Ephesians 4:16
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
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(16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted.—The word rendered “fitly joined together” is the same used in Ephesians 2:21, with more technical accuracy, of a building—“clamped” or “bonded together.” Here the two words are applied to the union of the limbs of the body, as being “jointed,” and so “brought into close contact.” The latter word is used in Colossians 2:19.

By that which every joint supplieth.—A paraphrastic and inaccurate rendering. It should be, by every contact with the supply (of nutriment) from the head. The word employed has commonly the meaning of “joint” (as in the parallel passage, Colossians 2:19), and is so used by Greek physiologists; but its original sense is abstract—the “joining” or “touching”—and this appears the simplest here. The supply (comp. Philippians 1:19, “the supply of the Spirit”) is again almost a technical word for the abundant outflow of strength and nervous energy from the head. (The corresponding verb is used in 2Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19; 2Peter 1:5; 2Peter 1:11.) Hence the phrase seems to stand in closer connection with the “maketh increase “below than the “compacted together” above. The body grows, in every part of its complex unity, through contact with the divine supply of grace through the head.

According to the effectual working in the measure of every part.—In these words is described the method, as in the preceding word the source, of the growth. The “effectiveness” of every part “in measure” (according, that is, to its right capacity and function) is the condition of corporate growth. Such effectiveness comes from direct contact with the central energy.

Maketh increase of the body unto the edifying (the building up) of itself in love.—Here, lastly, we have the function of the body itself. It is knit together by its divine organisation; it is sustained by the supply from the head; its several parts are kept in life by that supply; but it grows as a whole and builds itself up by the uniting and vivifying power of love, which is the “bond of perfectness.” (Just so St. Paul says of the individual, in 1Corinthians 8:1, “Charity edifieth.”) Truth is, no doubt, the basis of unity; but love is its vital power, at once keeping together all who are united, and drawing in those who are as yet separated.

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.From whom the whole body - The church, compared with the human body. The idea is, that as the head in the human frame conveys vital influence, rigor, motion, etc., to every part of the body; so Christ is the source of life, and rigor, and energy, and increase to the church. The sense is, "The whole human body is admirably arranged for growth and rigor. Every member and joint contribute to its healthful and harmonious action. One part lends vigor and beauty to another, so that the whole is finely proportioned and admirably sustained. All depend on the head with reference to the most important functions of life, and all derive their vigor from that. So it is in the church. It is as well arranged for growth and vigor as the body is. It is as beautifully organized in its various members and officers as the body is. Everything is designed to he in its proper place, and nothing by the divine arrangement is lacking in its organization, to its perfection. Its officers and its members are, in their places, what the various parts of the body are with reference to the human frame. The church depends on Christ, as the head, to sustain, invigorate, and guide it, as the body is dependent on the head" See this figure carried out to greater length in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

Fitly joined together - The body, whose members are properly united so as to produce the most beauty and vigor. Each member is in the best place, and is properly united to the other members. Let anyone read Paley's Natural Theology, or any work on anatomy, and he will find innumerable instances of the truth of this remark; not only in the proper adjustment and placing of the members, but in the manner in which it is united to the other parts of the body. The foot, for instance, is in its proper place. It should not be where the head or the hand is. The eye is in its proper place. It should not be in the knee or the heel. The mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the lungs, the heart, are in their proper places. No other places would answer the purpose so well. The brain is in its proper place. Anywhere else in the body, it would be subject to compressions and injuries which would soon destroy life. And these parts are as admirably united to file other parts of the body, as they are admirably located. Let anyone examine, for instance, the tendons, nerves, muscles, and bones, by which the "foot" is secured to the body, and by which easy and graceful motion is obtained, and he will be satisfied of the wisdom by which the body is "joined together." How far the "knowledge" of the apostle extended on this point, we have not the means of ascertaining; but all the investigations of anatomists only serve to give increased beauty and force to the general terms which he uses here. All that he says here of the human frame is strictly accurate, and is such language as may be used by an anatomist now, The word which is used here (συναρμολογέω sunarmologeō) means properly to sew together; to fit together; to unite, to make one. It is applied often to musicians, who produce "harmony" of various parts of music. "Passow." The idea of harmony, or appropriate union, is that in the word.

And compacted - συμβιβαζόμενον sumbibazomenon. Tyndale renders this, "knit together in every joint." The word properly means, to make to come together; to join or knit together. It means here that the different parts of the body are "united" and sustained in this manner.

