For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
It is to perfect the saints for Christian service and for sharing in the edification of the Church. The ministry is intended to "equip or prepare for future enterprise by means of perfecting the power and adaptation of the man for his task." It prepares the saints for two services.
I. THE WORK OF MINISTRY. It is maintained by some that this passage warrants all saints to preach the gospel, because the four classes of officers spoken of are said to prepare saints for the work of ministry. If so, then these officers, or some of them, are still needed for the purpose; yet this is expressly denied. The passage, however, implies that the preparation in question is to be continuous, for it is to last till the end of time. The word "ministry," however, must be taken in a large sense to signify general spiritual service, that may assume a thousand different forms (Hebrews 6:10; Acts 6:4; Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 9:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 11:8; 2 Timothy 4:11). Every believer is not only to be "fruitful in every good work," but to "hold forth the Word of life," though he should be neither trained nor called to the Christian pastorate.
II. THE EDIFICATION OF THE CHURCH. This is the second end included in the Christian pastorate. The action of the ministry upon the saints is blessed to the enlargement of the Church, both in numbers and in spirituality. A revival of religion is always accompanied or followed by "a building up of the body of Christ." T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: