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Ephesians 4:11 and the Five-Fold Ministry…

Posted by on Apr 17, 2007 in elders, office, scripture, spirit/holy spirit, spiritual gifts | 26 comments

I have read several books that discuss the “five-fold ministry”, taken from Ephesians 4:11. (Two important books that deal with “five-fold ministry” are Wolfgang Simson’s Houses that Change the World and Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch’s The Shaping of Things to Come.) According to the “five-fold ministry” concept, the list in this verse (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – sometimes called APEPT) represent five types of Christian leadership. I’m trying to be very broad in my terminology, because different authors use different words to describe the “five-fold ministry”. Some call them offices; some call them functions; some call them gifts.

At this point, I do not plan to discuss the purpose of the people listed in Ephesians 4:11 – that will come in a later post. Instead, I would like to focus on the number of “items” listed in the verse. Unfortunately, to make this point, I will have to include the Greek text:

και αυτος εδωκεν τους μεν αποστολους τους δε προφητας τους δε ευαγγελιστας τους δε ποιμενας και διδασκολους…

A literal translation would be:

And he (himself) gave on the one hand the apostles, on the other hand the prophets, on the other hand the evangelists, on the other hand the pastors and teachers…

There are three reasons to see this as a list of four items instead of five.

First, the μεν … δε (men … de – “on the one hand … on the other hand”) conjunction pair works to separate this list into four distinct elements. When using the μεν … δε conjunction, it was perfectly acceptable to the Greeks to have more than two “hands”, but they still used the conjunction pair to mark off the items in the list. Today, in English, we use commas and conjunctions to do the same thing. By examining the μεν … δε … δε … δε construction in Ephesians 4:11, it seems that the author was pointing to four items.

Second, the author also uses the definite article τους (tous) to separate the items. Notice that in this verse, there are four uses of the definite article τους. The last two nouns (ποιμενας και διδασκολους – “pastors and teachers”) share a definite article. This shows a correlation between these two nouns that the author does not indicate between the other three nouns (αποστολους… προφητας… ευαγγελιστας – “apostles… prophets… evangelists”) since each has its own definite article.

Third, according to Daniel Wallace in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, the combination of the μεν … δε conjunction pair with the definite article implies a mild contrast. [212-213] For this reason, many English versions translate this conjunction pair with the definite article as “some” and “others” (i.e. “some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers). However, this “mild contrast” does not exist between the last two nouns (ποιμενας και διδασκολους – “pastors and teachers”). Instead, they are connected by a different conjunction (και) which is connective or correlative. So, the author is contrasting four distinct groups, with the fourth group containing two connected nouns.

In other words, I would contend that the grammar and syntax of Ephesians 4:11 would create a bulleted list as shown below:

  • apostles
  • prophets
  • evangelists
  • pastors and teachers

I am not asserting that a “pastor” and a “teacher” are the same thing. That is a completely different discussion. At this point, I am simply examining the grammar, syntax, and construction of the Greek text. It is my belief that the Spirit worked through the authors to produce the text as He desired. Thus, we can know the intention of the author by reading the text itself. Once we know what the text says, then we can begin to discuss what the text means.

Also, I am not asserting that these giftings no longer exist nor am I asserting that God no longer works through individuals as apostles, prophets, etc. Again, that is a separate discussion.

So, what is my assertion? There are four items listed in Ephesians 4:11. I think it is problematic to base the concept of a “five-fold ministry” on a list that only contains four items.

Ephesians 4:7-16 Series:
1. Ephesians 4:11 and the Five-Fold Ministry
2. Ephesians 4:12 and Equipping Ministry
3. Ephesians 4:7-16 and the Growing Church
4. Ephesians 4:7-16 and Consistency


26 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-17-2007

    Alan,

    Interesting post. I’d like to respond to it with some other textual issues. But before I do that, I want to offer a simple preface. The term “five-fold ministry,” or “four-fold ministry” if you accept your own argument, is simply a “label” to functionally identify what you see in Eph. 4:11, et seq., and that’s all it is. I just wanted to say that before I go ahead and make my argument that it is five and not four in the next paragraph.

