Ephesians 4:12
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) For the perfecting . . .—The parallelism of the three clauses of our version of this verse does not exactly correspond to the original, though we notice that Chrysostom supports it, and therefore evidently saw nothing in the Greek to contradict it. The preposition (eis) used in the two latter clauses (which should be unto work of ministration, unto edification of the body of Christ) properly signifies “contact with a thing,” and the preposition (pros) used in the first clause, “direction towards a thing.” The two are often apparently interchanged; but in close juxtaposition here can hardly be intended to be identical or exactly parallel; and, if distinction is to be drawn, the former must signify immediate consequence, and the other the remoter object to which such immediate consequence is designed to minister. The construction would be greatly simplified, if inversion of the first two clauses could be allowed. For it would then run, “unto work of ministration with a view to perfecting of saints, unto building up of the body of Christ;” and so would plainly represent the two-fold operation of the ministry: first, its work in its various offices for the perfecting of individual souls; and next, its general direction to the building up of the whole body. But whether this construction be grammatically possible or not, this appears to be in any case the general sense of the passage.

The perfecting of the saints.—The word rendered “perfecting” (akin to the “perfection” of 2Corinthians 13:9) is derived from a root which signifies either to “mend” what is broken (as in Matthew 4:21), or to “complete” what is unfinished (as in Luke 6:40; Romans 9:22); and hence is used spiritually for to “restore” the fallen (Galatians 6:1), or to “perfect” the imperfect Christian (Hebrews 13:21; 1Thessalonians 3:10). Both processes are necessarily implied in that perfection of the individual saints here spoken of, and more fully described in the next verses.

The edifying of the body of Christ.—This is that part of the work of the ministry (as in preaching and ministering in public worship) which tells upon the Church or congregation as a whole. It is here represented as subsequent, perhaps as subordinate, to the individual pastoral dealing with souls. But each has his own gift. Some ministries are more blessed to the individual perfecting of the saints; others to the building up of the whole Church.

Ephesians 4:12-13. For the perfecting Προς τον καταρτισμον των αγιων; in order to, or, for the sake of; completing of the saints — Both in number, and in the various branches of true Christianity, namely, in the knowledge of all Christian doctrines, the possession of all Christian graces, the enjoyment of all Christian privileges, the performance of all Christian duties. Now in order to the attainment of these ends, and thereby the completing the Christian character of each individual member of the church, and of all in general, he appointed the sundry officers above named, whether ordinary or extraordinary, (several of the latter having left their writings for the instruction of the faithful in all ages,) for the work of the ministry — The serving of God and his church, in their various ministrations, especially in dispensing the word, administering the ordinances, maintaining Christian discipline, and performing all other ministerial duties. For the edifying of the body of Christ — The building up Christ’s mystical body, in faith, love, and universal holiness: or by ministering to the increase of the graces of such as were already converted, and by the addition of new members to the true church. Till we all come — Which gifts, offices, and ministrations, are to continue in the church, till every member thereof come to the unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God — To both an exact agreement in the Christian doctrine, and an experimental, practical knowledge, or acknowledgment, of Christ as the Son of God; to a perfect man — To a state of spiritual manhood, both in understanding and strength, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ — Or, to the full measure of his stature, that is, to that maturity of age and spiritual stature, wherein we shall be possessed of his whole mind, and fully conformed to him. But the words εις την ενοτητα της

πιστεως, &c., which we translate in the unity of the faith, &c., ought rather to be rendered, to the unity, or union, of the faith, or that union which is the fruit or consequence of the faith, namely, of perfect faith, even the faith spoken of by our Lord in his intercessory prayer, recorded John 17:20-23, where he says, I pray for them which shall believe on me, that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they may be made perfect in one, that is, may be perfectly united in love to us and one another. The following verses lead us to this meaning of the passage.4:7-16 Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.For the perfecting of the saints - On the meaning of the word rendered here as "perfecting" - καταρτισμὸν katartismon - see the notes on 2 Corinthians 13:9. It properly refers to "the restoring of anything to its place;" then putting in order, making complete, etc. Here it means that these various officers were appointed in order that everything in the church might be well arranged, or put into its proper place; or that the church might be "complete." It is that Christians may have every possible advantage for becoming complete in love, and knowledge, and order.

