Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Ephesians 4:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He gave some, apostles - He established several offices in his Church; furnished these with the proper officers; and, to qualify them for their work, gave them the proper gifts. For a full illustration of this verse, the reader is requested to refer to the notes on 1 Corinthians 12:6-10; (note), 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; (note); and to the concluding observations at the end of that chapter.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And he gave some, apostles - He gave some to be apostles. The “object” here is to show that he has made ample provision for the extension and edification of his church On the meaning of the word “apostles,” and on their appointment by the Saviour, see the notes on Matthew 10:1.

And some, prophets - He appointed some to be prophets; see the Romans 12:7, note; 1 Corinthians 12:28, note; 1 Corinthians 14:1, notes.

And some, evangelists - see the notes on Acts 21:8; compare 2 Timothy 4:5. The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. What was the precise office of the evangelist in the primitive church, it is now impossible to determine. The evangelist “may” have been one whose main business was “preaching,” and who was not particularly engaged in the “government” of the church. The word properly means “a messenger of good tidings;” and Robinson (Lexicon) supposes that it denotes a minister of the gospel who was not located in any place, but who traveled as a missionary to preach the gospel, and to found churches. The word is so used now by many Christians; but it cannot be proved that it is so used in the New Testament. An explanation of the words which here occur may be found in Neander on the Primitive Church, in the Biblical Repository, vol. iv. pp. 258ff The office was distinct from that of the “pastor,” the teacher, and the “prophet:” and was manifestly an office in which “preaching” was the main thing.

And some, pastors - Literally, “shepherds” - ποιμένας poimenascompare Matthew 9:36; Matthew 25:32; Matthew 26:31; Mark 6:34; Mark 14:27; Luke 2:8, Luke 2:15, Luke 2:18, Luke 2:20; John 10:2, John 10:11-12, John 10:14, John 10:16, where it is rendered “shepherd and shepherds;” also Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; in Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, it is applied to the Lord Jesus as the great shepherd of the flock - the church. It is rendered “pastors” only in the place before us. The word is given to ministers of the gospel with obvious propriety, and with great beauty. They are to exercise the same watchfulness and care river the people of their charge which a shepherd does over his flock; compare the notes on John 21:15-16. The meaning here is, that Christ exercised a special care for his church by appointing “pastors” who would watch over it as a shepherd does over his flock.

And teachers - see the notes on Romans 12:7.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 500

In our work we must consider the relation that each worker sustains to the other workers connected with the cause of God. We must remember that others as well as ourselves have a work to do in connection with this cause. We must not bar the mind against counsel. In our plans for the carrying forward of the work, our mind must blend with other minds. TM 500.1

Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. Connected with the service of God, we must individually realize that we are parts of a great whole. We must seek wisdom from God, learning what it means to have a waiting, watching spirit, and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed. TM 500.2

It is a mistake to withdraw from those who do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren, and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give it, we are not to cast it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we humble our hearts before God, we shall not know His will. TM 500.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1090
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 182.3

The members of the church of God on this earth are as the different parts of a machine, all closely related to one another, and all closely related to and dependent on one great center. There is to be unity in diversity. No member of the Lord's firm can work successfully in independence, detached from the others.... All are to use their entrusted capabilities in His service, that each may minister to the perfection of the whole. Each is to work under the supervision of God. OHC 182.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 323.4

The Lord has need of all kinds of skillful workmen. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11, 12). ... Each worker in every branch of work in the Lord's vineyard must have a head and a heart sanctified through the truth to enable him to see not merely the part of the work which is under his supervision, but its relation to the great whole. When the workers are consecrated to God they will reveal the love of God for their brethren who work under the unseen, divine Master Worker. “We are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9).... TMK 323.4

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