Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner(A) for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy(B) of the calling(C) you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another(D) in love.(E) Make every effort to keep the unity(F) of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(G) There is one body(H) and one Spirit,(I) just as you were called to one hope when you were called(J); one Lord,(K) one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,(L) who is over all and through all and in all.(M)

But to each one of us(N) grace(O) has been given(P) as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives(Q)
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b](R)

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended(S) higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)(T) 11 So Christ himself gave(U) the apostles,(V) the prophets,(W) the evangelists,(X) the pastors and teachers,(Y) 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ(Z) may be built up(AA) 13 until we all reach unity(AB) in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God(AC) and become mature,(AD) attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(AE)

14 Then we will no longer be infants,(AF) tossed back and forth by the waves,(AG) and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.(AH) 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,(AI) we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,(AJ) that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows(AK) and builds itself up(AL) in love,(AM) as each part does its work.

Instructions for Christian Living

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer(AN) live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.(AO) 18 They are darkened in their understanding(AP) and separated from the life of God(AQ) because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.(AR) 19 Having lost all sensitivity,(AS) they have given themselves over(AT) to sensuality(AU) so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off(AV) your old self,(AW) which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;(AX) 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;(AY) 24 and to put on(AZ) the new self,(BA) created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.(BB)

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully(BC) to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.(BD) 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]:(BE) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.(BF) 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,(BG) doing something useful with their own hands,(BH) that they may have something to share with those in need.(BI)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,(BJ) but only what is helpful for building others up(BK) according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,(BL) with whom you were sealed(BM) for the day of redemption.(BN) 31 Get rid of(BO) all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.(BP) 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,(BQ) forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(BR)

Footnotes

  1. Ephesians 4:8 Or God
  2. Ephesians 4:8 Psalm 68:18
  3. Ephesians 4:9 Or the depths of the earth
  4. Ephesians 4:26 Psalm 4:4 (see Septuagint)

Walk in Unity

I, therefore, the prisoner [a]of the Lord, [b]beseech you to (A)walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit (B)in the bond of peace. (C)There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; (D)one Lord, (E)one faith, (F)one baptism; (G)one God and Father of all, who is above all, and (H)through all, and in [c]you all.

Spiritual Gifts

But (I)to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

(J)“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

(K)(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also [d]first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One (L)who ascended far above all the heavens, (M)that He might fill all things.)

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, (N)for the [e]edifying of (O)the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith (P)and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to (Q)a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be (R)children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of (S)deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the (T)head—Christ— 16 (U)from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The New Man

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should (V)no longer walk as [f]the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the (W)blindness of their heart; 19 (X)who, being past feeling, (Y)have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you (Z)put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and (AA)be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you (AB)put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Do Not Grieve the Spirit

25 Therefore, putting away lying, (AC)Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for (AD)we are members of one another. 26 (AE)“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 (AF)nor give [g]place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather (AG)let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something (AH)to give him who has need. 29 (AI)Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but (AJ)what is good for necessary [h]edification, (AK)that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And (AL)do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 (AM)Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [i]clamor, and (AN)evil speaking be put away from you, (AO)with all malice. 32 And (AP)be kind to one another, tenderhearted, (AQ)forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Footnotes

  1. Ephesians 4:1 Lit. in
  2. Ephesians 4:1 exhort, encourage
  3. Ephesians 4:6 NU omits you; M us
  4. Ephesians 4:9 NU omits first
  5. Ephesians 4:12 building up
  6. Ephesians 4:17 NU omits the rest of
  7. Ephesians 4:27 an opportunity
  8. Ephesians 4:29 building up
  9. Ephesians 4:31 loud quarreling

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