By that which every joint supplieth - Literally, "through every joint of supply;" that is, which affords or ministers mutual aid. The word "joint" hero - ἁφή haphē - (from ἇπτω haptō to fit) - means anything which binds, fastens, secures; find does not refer to the joint in the sense in which we commonly use it, as denoting "the articulation" of the limbs, or the joining of two or more bones; but rather that which "unites or fastens" together the different parts of the frame - the blood vessels, cords, tendons, and muscles. The meaning is, that every such "means of connecting one part of the body with another" ministers nourishment, and that thus the body is sustained. One part is dependent on another; one part derives nourishment from another; and thus all become mutually useful as contributing to the support and harmony of the whole. Thus, it furnishes an illustration of the "connection" in the members of the church, and of the aid which one can render to another.

According to the effectual working - Greek, "According to the energy in the measure of each one part." Tyndale, "According to the operation as every part has its measure." The meaning is, that each part contributes to the production of the whole result, or "labors" for this. This is in proportion to the "measure" of each part; that is, in proportion to its power. Every part labors to produce the great result. No one is idle; none is useless. But, none are overtaxed or overworked. The support demanded and furnished by every part is in exact proportion to its strength. This is a beautiful account of the anatomy of the human frame.

(1) nothing is useless. Every part contributes to the general result - the health, and beauty, and vigor of the system. Not a muscle is useless; not a nerve, not an artery, not a vein. All are employed, and all have an important place, and all contribute "something" to the health and beauty of the whole. So numerous are the bloodvessels, that you cannot perforate the skin anywhere without piercing one; so numerous are the pores of the skin, that a grain of sand will cover thousands of them; so minute the ramifications of the nerves, that wherever the point of a needle penetrates, we feel it; and so numerous the absorbents, that million of them are employed in taking up the chyme of the food, and conveying it to the veins. And yet all are employed - all are useful - all minister life and strength to the whole.

(2) none are overtaxed. They all work according to the "measure" of their strength. Nothing is required of the minutest nerve or blood-vessel which it is not suited to perform; and it will work on for years without exhaustion or decay. So of the church. There is no member so obscure and feeble that he may not contribute something to the welfare of the whole; and no one is required to labor beyond his strength in order to secure the great object. Each one in "his place," and laboring as he should there, will contribute to the general strength and welfare; "out of his place" - like nerves and arteries out of their place, and crossing and recrossing others - he will only embarrass the whole, and disarrange the harmony of the system.

Maketh increase of the body - The body grows in this manner.

Unto the edifying of itself - To building itself up that is, it grows up to a complete stature.

In love - In mutual harmony. This refers to the "body." The meaning is that it seems to be made on the principle of "love." There is no jar, no collision, no disturbance of one part with another. A great number of parts, composed of different substances, and with different functions - bones, and nerves, and muscles, and blood-vessels - are united in one, and live together without collision; and so it should be in the church. Learn, hence:

(1) That no member of the church need be useless, anymore than a minute nerve or blood-vessel in the body need be useless. No matter how obscure the individual may be, he may contribute to the harmony and vigor of the whole,

(2) Every member of the church should contribute something to the prosperity of the whole. He should no more be idle and unemployed than a nerve or a blood-vessel should be in the human system. What would be the effect if the minutest nerves and arteries of the body should refuse to perform their office?. Langour, disease, and death. So it is in the church. The obscurest member may do "something" to destroy the healthful action of the church, and to make its piety languish and die.

(3) there should be union in the church. It is made up of materials which differ much from each other, as the body is made up of bones, and nerves, and muscles. Yet, in the body these are united; and so it should be in the church. There need be no more jarring in the church than in the body; and a jar in the church produces the same effect as would be produced in the body if the nerves and muscles should resist the action of each other, or as if one should be out of its place, and impede the healthful functions of the other.

(4) every member in the church should keep his place, just as every bone, and nerve, and muscle in the human frame should. Every member of the body should be in its right position; the heart, the lungs, the eye, the tongue, should occupy their right place; and every nerve in the system should be laid down just where it is designed to be. If so, all is well If not so, all is deformity, or disorder; just as it, is often in the church.

16. (Col 2:19).

fitly joined together—"being fitly framed together," as in Eph 2:21; all the parts being in their proper position, and in mutual relation.

compacted—implying firm consolidation.

by that which every joint supplieth—Greek, "by means of every joint of the supply"; joined with "maketh increase of the body," not with "compacted." "By every ministering (supplying) joint." The joints are the points of union where the supply passes to the different members, furnishing the body with the materials of its growth.

effectual working—(Eph 1:19; 3:7). According to the effectual working of grace in each member (or else, rather, "according to each several member's working"), proportioned to the measure of its need of supply.

every part—Greek, "each one part"; each individual part.

maketh increase—Translate, as the Greek is the same as Eph 4:15, "maketh (carrieth on) the growth of the body."

