Week of May 5 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Ephesians 4:12-16

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.  

Reflect: What is Christ’s intention in giving spiritual gifts to His people? In what ways are we each important to the life and growth of other Christians (vv. 15-16)?

Consider:  Here the purpose or result of the church’s maturity is spelled out in contrast with the figure of immature, indecisive children who are led astray by cunning and artful schemers. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 Paul makes a contrast between “child” and “man” (and see also 1 Cor 3:1–2). In order to emphasize the figurative sense of the term children, it may be best to translate the first part of verse 14 as “then we shall no longer be like children”[1]

Respond: How have you seen Christian community suffer when certain parts are too weak or missing? On the other hand, how have you seen it thrive when everyone is using their gifts and serving one another? What steps can you take to minimize unresolved differences in your community? How can we help each other understand our individual functions within the body of Christ? What opportunities are you aware of at our church that would give people in our group the opportunities to exercise their specific gifts?

[1] Robert G. Bratcher and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 104.