neuter, referring to all things. This decision is a close call. Usually when Paul refers to God as Father, he has familial relationships in mind (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Col. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:16; Phlm. 3). That favours a reference to believers.8 In verse 7, Paul will be speaking of gifts given by grace to ‘us’, with only believers in view. Support for the term all meaning ‘all things’ throughout the verse comes from confessions like Romans 11:36 and Colossians 1:16–17 which hold to the sovereignty of God over all things and all being created for him and through him. ‘All things’ are said to hold together in him. ‘All’ is also a cosmic term elsewhere in Ephesians (1:10, 22–23; 3:9). The question seems to come down to whether the phrase ‘he is in everything’ (author’s translation) applies to all people or only to believers. That point would appear to be unique to believers who have the gift of the Spirit. All things may be from God and through God; all things may hold together in him; but the presence of God is only in those who respond to him (1:22–23).9 God has authority over all, but relationally he is closest as family to believers. The only way to read in all as applying to ‘all’ is to do so eschatologically in the suggestion that God will eventually express his presence and fullness in all the creation when he judges it. Ephesians 1:23 might go in this direction, and makes the choice a difficult one. The nearer context, however, indicates that the reference is to believers, as the emphasis is on what God has done for them in building unity. So God has authority over all in the church, and is present working through and in all of them. Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (pp. 104-105). IVP. Kindle Edition.
cf. 1:3, 5, 17; 2:17-22; 3:14, 19
δέ deh /dé/ Conjunction strongs : G1161 source : a primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, on the other hand, and I think that Paul intended the idea of diverse giftings underscoring the unity of the church. Although the members shared in sameness, there was tremendous diversity through the grace of our victorious captor - Jesus.
Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:4–11, 28–31 God and the Spirit are also seen as givers elsewhere
The LXX and MT have 'receive', but it appears that Paul is using the whole Psalm to point to the idea of God's victory - here, Christ's victory. Rather than use the whole Psalm, it looks like he changes this word to make a second point —that a result of triumph is gifting to the conquerors allies. This triumphal idea is not new (1:20–23; 2:5–6; 3:10; cf. 6:12) and if this was his main point, then there would be very little difference if he changed the verb or not. Nonetheless the switch has strong allusions to Numbers 8:9-19 (esp. Num 8:18-19) where the Levites are given to the king (God) to be given to the people. This is supported by a similar use in Genesis 18:1-8. From the ESV Study Bible In Ps. 68:18, the divine victor is seen “receiving gifts among men,” but Paul adapts the passage to his purposes (as NT authors sometimes do in citing the OT) to show that Christ gave gifts to his people from his spoils of victory (interestingly, ancient Syriac and Aramaic translations of Ps. 68:18 also have “gave”). The “gifts” given by Christ turn out to be the church leaders described in Eph. 4:11. The captives over whom Christ triumphed are most likely demons (cf. this theme of victory over demonic forces in 1:19–22).
In the psalm God’s past faithfulness to his people reaches a climax in his ascent to Mount Zion, and that ascent holds promise for the salvation of his people in even more glorious ways in the present and future. God will rescue them from death, deal their enemies far and wide a fatal blow, and receive the worship of the earth’s rulers. Paul believed that this time of God’s salvation had started with the ascent of Christ to the “Mount Zion” of God’s right hand. Acting in the role of God himself in Ps. 68:17–18, Christ had triumphed over the cosmic forces arrayed against God’s people. From his lofty and newly-won position on the eschatological Zion, he distributed gifts to God’s people. These gifts would enable them to become, as a people, the “mature man” (Eph. 4:13) that God created humanity to be. DA Carson, GK Beale
Cf. 1:10, 23, 2:21-22, 3:19 Two allusions God's repeated purpose for all things: "the earth may be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea" Which is seen in part when YHWH fills the tabernacle/temple Now the church is that temple (2:22) and soon the whole earth will be the dwelling place of God, the culmination of the mission of the church and the promises of God, pivoting around the work of Christ (descent-ascent). That leads to an effective presence and filling in the church (1:22–23). These descriptions of Jesus present a view that does not leave him only as a prophet or messiah, but as one who has cosmic sovereignty, a description in a Jewish context reserved for deity (Jer. 23:24). The Christ of glory fills the creation with his glory and gives gifts to his church to show himself at work. Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (pp. 107-108). IVP. Kindle Edition.