From whom; Christ the Head, Ephesians 4:15.

The whole body; the mystical body, or church of believers, whereof every true saint is a member, Romans 12:4,5.

Fitly joined together; viz. in the right place and order, both in respect of Christ the Head, and of the members respectively. Some are eyes, some ears, some hands, some feet, 1 Corinthians 12:15,16.

And compacted; firmly knit, so as not to be separated.

By that which every joint supplieth; or, by every joint or juncture of administration; i.e. whose office is to administer spirits and nourishment to the body. Bands are added to joints, Colossians 2:19, which signifies the ligaments by which the joints are tied one to another, as well as the joints in which they touch.

Question. What are those joints and bands in the mystical body?

Answer. Every thing whereby believers are joined to Christ, or to each other as Christians; especially the Spirit of Christ, which is the same in the Head and all the members; the gifts of the Spirit, chiefly faith, whereby they are united to Christ, and love, whereby they are knit to each other; the sacraments, likewise, church officers, Ephesians 4:11, &c.

According to the effectual working; either the power of Christ, who, as a Head, influenceth and enliveneth every member; or the effectual working of every member, in communicating to others the gifts it hath received.

In the measure of every part; according to the state, condition, and exigence of every part, nourishment is conveyed to it meet for it; yet more to one and less to another, according as more is required for one and less for the other, and so to all in their proportion. Or else as each part hath received, so it communicates to others; all have their use and helpfulness to others, but not all alike, or in the same degree.

Maketh increase of the body: either body here redounds by a Hebraism, and the sense is, the body (mentioned in the beginning of the verse) maketh increase of itself; or, without that redundancy, increase of the body is an increase meet and convenient for the body.

Unto the edifying of itself: the apostle here changeth the metaphor from that of a body to this of a house, but to the same sense, and shows the end of this nourishment they ministered from one member to another, viz. not its own private good, but the good of the whole body, for the benefit of which each part receives its gifts from Christ the Head.

In love; either by the offices of love, or it denotes the impulsive cause, whereby the members are moved thus to promote the common increase of the body, viz. love to the Head and each other. From whom the whole body fitly joined gether,.... By which is meant, the church; see Ephesians 1:23 sometimes it designs all the elect of God in heaven and in earth, but here the church militant, which only can admit of an increase; this body is from Christ, as an head, and the phrase denotes the rise and origin of the church from Christ, her dependence upon him, and union to him, and of its members one to another; she has her being and form, from him, and all her blessings, as her life and light, righteousness and holiness, her grace and strength, her joy, peace, and comfort, her fruitfulness and final perseverance; and her dependence is upon him for subsistence, sustenance, protection and safety, and for grace and glory; and her union to him is very near, strict and close, and indissoluble; and the union between the several members is also very close, and both are very beautiful:

and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part. The Alexandrian copy reads, "of every member"; and so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; the author of the union of the members of Christ's body to one another is the Spirit of God, by him they are baptized into one body; the cement or bond of this union is the grace of love wrought in their souls by him; and the means are the word and ordinances, and these convey a supply from Christ the head to every member, suitable to the part it bears in the body, according to the energy of the Spirit, who makes all effectual: and so

maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love; the increase of the body the church, is either in numbers, when persons are converted and added to it; or in the exercise of grace, under the influence of the Spirit, through the ministration of the word and ordinances; and both these tend to the edifying or building of it up; and nothing is of a more edifying nature to the church than love, which bears the infirmities of the weak, and seeks for, and follows after those things which make for peace and godly edification, 1 Corinthians 8:1.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the {u} effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh {x} increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in {y} love.

(u) Of Christ, who with regard to the soul, empowers all the members.

(x) Such increase as is fit for the body to have.

(y) Charity is the knitting of the limbs together.

Ephesians 4:16. Harmony of what is said, Ephesians 4:15, for all individuals, with the objective relation of Christ to the whole as the organism growing by way of unity out of Christ. Comp. Colossians 2:19.

From whom the whole body, becoming fitly framed together and compacted (becomes compacted and), by means of each sensation of the supply (of Christ), according to an operation proportionate to the measure of each several part, bringeth about the growth of the body, to the edifying of itself in love.

ἐξ οὗ] is equivalent neither to εἰς ὅν (Koppe), nor to per quem (Morus, Flatt, Holzhausen), but denotes the causal going forth, as Col. l.c.; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 13:4; and frequently. See Bernhardy, p. 225.

πᾶν τὸ σῶμα] πᾶν has the emphasis: the whole body, thus no member being excepted; it glances back to οἱ πάντες, Ephesians 4:13.

