IN WHOM THE WHOLE BUILDING,
BEING FITTED TOGETHER: en o pasa oikodome sunarmologoumene (PPPFSN): (Eph
4:13, 14, 15, 16; Ezekiel 40:1-42; 1Co 3:9; He 3:3,4) (Ex 26:1-37; 1Ki
In Whom -
refers to Christ, the sole Source of the Church's life and growth. How
often we tend to forget this small but vital principle!
In Him we are added to it; in Him we
grow in it; in Him the whole temple grows towards the final
consummation, when the Topstone (Capstone) shall be brought out
with shouts of ‘Grace, grace unto it.’ (see Zech 4:6,7) (The
Pulpit Commentary: Ephesians)
(pas) means all without exception. More literally it reads "every
building" although in context it refers to only one building.
(oikodome from oikos = dwelling,
house + doma = building or demo = to build)
is literally the building of a house and came to refer to any
building process. Oikodome can refer to the actual process
of building or construction. Another literal meaning is as a reference
to a building or edifice which is the result of a construction process
(Mt 24:1, Mk 13:1, 2 are the only literal uses of oikodome in the
(See sermon by
Alexander Maclaren entitled "Edification")
Most of the NT
uses of oikodome are metaphorical or figurative, obviously
an architectural metaphor. As used here in Eph 2:21, oikodome refers to the
church as the building for God's indwelling (cp 1Co 3:9 - see
discussion below). Figuratively the idea is the process of
edification or building up spiritually or spiritual strengthening.
meanings include our physical bodies (2Co 5:1), as a reference to the
process of spiritual growth, edification or building up (some contexts
speak primarily to the individual, some to the corporate body of Christ)
(Ro 14:19, 15:2, 1Co 3:9, 14:3, 5, 12, 26, 2Co 10:8),
English dictionary says that edify is from Latin aedificare
meaning to construct, to instruct or improve spiritually, from Latin to
erect a house, from aedes temple, house and facio,
to make. In English edify means . To build, in a literal sense. [Not now
used.] To instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally,
and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and
holiness. To improve the morality, intellect, etc, especially by
Vine summarizes the word group of
(verb) noting that these is used...
both in a literal sense, Mt 7:24; Lk 4:29, and in a figurative, Ac
20:32; Ga 2:18. The corresponding noun, oikodome, building,
edification, is used in a similar way, literally, Matthew 24:1 (noun -
figuratively, Ro 14:19 (noun -
The word expresses the strengthening effect
of teaching, 1Co 14:3 (noun -
oikodome), and example, 1Co 10:23, upon oneself and upon
others, 1Co 14:4, whether for good, 2Co 10:8, or for evil, 1Co 8:10,
“emboldened.” From the familiar spectacle of building operations it
transfers to the spiritual realm the idea of assured progress as the
result of patient labor. The word is used of national life, Mt 21:42,
and of church life, Ac 9:31, as well as of the individual, Ro 15:2 (noun
is used of the “Church which is His Body” in Mt 16:18; Ep 4:12
cp. 1Pe 2:5, and of the local church in 1Co 3:9; 14:5, 12; Ep 2:21 (noun
it describes the resurrection body, 2Co 5:1. God is said to be the
Builder, in 1Co 3:9 (noun -
oikodome); Christ in Mt 16:18; Paul in Ro 15:20, cp. 1Co
3:10; 2Co 10:8; 13:10 (both use the noun -
oikodome); the “gifts” of the ascended Lord are the builders
in Ep 4:12 (noun -
oikodome), cp. 1Co 14:12; individual believers, here; and in Ep 4:16
the church is said to build itself up in love. Building up is effected
by: (1) love, 1Co 8:1, cp. Ep 4:16 (noun -
oikodome): (2) prophesying, 1Co 14:3, 4
(noun in 14:3 -
exhortation, 1Th 5:11, cp. He 10:25.
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
used 18 times in the NT and is rendered in the NAS as building(8),
buildings(3), edification(5), edifying(1), upbuilding(1) and in the KJV
as edifying 7, building 6, edification 4, wherewith (one) may edify 1
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus came out from
the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out
the temple buildings to Him.
Mark 13:1 And as He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples
said to Him, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful
buildings!" 2 And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great
buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another which will not
be torn down."
Romans 14:19-note So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and
the building up of one another.
Comment: This conveys the
sense that the building is a process (not an arrival - that's where the
metaphor "breaks down" - in this earthly life we will need to be
continually building up one another.
Vincent - Lit., things of
edification, that, namely, which is with reference to one another. The
definite article thus points Paul’s reference to individuals rather than
to the Church as a whole.
Romans 15:2-note Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you (plural - the
Corinthian believers were in view) are God's field,
Comment: Corinth was known for
its magnificent buildings and pagan temples which were but temporal
works of human hands. Little wonder that Paul would introduce the
imagery of an architectural metaphor, one which all Corinthians could
readily understand (cp 1Co 3:16, 6:19, 2Co 6:16). In context, Paul is in
a sense contrasting the temporal, transient nature of human works with
the supernatural, eternal character of "good" (God) works (see study of
Deeds), in and through believers who are continually choosing
to yield to the Holy Spirit, Who enables the believers to "build" - (1Co
3:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) (cp Jn 15:5, Ga 5:16-note,
cp 2Co 5:10, 1Co 4:5). While this verse (and the following passages
certainly can be applied to building of the individual's life in Christ,
some like Warren Wiersbe [others such as John MacArthur agree] interpret
this as primarily a reference to the local church and offers the
interesting conclusion that "one day God will judge our labors as
related to the local assembly" [Bible
In 1Cor 6:19, 20, clearly the individual believer is in view as God's
Vincent has this note on
Paul’s metaphors are drawn from the
works and customs of men rather than from the works of nature. “In his
epistles,” says Archdeacon Farrar, “we only breathe the air of cities
and synagogues.” The abundance of architectural metaphors is not strange
in view of the magnificent temples and public buildings which he was
continually seeing at Antioch, Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus. His
frequent use of to build and building in a moral and spiritual sense is
noteworthy. In this sense the two words oikodomeo and oikodome occur
twenty-six times in the New Testament, and in all but two cases in
Paul’s writings. Peter uses build in a similar sense; 1Pet. 2:5. See
edify, edification, build, Acts 9:31; Ro 15:20; 1Co 8:1; 1Co 8:10, where
emboldened is literally built up, and is used ironically. Also Ro
14:19; 15:2; 1 Cor. 14:3; Eph. 2:21, etc. It is worth noting that in the
Epistle to the Hebrews, while the same metaphor occurs, different words
are used. Thus in He 3:3, 4, built, bullied, represent kataskeuazo to
prepare. In Heb 11:10, technites artificer, and demiourgos, lit., a
workman for the public: A. V., builder and maker. This fact has a
bearing on the authorship of the epistle. In earlier English, edify was
used for build in the literal sense. Thus Piers Ploughman: “I shal
overturne this temple and a-down throwe it, and in thre daies after
edifie it newe.” See on Acts 20:32. In the double metaphor of the
field and the building, the former furnishes the mould of Paul’s thought
in 1Co 3:6, 7, 8, 9, and the latter in 1Cor 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
16, 17. Edwards remarks that the field describes the raw material on
which God works, the house the result of the work.
1Corinthians 14:3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification
and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies
(verb - oikodomeo) himself; but one who prophesies edifies (verb
- oikodomeo) the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even
more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one
who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may
Comment: Edification is
the main test of tongues in this chapter. In public worship we should
have only what "builds up" the church
1Corinthians 14:12 So also you
(plural), since you are zealous of spiritual
gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
1Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you
assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a
tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done (3rd person
singular) for edification.
Comment: John MacArthur
writes that oikodome...
literally means “house building,”
the construction of a house. Figuratively, it refers to growing,
improving, or maturing. The spiritual lives of Christians need to be
built up and improved, expanded to fulness and completeness. The primary
responsibility of Christians to each other is to build each other up.
Edification is a major
responsibility of church leaders (Ep 4:11,12), but it is also the
responsibility of all other Christians. Every believer is called to be
“Therefore encourage one
another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1Th
“Let each of us please his neighbor
for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please
Himself” (Ro 15:2, 3).
Jesus “did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
Our Lord did not seek what was beneficial to Himself but what was
beneficial to those He came to save.
As Paul repeatedly points out in this fourteenth chapter, a major
evidence of the Corinthians’ loveless immaturity was their selfish
concern for themselves, the other side of which was lack of concern for
the edification, the building up, of their brothers and sisters in
Christ (1Co 14:3, 4, 5, 12, 17, 26, 31) They did not, as Paul
commanded, “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up
of one another” (Ro 14:19).
That which builds others up is
also that which brings harmony, just as that which is selfish
is also that which brings disharmony.
Christians are built up by only one thing, the Word of God. That
is the tool with which all spiritual building is done. (2Ti3:16,17).
That is the tool with which every believer should be skilled.
J: 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press)
2Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house
is torn down, we have a building from God (our physical body), a house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens.
Comment: A building
suggests something on a solid foundation that is fixed, secure, and
permanent. Since it replaced his earthly tent (his physical
body), the building from God Paul referred to must be his glorified body
(cp 2Co 4:14).
2Corinthians 10:8 For even if I should boast somewhat further about our
authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for
destroying (pulling you down - NIV) you (plural), I shall not be put to shame,
2Corinthians 12:19 All this time you have been thinking that we are
defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we
have been speaking in Christ; and all for your (plural) upbuilding, beloved.
2Corinthians 13:10 For this reason I am writing these things while
absent, in order that when present I may not use severity, in accordance
with the authority which the Lord gave me, for building up and not for
Ephesians 2:21-note in whom the whole
building, being fitted together is
growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
Ephesians 4:12-note for the equipping
(verb was a medical technical term for the setting of a bone) of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ;
Vincent writes that
Building defines the nature of the
work of ministry, and perfecting comes through a process.
John MacArthur writes that
literally refers to the building of a
house, and was used figuratively of any sort of construction. It is the
spiritual edification and development of the church of which Paul is
speaking here. The body is built up externally through evangelism
as more believers are added, but the emphasis here is on its being
built up internally as all believers are nurtured to fruitful service
through the Word. Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian elders
emphasizes this process: “I commend you to God and to the word of
His grace, … which is able to build you up” (Greek =
epoikodomeo:G2026) (Acts 20:32).
The maturation of the church
is tied to learning of and obedience to the holy
revelation of Scripture. Just as newborn babes desire physical milk, so
should believers desire the spiritual nourishment of the Word (1Pe
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Ephesians 4:16-note from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together
by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of
each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up
of itself in love.
Expositor's Greek Testament
The idea appears to be that the body
is fitly framed and knit together by means of the joints, every one of
them in its own place and function, as the points of connection between
member and member, and the points of communication between the different
parts and the supply which comes from the Head. The joints are the
constituents of union in the body and the media of the impartation of
the life drawn by the members from the head.” (Online)
Ephesians 4:29-note Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only
such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the
moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Oikodome is used 5x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - 1 Chr. 26:27; 29:1; Ezek. 16:61; 17:17; 40:2
sun = together + harmologeo =
join together from harmos = joint) means to be fitted or joined
together with, literally used of the parts of the body or the stones of
Note that both
here (sunarmologeo) and in the next verse (sunoikodomeo) Paul selects
compound verbs that begin with the preposition "sun
-" (or "syn-") which is the Greek word for "with" that expresses
intimate union. Wayne Barber illustrates the distinction of sun from the
other Greek preposition for "with" (meta) explaining that...
means not only are we together with one another, but we
are so mixed in that nobody can tell the
difference one from the other. We can’t
get apart from each other. Let me give you the illustration... making
biscuits. Let’s just say you take all the ingredients and put them out
on a piece of waxed paper. You put the flour down and the shortening or
whatever else goes in them. You put it all on the piece of paper. Now
all of those ingredients can still be separated, but at the same time
they are with each other—meta.