Among all the things that Paul talks about in parentheses, he talks primarily about the ascension of the king to a place of power (cf. 1:20-23) and the purpose of that ascension —filling all things. As soon as we talk of ascent, it by default implies Phil 2:6-11.
Cf. Phil 2:6-11
Only 5 gifts are mentioned, and they are mentioned as people - catalysts of unity, growth and maturity in the church. Unlike 1 Cor 12 and Rom 12, these seem to focus on the gifts that lead the rest of the gifted individuals to build the church to be the dwelling place of God. Apostles and prophets were already noted in Eph 2:20 as foundational gifts, as the base of the temple, that is, the church. They also had the mystery revealed to them (3:5). They planted churches and mediated revelation from God. Apostles means more than the Twelve (cf. Acts 14:14; 1 Cor. 9:1–6; Gal. 1:19; 1 Thess. 2:6–7). They are seen as specially commissioned for this task. The church still functions off of their work, as the New Testament is a product of those who functioned in such a role. How prophets work in a church service is discussed in 1 Corinthians 14. More than prediction is in view: prophets sometimes provide guidance and exhortation (cf. Acts 11:28; 13:1–3; 15:32; 21:10–11). Evangelists are only mentioned again in 2 Timothy 4:5, as a description of Timothy, and in Acts 21:8, about Philip. They are tasked with taking the gospel to the world. Pastors and teachers are tied together closely by one article. There is a question whether this is one office with two characteristics, or two very related offices. Ephesians 2:20 uses the same construction for two roles. Pastors , as shepherds, were to lead, teach and protect the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:1–4). In fact, pastors were expected to be teachers (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9). The Pastoral Epistles show what is involved in this role. ‘Elder’ and ‘bishop’ are related terms in the New Testament (Acts 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:1). adapted from Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (p. 108). IVP. Kindle Edition.
The focus on the 5 roles above is to equip all in the church for service that the building up of the church may result. No one is exempted. ALL are called to ministry with one big aim: the building up of the church, which ties into God's eschatological purposes of filling all things (ver 10)
Tied in with the head-body imagery
Cf. 3:19 see ver 15, 21 This is knowledge not just in terms of ideas, but expressed living (including speaking the truth in love - ver 15). Intimacy that results in action. This is directly opposed to ver 14. The allusion to truth/knowledge (ver 15) looks both forward to ver 21 and back to Eph 3:19, as well as to Eph 1:4 with its goal of making us holy and blameless. This has already begun, but will be consummated in the eschaton.
The Davidic title, akin to Christ
There is a temporal nature to these gifts - until God's purposes are fulfilled.
The statement about faith looks back to the unity of the ‘one faith’ in Eph 4:5. The allusion to truth looks both forward to Eph 4:15, 21 and back to Eph 3:19, as well as to Eph 1:4 with its goal of making us holy and blameless. Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (p. 110). IVP. Kindle Edition.
Deut 18:13, Matt 5:48
cf. Col 1:28
It is the usage of the gifts that can either prevent or enable maturity. And this is the danger of not using the gifts: immaturity
These gifts prevent the error of immaturity, so that we are no longer like children who are affected by the shifting forces of life, depicted as both waves and wind[s] (cf. Jude 12–13). Children lack the ability to discern and to exercise careful judgment about circumstances. They are like a boat at sea that is unable to deal with the elements. Maturity, however, can navigate its way through the turbulence. The remark is individualized here as infants in contrast to the singular mature person of the previous verse, for all need to apply themselves. To get to the collective, each person must engage in application. So the point is to be aware of what is going on around you and to exercise the discernment that good teaching produces. Good teaching produces a stability that enables one to weather the storm (Matt. 7:24–27; Luke 6:47–49). Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (pp. 110-111). IVP. Kindle Edition.
Cf. 6:11 There is evil intent in these schemes, and we cannot ignore the powers at work behind them. Like the warning in Hebrews 5-6, destruction is not far from immaturity. Nonetheless we do know the power that we have working for us.
The offices mentioned above have the role of truthing —not just speaking truth, although that is included, but doing truth and incarnating truth. This is made all the more explicit by the manner: 'in love' and the goal: 'grow in every way into...Christ'. Good leaders and teachers use words and actions to bring about transformation and maturity as they speak and protect and authentically live out Christlikeness, guided by the head!