συναρμολ. κ. συμβιβαζ.] Present participle, expressing what was continuously in actu. As to συναρμολ., comp. on Ephesians 2:21; συμβιβάζω is employed by classical writers of men or of single parts of things, which one brings together into an alliance, to reconciliation, to a unity (Herod, i. 74; Thuc. ii. 29. 5; Plato, Rep. p. 504 A; comp. Colossians 2:2), and might be employed here the more aptly, inasmuch as the single parts of which the collective mass designated by πᾶν τὸ σῶμα consists, are the different Christian individuals. A distinction in the notion of the two words, such as is asserted by Bengel (συναρμολ. denotes the fitting together, and συμβιβ. the fastening together) and Grotius (the latter denotes a closer union than the former), is arbitrarily assumed. The distinction consists only in this, that συναρμολ. corresponds to the figure, and συμβιβ. to the thing figuratively represented. With regard to the former, observe that ἁρμονία also, with the Greeks often denotes the harmonious relation of unity between the body and its parts. See Jacobs, Delect. epigr. vii. 3.

The verb to ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμ. κ. συμβιβ. is τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώμ. ποιεῖται, in which the repetition of τοῦ σώματος is neither negligence (Rückert) nor a Hebraism (Grotius), but is introduced for the sake of perspicuity on account of the intervening definitions, as is often the case with classical writers (see Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxv.; Krüger, Anab. p. 27; Ellendt, ad Arrian. Exp. Al. i. 55).

διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.] belongs not to συμβιβαζ. (so ordinarily), to which connection the erroneous interpretation of ἁφή as band (see below) led, but to τὴν αὔξησιν ποιεῖται (Zanchius, Bengel, and others). It is not the union that is brought about by the ἁφαὶ τῆς ἐπιχορηγ., but the growth, inasmuch as Christ, from whom as Head the union proceeds, bestows the ἐπιχορηγία for the growth. ἁφή is usually explained junctura (Vulgate), commissura, means of connection, joint, and the like. But without any support from linguistic usage. It may signify, as in Lucian, de luctu 9, and often in Plutarch, contact, also holding fast, adhesion, and the like[229] (comp. Augustine, de civ. Dei, xxii. 18: “tactum subministrationis,” and see Oecumenius: ἡ ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ κατιοῦσα πνευματικὴ δύναμις ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέλους αὐτοῦ ἁπτομένη), but it never means vinculum (συναφή). Rightly Chrysostom and Theodoret have already explained it by ΑἼΣΘΗΣΙς, feeling, perception. See Plato, Locr. p. 100 D, E; Pol. vii. p. 523 E; and the passages in Wetstein. So also Colossians 2:19. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 132, prefers the signification: contact, and understands the connection of the several parts of the body, whereby the one supplies to the other that which is necessary to growth, which supply in the case of the recipient takes place by means of contact with it. In this way πᾶσα ἁφὴ τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. would be every contact which serves for supplying, and the ἐπιχορηγία would be the communication of the requisites for growth by one part of the body to the other. But the former Paul would have very indistinctly expressed by the mere genitive (instead of τῆς ἐπιχορ. he might have written Τῆς ΠΡῸς ΤῊΝ ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΊΑΝ), and the latter is imported, since the reader after ἘΞ ΟὟ could only understand the ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΊΑ proceeding from Christ. If we were to take ἁφή in the sense of contact, the above explanation of Oecumenius would be the simplest (every contact, which the body experiences through the ἐπιχορηγία of Christ); but there may be urged against it, that the expression instead of the mere ΔΙᾺ ΠΆΣΗς ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΊΑς would be only diffuse and circumstantial without special reason, while the expression: “sensation of the ἐπιχορηγία,” very appropriately points to the growth through the influence of Christ from within outward.

τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.] Genit. objecti: every feeling in which the supply is perceived, experienced. What supply is meant by the ἐπιχορηγία with the article becomes certain from the context, namely, that which is afforded by Christ (through the Holy Spirit), i.e. the influence of Christ, by which He supplies to His body the powers of life and development necessary to a growth in keeping with its destiny (ἐπιχορηγεῖ, 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5, exhibet; the substantive occurs only further at Php 1:19, not in Greek writers). Those who understand ἁφή as bond, take τῆς ἐπιχορηγ., partly correctly in this same sense (Rückert, Harless, Olshausen), save that they explain the genitive as a genitive of apposition, partly (so Luther and most expositors, including Matthies, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) of the reciprocal service-rendering of the members,—an explanation which,[230] originating in the erroneous interpretation of ἁφή, introduces into the context something heterogeneous. Beza transmutes τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. into an unmeaning participle: “per omnes suppeditatas commissuras.”

