Ephesians 4: 7-16, unity in diversity
VV 7-10, 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”, what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ gave grace and spiritual gifts to all Christians in proportion to their faith. According to their level of faith, some may receive more and others may receive less. Ephesians 4:9 is problematic. Does this verse mean that Jesus Christ descended into hell before His resurrection, as stated in the apostles’ creed? Most biblical scholars do not think so. One interpretation on “He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth” just means that Jesus Christ was buried into the grave before His resurrection.
Ephesians 4:8 is a quotation from Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there”.
1 Peter 4:6, “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit”.
VV 11-13, 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Jesus Christ raised up leaders to equip, edify, teach, and unite the body of Christ, the church, through the 5 fold ministries. These are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Although there is a diversity of spiritual gifts, there is unity in one Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:6-8, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation, he who gives, with liberality, he who leads, with diligence, he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness”.
1 Cor 12: 7-10, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all, for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gift of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kind of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues”.
V 14, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
The diversity of spiritual gifts is for sanctification, maturity in the Christian faith, and discernment of false doctrines taught by false teachers.
VV 15-16, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supply, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Paul commanded his audience (and us), to speak the truth in love to other Christians with a pure motive and a sincere heart. Jesus Christ is the head of the body of Christ, the church, and Christians are the different parts of the body connected together into a living organism.
Colossians 1: 18, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”.
Colossians 3:15, ‘’Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful”.
1 Cor 1:27, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it”.
1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit”.