    I believe in order to ascertain what Paul meant in what he wrote we have to compare Eph. 4:11 to other analagous passages in the Bible, or to “let the Scripture interpret itself,” which I’ve learned is a basic premise of good hermeneutics. In my view, the most analogous passage to Eph. 4:11 is 1 Cor. 12:28, which states, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps…” I won’t get into the rest of 1 Cor. 12:28 because its not relevant, and everyone here knows my extensive views on “kubernesis,” LOL. :) Anyways, while we do not see “pastor” here, we DO see “teacher” separate from “pastor.” I would say, based on this passage, then, that there is a gift of teacher (different from Rom. 12 gift of teaching).

    Now, so far as I know, Eph. 4:11 is the only place that we see “pastor” used in the NT. The only occurrence of the word “pastor” that I know of in the OT (and this is the KJV version) is in Jeremiah. The major passage that I would draw your attention to in the KJV is Jer. 3:15, which states, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Here, the word pastor can also be translated as “shepherd,” which we know is basically the pastoral function according to NT Scriptures. However, we see that a pastor/shepherd’s responsibility is to “feed with knowledge and understanding.” This correlates in the NT to the shepherding role of pastors to steward the mysteries of God. For instance, according to Col. 1:25-27 (NAS), “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your full benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the MYSTERY which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles, which Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And there are other NT Scriptures that I could cite here to the same effect.

    But my point is that looking at the whole of the NT, and the whole of the Bible (i.e. the passages in Jeremiah, esp. 3:15), God seems to make a distinction between the gift of the pastor, which is to shepherd the local church by “steering the ship” (kubernesis), stewarding the mysteries of God, and FEED the saints with knowledge and understanding of God’s Word; versus the gift of the teacher (separate from pastor in 1 Cor. 12:28), which is to basically teach the Word of God, etc, in order that the saints would be equipped (Eph. 4:11, et seq.).

    So, that is at least the beginning of my argument that Eph. 4:11 actually lists five ministries, the gifts of pastor and teacher being two separate ones.

    So, I guess Alan I’d ask to respond to 1 Cor. 12:28 and Jer. 3:15, and how you harmonize those Scriptures with your four-fold view. Thanks.

    Blessings,
    Jonathan

  2. 4-17-2007

    Jonathan,

    just a couple of thought that came to mind when I was reading your comments.

    1) Yes, we have to use Scripture to understand Scripture, but not to negate Scripture. You cannot ignore the grammatical structure of Eph 4:11 just because 1 Cor 12 lists teaching separately. Consider the following: could it be that pastor is always tied to teacher, but teacher is not always tied to pastor? Thus if the number of “ministries” is counted on the basis of the list in Eph 4:11, then it has to be 4. BTW – I see them as gifts, not “ministries” (see here).

    2) This brings me to the next thought. Why limit it to 5, why not use 1 Cor 12 and list 7 gifts instead of 5? Really, for that why not use all the different lists of gifts found in the new testament? If the answer is because Eph 4:12 specifically lists equipping after the list in Eph 4:11, then we have again to see it as 4.

    3) Also, please be careful not to equate minister (in the Greek this is he term sometimes translated deacon) with pastors? We are all called to be ministers – see my post here.

    Mae:l

  3. 4-17-2007

    Howdy,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here with your analysis of the μὲν…δέ clause in Eph 4:11.

    In response to Jonathan—Jer 3:15 seems to support Alan’s four-fold ministry. First of all, the word ποιμήν like its Hebrew counterpart in Jer 3:15, רעה (here used as a participle), as far as I know, can always be translated “shepherd.” This is what the Latin term “pastor” means. Further, if we look at the LXX, three different words formed from the ποιμήν root are used. So, Jer 3:15 is definitely a good place to look to consider the meaning of “pastor.”

    Col 1:25ff., however does not seem to fit the bill. Is Paul talking about “pastoring” or “ministering”? I would think that a διάκονος is distinct from a ποιμήν.

    What is the difference between “teaching God’s word” and “feeding the saints wih knowledge and understanding”?

    Here’s a question that I’ve been struggling with, which will ultimately be discussed in my series on Romans 1:1 at Withering Fig—what exactly is the gift of apostleship? What does this look like today?

    God bless all of ya!