κατʼ ἐνέργ. ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκ. μέρ.] belongs neither to τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. (Koppe, Meier, de Wette, and many), in which case, it is true, the non-repetition of the article, might be justified on the ground of a blending of ἡ ἐπιχορηγία κατʼ ἐνέργειαν κ.τ.λ. into one conception, but on the other hand may be urged the fact that ἐν μέτρῳ κ.τ.λ., as a specification of measure, points of itself to the growth, not to the ἐπιχορηγία; nor to συμβιβαζ. (Harless), to which even what precedes did not belong, but: after Paul has stated whereby the body grows (διὰ πάσ. ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.), he now also adds the relation in which it brings about its growth, namely, according to an efficacy in keeping with the measure of each several part, i.e. so that the growing body in its growth follows an activity of development in keeping with the measure peculiar to each several part of the body,—consequently no disproportioned monstrous growth results, but one which is pursuant to proportion, adapted to the varied measure of the several parts (so that, e.g., the hand does not grow disproportionately larger than the foot, etc.). Without figure: From Christ the church accomplishes its progressive development according to an efficacy, which is not equal in all individuals, but appropriate to the degree of development appointed for each several individual. Rückert and Bretschneider take κατʼ ἐνέργειαν adverbially: after a powerful manner. But ἐνέργεια in itself does not denote powerful working, but efficacy, activity in general, so that it would need a more precise definition for the sense supposed (Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 3:7; Php 3:21; Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:11).

ἐν μέτρῳ] according to measure, pro mensura; see Bernhardy, p. 211; Winer, p. 345 [E. T. 483].

μέρους] is held by Harless to denote the several parts, which again in their turn appear as having the control of the other members (pastors, etc., Ephesians 4:11). Against this is ἑνὸς ἑκάστου. It denotes, according to the context, in contradistinction to the whole of the body each part of the body, whether this part may be a whole member or in turn only a portion of a member (comp. Luke 11:36), and is hence of wider meaning than μέλους.

αὔξησιν] in the N.T. only further at Colossians 2:19, often with Greek writers,[231] also 2Ma 5:16.

ποιεῖται] produces for itself (sibi), hence the middle; comp. subsequently εἰς οἰκοδομ. ἑαυτοῦ.

The sense: for the perfecting of itself (aim of τὴν αὔξησ. ποιεῖται), is expressed, as at Ephesians 4:12, in another, dissimilar, but likewise very familiar figure, by εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ.

ἐν ἀγάπῃ] Love of all one to another is the ethical sphere, within which the αὔξησιν ποιεῖσθαι εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ on the part of the whole body proceeds—outside of which this cannot take place. Comp. Ephesians 4:15. On account of Ephesians 4:15, the connection with ΤῊΝ ΑὔΞΗΣΙΝ ΠΟΙΕῖΤΑΙ ΕἸς ΟἸΚΟΔ. ἙΑΥΤΟῦ is more in keeping with the context than the usual one with the mere ΕἸς ΟἸΚΟΔ. ἙΑΥΤΟῦ.

We may add, that the mode of regarding the church in our passage is not “genuinely Gnostic,” as Baur pronounces, but genuinely Pauline. Comp. especially 1 Corinthians 12:14-27.

[229] In virtue of this signification there was denoted by ἁφή also the fine sand with which the oiled athletes sprinkled each other, in order to be able to take a firm grasp (see Steph. Thesaur. s.v.). Thence Bengel derives the interpretation: ansae ad mutuum auxilium. An arbitrary abstraction from a conception entirely foreign to the context.

[230] In which case the genitive τῆς ἐπιχ. would have to be taken, with Grotius, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others, as genitive of definition (on behalf of). But see above, in opposition to Hofmann.

