Harmony And Oneness
Harmony And Oneness
■ noun (plural unities)
1 the state of being united.
▶ a thing forming a complex whole.
2 Mathematics the number one.
3 a dramatic principle requiring limitation of the supposed time of a drama to that occupied in acting it or to a single day (unity of time), use of one scene throughout (unity of place), or concentration on a single plot (unity of action).
—ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French unite, from Latin unitas, from unus ‘one’.
1. THE BASIS OF UNITY (4:1–6)
1. THE BASIS OF UNITY (4:1–6)
a. Exhortation to unity (4:1–3).
(live a life) worthy of their calling
be completely humble
b. Elements of unity (4:4–6).
just as you were called to one hope when you were called,
One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all
2. THE PRESERVATION OF UNITY (4:7–16)
After discussing the basis of unity (vv. 1–6), Paul now analyzed the means of preserving that unity (cf. “keep the unity,” v. 3) of the body by means of the various gifts.
4:11. This verse is a commentary on the second part of the quotation in verse 8, namely, Christ’s giving gifts to Christians. The gifts to the church are gifted people. The subject He is emphatic in the Greek to denote that Christ Himself gives the gifted people. Five kinds of gifted people are listed in the predicate accusative, so the NIV correctly translates, gave some to be. The first two, apostles and prophets, were already mentioned in 2:20 and 3:5 as the foundational gifts to the church. The apostles include the Twelve, who had the office of apostleship by virtue of being with Christ (Acts 1:21–22) and having been appointed by Him (which would also include Paul; 1 Cor. 15:8–9; Gal. 1:1; 2:6–9). But “apostles” also included others who were recognized as apostles, such as James (1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:6), Andronicus and Junias (Rom. 16:7), possibly Silas and Timothy (1 Thes. 1:1; 2:7), and Apollos (1 Cor. 4:6, 9). This latter group had the gift of apostleship but not the apostolic “office” as did the Twelve and Paul. Apostles, then, were those who carried the gospel message with God’s authority. “Apostle” means “one sent as an authoritative delegate.”
New Testament prophets were gifts to the church to provide edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). They probably revealed God’s will to the church when the biblical canon was incomplete. Since the apostles and prophets were foundational, they did not exist after the first generation of believers.
Evangelists were those engaged in spreading the gospel, similar to present-day missionaries. Pastors and teachers are listed together because they are governed by one article (“the” occurs before “pastors” but not before “teachers”) and because the word “and” (kai) differs from the other “and’s” (de) in the verse. This may imply that these are two kinds of gifted people whose ministries are among settled congregations (rather than itinerant ministries like those of the apostles and evangelists). More likely, they refer to two characteristics of the same person who is pastoring believers (by comforting and guiding) while at the same time instructing them in God’s ways (overseers or elders are to be able to teach; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9).
b. The intention of the gifts (4:12–16)
The purpose of the gifted believers (vv. 7–11) is to equip other believers for the ministry so as to give them stability doctrinally and practically and thus lead them to mutual edification. Like several other passages in Ephesians (1:3–14, 15–23; 2:1–7; 3:1–13, 14–19; 4:1–7; 6:14–20), 4:11–16 is one long sentence in Greek.
4:12. The purpose of the gifted men is to prepare God’s people for works of service. More literally, this purpose is “for the perfecting or equipping (katartismon; cf. the verb katartizō in Matt. 4:21, ‘mending’ or ‘preparing’ nets; in Gal. 6:1, ‘restore’ for proper use; cf. 2 Cor. 13:11; Heb. 13:21) of the saints unto the work of the ministry” (diakonias). Gifted people (Eph. 4:11) are to minister the Word to others so that they in turn are readied to get involved in ministering to others (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2). The goal of all this is the building up or edifying of the body of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:16). This shows that all saints and not just a few leaders should be involved in the “ministry.” All saints are gifted (v. 7) to serve others spiritually.
4:13. Gifted people are to minister till all the church attains (reach translates katantēsōmen, used in Acts of travelers arriving at their destinations) the three goals, each introduced by the Greek preposition (eis, “unto”): literally, (1) “unto the unity of the faith (cf. Eph. 4:5) and full knowledge (epignōseōs; cf. 1:17) of the Son of God,” (2) “unto a mature man,” and (3) “unto the measure (metron; cf. 4:7, 13) of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” As each believer functions in accord with the gift(s) Christ has given him (v. 7) the body as a whole enjoys unity (cf. vv. 3–6) and becomes more spiritually mature (cf. v. 15), more like Jesus Christ in all His fullness (cf. 1:23; 3:19).
4:14–16. Here Paul expressed the ultimate purpose, or perhaps better, the result (hina) of gifted people equipping saints to serve the Lord and others. Negatively, believers should not be like immature infants who are easily swayed and confused, like waves being tossed back and forth (cf. Luke 8:24; James 1:6) and blown here and there (lit., “whirled around,” a violent swinging that makes one dizzy) by every gust of wind of teaching … by the cunning, better, “trickery” (kybeia, lit., “dice-playing”) of men in their deceitful scheming (panourgia, also used in Luke 20:23; 1 Cor. 3:19; 2 Cor. 4:2; 11:3), moving toward (pros indicates goal) a system of error. False teachers cause this kind of confusion regarding the truth in order to try to bring believers into their erroneous schemes. In contrast (de, Eph. 4:15) Paul stated positively that by speaking the truth in love (lit., “truthing in love,” which has the idea of maintaining truth in love in both speech and life) believers may grow up into Him with reference to all things. Christ, then, is the Source of a believer’s growth and also the Aim and Goal of his growth (cf. v. 13). From the Head (cf. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18) the body derives its whole capacity for growth and activity (Eph. 4:16). Each member of the body is joined (2:21) by being carefully fitted together, and each member is held or brought together by means of every supporting ligament (cf. Col. 2:19) according to the standard (kata, with the accusative) of the measured working (metrō, from metron) of each individual. This causes the body of Christ to grow (cf. Eph. 4:15) and build itself up (cf. v. 12) in love. The phrase “in love” occurs three times (vv. 2, 15–16), thus pointing to the way unity is maintained. Significantly the word “measure” (metron) is also used three times in this context (vv. 7, 13, 16). Each believer is to function in Christ’s body by God’s enabling grace in accord with the measure of the gift Christ bestowed on him (v. 7). When each believer accomplishes that measure, then the church grows properly (v. 16), coming ultimately to the measure of Christlikeness (v. 13). Stunted growth comes when one does not allow his or others’ gifts to function.
The preservation of unity is the responsibility of God’s gifted people in the church (vv. 7–16). In this unity of structure is variety of function. Paul emphasized body growth, not self-growth. Each individual contributes to this unified growth as he allows his particular gift(s) to function