Ephesians 4:11-16

4:11 - It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,


4:12 to prepare [katartismos] God's people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built [oikodoma] up

Three purposes listed here that are to be the result of the five gifts from verse 11:

1. PREPARE SAINTS - "To ["pros"] prepare God's people" - Other translations: "to equip the saints", "for perfecting of the saints", "to fit his people", "in order to fully equip", "in order to get his holy people ready", "that Christians might be properly equipped"

2. SAINTS PERFORM - "For ["eis"] works of service" - Other translations: "for the work of the ministry", " for their service", "to labor in their appointed service", "for the work of serving", "ready to serve as workers",

3. CHURCH IS BUILT -  "So that ["eis"] the body of Christ may be built up" - Other translations: "for building up the body of Christ", "for the edifying of the body of Christ"

  • Note: the organization of the prepositions has recently been challenged. There has been an attempt to read the five gifts were given to: 1- prepare God's people, 2- do works of service, 3- build up body. This places all the demand on the clergy in a sense. This view is not supported by the rest of scripture nor the context that began in 4:7 "to each one"


"kartartismos" is only used here in the Greek NT. It means 'perfecting', 'equipping", "qualification", The word was a medical technical term for the setting of a bone. The noun describes the dynamic act by which persons or things are properly conditioned. The verb form of this word is used in these ways:

  1. Mat. 4:21 - "They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets."
  2. Heb. 11:3 - "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command.
  3. Gal. 6:1 - "If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently."
  4. Notice Paul's attitude in 1 Thessalonians 3:10, "Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith."
  5. Notice what is included in this benediction in Hebrews 13:20, "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ."

"ergon" or 'work' as in 'ergon diadonias' (works of ministry). The work is an ongoing activity.

  1. The saints being "prepared" is not the purpose but the means to the end.
  2. Paul had said in 4:7 "to each one of us grace has been given" and "this is why" "it was he who gave" the five gifts mentioned in 4:11. Because "each one" has "works of service" to do.
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
  4. Philippians 2:30, "
  5. 1 Thessalonians 1:3, "
  6. 2 TImothy 4:5, "

"oikodoma" - means 'building', 'building up', edification'. The word is an expression of development.

  1. The image of building a temple has been used already by Paul (2:21). Now the 'building' is a body.
  2. This verb "for building"  is used in Greek for building houses and temples. It is also used in a figurative sense as Paul does here for the establishment of nations or individuals.
  3. Jeremiah 24:6 - "I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down."
  4. Jeremiah 31:4 - "I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel."
  5. Jeremiah 33:7 - "I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before."
  6. The three previous verses are accomplished by God giving Jeremiah his word to reveal, proclaim and teach (Jeremiah 1:-10)
  7. Matthew 16:18


The resurrected Messiah has given his word to the apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher to declare to the people of God so that the community of Christ will be built.


1 Corinthians 12:4, 5, 6, Mentions "gifts" [charismaton], "service" [diakonion] and "working" [energamaton]


Both the concept of size and development are seen here:

  1. The apostles and evangelist are clearly aimed at growth in number and expansion of the body
  2. The pastor and teacher are clearly aimed at the development and grow in performance of body.




4:13 - until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.



4:14 - Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.



4:15 - Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.



4:16 - From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.