[231] More classic, however, is αὔξη. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. vi. p. 509 B.Ephesians 4:16. ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα: from whom the whole body. Statement of the relation of the whole, following that already made regarding the several members. πᾶν τὸ σῶμα looks back on the οἱ πάντες. The ἐξ has its proper force of origin (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 13:4, and especially the precise parallel in Colossians 2:19), and cannot be reduced to mean per quem (Morus., etc.). All growth in the body has its source in Christ, the Head.—συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον: being fitly framed together and compacted. Or, as RV, “fitly framed and knit together”. The participles are presents, as expressing a process that is going on. For the former see on chap. Ephesians 2:21 above. The latter, to which TWH give the form συνβιβαζόμενον, expresses the general idea of putting together, but with various shades of meaning, e.g., reconciling one to another (Herod., i., 74); considering or concluding (Acts 16:10); demonstrating (Acts 9:22); instructing (1 Corinthians 2:16); and (as here and in Colossians 2:19) compacting or knitting together into one whole. Distinctions have been drawn between the two terms; e.g., by Bengel, who took the συναρμολογουμένη to express specially the harmony of the building and the συμβιβαζόμενον its solidity; and by Ellicott, who thinks the idea of the former is that of the aggregation of the parts, and of the latter that of their inter-adaption. But at the most the difference does not seem to go beyond the notions of joining (ἁρμός = a joint) and compacting or making to coalesce.—διὰ πἅσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας: by means of every joint of the supply. Here the AV and the RV are in substantial agreement, the former giving “by that which every joint supplieth”; the latter, “through that which every joint supplieth,” with the marginal rendering “through every joint of the supply”. The Vulgate gives per omnem juncturam. The old English Versions vary, e.g., Wicl., “by each jointure of under serving”; Tynd., “in every joint wherewith one ministereth to another”; Cov., “every joint of subministration”; Gen., “by every joint for the furniture thereof”; Bish., “by every joint yielding nourishment”. The clause is one of much difficulty, especially as regards the ἁφῆς. The word occurs only twice in the NT, here and in Colossians 2:19. The question is whether it means joint, contact, or sensation. In classical Greek it has a variety of meanings, e.g., touch (Aeschyl., Prom., 850), the sense of touch (Plato, Rep., 523 E), grasp (Plut., 2, 86 F), a junction or joint in the body (Arist., De Gen. et Corr., i., 8, 24), and also, it is contended, feeling (Plato, Locr., p. 100 D, E; Pol., vii., p. 523 E, etc.). In the present passage Chrys. and Theod. give it this last sense, αἴσθησις, feeling, perception; and among others Mey. follows this, rendering the clause “by means of such sensation of the supply” and denying indeed that ἁφή ever has the sense of συναγή, vinculum. But it seems clear that in the passage in Aristotle referred to above and in others, (e.g., Arist., De Coelo, i., 11; Plato, Axioch., p. 365 A) it has the sense of joining, juncture, joint. It is also clear that it has the sense of adhesion, contact (Arist., Metaphys., iv., 4, x., 3; Phys. Ausc., iv., 6; De Gen. et Corr., i., 6). The meaning indeed for which Mey. contends seems to have little or no foundation in ancient Greek use. The choice lies between the other two. The sense of contact is preferred by some (e.g., Oec, von Hofm.), the idea then being “by means of every contact which serves for supplying,” or “by means of every contact of each member of the body with the power which Christ supplies”. But most prefer the sense of “joint,” both because all the most ancient Versions understand the clause to have the members of the body and their relation one to another in view, and because in the parallel passage (Colossians 2:19) ἁφῶν is coupled with συνδέσμων. If the sense of feeling is adopted the clause will naturally be attached to the following αὔξησινποιεῖται, and will specify the way in which the growth is to be made. With the sense of joint the clause will be best attached to the participles preceding it (especially in view of the clause in Colossians 2:19), and will define the means by which the framing and compacting are effected. (See especially Light. on Colossians 2:19.) The term ἐπιχορηγία, which occurs again in Php 1:19, means supply, perhaps with something of the idea of the large and liberal, as Ell. suggests, belonging to the primary use of ἐπιχορηγεῖν. The τῆς points to the particular supply that comes from Christ, and the gen. may be taken as that of inner relation or destination (cf. σκεύη τῆς λειτουργίας, Hebrews 9:21; see Win.-Moult., p. 235). The idea, therefore, appears to be that the body is fitly framed and knit together by means of the joints, every one of them in its own place and function, as the points of connection between member and member and the points of communication between the different parts and the supply which comes from the Head. The joints are the constituents of union in the body and the media of the impartation of the life drawn by the members from the head. Precisely so in Colossians 2:19 the joints and ligaments are mentioned together and are described as the parts by which the body receives its supplies (ἐπιχορηγούμενον) and is kept compact together (συμβιβαζόμενον).—κατʼ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους: according to an efficiency in the measure of each individual part. For μέρους some good MSS., etc., read μέλους (AC, Syr., Boh., Vulg., etc.), and WH give it a place in their margin. But μέρους is to be preferred, as supported by such authorities as [418] [419] [420] [421] [422] [423] [424], Arm., etc. ἐνέργειαν = energy in the sense of activity, working. ἐν μέτρῳ = in the measure, i.e., proportionate to, in keeping with (Mey.), or commensurate with (Ell.). ἐν can never have the sense of κατά. But it is used occasionally like the Heb. בְּ, in phrases expressing the proportion or law in accordance with which something is done (Thuc., i., 77, 8:89; Hebrews 4:11; see Win.-Moult., p. 483). The clause is connected by some (de Wette, etc.) with τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας; by others (Harl., etc.) with the συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον; but it is best attached to the αὔξησινποιεῖται. So it defines the nature, law, or order of the growth, describing it as proceeding in accordance with an inward operation that adapts itself to the nature and function of each several part and gives to each its proper measure. It is a growth that is neither monstrous nor disproportioned, but normal, harmonious, careful of the capacity and suited to the service of each individual member of Christ’s body.—τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται: maketh the growth of the body. αὔξησις, common enough, together with αὔξη, in classical Greek, occurs only twice in the NT, here and Colossians 2:19. The Mid. ποιεῖται conveys the idea of making for oneself; or it may rather strengthen the sense, suggesting “the energy with which the process is carried on” (Ell.). See especially Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 438, for the use of the appropriative and intensive Middle. The repetition of the σῶμα, “the whole body … makes the increase of the body,” is due probably to the desire to avoid ambiguity, as the pronoun might have been taken to refer to the μέρους.—εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ: unto the building up of itself in love. εἰς expresses the object and end of the carrying on of the growth, viz., the completion of the body. The ἐν ἀγάπῃ might qualify the αὔξησιν ποιεῖται (so Mey.); but it is more fitly connected with the οἰκοδομήν, as denoting the ethical element or condition of that consummation and completion of the Church which is the object of the long-continued process of growth.

