Ephesians 4:11

These gifts will overlap but the progression is simple. These four/five gifts will:

  1. Reveal the mystery, revelation, word of God (Apostle, Prophet). These are foundational.
  2. Declare the revelation of God’s word (Prophet, Evangelist)
  3. Teach the revelation of God’s word (Pastor, Teacher)


kai   autoV   edwken   touV   men      apostolouV     touV   de         profhtaV   touiV   de   

And       he         gave     some ( “the one”)    APOSTLES     some (“the other”)    PROPHETS         some

euaggelistaV  touV  de   poimenaV   kai   didaskalouV   proV   ton   katartismon   twn

EVANGELIST           some       SHEPHERDS   and       TEACHERS           for         the      PERFECTING      of the


agiwn   eiV   ergon   diakoniaV eiV    oikodomhn   tou   swmatoV   tou   cristou

SAINTS   to    WORK      of MINISTRY      to BUILDING     of the     body          of         Christ


“Pastor” shares the article (definite article) with “teacher” which makes this a list of only 4 gifts not 5, the last one being the gift of “pastor/teacher”. The wording in the Greek requires a strong overlapping of the Pastor and the Teacher. Most ancient lists like this included overlap in the positions identified.

All four/five gifts are gifts of proclaiming

All of these gifts have authority based on:

  1. The message they were proclaiming was God’s message
  2. The individual was gifted by the ascended Christ to proclaim God’s message as an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor/Teacher.

None of the gifts have authority from: 1) Man, 2) Jewish Law, 3) An Ordaining Institution (seminary),

       4) A Head Church, 4) Roman Government

The Apostles and the Prophets are foundational gifts as is seen in Ephesians 2:20 and 3:5. They are mentioned first in 1 Cor. 12:28

APOSTLES” (“apostolos)– from the verb “apostello” meaning “to send”. Refers to commissioned messengers backed by their senders authority.

·         Apostle is used in three ways in the NT: 1) A messenger sent from someone – Philippians 2:15; 2) The Twelve Apostles appointed by Jesus – 1 Cor. 15:5; Revelation21:14; 3) Others in the NT - James (Jesus’ brother) Gal. 1:19; 2:9; 1 Cor. 15:7; Barnabas, Acts 14:4, 14; Acts 9:27; Silas and Timothy 1 Thessalonians 2:6; Andronicus and Junias (or, female Junia) in Romans 16:7 (possibly).

·         Heb. 3:1 Jesus is an apostle.

·         Rom. 1:1 – Paul begins many of his letters this way

·         Acts 1:21 - Historical witnesses of Christ so they could testify to the events and interpret the historical events.

·         Requirements:

o        Paul argues for his apostleship in 1 Cor. 9:1-3 saying “Have I not seen the Lord.” 1 Cor. 15:6-8 Jesus appeared to 500 plus others

o        Sent out by Jesus

o        Accompanied by signs and wonders and mighty works 2 Cor. 12:12 but also, fruit of the ministry as in converts 1 Cor. 9:2

·         Apostles were to: 1) proclaim the revelation, 2) teach (Acts 2:42, “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching”); 3) heal (Acts 5:12); 4) limited administrative responsibilities which were to quickly be handed off (Acts 6:1; See Paul’s ministry), 5) Discipline (Acts 5:1; 1 Cor. 5:1); 6) Oversight of the churches (Acts 15:36; 1 Cor. 4:15); 7) Major doctrinal decisions (Acts 15:6)

·         Now we turn to the apostles writings, the N.T. for doctrine, example and church government.

PROPHET” (“prophetas)- spoke for God and may have been a carry over from the Old Testament until God had finished speaking the new revelation. Prophets were the mouth piece of God. “Prophet” occurs 149 times in the NT. “To prophecy” occurs 28 times in the NT.

  • Concept of a prophet is captured in Exodus 7:1 and 4:15-16. A prophet can then be one who supernaturally receives and passes on a message from God. This message does not have to predict the future. Abraham (Gen. 20:7) and David are among the OT prophets.
  • Teaching the written word of God (OT or NT) is not prophesying, it is teaching or proclaiming.
  • There were female prophets, or woman who prophecied, in the OT (Huldah, 2 Chr. 34:22), Anna (Luke 2:36)
  • Prophets in the Bible received their message by external voice of God, internal voice of God, vision, dream, images, etc.
  • The test of a true prophet: 1) Speak in the name of the Lord (Deut. 18:20-22), 2) Prediction visibly fulfilled (Deut. 18:22), 3) Produce a sign to confirm (Deut. 13:1, 2), 4) Must agree with previous revelation (Deut. 13:1-5)
  • The content of a prophetic message: 1) Rebuke, 2) Encouragement, 3) Revelation, 4) Specific information for a specific occasion, 5) Authenticate God’s leader
  • The NT has proportionately the same amount of references to prophets and prophecy as the OT
  • Jesus was a prophet (Deut. 18:15-19)
  • John the Baptist
  • Caiaphas in John 11:51
  • Eph. 2:20; 3:5; 4:11
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Cor. 11-14
  • Agabus foretells the future twice - Acts 11:28 and 21:9, 11
  • Judas and Silas were prophets -  Acts 15:32

I would say the ministry of the Apostle and the Prophet has ceased, just like it did in the OT after Malachi.

But, even before the coming of John the Baptist there was the ministry of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2:25

The cessation of the Apostle and the Prophet (and the signs and revelation that accompanied them) does not require the cessation of the presence and manifestation of the Holy Spirit (gifts and utterance) in the church. Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). 1 Corinthians 14 gives instructions to the church for the use of tongues and prophecy.

EVANGELIST” (“euangelistas”)–one who proclaims the good news. The evangelist proclaimed the gospel which he had received from the apostles. A missionary who brought the gospel into new regions. Heralds or messengers. Only mentioned again in Paul’s writings in 2 Timothy 4:5 which appears to include planting churches and establishing of congregations (Romans 1:11-15).

SHEPHERDS” (“poimenas)- one who leads sheep to food and protection of sheep put in his charge.which is Bible teaching. OT-Jeremiah 23:2-4, In Jer. 23:18-22 they were to declare God’s message accurately.. The word “poimen” is only used here. May refer to the “overseer” position in local congregations elsewhere in the NT Philippians 1:1 along with elders. Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; John 21:16 - “Shepherd” is used in these verses. They manage the church in 1 Thes. 5:12 and Romans 12:8.

TEACHER” (“didaskalos)- a teacher. They were to explain Scripture, the gospels (Jesus) and the new revelation. Jewish synagogues had “teachers” who provided biblical instruction and also trained others to do the same. The “teacher” in the church was probably fulfilling the role of the Jewish teacher. The Teacher is linked with the Pastor by a single definite article in the Greek which indicates a close association between the two men or with in one man in the local congregation. The teacher is seen in Acts 15:35; 18:11, 25; Rom. 2:20, 21; Col. 3:16; Heb. 4:12. When applied to teaching apostolic doctrine see: 1 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thes. 2;15; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:10. Specially chosen men in 2 Tim. 1:13-14; 2:1-2; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9. Teachers also urged people to live what they heard Ephesians 4:20-21

“PERFECTING”, “EQUIPPING”, “QUALIFICATION” (“katartismos”)-The word was a technical medical term for setting of a bone. It describes the act by which people or things are properly conditioned and made ready for service, work, function. This word was also used to describe the work of Greek philosophers or teachers.

“BUILDING” (“oikodoman)- building, building up, edification. The word is an expression of development.