For the work of the ministry - All these are engaged in the work of the ministry, though in different departments. Together they constituted the "ministry" by which Christ meant to establish and edify the church. All these offices had an existence at that time, and all were proper; though it is clear that they were not all designed to be permanent. The apostolic office was of course to cease with the death of those who were "the witnesses" of the life and doctrines of Jesus (compare notes on 1 Corinthians 9:1); the office of "prophets" was to cease with the cessation of inspiration; and in like manner it is possible that the office of teacher or evangelist might be suspended, as circumstances might demand. But is it not clear from this that Christ did not appoint "merely" three orders of clergy to be permanent in the church? Here are "five" orders enumerated, and in 1 Corinthians 12:28, there are "eight" mentioned; and how can it be demonstrated that the Saviour intended that there should be "three" only, and that they should be permanent? The presumption is rather that he meant that there should be but one permanent order of ministers, though the departments of their labor might be varied according to circumstances, and though there might be helpers, as occasion should demand. In founding churches among the pagan, and in instructing and governing them there, there is need of reviving nearly all the offices of teacher, helper, evangelist, etc., which Paul has enumerated as actually existing in his time.

For the edifying - For building it up; that is, in the knowledge of the truth and in piety; see the notes on Romans 14:19.

The body of Christ - The Church; see the notes on Ephesians 1:23.

12. For—with a view to; the ultimate aim. "Unto."

perfecting—The Greek implies correcting in all that is deficient, instructing and completing in number and all parts.

for—a different Greek word; the immediate object. Compare Ro 15:2, "Let every one … please his neighbor for his good unto edification."

the ministry—Greek, "ministration"; without the article. The office of the ministry is stated in this verse. The good aimed at in respect to the Church (Eph 4:13). The way of growth (Eph 4:14-16).

edifying—that is, building up as the temple of the Holy Ghost.

For the perfecting of the saints; either for the restoring and bringing them into right order, who had been, as it were, dissipated, and disjointed by sin: or rather the knitting together and compacting them more and more, both in nearer union to Christ their Head by faith, and to their fellow members by love: see 1 Corinthians 1:10.

For the work of the ministry; or, for the work of dispensation, i.e. for dispensing the word, and all those ordinances which it appertains to them to dispense; and so it implies their whole work. But there may be a trajection in the words, and then this clause is to be read before the former, and the meaning plainly is:

For the work of the ministry, which is to perfect the saints, and edify the body of Christ.

For the edifying of the body of Christ; the same in effect as perfecting the saints, viz. the building up the church, both in bringing in new members to it, and strengthening those that are brought in already, in faith and holiness. For the perfecting of the saints, The chosen ones, whom God has sanctified or set apart for himself in eternal election: the ministry of the word is designed for the completing the number of these in the effectual calling; and for the perfecting of the whole body of the church, by gathering in all that belong to it, and of every particular saint, who is regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit of God: for the best of saints are imperfect; for though there is a perfection in them, as that designs sincerity, in opposition to hypocrisy, and as it may be taken comparatively with respect to what others are, or they themselves were; and though there is a perfection of parts of the new man in them, yet not of degrees; and though there is a complete perfection in Christ, yet not in themselves, their sanctification is imperfect, as their faith, knowledge, love, &c. sin is in them, and committed by them, and they continually want supplies of grace; and the best of them are sensible of their imperfection, and own it: now the ministration of the word is a means of carrying on the work of grace in them unto perfection, or "for the restoring or joining in of the saints"; the elect of God were disjointed in Adam's fall, and scattered abroad, who were representatively gathered together in one head, even in Christ, in redemption; and the word is the means of the visible and open jointing of them into Christ, and into his churches, and also of restoring them after backslidings:

for the work of the ministry; gifts are given unto men by Christ to qualify them for it: the preaching of the Gospel is a work, and a laborious one, and what no man is sufficient for of himself; it requires faithfulness, and is a good work, and when well performed, those concerned in it are worthy of respect, esteem, and honour; and it is a ministering work, a service and not dominion:

for the edifying the body of Christ; not his natural body the Father prepared for him; nor his sacramental body in the supper; but his mystical body the church; and gifts are bestowed to fit them for the preaching of the Gospel, that hereby the church, which is compared to an edifice, might be built up; and that the several societies of Christians and particular believers might have spiritual edification, and walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and their numbers be increased, and their graces be in lively exercise.