[418] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[419] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[420] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[421] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[422] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[423] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[424] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.16. from whom] He is the vital Source to which the whole complex organism now to be described wholly owes alike its existence and its action.

fitly joined together] The Gr. participle is present, and indicates a process going on. The Body, vitalized from and by the Head, is evermore acquiring a deeper and truer contact of part with part, a more harmonious (“fitly”) inner union and action. See above on Ephesians 2:21, where the same Gr. word occurs.

compacted] Again a present participle. (The same word recurs Colossians 2:19.) The idea of growth in harmony of structure (see last note) here merges into that of growth in solidity and strength.

by that which every joint supplieth] Lit., by or through every joint of the supply. It is possible to render “by every contact of the supply”; i.e., as explained by St Chrysostom here, “as the Spirit touches, in order to supply grace, each limb of the Body”; or, perhaps, as each limb, each believer, touches (by faith) the source of supply. But the parallel passage Colossians 2:19 is decisive for the explanation “joint.” So the Latin Versions, junctura. The thought is of “supply” passing to the limbs through the nexus of each with the source of life. Each such nexus is thus a “joint of supply,” “a junction designed for, made for, conveyance” of life and power; as we speak of “a bond of union.” The metaphor must not be elaborately pressed. The essential idea is mutual coherence and common growth of the limbs through individual connexion with the Head (1 Corinthians 6:17), not through connexion with other limbs. The “joint” thus represents the man’s spiritual union with Christ, not union with church-organization, which is a thing, however sacred, of another order. The life-flow from the Head to each spiritual Limb is individual and direct. The product of this, not the cause or means of it, is the life of the Body.

according to the effectual working] Better, simply, [the] working. The process in view takes place “according to,” in the manner and on the scale of, the life-power of the Head acting in the Limb. The original noun (whence our “energy” is derived) occurs in N. T. only in St Paul; Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 3:7 (where see note), and here; Php 3:21; Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9 (of the working of the Evil Power). The article is omitted before the word here, perhaps because the power referred to is unmistakable. Alford renders “according to vital working.”

in the measure of every part] Each limb has its own conditions of larger or smaller capacity; age, circumstances, training, and the like occasion very various “measures” in the allotments of the Divine life-power which adjusts itself to each real need, while it can always fully meet that need.

maketh] The form of the Gr. verb (middle) indicates fulness and intensity of action.

increase] Lit., the increase, the growth contemplated as taking place.

unto the edifying of itself] For illustration, see Ephesians 2:21, and notes.

