Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Ephesians 4:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For the perfecting of the saints - For the complete instruction, purification, and union of all who have believed in Christ Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles. For the meaning of καταρτισμος, perfecting, see the note on 2 Corinthians 13:9.

For the work of the ministry - All these various officers, and the gifts and graces conferred upon them, were judged necessary, by the great Head of the Church, for its full instruction in the important doctrines of Christianity. The same officers and gifts are still necessary, and God gives them; but they do not know their places. In most Christian Churches there appears to be but one office, that of preacher; and one gift, that by which he professes to preach. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are all compounded in the class preachers; and many, to whom God has given nothing but the gift of exhortation, take texts to explain them; and thus lose their time, and mar their ministry.

Edifying of the body - The body of Christ is his Church, see Ephesians 2:20, etc.; and its edification consists in its thorough instruction in Divine things, and its being filled with faith and holiness.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the perfecting of the saints - On the meaning of the word rendered here as “perfecting” - καταρτισμὸν katartismon- see the notes on 2 Corinthians 13:9. It properly refers to “the restoring of anything to its place;” then putting in order, making complete, etc. Here it means that these various officers were appointed in order that everything in the church might be well arranged, or put into its proper place; or that the church might be “complete.” It is that Christians may have every possible advantage for becoming complete in love, and knowledge, and order.

For the work of the ministry - All these are engaged in the work of the ministry, though in different departments. Together they constituted the “ministry” by which Christ meant to establish and edify the church. All these offices had an existence at that time, and all were proper; though it is clear that they were not all designed to be permanent. The apostolic office was of course to cease with the death of those who were “the witnesses” of the life and doctrines of Jesus (compare notes on 1 Corinthians 9:1); the office of “prophets” was to cease with the cessation of inspiration; and in like manner it is possible that the office of teacher or evangelist might be suspended, as circumstances might demand. But is it not clear from this that Christ did not appoint “merely” three orders of clergy to be permanent in the church? Here are “five” orders enumerated, and in 1 Corinthians 12:28, there are “eight” mentioned; and how can it be demonstrated that the Saviour intended that there should be “three” only, and that they should be permanent? The presumption is rather that he meant that there should be but one permanent order of ministers, though the departments of their labor might be varied according to circumstances, and though there might be helpers, as occasion should demand. In founding churches among the pagan, and in instructing and governing them there, there is need of reviving nearly all the offices of teacher, helper, evangelist, etc., which Paul has enumerated as actually existing in his time.

For the edifying - For building it up; that is, in the knowledge of the truth and in piety; see the notes on Romans 14:19.

The body of Christ - The Church; see the notes on Ephesians 1:23.

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
Selected Messages Book 3, 25.1

But God has set in the church different gifts. These are all precious in their place, and all are to act a part in the perfecting of the saints. 3SM 25.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 74.6

He who is our Intercessor in the heavenly courts will purify His people. Christ will perfect His saints.—Letter 90, March 6, 1906, to the brethren assembled in council at Graysville, Tennessee. TDG 74.6

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 104

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Ephesians 4:12. UL 104.1

God is love. The love of the Father and the Son is an attribute of every believer. The Word of God is the channel through which divine love is communicated to man. God's truth is the medium by which the intellect is reached. The Holy Spirit is given to the human agent who works in cooperation with divine agencies. It transforms mind and character, enabling man to endure as seeing Him who is invisible. Perfect love can be enjoyed only through the belief of the truth and the reception of the Holy Spirit.... UL 104.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 141.2

We each need the help we can receive from other minds. God will work in other minds than ours. The various gifts given to different ones are to blend for the “perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).... UL 141.2

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