{7} For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the {p} body of Christ:

(7) He shows the aim of ecclesiastical functions, that is, that by the ministry of men all the saints may so grow up together, that they may make one mystical body of Christ.

(p) The Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 4:12. Behoof, for which Christ has given, etc. “Non potuit honorificentius verbi ministerium commendare, quam dum hunc illi effectum tribuit,” Calvin.

The three clauses are not co-ordinate (Chrysostom, Wolf, Bengel, Semler, Holzhausen, and others). Against the co-ordination may be decisively urged not the varying of the prepositions, for Paul is fond of interchanging them (comp. Romans 3:30; Romans 5:10; Romans 15:2; 2 Corinthians 3:11), but the circumstance that εἰς ἔργον διακονίας in its position between the first and third points would be unsuitable.[216] Rather are εἰς ἔργ. διακον. and εἰς οἰκοδ. τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ Χρ. two definitions to ἔδωκε, not parallel to πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων, but parallel to each other; so that we have thus, with Lachmann, Harless, Tischendorf, Bleek, to delete the comma after ἁγίων. πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων contains, namely, the aim for which Christ has given those designated in Ephesians 4:11 εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χρ. He has, on behalf of the full furnishing of the saints, given those teachers for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ. The objection that the οἰκοδ. τοῦ σώμ. is a yet higher aim than that of the καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων (de Wette) is incorrect; since, on the contrary, the καταρτ. τ. ἁγ. is the higher point, which is to be attained by the edification of the body of Christ, and consequently might be conceived of as aimed at therein. Comp. also Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 128. Observe, withal, the expression of perfection: καταρτ., and the expression of development: οἰκοδομή. Many others, including de Wette, have made the two clauses with εἰς dependent on καταρτισμόν, so that the sense would be: “for the qualifying of believers that they may in each and every way themselves labour for the advancement and edification of the church,” Meier; comp. Flatt, Schott, Rückert, Schenkel, and others, as already Erasmus. But (a) διακονία, where the context is speaking of those engaged in the service of the church, always denotes the official service (Romans 11:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 6:3; comp. Acts 6:4; 2 Corinthians 3:7 ff; 2 Corinthians 9:12, al.), and hence may not here be transmuted into the general notion of rendering service to, furthering (see especially 1 Peter 4:10). And if we should in that connection retain the official notion of διακονία (Flatt, Schott; comp. also Zachariae), the training of the ἅγιοι to be teachers would be the thought resulting; which would be inappropriate, because Paul regarded the Parousia as so near, and conceived of the χαρίσματα as continuing till then (see 1 Corinthians 13:8), and therefore the thought that teachers had to be trained was remote from his mind. (b) But if he had merely meant to say: “to make the individual Christians jointly and severally meet for co-operating to the furtherance of the church” (Rückert), then πάντων would have been to τῶν ἁγίων an essential element, which could not have been left out. Olshausen regards the two clauses introduced by εἰς as a partition of the καταρτισμὸς τῶν ἁγίων: “for the perfecting of the saints, and that, on the one hand, of those furnished with gifts of teaching for the fulfilment of the teacher’s office; on the other hand, as regards the hearers, for the edifying of the church.” Incorrectly, seeing that οἱ ἅγιοι are the objects of the teaching labours mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 and consequently cannot include the teachers themselves, and seeing, moreover, that the οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ Χρ. most appropriately describes the working of the teacher, so that no reader could, especially after εἰς ἔργ. διακ., conjecture that εἰς οἰκοδ. κ.τ.λ. was to apply to the hearers, inasmuch as no one could read the “on the one hand” and the “on the other” between the lines. Lastly, in quite an arbitrary and erroneous way, Grotius, Michaelis, Koppe have even assumed a trajection for εἰς ἔργ. διακ. πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγ. εἰς οἰκ. τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ Χρ., in connection with which there have been very various explanations.[217]