in love] The inmost condition of the whole process. All takes place “in,” under the power and after the action of, “love”; for the Source of the life-energy is “the Son of the Father’s love” (Colossians 1:13, Gr.), and the recipients are “rooted and grounded in the love” of the Father in Him (see above on Ephesians 3:17); from which “no created thing shall separate them” (Romans 8:39).Ephesians 4:16. Ἐξ, from) The source of growth.—συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον) the body fitly joined together and compacted; the concrete for the abstract; i.e. the compacting and joining together of the body by right conformation and solid compacting together: συναρμολογούμενον refers to what is according to rule, so that all the parts may be rightly fitted in their proper position and in mutual relation; συμβιβαζόμενον denotes at once firmness and consolidation.—διὰ πάσης ἀφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας) [“By every handle of mutual assistance.” Engl. Vers. By that which every joint supplieth]. In the wrestling ground the ἀφαὶ are the means by which the antagonist to be assailed is laid hold of; for the opponents threw over each other dust and sand, so that each might be able to seize his adversary, even though the latter was anointed with oil. Here the means [handles] of mutual assistance are called ἁφαὶ τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας. Διὰ, by, construed with ποιεῖται, makes.[63]—κατʼ ἐνέργειαν, according to the working) The power ought also to be put into active exercise; comp. κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν, ch. Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 3:7. But the article is wanting in this place; because he is speaking of the particular efficacy of single members.[64]—ἑνὸς ἑκάστου, of each one) To be construed with ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ.—ΤΟῦ ΣΏΜΑΤΟς, of the body) The noun for the reciprocal pronoun [viz. increase of itself, ἑαυτοῦ]; therefore ΠΟΙΕῖΤΑΙ is used, not ΠΟΙΕῖ.[65]—ἐν ἀγάπῃ, in love) Construe with the edifying of itself.

[63] “Makes increase by every handle of mutual assistance.” But Engl. V. joins it with συμβιβαζόμενον, compacted by that which every joint supplieth.—ED.

[64] Whereas in ch. Ephesians 1:19 he speaks of the general working of God’s power.—ED.

[65] The middle being reflexive, i.e. the object relating to the same person as the subject.—ED.Verse 16. - From whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth. The relation of ἐκ in this verse to εἰς in ver. 15 is to be noted - growing up vitally into him, the body derives vital substance from him. Not, however, in a mere individual sense, but as an organization, the parts being adapted and articulated to one another (this process being continuous; see present participles, (συναρμολογούμενον and συνβιβαζόμενον). In the Church there are babes in Christ, also young men and old men; some are clear in intellect, some strong in faith, some warm in love, some excel in passive virtues, some in active; but in a well-ordered Church these should be getting jointed together, and learning to work with and for one another, no one despising gifts which he has not but another has; in tiffs sense, there ought to be a spiritual communism, for all are one spiritual body. But spiritual communism does not involve social communism or even social equality, nor will social distinctions be obliterated in a pure Church, except so far as they hinder spiritual communion. According to the energy in the measure (or, proportion) of each individual part. This clause seems to be most naturally connected with what follows. In the fit framing of the body, channels as it were are laid for the propagation and working of the vital force throughout the body; this force is not alike, but of various amount in the different parts; some members have much of it, some little, but the measure of this vital three regulates the growth. Carries on the growth of the body. The middle voice, ποιεῖται, indicates that it is a growth from within, while depending on the energy furnished by Christ. For building up of itself in love. This is the end, so far as the body itself is concerned, though, of course, the completed spiritual body, like the completed natural body, has work to do outside itself. In a healthy Church there is a continual work of building up: construction, not destruction, is its proper business - promoting peace, purity, prayerfulness, trust, activity in the work of the Lord, but all in love, the absence of which makes winter instead of summer, declension instead of progress, death instead of life. In illustration of the various measure of grace, and yet its real efficiency in all the members of the Church, Eadie says, "No member or ordinance is superfluous. The widow's mite was commended by him who sat over against the treasury. Solomon built a temple. Joseph provided a tomb. Mary the mother gave birth to the child, and the other Marys wrapped the corpse in spices. Lydia entertained the apostle, and Phoebe carried an Epistle of old, the princes and heroes went to the field, and wise-hearted women did spin. While Joshua fought, Moses prayed. The snuffers and trays were as necessary as the magnificent lampstand.... The result is that the Church is built up, for love is the element of spiritual progress. That love fills the renewed nature." The Church has been defined as an institution that has truth for its nourishment, love for its atmosphere, and Christ for its Head. Fitly joined - compacted (συναρμολογούμενον - συμβιβαζόμενον)

The present participles denote present, continuous progress. The two participles represent respectively the ideas of harmony or adaptation and compactness or solidity. See on Acts 9:22, and see on Colossians 2:2.

By that which every joint supplieth (διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας)

Lit., through every joint of the supply. For joint, see on Colossians 2:19; for supply, see on 2 Peter 1:5. The supply specifies it as peculiarly Christ's. The phrase joint of the supply signifies joint whose office or purpose it is to supply. Construe with the two participles, as Colossians 2:19.

According to the working

Construe with maketh increase.

In the measure of every part

According as each part works in its own proper measure.


Notice the peculiar phrase; the whole body maketh increase of the body. It is a living organism, and its growth is produced by vital power within itself.

In love

As the element in which the upbuilding takes place. Compare Ephesians 3:17-19.

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