Ephesians 4:4-11



Seven areas of unity given in a threefold group:

A)    Spirit – body, Spirit, hope

B)    Lord (Jesus) – Lord, faith, baptism

C)    Father – God


 These are both a declaration of doctrinal truth and an appeal for believers to attain to.

1)     One Body –Jews and Gentiles in one body (2:6). The body is the focus of this part of the letter (1:23). Universal unity is seen locally.

2)     One Spirit - Granted access to the Father by one Spirit (2:18). One Spirit brings unity (4:3). Baptized into one by one (1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:19) All believers are in the body by the Holy Spirit.

3)     One Hope – Called to participate in hope (1:18). No hope outside Christ (2:12). Our hope is that we will all appear with Christ in glory (Col.3:4). (Col. 1:3; 1:27; Rm. 5:2)

4)     One Lord – A baptismal confession but more here (Acts 2:34-39; 19:5). “Lord” is Greek word used for YHWH of the OT. “Lord” has been used 20x in this letter already. Based on the resurrection Jesus is Lord (1 Cor.8:6)

5)     One Faith – Substance of Faith or the true doctrinal positions (Jude 3; Ep. 4:13). Correct doctrine presents the true gospel to be accepted and believed for salvation. Note: There is only one faith for Jews and Gentiles. There is not the Jewish faith and the Gentile faith.

6)     One Baptism –Baptism is spiritual union with Christ the Lord (Gal. 3:27-28; 1 Cor. 12:13)

7)     One God and Father of all – This is a re-statement of the Great Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4. (1 Cor. 8:6)


“called” – the  chosen are the “people” in Christ before foundation (1:4). During time people hear and respond to the call to enter the choosen (Rm. 8:30; Ep. 1:13). We are called to participate in hope.


“all” – could refer to:

1)     all people

2)     a cosmic or universal condition (Rm. 11:36; Col. 1:16)


The church is the first sign (indication, manifestation, pilot project, prototype) of God’s universal unity/harmony/peace when times will have reached their end.


4:7      “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

This begins a new phase of the discussion on unity in the body.

It is unity with diversity. The overall body of UNITY has within it individual Diversity.


             “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews of Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” (1 Cor. 12:12, 13)


             “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first or all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also . . . .” (1 Cor. 12:27-31)


Ephesians 4:7-16 is a section within the whole of 4:1-16.

This section begins and ends with the phrase “each one” indicating it is talking about the individuals place, position and responsibility in the One Body.

Notice the use of the word “one” now applies to the individuals in the “one body” with “one faith” in “one Lord”, etc.

In reference to “each one” in the body the focus is on Christ giving:

a)     grace has been given (by Christ)

b)      Christ apportioned it

c)      “gave gifts to men”

d)     It was he who gave (4:11)


“Grace” is the Greek word “charis” and is used also in Romans 12:3.

In Romans 12:6 and 1 Corinthians 12:4 the word “charisma” is used for “gift”


The giving is also measured out as seen in these words:

1)     metron” (Ep. 4:7) which means “to measure”

2)     “emepisen” from “meridzo” (Rom. 12:3) along with “metron” where it says literally: “as God divided a measure,” or in the KJ, “dealt to every man the measure,” or in the NAS, “Alotted to each a measure of faith.”

a.      “meridzo” means “to distribute, divide out, deal out to, a part, to part, divide into”

3)     diairoun” (1 Cor. 12:11) means “to distribute”

The focus here is that the Lord and the Spirit “measure”, “divide”, “distribute” the gifts.

John 3:34  - “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit (‘metron’)”

“metron”, or “measure” is used again in Eph. 4:13 “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ

Paul’s grace gift was to the Gentiles in Ep. 3:2, 7, 8.


4:8       “This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”


This is Paul’s text verse, Psalm 68:18, which he uses to prove there is diversity with in the unity of the Body of Christ.


Psalm 68 can be broken down like this:

Verses 1-3 – A call to God

Verses 4-6 – Praise to God for past acts of deliverance

Verses 7-8 – God went before his people when the left Egypt

Verses 9-10 – God went before his people into the Promised Land and blessed it

Verses 11-14 – God spoke and the Canaanite kings scattered

Verses 15-16 – God chose Jerusalem

Verse 17 – God left Mt. Sinai and entered into Jerusalem

Verses 18 – God ascended to his throne in Jerusalem (as the ark entered Jerusalem)


Psalm 68:18 –

             “When you ascended on high


             You led captives in your train


             You received gifts from men (The Hebrew text and the LXX read this way.)


             Even from the rebellious


             That you, O Lord God, might dwell there.” (“Lord God” is “Immanuel” God with us.)


The conquering king would receive tribute and plunder (gifts) from those he subdued.

Jesus is the conquering king and has subdued the powers of the heavenlies (Col. 2:15; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:20,21)


The conquering king would share his spoils with his people. He would receive them from the captives and then distribute them to his loyal subjects.

Jesus has taken the authority and given it to us. (Eph. 3:10)


An example of captives being taken and then being transformed and given back can be seen in Daniel’s life. Also, in Numbers 8:5-26, the tribe of Levi is taken, cleansed and then given back to serve the people (8:26)


What could have happened?

1)     Paul misquoted Psalm 68. No.

2)     A quote in a later targum has a similar translation. Historically true.

3)     The idea of receiving the gifts also means the gifts would be redistributed to others as plunder or booty. Possible.

4)     The gifts are people who are redeemed and given back to people as gifts to the people in the church. Possilbe.




4:9       “What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?”




4:10     “He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.”




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,


Verses 4:11-16 will now interpret and apply the meaning of “gave gifts to men.”


4:12     “to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up”




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.”