The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to grow in understanding of the ministry within the local church, and its purpose in your life.
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Note: Paul wrote this letter to a divided, conflicting church, appealing for their peace and unity in Christ, since both groups have been saved by grace through faith and brought near to God and built into one House for God (see Ephesians chapter 2).
- As we frequently do, briefly summarize the message of these sections in your own words.
- Verses 1-6
- Verses 7-10
- Verses 11-14
- Verses 15-16
- How do you understand the phrase “to each is given a gift according to Christ’s grace”?
- In verse 11 Paul mentions five offices given to the church. In your own words list the purpose of these “offices” in the church.
- In this section, how do you see the progression of Paul’s chain of thought from “UNITY” to “CHRIST’S GIFTS” to “FIVE-FOLD MINISTRIES” to “GROWING UP”?
- When you see “apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” do you view them as “gifts from Christ to the church”? Why? Why not?
- In which ways do these ministers (the leaders in church whom you know) contribute to your spiritual growth?
- How can you position yourself in relation to these ministers to allow for more effective growth? (Or, what can you do to maximize your growth by their help?)
Application and prayer
In meditating on this text, talk with God about UNITY in your Congregation, to the ministers Christ has gifted your church with, as well as your growth “into the fullness of Christ himself.” Prayerfully reflect on what you have grown in recently, and what are you growing in currently that makes you look more like Christ.