ΚΑΤΑΡΤΙΣΜΌς, not elsewhere found in the N.T. (in Galen used of the adjustment of a dislocated limb), means, like ΚΑΤΆΡΤΙΣΙς, 2 Corinthians 13:9, the putting of a person or thing into its perfect state, so that it is as it should be (ἄρτιος). Vulgate: ad consummationem. Comp. Morus, and see καταρτίζω, Luke 6:40; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 5:10. Translations like ad coagmentationem (Beza) and ad instaurationem (Erasmus) would need to be suggested by the context.[218]

ἔργον διακονίας] does not stand for the simple διακονία (Koppe; see, on the other hand, Winer, p. 541 f. [E. T. 768]; Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 117), but means the work of the διακονία, i.e. the labour which is performed in the ministerial office of the church.

εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ Χρ.] for the upbuilding (= εἰς τὸ οἰκοδομεῖν τὸ σῶμ. τοῦ Χρ., comp. 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:29) of the body of Christ. This is that ἔργον; and so an appositional more precise definition of that which precedes. But on that account to take ἔργον as a building (Schellhorn in Wolf, Holzhansen) is an undue anticipation. The expression οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ σώματος is a blending of two figures, both of which were, from what precedes, present in the conception of the apostle (Ephesians 1:23, Ephesians 2:20 ff., Ephesians 3:6),—the church as the body of Christ and as an edifice. Comp. Ephesians 4:16.

[216] If the three elements were parallel, Paul must logically have thus arranged them: (1) εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, (2) πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων, (3) εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,—advancing from the less definite to the more definite.

[217] Grotius: “ut sanctis ministrent eos perficiendo magis et magis … ut ad eum modum illi quoque sancti apti fiant aedificandae ecclesiae, i.e. docendis aliis.” Michaelis: “that they should be able ministers of His church, in order that the saints might become more perfect, and His church, which is His body, might attain its due magnitude.” Koppe: “ἔδωκε εἰς ἔργον διακονίας (εἰς τὸ διακονεῖν τοῖς ἁγίοις) πρὸς τὸ καταρτίζειν αὐτούς,”—and εἰς οἰκοδ. κ.τ.λ., is supposed to belong again to ἔδωκε.

