Ephesians 4:9-12

Christ has ascended on high above the heavens (plural), taken the rebels captive, gave the plunder to men by selecting some and gifting them with (plundered?) authority and abilities. His purpose is to fill the whole universe with the authority of his victory. One of the ways Christ is doing that today (in the age of the triumphant procession
(2 Cor. 2:14) is through the gifted people listed here who will be speaking to the saints in a progressive way. Christ will fill all things by providing his people with the things necessary for them to grow and for the body of Christ (church) to grow and reach maturity. There are many gifts given by Christ, but these are mentioned here because they provide the church what is needed to grow and develop the other gifts: 1) teaching of Christ and his Word, 2) Avoidance of false teaching. This results in all the Saints finding their place and serving correctly.

1 Cor. 12 list a variety of gifts. Here in Ephesians is a list of gifted people given by the ascended Christ.

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

“APOSTLES” (“apostolos)– those appointed by Jesus as his official representatives. Commissioned messengers backed by their senders authority. – Rom. 1:1 Apostles and Prophets are already mentioned in Ephesians 2:20 and 3:5. They are foundational and appear first in 1 Cor. 12:28.

“PROPHET” (“prophetas)- spoke for God and may have been a carry over from the Old Testament until God had finished speaking the new revelation.

“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.