  4. 4-17-2007

    Jonathan,

    First, I appreciate your enthusiasm and your perseverance. Second, I did not suggest a “four-fold ministry”. In fact, I did not suggest any type of special ministry in this post. Also, in this post, I was not discussing the meaning of either ποιμενας (shepherds/pastors) or διδασκολους (teachers). Notice the stated purpose of this post: “Instead, I would like to focus on the number of ‘items’ listed in the verse.” Since you did not discount my discussion of the number of items in Eph 4:11, should I assume that you agree that Paul only listed four items, but that you choose to interpret it as five anyway?

    Next, you asked me to examine 1 Cor 12:28 and Jer 3:15. In my examination, I found 8 items listed in 1 Cor 12:28 (btw… your favorite “gift” κυβέρνησις – kubernesis – is number 7 in this list). But, I did not see a similar use of the μεν … δε (men … de) conjunctions as in Eph 4:11, nor did I see a similar use of the definite article as in Eph 4:11. I’m not sure how this relates to my discussion of the number of items in Eph 4:11.

    Similarly, I do not see any lists at all in Jer 3:15.

    Maël,

    Good discussion of the gifts. At this time, I’m leaving the interpretation of the various gifts to you and other. I’m going to stick with the original purpose of this post for the time being. I may come back later and discuss interpretation of the various items. Please, though, feel free to continue the discussion.

    Stephen,

    First, I like your Greek font better than mine. How did you do that?

    Second, I think you are hitting on an important issue when comparing “pastoring” and “ministering”. I think this is caused by a modern misusage of the term “minister”.

    Third, you ask a good question: “What is the difference between ‘teaching God’s word’ and ‘feeding the saints wih knowledge and understanding’?” Perhaps some of us can begin examining the connection between these phrases.

    -Alan

  5. 4-17-2007

    I will be very interested in the following posts. We in the western church have emphasised the role of pastor to the exclusion of all others. If you have another role/function/gift you must start a para-church ministry because there is no room for you in the church. So, I welcome this discussion.
    As far as four vs. five is concerned well, I am agin’ it. Four fold ministry just does not role off the tongue like five fold ministry does. It has to do with the fo in four and the fo in fold being the same I think. But all that silliness aside I am not quite persuaded by the nuancing of the greek. If it can be subsequently shown that pastor and teacher are the same thing then that’s fine. But I don’t see it. They are not used the same in scripture and they are not the same in our experience. So, it may be disappointing for you to hear this from me but I will decide not to decide at this point and wait to see in your next post where do you think Paul was going with any of it and what these different ministry/gift/functions may be.

  6. 4-17-2007

    Mael,

    A few things for you to consider. First, I see Eph. 4:11 as “ministry gifts,” they are both ministries AND gifts.

    Second, I agree with you that the gifts listed in Eph. 4:11 are for equipping, and none of the other gift lists are (i.e. Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, etc.)

    Third, I agree with you that there is a huge difference between minister (deacon) and pastor, and that we are ALL called to be ministers. Amen?

    So, Mael, we probably only have ONE difference: the number of gifts in Eph. 4:11.

    Stephen,

    Yes, the word for “pastor” in the Hebrew can also be translated “shepherd,” I agree completely there. But I don’t see that as supporting Alan’s view. I do believe there is a responsibility, as outlined in the Scriptures, of pastors to teach as part of their responsibility to the local congregation. I think that is clear. But, Paul is also clear that there is a non-pastoral gift of the teacher in 1 Cor. 12:28. Its the same Greek word that Paul uses in Eph. 4:11. To me, that means Paul is speaking of the same gift in BOTH places — and that this is an equipping gift, different from the Rom. 12 gift of teaching, which is a motivational gift.

    Stephen, as regards to Col. 1:25, Paul specifically ties his ministry to a special stewardship of the mysteries of God, and to preaching the Word of God. Not everyone is called to preach, but I probably can find you at least one or two NT Scriptures that give special place to that. Paul makes special mention about those who make their living by preaching and teaching, and how they are to be supported — he distinguishes this from “the saints” — and I believe that is a crucial distinction, which I will take up later, at some point in this discussion, most likely.