[218] With strange inappropriateness, Pelagius and Vatablus have referred the καταρτισμός to the number of the Christians: “ad complendum numerum electorum.”Ephesians 4:12. πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων: with a view to the full equipment of the saints. The object with which Christ gave some men as Apostles, and some as prophets, etc., is now stated in a sentence consisting of three clauses. The precise construction and meaning of these clauses are by no means easy to determine. The main difficulty is the relation in which they stand to each other and to the preceding ἔδωκε. What that relation is will be best seen when the several terms have been examined. The sentence begins with πρός, but the two clauses which follow are introduced each by εἰς. Little can be made, however, of that. The nice distinctions of the classical period were not maintained in later Greek; and, while Paul’s use of prepositions is for the most part remarkably precise, it is his habit to vary them, without any obvious difference in sense. Especially is this his way with those of kindred meaning and followed by the same case: cf. εἰς and πρός in Romans 3:25, and see Win.-Moult., pp. 512, 513. The noun καταρτισμός occurs only here in the NT; in 2 Corinthians 13:9 we have κατάρτισις. The verb καταρτίζω which is found more frequently and expresses the general idea of making ἄρτιος, fit, complete, is used in the sense of repairing literally (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19), restoring in a spiritual or disciplinary sense (Galatians 6:1), perfecting or making perfect (Matthew 21:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Peter 5:10, etc.), and also in that of preparing, furnishing, equipping (Polyb., i., 47, 6; v., 2, 11; Hdt. ix. 66; Luke 6:40; Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3, also Romans 9:22, with εἰς). The noun, therefore, may well have the meaning of equipment here.—εἰς ἔργον διακονίας: for the work of ministration. ἔργον has the simple sense of business—the work done in ministration. διακονίας is taken by most in the specific sense of ministerial service, service of an official kind in the Church. But, while this is a very frequent use (Acts 1:17; Acts 1:25; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19; Romans 11:13; Romans 12:7, etc.), the word has also the more general sense of service (Hebrews 1:14; 2 Timothy 4:11). Its cognates διακονέω, διάκονος have also the same sense (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 12:26; Acts 19:22; Philemon 1:13; Colossians 1:25; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 11:15, etc.). It is quite legitimate, therefore, to give the noun here the non-official sense, if the contest points to that. This also is in harmony with the anarthrous διακονίας.—εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ: for the building up of the body of Christ. Cf. πρὸς οἰκοδομήν in Ephesians 4:29, and πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς ἐκκλησίας in 1 Corinthians 14:12. The two figures of the Church as a building and a body are combined here. But in what relation do these clauses stand to each other and to the ἔδωκε? This is very differently put. Some take them to be three parallel or coordinate clauses dependent on ἔδωκε, as if = “Christ gave some as Apostles, and some as prophets, etc., with a view to these three things—the perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ. So substantially Chrys., Theophy., Oec., Calv., Beng., Klöp., etc., and the AV. To this it is objected that the εἰς ἔργον διακονίας would occupy an awkward position, and that the natural order would have been εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, πρὸς καταρτισμὸν, etc. With this sense of maladjustment of the clauses some (Grot., etc.) have even supposed a trajection. Others (Lachm., Harl., Tisch., Bleek, Hofm., Mey., Von Soden, Ell., Alf., Abb., etc.) take the second and third clauses, each introduced by εἰς, to be parallel to each other, and directly dependent on the ἔδωκε. They thus express the immediate object, while πρὸς καταρτισμὸν κ.τ.λ. denotes the ultimate end; as if = “Christ, with a view to the full, final perfecting of the saints, gave Apostles, prophets, etc. for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”. But this gives a somewhat awkward and involved construction, and reduces the force of the third clause, which would naturally be expected to bring us to the larger, ultimate purpose of Christ’s giving. Olshausen modifies this interpretation to the effect of taking the second and third clauses as subdivisions of the first, = “Christ gave Apostles, etc., for the perfecting of the saints, on the one hand for the fulfilment of the teacher’s office, and on the other hand, as regards the hearers, for edification”. But no such distinction is in view here between teachers and hearers, the subjects being the ἅγιοι generally. None of these adjustments of the clauses quite meets the case. The proper construction, recognised so far by Erasm., Luther, De Wette, Rückert, Weiss, and more recently accepted by Haupt, is the simplest. It takes the sentence to be dependent as a whole on the ἔδωκε, and understands the three clauses as successive, the first looking to the second, the second to the third, the third forming the climax and expressing the ultimate object of the giving on the part of the ascended Christ. Thus the sense becomes—“Christ gave some men as Apostles, some as prophets, etc., with a view to the full equipment of the saints for the work of ministration or service they have each to do in order to the building up of the body of Christ”. The building up of the Church—that is the great aim and final object; to that every believer has his contribution to make; and to qualify all for this is the purpose of Christ in giving “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers”. In this way each clause fits in naturally with the next, and the ultimate object is expressed last. This, too, is the only construction which does justice to the ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ at the beginning of the statement (Ephesians 4:7) and the ἑνὸς ἑκάστου at its close. These are the terms which convey the ruling idea, viz., that each member gets the gift of grace, and each has his part to do towards that upbuilding of the Church which is the great object of Christ’s bestowments; and these Apostles, prophets, etc., are the means provided by Christ whereby all the members shall be made capable of performing their several parts in order that at last the whole Church may be built up in its completeness as the body of Christ.12. for the perfecting of the saints, &c.] More lit., with a view to the equipment of the saints for [their] work of service. Latin versions, ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii. The noun rendered equipment occurs only here in N.T. The kindred verb occurs e.g. Matthew 4:21 (A.V., “mending nets”); Galatians 6:1 (A.V., “restore such a one”); Hebrews 13:21 (“make you perfect”; and so 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Peter 5:10). The idea is of mending a breach, completing a connexion, putting the dislocated in order.—The practical suggestion here is most important. The Divine gift of a Christian Ministry is to have its effect above all things in the fitting of “the saints” (true believers in general) for active “service” for the common Lord. Government, preaching, teaching, is to bear upon this. Nothing will be a more lawful result of a Divine ministerial commission than energetic efforts for Christ and His cause on the part of private Christians. These efforts, on the other hand, will never be made (in the true ideal of Christian work) in neglect or contempt of the ordered ministry.