Not a specific deception/heresy, but generally beware. Cf. 1 Thess. 2:3; 2 Thess. 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:17; 1 John 4:6; Jude 11
Translation from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (p. 112). IVP. Kindle Edition.
Christ is the source of growth, but that does not negate the responsibility of each joint.
Cf. 2:20-22; 3:6
As truthing in love happens in the church, the body grows only to increase in love.
As in a building cf. 2:19-22
knit together as a string of arguments, tying together ver 14-15
Putting this all together with the rest of the letter, the linkage involves people of various backgrounds and gifts of various types. As each part of the body effectively is in contact with the others, the body works together as it is designed to do. The emphasis on connection is obvious and purposeful. Believers are never meant to function as individualistic islands. The stress on the role of each within the corporate structure comes next, with the reference to each one working properly, or ‘in measure’. It is this verse that undercuts a too excessive distinction between clergy and lay members. All are to contribute. Each member applies the measure he or she has been given by Christ to make the body work well and grow to a spiritual maturity rooted in love. Paul alternates between the metaphors of a building and a bodily organism because the church can be seen as both – a holy temple and a unified new man. Bock, Darrell L.; Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (pp. 112-113). IVP. Kindle Edition.
THE WALK OF UNITY (4:1-16) The Command: Walk in Unity (4:1-3) 4:1 After praising God and praying for power, Paul now begs the church to walk step by step according to this calling of faith —a calling to live in the light of God's infinite power at work (cf. 1:20-23) 4:2-3 How does one walk in the light of this power? a. with humility and gentleness b. with patience and loving forbearance And thus, our responsibility of fighting to maintain the Spirit-wrought unity in Christ-bought peace is fulfilled. 1. What is our motivation in Christian living? Is it God's power at work? 2. What is the worth of my calling in my own mind? 3. What areas of humility, gentleness, patience and love can I work on —keeping in mind the worth of our calling and God's power at work? 4. What does eagerness to maintain unity look like in my life and church? Ground 1: Unity in and through the Trinity ( 4:4-6 ) 4:4-6 This call to walk worthy —maintaining unity— is grounded in the oneness of the Godhead. There can be only one Christian body, only one Christian hope, only one Christian faith, and only one Christian baptism, and only one Christian family, because there is only one God: Holy Spirit, the Son who is Lord and the Father of all. 1. How does my view of God affect my striving for unity? What needs to change about my view of God? How practical is the doctrine of the Trinity in this regard? Ground 2: Diversity for the sake of Maturity (4:7-16) 4:7-10 The other ground for walking worthily is the reality that while there is unity, there is also diversity within the church in proportion to what the conquering Christ has gifted to each person, in grace. Paul uses Ps 68:18 to prove the triumph of the Messiah and his present position of power by which he gives gifts to his people. The cosmic purpose for this echoes Eph 1:10 —that he might fill all things with the glory of God. 4:11-13 This diversity is seen in the church having apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherd and teachers —given to equip believers for serving-work so that they can use their gifts to build up the body of the King. This serves an even greater purpose — the church's unity in faith and intimacy with the Son of God, i.e., maturity, i.e., Christlikeness 4:14-16 This equipping is needed to prevent unstable, destructive immaturity and instead, as the church lives authentic lives of love (enabled by the use of the gifts), she grows into Christ, the head, who is the source of all growth. And this is not devoid of responsibility: as each member uses their gifts, the whole body builds and grows itself up in the very love it applies. 1. How tangible is Christ's victory and power at work in my life and in the church? 2. Considering Christ's gifts to me and the church has both corporate and cosmic purposes, how then should I live? How do I use my gifts in the light of this? 3. How important is church maturity for me? How do I serve that purpose using the gifts Christ has given? 4. How does the consequences of immaturity (destruction) enable 'truthing' in love? 5. Is my life a life of authentic, truthing love that builds the body? 6. In my teaching, do I seek to equip and love? 7. How valuable is my own Christlikeness to me? How valuable is the Christlikeness of my brothers and sisters to me? How valuable is the Christlikeness of Christ's the church to me? How valuable to me is the cosmic purpose of this Christlikeness?