    Alan,

    My use of “four-fold” was a tongue-in-cheek device. I apologize for confusing you in that respects. I actually listened to a message recently by an AG pastor, who said it COULD be “four-fold,” meaning that the number in Eph. 4:11 of gifts listed could be four, but he still believed it was five. And this is basically my position, as well. I concede that God could have it as four gifts, and could have it as five gifts. I see “teacher” as a distinct gift listed in 1 Cor. 12:28, though, and if Paul is speaking of the same gift in Eph. 4:11 when he uses “teacher” in the Greek, then it would HAVE to be five. Otherwise, the “teacher” gift in 1 Cor. 12:28 does NOT have an equipping function. So, that is why I believe we must harmonize 1 Cor. 12:28 especially with Eph. 4:11. And that’s my point. Perhaps Jer. 3:15 was a tangent, but all I am trying to do is defend the concept that “pastor” and “teacher” are separate gifts, as listed in the Scripture, and the whole notion of “pastor-teacher” is incorrect. :)

    Lastly, and this is for everybody, I do see a difference between “feeding” and “teaching.” The latter is imparting information. However, information alone is usually not enough. Paul makes clear in various passages that there is also the PREACHING of the Word of God, which is more the role of the pastor of the local congregation, to steward the mysteries of God, and by which “feed” the saints, which would to me imply giving them revelation and inspiration, and not just information from the Word. So, I do see a connotative difference between “feeding” and “teaching.”

    Blessings,
    Jonathan

  7. 4-17-2007

    Strider,

    If Paul intended to list four items, then we would do well to make sure our understanding aligns with this. I’m not saying that you disagree with this; as a matter of fact, I would be surprised if you disagreed. I am not surprised that you would withhold decision. But, you must know, if Paul lists four, then my description must align with that list… not the other way around. I can’t add to lists (or change what the text says) simply because I think something doesn’t match with my understanding.

    Jonathan,

    Very interesting position… Maybe I misunderstood what you said. I have tried to clearly demonstrate that Paul described four categories in Eph. 4:11. I gave three reasons for reading it as four categories. No one has demonstrated that my reasons are invalid; in fact, no one has argued against my reasons. When do we allow the text of Scripture to determine what we believe, instead of allowing our beliefs to change what the text says?

    -Alan

  8. 4-17-2007

    Alan,

    You have made some great observations here. You are right, we need to allow scripture to change our theology, not our theology change scripture. I definitely agree that there are four items in this list… but even if there were five, I am not sure it is a five-fold anything. As others have clearly demonstrated there are numerous other lists within scripture.

    God’s Glory,
    Lew

  9. 4-17-2007

    Actually I would say that we have more than one.

    1) Can you please justify scripturally your stance on Eph 4:11 being a list of ministry gifts? If you would rather, you can interact on my post on Eph 4:11 being gifts here.

    2) My second point was not an agreement to the fact that there are only 4 equipping gifts, but more a logical discussion on the impact of other gift lists on the interpretation of Eph 4:11.

    3) My ministers comment was in regards to your using Col 1 as a proof text for pastors being stewards of the mysteries of God. It refers to Paul being a minister not a pastor.

    I do appreciate the discussion and look forward to seeing where you get your ideas in Scripture.

  10. 4-17-2007

    Alan,

    Let me first make a general, hermeneutical comment. Generally, I am less persuaded by grammatical arguments as to what a Scripture verse means, than other Scripture-based argument that explain a verse. When I was first being discipled, I was taught a basic rule of exegesis: Let Scripture interpret itself (or let Scripture interpret Scripture). So, rather than going to Greek grammar (which you should do to define a Greek word, and for that you should use a good dictionary or lexicon, like Thayer’s), the first place you should go in explaining a verse is other places in the Bible that seek to explain what is being said in the verse at hand. Once you do this, then you can harmonize whatever verses you find, etc. This is what I am seeking to do here with the “five or four” question that we are exploring.

    All of that being said, my position is that (1) Paul lists five different gifts in Eph. 4:11, (2) Paul lists “pastor” and “teacher” as separate gifts in Eph. 4:11, and (3) The same gift of “teacher” that Paul lists in Eph. 4:11 is also listed in 1 Cor. 12:28. The point with this last one is that 1 Cor. 12:28 is an important cross-reference, I believe, to Eph. 4:11. Yes, “pastor” is not listed in 1 Cor. 12:28, but “teacher” IS separately.

    Query: Alan, do you believe that there is a gift of “pastor-teacher,” and that there is a gift of “teacher” – ? If your answer is yes, please explain the distinction that you see between the two??? I believe this is a key to harmonizing the two verses, and determining the number of gifts in Eph. 4:11.

