Inductive Bible Study – Ephesians 4:1-20
Unity in Diversity (Ephesians 4:1-6)
The mission of a man is to live in a manner worthy of the blessing deserved due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The unity of people emanates from hope; one God, one faith, and one baptism. God is Father, and He is over all, through all, and in all.
Variety of Function (Ephesians 4:7-16)
Grace has been given to those who received the call according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Renzetti et al., 2015). Some people have deserved the blessing to be apostles, prophets, or evangelists, while others have a gift to be pastors and teachers to help people know God. Once they attain this unity, they shall be aware of the Christ’s example in order to avoid teachings arising from human trickery, cunning in the interest of deceitful scheming. People should live in love and grow in Christ from Whom the whole body is joined and held together by ligaments, with each part performing its mission.
From the Past to the Future (Ephesians 4:17-20)
People should not live as the Gentiles who in the futility of their minds (minds which are darkened in understanding), are alienated from God owing to their ignorance and the hardness of their hearts.
Observations Made from this Reading
Jesus Christ started a social movement using spiritualism as the foundation of unity for all people who believed in Him. The given movement consists of people known as the Christian, followers of Christ. At the time Ephesians was being written by Apostle Paul, while some scholars argued one of his disciples, the church was growing immensely (Maxwell, 2015). It covered a wide geographical stretch from Egypt to Persia, from Israel to Asia Minor (nowadays, Turkey), reached some parts of southern Europe and those of the Roman Empire. Due to this expansion, it was important for the church to have a corresponding method of organization and management. Apostle Paul emerged as the leader of the church. Moreover, owing to the letters he sent to the people, he reached most of the areas, for which he destined. Paul used to send evangelists, who carried his letters and tried to teach some of the locals to be pastors and chaperons of Christ. Consequently, many people could hear and understand the word of Jesus. Such organization of the church was crucial in maintaining unity due to the fact that most of the people they taught had hostile relationships. Through the word of Christ all had to be united, which was a new identity.
According to the provided information, there was fervent persecution and prosecution of the Christ’s followers at that time. In fact, before receiving his call, Paul, otherwise known as Saul, was one of those people who participated in the destruction of the church by killing Christ’s disciples and jailing their followers (Pereira, 2013). The authorities of that time considered that the Christian ideology inspired insurrection against the Roman Empire.
Interpretation of this Scriptural Reading
The body of Christ is the church, and the church has a world mission; hence, it is important to organize the ministry. Similar to the body, the church has different parts whereas each part plays a particular role. In addition, every function is crucial for maintaining the whole body, and when one functional element fails, the body is affected. Consequently, all the parts must function properly. The church is an organized corporation with a spiritual ideology. However, this ideology should be free from corruption related to the different interpretations of the word of God (Maxwell, 2015). Unity of the church can only be guaranteed if the ideology remains unaltered.
God, through Jesus, has given people different gifts. Moreover, these gifts should be used to amplify God’s word and win the souls of all the inhabitants of the earth. Consequently, some people are called to prophesy or teaching, others to evangelize or to sing and praise God. Each person has a special gift, and when all these gifts are used for the glory of God, Jesus is happy. However, one should not use the given gifts haphazardly, similarly to the Gentiles, lest to become callous and alienated from God (Evans III, 2015). The variety of gifts people received from their Father should encourage them to live with the truth in love. Moreover, it is necessary for every man to grow into Christ since He is the head of the church just as the head is the main part of the human body whereas all the parts of the body are controlled by the head (Hopkins, 2015).
Following the path of Jesus, Christians can expect that their mission will not be easy in the face of evil that is nowadays rampant in the world. They will be persecuted just as Jesus was persecuted, and some will lose their lives because they are His witnesses (Pereira, 2013). It is an evident fact that there is a sharp interjection between faith and reason. Jesus died and rose from the dead; this is the message of hope, to which people have been called. He, who descended from the heaven, is the one who ascended to heaven after His ministry and sacrificed for the whole humanity. It will be always a tough task to convince the people, who do not believe in God, that Jesus really arose from the dead because the reasons will not support this claim. Therefore, it is essential to believe in the resurrection and death of Christ in order to be equipped for the ministry work (Maxwell, 2015).
Application of this Reading
Today, there are approximately four billion Christians ensuring that the foundation of belief is not eroded by the threat of the false teaching. In a political sense, having the legitimacy to monopolize power is essential for governance. However, four billion people, apart from the total population of seven billion, can give absolute power, which can be abused posing the greatest challenge to the church nowadays. Ephesians 4:17-20 emphasizes the unity of the worldwide church. Moreover, one may observe the emergence of multiple denominations within the church.
The warning against teachings of cunning and trickery is evident. There are certain leaders within the church who are the agents of darkness and have corrupted the religious institution that they claim to serve (Hopkins, 2015). Through their misinterpretation, they have embarrassed many people, due to which the church continues to be divided. Consequently, numerous Christians wallow in sin without being aware of their actions. Similarly to the Gentiles, they have encumbered a futility of mind that darkens their understanding to such extent that they have been alienated from God. Therefore, it is the duty of those, who have been called by God to serve Him, to turn the people to God (Pereira, 2013).
The Scripture under discussion is also relevant to foster brotherhood among the servants of Christ. Emphasizing unity, that is one body, one spirit, one hope, one God, one faith and one baptism, people are wrought into a brotherhood of men who are ideologically united and can trust each other without fear. Moreover, the brotherhood implies love to each other supported by patience, gentleness, and humility following the teachings of Jesus (Pereira, 2013). In this brotherhood, people find safety and security from those who wish to harm them for their strong faith in Christ.
Humanity is called to have faith in the knowledge of God, which has been revealed through Jesus Christ, people’s Lord and savior. In addition, they are all required to continue His work of teaching the good actions and liberating humans from sin and evil. In order to accomplish the given task, people must be united in Christ despite the fact that they have a different role to play within the ministry itself. In the unity, it is vital to have patience, gentleness, and humility since these are the only tools in gospel administration. Furthermore, people must ensure that the narrative of Christ and His works must be protected providing that their authenticity is not lost. It is necessary to love the brothers and sisters as well as care about each other, since the journey to follow Christ is not an easy aim to achieve.
The purpose of the various functions, offices, and gifts given by Lord for the proper administration of the church shall promote unity and make the mission of the church successful and effective. People are required to build completely the body of Christ, the church in order it reflects the true spirit of Jesus. Moreover, it is required to spread the church’s mission in the whole world. However, both purposes may be achieved when, in love and mutual respect, all the parts of the body as well as different members with their various gifts, function in a harmonious unity and symphony.
Reviewing the information discussed in this paper, it is obvious that the people cannot live as the non-Christians. They must strive to live in the truth of God’s knowledge as it has been revealed through the life and death of Christ. Moreover, it is necessary to avoid callousness and ignorance, which ensured that the Gentiles lead the life of iniquity and impurity. In this Scripture, it is possible to identify the factors that promote harmony in the local church: personal qualities, the intentional spirit, the ministry of all members, doctrinal stability, and mutual edification.