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Unity in the Body of Christ

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,

‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
    he gave gifts to his people.’

(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended[a] into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

The Old Life and the New

17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Rules for the New Life

25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[b] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.[c]

Footnotes

  1. Ephesians 4:9 Other ancient authorities add first
  2. Ephesians 4:29 Other ancient authorities read building up faith
  3. Ephesians 4:32 Other ancient authorities read us

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)

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