    Lastly, Alan, I believe what I believe based on what the Bible says, and not the other way around, as you imply with your final question directed towards me. If I’m not mistaken, I look at the verse at hand, and any other verses that explain the original verse (cross-references), and I develop my beliefs based on all of that. Amen?

    Mael,

    I take it that your questions are directed towards me, but if not, would you clarify otherwise? I’ll go ahead and provide you my response.

    (1) You asked: Can you justify with Scripture the position that Eph. 4:11 is a list of ministry gifts. Sure. If you look at Eph. 4:8, it says, “When He (Christ) ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave GIFTS to men.” In the NAS, verses 9 and 10 are a parenthetical that explains what “He ascended” means. Paul then continues in verse 11, “And He (Christ) gave…” and then Paul lists four or five (depending on how you interpret the number question) gifts. That’s all, Mael. The context makes pretty clear that APEPT are all gifts in reference to verse 8. Does that make sense? Does that answer your question?

    (2) I think I agree with you that the purpose of the Eph. 4:11 gifts is that they equip the saints for the work of the ministry — which is not the purpose of any of the other gifts listed in the NT. But I do not think this distinction affects the number question, whether Paul lists 4 or 5.

    (3) As to Col. 1, Paul DOES consider himself as a steward of the mysteries of God. I don’t think I would say that Col. 1:25-27 applies only to pastors. It also applies to apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers as well (or pastor-teachers if you wish). I do not think it applies to non-full-time ministers (the saints). The reason why I say this is because of the emphasis on “preaching of the word of God” in verse 25. An important cross-reference for this is Eph. 3:2. Further, a biblical synonym (if you follow additional cross-references in the NAS), for “stewardship” is “administration,” which is the same conceptual term as “kubernesis,” which can also be translated “governments,” and which is found back in 1 Cor. 12:28, as a gift, listed along with “teacher.” 1 Tim. 1:4b (NAS) says, “furthering the administration of God which is by faith.” Thus, I believe based on these, and other verses I could cite, e.g. Eph. 1:10 and 3:9, which all shed light here, lead me to believe that there is a direct correlation in Paul’s mind between stewarding/administering the mysteries of God and the preaching of the Word of God, and both these concepts are ALSO tied into the gift of “kubernesis,” as well as the concept of pastor/shepherd as developed in Jer. 3:15. It all ties together as one package deal for me to explain what certain gifts are, i.e. what a pastor does, versus what a teacher does.

    Mael, does all of this make sense, or would you like me to clarify anything further? I might have gone off on a tangent, but I hope I thoroughly answered your questions.

    Blessings,
    Jonathan

  11. 4-17-2007

    Jonathan,

    Grammar tells us how a language puts words together in order to express complete thoughts. We (you and I) are able to communicate because we know the definition of the words and because we know how to put the words together to form sentences and to express our thoughts.

    Understanding Scripture is not just about knowing the definition of Greek words. That is only one part of the process. We must also know how words are put together in the Greek language in order to form sentences. We must know which words are the nouns, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, articles, etc. Beyond that, we must know which nouns are the subject and which are the objects, etc. We must know which verbs are main verbs, which are participles, which are infinitives. We cannot ignore grammar.

    Yes, we must use Scripture to interpret Scripture. But, at this point we are NOT interpreting Scripture. We are trying to determine what Paul wrote. Did he write a list of five things, or four things? This is not a question of interpretation. It is wholly a question of grammar. Once we determine what Scripture says, then we can use other Scripture to interpret what it says.

    In the case of Ephesians 4:11, Paul used specific grammatical structures to list four things. As I said in the original post, the conjunctions and articles that Paul uses are similar to a list of four “bullet points” in English. This is not a matter of interpretation; it is a matter of grammar. I would be glad to answer any grammatical questions and listen to any disagreements in grammar. As I’ve tried to say previously, I am not interpreting this passage yet. We must know what a passage says before we can determine what a passage means. Are you interested in what Ephesians 4:11 says?

    -Alan

  12. 4-18-2007

    Alan,

    We’ll probably have to agree to disagree on this larger issue of the place of grammar in one’s method of interpreting the text. And, I do think, on a basic level, we ARE interpreting Eph. 4:11, just to figure out what number of gifts Paul lists there. Because, it IS a question of interpretation, depending on how you view the Greek, and other Scriptures that assist in your interpretation.

