Ephesians 4:1-16 – Growing up into Christ
SummaryJust as God has offered the gracious gift of salvation to the Gentiles, so God also offers gifts to the Christian community aimed at helping those saved by grace to mature in the faith and attain "the full stature of Christ."
The author borrows a text from Psalm 68:18 to speak of Christ as one who "gave gifts to his people." The gifts enumerated are functions within the church: "that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." Similar discussions of the body of Christ and its members' different functions are in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
This text may include an early list of offices of the church; if so, it is noteworthy that neither bishops nor deacons are on the list. It is also noteworthy that the offices are all aimed at "equipping the saints for ministry" (ministry is diakonia in Greek). The goal of all this work is that all should come to maturity or to the full stature of Christ. Throughout this passage, the author repeats the theme of growing or growing up into Christ.