A note from our Pastor:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”Ephesians 4:11
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
Our study verse this morning is an interesting look into Paul’s writing and message to God’s people. In this verse, the Apostle is focused upon the New Testament church and gifts given unto her as the bride of Christ. The gifts are for the benefit of God’s people that they might be better prepared to be disciples.
To understand this verse, it is important to consider the structure of the writing and to trust the punctuation used by those who translated the verse into English. The different gifts which were given unto the church are delineated here by the use of semi-colons (;). We are presented with four unique and different gifts: (1) apostles; (2) prophets; (3) evangelists; and (4) pastors and teachers.
Furthermore, starting at the beginning of the verse, it is clear the gifts are presented in chronological order. In addition, each of the gifts have expired or will expire at some point in the story of the New Testament church.
The apostles came first as a gift to the church. The original thirteen (including the replacement for Judas) plus Paul were chosen directly by Christ. They were given for the early formation and teaching of the church and as such were given special gifts to heal and to perform miracles. The work of the apostles was clearly seen in the gospels and continues through the book of Acts. However, this gift to the church expired with those fourteen men.
The second gift were prophets. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 Paul reaffirms this message saying God gave unto the church first apostles, second prophets, and thirdly teachers. Based on Paul’s writings, the prophets were chosen by the Apostles and for a period of time co-existed in the church with the Apostles. The scriptures do not give us a firm date or picture as to when the gift of prophets expired in the New Testament church but it seems likely they remained after the Apostles were gone.
The third gift mentioned here is evangelist. In 2 Timothy 4 as Paul’s life is waning and he is instructing this minister he has groomed to follow after him he instructs him to do the work of an evangelist. The letter from Paul to Timothy does not record more instruction which indicates Timothy understood from prior teachings what the role included. Some might argue the gift of evangelism continues today in the church and has not expired. The scriptures are silent on this but the body of evidence does suggest certain men in modern times have been blessed in this work.
The fourth and final gift mentioned is pastors and teachers. These are not differing roles, but rather descriptors for the same role. It is a necessity, in the view of the Apostle, for a pastor to be able to teach his flock regarding the things of Christ. Of further note, this is the only verse in the New Testament where the word pastor is used, but throughout the New Testament we find references to teachers in the scripture. This gift, or role, is the enduring gift to the church and will last until the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The most important thing to understand with our study verse today is God gave each of these gifts to the church in order that she might grow and provide comfort to God’s people.
Our Prayers are with you daily,