    To be certain, I disagree with most, if not all, of what you said as regards about the place of Greek grammar in interpreting the text. I don’t go for that. While I believe that Greek definitions are helpful in understanding the text, I do NOT believe in making arguments based on Greek grammar. I do not believe that is proper exegesis, nor is it a proper way to “rightly divide the word of truth.”

    So, and we might have to agree to disagree concerning this — I do not believe the number of gifts that Paul lists in Eph. 4 is a matter of grammar, it IS a matter of interpretation.

    Lastly, I believe it is MORE important, in trying to figure out what Paul SAID to look at what Paul said in OTHER verses in the NT. I do NOT think a good starting point is Greek grammar. I do NOT think Paul used specific Greek grammatical devices to make HIS arguments, as the Holy Spirit led Him. I believe to base your argument here on Greek grammar is being hyper-technical, and not really seeking to understand what Paul SAYS in the text.

    So, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, because of our fundamental difference in this area.

    Blessings,
    Jonathan

  13. 4-18-2007

    Jonathan,

    I will respond to this comment when I respond to your comment in the thread to the post “Ephesians 4:12 and Equipping Ministries“.

    -Alan

  14. 4-18-2007

    I am late getting in on the discussion but have enjoyed reading both this post and the “Equipping Ministries” along with the good comments from all.

    You write…

    “I think it is problematic to base the concept of a “five-fold ministry” on a list that only contains four items.” Whether five or four, what is important to me is that all five/four be functioning in today’s Kingdom work. My beef is that seemingly only the pastor/teacher are truly recognized as legitimate by today’s church. What happened to the role of apostles, prophets, evangelists? Did they just disappear?

  15. 4-19-2007

    sorry to be so late in posting but I was having a hard time even trying to decide where to begin or if even to put in my 2 cents.
    1 – Thayers lexicon gives an english equivalent as do all lexicons. They do not give word definitions, only equivalents in another language. (Perro in Sp. to Dog in Eng.) The exception to this seems the newest BDAG. An equivalent and a definition are two different things.
    2 – Semantics is the study of the meaning of a word and its range which is basically defining a word.Philology is doing this with ancient texts.
    3 – Grammar and Syntax is the study of the way a language constructs its sentences and the languages’ rules.
    4 – It is very important to know and use these different things (Gr/Syn/Sem/Lex) correctly to avoid poor hermeneutics.
    5 – Jonathan seems to be on a different level in his understanding of these tools, not worse, but different. A more fruitful discussion might be proper hermeneutics/exegesis over the resultant exegesis.
    6 – I would propose to exegete any text via text criticism, gramm and synt, word semantics, the compositional approach of the author, and finally the resultant biblical theology of that process.

  16. 4-20-2007

    Ed,

    That looks similar (if not identical) to the method that I use to determine what the text says and how to interpret it in light of other Scriptures.

    -Alan

  17. 4-11-2012

    I am very, very late in getting into this discussion, but I consider this to be a very important subject.

    The importance in this lies in the following: There are now many so called “leaders”, many who label themselves Apostles and Prophets, “certain men crept in unawares” that are teaching doctrines of men, not of God.

    I believe Eph 4:11 is a listing of “gifts given to men”, not “gifted men given to the church”. Just look at the next verse: Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    How is some man supposed to “perfect” me? The word translated perfecting is based on the Greek word artios which means fully equipped. A ship that has everything it needs for a voyage is said to be artios. Again, I ask how is some man supposed to fully equip me? I submit that these are all gifts given as part and parcel of the gift of Christ in us. And, why do we have to chop verse 12 into 3 parts? Just read it as one sentence: (These gifts are given to saints) for them to be fully equipped to perform the work of the service of edifying the body of Christ. Really, it’s so simple! Only Christians can make this hard! These gifts are spiritual enablements within the “Christ in us” that all Christians must have to fulfill what God intended: Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. If we are to be conformed to his image, i.e. look and act just like him, then we must have exactly what he had, which is whatever “Christ” consists of. We can look at Jesus, who embodies all of these gifts for the correct operation of them all.