for the edifying of the body] A special aspect of the “work of service” just mentioned. Each true believer is, by the spiritually enabled ministry, to be “equipped” to act as a “builder up” of the Lord’s Body (on which see above, on Ephesians 4:4); to gather in new “living stones,” new “members,” by holy influence of word and work; and to compact and consolidate the cohesion. See below Ephesians 4:29 for a special form of such labours.—For the fusion of the metaphors of “building” and “body” see the closing verses of ch. 2, and below Ephesians 4:16.Ephesians 4:12. Πρὸςεἰςεἰς, to [ad, towards]—forfor [in, for the end, unto. Engl. Vers. renders all for]) To this refer, into, unto, unto [as respectively answering to the previous πρὸς, εἰς, εἰς], in the following verse; although to [πρὸς, ad, ‘towards’], and into [εἰς, in, ‘unto,’ or ‘into’], somewhat differ, Romans 15:2.[58] The office of the ministry is denoted in this verse; in the following, the goal which the saints have in view; in Ephesians 4:14-16, the way of growth; and each of these has three parts, expressed in the same order. There are three paragraphs, divided severally into three parts. The first three parts have a mutual relation; then the second three; lastly, the third; and all without a Chiasmus.—καταρτισμὸν, perfecting [‘aptationem,’ the mutual adaptation]) This in the greatest degree has the effect of producing unity.

[58] Εἰς ἀγαθὸν πρὸς οἰκοδομήν, unto his good, towards edification. The former expressing the internal end in respect to God: the latter, the external end in respect to man.—ED.Verse 12. - In order to the perfecting of the saints. The ultimate end for which the gifts bestowed (comp. Hebrews 12:1). A work of completion is in hand, which must be fulfilled (see ver. 13): the saints, now compassed about with infirmity, have to be freed from all stain (Ephesians 5:26, 27), and as instruments towards this end, the ministers of the Church are given by Christ; they are not mere promoters of civilization, men of culture planted among the rude, but instruments for advancing men to complete holiness. For the work of the ministry. The preposition is changed from πρὸς to εἰς πρὸς denoting the ultimate end, εἰς the immediate object (comp. Romans 15:2); the office of the Church officers is not lords, but διακονοί, servants, as Christ himself was (Matthew 20:28). For the building up of the body of Christ. Bringing bone to its bone and sinew to its sinew, increasing the number of believers, and promoting the spiritual life of each; carrying on all their work as Christ's servants and with a definite eye to the promotion of the great work which he undertook when he came to seek and to save the lost. For the perfecting (πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν)

Only here in the New Testament. In classical Greek of refitting a ship or setting a bone. The preposition for denotes the ultimate purpose. Ministering and building are means to this end. Hence its emphatic position in the sentence. For perfecting, see on mending, Matthew 4:21; see on perfected, Matthew 21:16; see on Luke 6:40; see on 1 Peter 5:10. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:10; Hebrews 13:21. The radical idea of adjustment is brought out in Ephesians 4:13.

For the work of the ministry (εἰς ἔργον διακονίας)

Rev., much better, unto the work of ministering. Εἰς unto, marks the immediate purpose of the gift. He gave apostles, etc., unto the work of ministering and building, for the perfecting, etc. The prevailing sense of διακονία ministry, in the New Testament, is spiritual service of an official character. See Acts 1:25; Acts 6:4; Acts 20:24; Romans 11:13; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:5.

Edifying (οἰκοδομὴν)

Rev., building up. See on Acts 20:32. Notice the combination of perfecting and building. Building defines the nature of the work of ministry, and perfecting comes through a process.

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Ephesians 4:11
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