2018-08-05 - Thoughts
he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers
13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.
15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.
The one body composed of diverse members can build “itself up in love” (4:16) only if believers “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (4:15).
For Paul, God not only accepts but also regenerates sinners by grace. Paul suggests this by means of his repeated use of the verb peripatēsai, “to walk,” as a metaphor for the Christian life.
The God-centered, trinitarian character of the church’s unity emerges overwhelmingly in 4:4–6. There can be “one body” only because there is “one Spirit” (4:4). There can be one church only because the “one Spirit … one Lord … [and] one God and Father” are three Persons who together are one God. This passage combined with parallel passages suggests that while Paul did not formulate a fully developed doctrine of the Trinity, he did conceive of God in a trinitarian way that is suggestive for the unity of the church.
Whereas in 1 Cor. 12:4–11 the “varieties of gifts” are the diverse ministries allocated by the Spirit to individual members of the church, together with the ability to exercise those ministries, here the “gifts” are the persons who exercise those ministries and who are said to be “given” by the ascended Christ to his people to enable them to function and develop as they should. It is not suggested that such “gifts” are restricted to those that are specifically named; those that are named exercise their ministries in such a way as to help other members of the church to exercise their own respective ministries (no member is left without some kind of service to perform).