    My contention is that contained within the “Christ in us” is the apostolic, the prophetic, the evangelistic, and the shepherd/teacher SPIRITUAL enablements the same as Jesus had. As we mature – the same as the fruit tree, which is the dominant imagery used of the Christian – Maturity brings Fruit. The gifts, all of them as needed at the time required, blossom in all Christians who do what is necessary to properly mature themselves.

    Also, I think it is very important to remember that God is no respecter of persons. To be a respecter of persons is sin(James 2:9) and God is not a sinner. God, therefore, being a just God, the same as giving the rain to the just and the unjust, has given the same gifts in the same amount to all those who receive the “Gift of Christ”(Eph 4:7).

    By the way, my proof that shepherding and teaching belong together is here: Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. His response to the lack of a shepherd was to teach. Therefore, in my mind anyway, to shepherd IS to teach.

    My arguments here is, by necessity, are somewhat abridged. I can do much better if anyone is truly interested.

    taj

  18. 4-11-2012

    Timothy,

    I think that I understand what you’re saying. First, I believe that all of God’s children are responsible for carrying out these activities and more. However, I think Ephesians 4:11 points out how some people are gifted in these areas just as others are gifted in other areas. In order for the church to grow (mature), we all must equip one another. In this way, when we all work together, Jesus Christ is fully equipping his body.

    -Alan

  19. 4-2-2013

    Alan,

    Your posts are near impossible to read through Google Chrome. Black background, shade on the greyish text. I have to disable your CSS to even be able to read what you say.

    May I recommend that you take a serious look at how your blog looks like in Google Chrome?

    It may be a setting in my browser but I doubt it. Aside from my having all images loading disabled I don’t see what could be making your blog look so bad.

    Carlos

  20. 4-2-2013

    Carlos,

    I use Google Chrome as my primary browser. My site has a light grey (almost white) background with dark grey (almost black) text font. I’m not sure why you’re seeing a black background.

    -Alan

  21. 4-2-2013

    Carlos,

    Ah. I see what the problem is now. You said you have image loading disabled. My site uses a tiled image for the background. So, you’re seeing a default background instead of the background image.

    -Alan

  22. 4-3-2013

    You hit the nail on the proverbial head Alan. That was exactly the problem. I turned on all images and now I can read your blog! Yippee!

    Of course now I will have to figure out why the Greek lettering is not coming across correctly and instead showing up as a bunch of Chinese looking characters. Which is odd in that I routinely quote Greek words in my writing and it shows up just fine for the most part elsewhere. Oh well…not a biggie. I’ll settle for being able to read your blog overall!

    Thanks for your input Alan.

    Carlos

  23. 4-3-2013

    Carlos,

    The Greek fonts are a database problem. A couple of years ago, during an upgrade, all of the Greek characters (as well as a few other characters) became corrupted. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about it except change all the posts with Greek text or republish them.

    -Alan

  24. 4-3-2013

    Thanks for the heads up Alan. I was chasing down what the problem was, thinking it was on my end again. Glad to hear it’s not on my end.

    By the way I may be able to help you with that, I mean to restore the Greek, if you have the original blog posts around somewhere (in backup form before the corruption occurred). What I mean is that a PHP script could read the original post (from your backups), and then replace the chinese looking characters in that post with the correct Greek lettering one post at time but automatically throughout your posts.

    I’ve done a fair bit of direct MySQL manipulating of data inside the WordPress database if I can be of help to you in that regard Alan.

    It’s perhaps too late if the original posts were corrupted and you had no backup anywhere with the correct Greek lettering but just in case I thought I would mention that.

    It’s a shame because this post is all but useless in that I can’t follow your train of thought without seeing the correct Greek lettering.

    Carlos

  25. 4-3-2013

    Alan,

    I just thought of something. It appears that the chinese looking characters are unique as in particular to the underlying Greek letter that they replaced. If you can figure out which chinese looking thingy corresponds to which Greek letter it should be an easy matter of using a PHP script to access the posts inside your database and using a table having the chinese next to the correct Greek letter as a reference, replace the chinese thingies with Greek letters again.

    Don’t know if that is worth the trouble to you but it’s another option I think.

    For what it’s worth.

    Carlos

  26. 4-3-2013

    Carlos,

    I only have the version of these posts that are in the database. I think there are a few ways that I could transform the texts, but I simply don’t have the time. I should probably re-write these posts, though, because they have always been very popular.

    -Alan

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