The Christian Ministry In The Church: Its Reasons, Duration And Goal, And Practical Effects (Ephesians 4:11–16), With Special Emphasis On Verse 12 -- By: Richard C. Barcellos

Journal: Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies
Volume: JIRBS 03:0 (NA 2016)
Article: The Christian Ministry In The Church: Its Reasons, Duration And Goal, And Practical Effects (Ephesians 4:11–16), With Special Emphasis On Verse 12
Author: Richard C. Barcellos


The Christian Ministry In The Church:
Its Reasons, Duration And Goal, And Practical Effects
(Ephesians 4:11–16), With Special Emphasis On Verse 12

Richard C. Barcellos*

* Richard C. Barcellos is pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Palmdale, CA. He is author of various books, including The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More than a Memory and co-editor of Confessing the Impassible God: the Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility. He is Managing Editor and Book Review Editor for the Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies. A version of this essay was previously published in The Confessional Presbyterian 11 (2015): 69–76, 251. This version is slightly updated. It is used with permission.

for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12, ASV, 1901)

for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12, NAU, 1995)

Ephesians 4:11–16 is a vital passage in order to understand the importance of the Christian ministry in the church. In this crucial text, as will be argued below, the apostle Paul gives us the reasons (v. 12), duration/goal (v. 13), and practical effects (vv. 14–16) of the Christian ministry in the church. Though it will be argued below that this is the best way to understand this passage, in the last 100 years or so an alternative understanding of verse 12 from the one reflected in this essay has been offered and widely accepted. The two versions quoted above, the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 and the New American Standard Bible Updated (NAU) of 1995, illustrate the translational change that has taken place. The older view, represented by the ASV, understands the three prepositional phrases as coordinate and as results of the actions of the gifted persons mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. The newer view, represented by the NAU, understands the actions assumed in the second prepositional phrase as done by the saints. In other words, pastors equip the saints to do the work of service or ministry. In order to do justice to this

passage in light of the two major views, we will proceed as follows: 1) a brief history of the translation of ...

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