But take all of those ingredients and mix them together...Cut them out
and put them on a pan. Put them in the oven, and bake them. After they
have baked for a while they come out as biscuits. Once they are baked,
that (tasty union of ingredients pictures the meaning of)
sun. No one can
separate those ingredients! (See
In construction terms sunarmologeo represents the whole of
the elaborate process by which stones are fitted together, this process
including the preparation of the surfaces, the cutting, rubbing, and
testing; the preparation of the dowels and the dowel holes and finally
the fitting of the dowels with molten lead. In short it represents the
careful joining of every component of a structure, each part is
precisely cut to fit snugly, strongly, and beautifully with every other
part. Nothing is out of place, defective, misshapen, or inappropriate.
Now take those ideas and apply them to the church composed of individual
saints ("living stones" - 1Pe 2:5-note).
is in the
picturing this as an
ongoing process...the framing is seen as in progress. The
indicates the fitting is occurring from an outside source, God. And yet
as "living stones" (1Pe 2:5-note)
we each must be willing to allow the Master Architect to fit us just as
He desires. So although the action is passive, it does require an act of
our wills to submit to the hand of the Master!
explains being fitted together writing that...
The word here used means, to joint
together, as a carpenter does the frame-work of a building. The
materials are accurately and carefully united by mortices and tenons, so
that the building shall be firm. Different materials may be used, and
different kinds of timber may be employed; but one part shall be worked
into another, so as to constitute a durable and beautiful edifice. So in
the church. The different materials of the Jews and Gentiles; the people
of various nations, though heretofore separated and discordant, become
now united, and form an harmonious society. They believe the same
doctrines; worship the same God; practise the same holiness, and look
forward to the same heaven. (Barnes
Paul's point with
this architectural metaphor is that God places each believer, be they
Jew or Gentile, exactly where He wants him.
phrases it this way...
There is a jointing and joining of
the various parts to each other, forming a symmetrical, compact,
well-ordered building. The Church has many members in one body, and all
members have not the same office. It is a co-operative body, each aiding
in his own way and with his own talent. The Church is not a collection
of loose stones and timbers; its members are in vital union with Christ,
and ought to be in living and loving and considerate fellowship with
each other. (The
Pulpit Commentary: Ephesians)
The unity and symmetry of the
temple are indicated by the expression, the whole building,
being fitted together. It is a unity made up of many individual
members. Each member has a specific place in the building for which he
or she is exactly suited. Stones excavated from the valley of death by
the grace of God are found to fit together perfectly. The unique feature
of this building is that it grows. However, this feature is not
the same as the growth of a building through the addition of bricks and
cement. Think of it rather as the growth of a living organism, such as
the human body. After all, the church is not an inanimate building.
Neither is it an organization. It is a living entity with Christ as its
Head and all believers forming the Body. It was born on the day of
Pentecost, has been growing ever since, and will continue to grow until
the Rapture. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Paul (in the only
other Biblical use of this verb) uses sunarmologeo in Ephesians 4
from Whom (Christ) the whole body, being fitted (present
tense) and held
together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper
working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the
building up of itself in love. (see note
Wayne Barber writes that ...
we saw the stones in the Temple, and
the fact that we are being fitted into the Temple...The word "fitted"
there is rendered in most places in the
so when you think of being fitted into the holy temple, you think of the
fact that God is doing it. Certainly He is. That is a truth. But there
is another understanding of that: not only is God fitting us, we have
the responsibility to put ourselves into a position so that He can fit
us into that holy temple. That makes the rest of Ephesians make a whole
lot of sense, doesn’t it? That’s why we have to choose to be filled with
the Spirit of God. It is very important to realize, yes, God is fitting
us, but we are responsible to put ourselves into a position to be fitted
into this holy temple.
What does it mean to be fitted? Well, in construction terms, it
is the whole process of what they would do with a stone to make it fit
into the temple. Remember when they brought the stones to fit them into
the Temple, there was not a sound of hammer or chisel. Does that mean
God just developed the stones in heaven and dropped them on the earth so
they could go and find them, pick them up and build the Temple? Oh, no.
There was a quarry somewhere, and there was a lot of hammering and
chiseling and rubbing and sand papering and getting the rough edges off.
Some were too big, and some were too small. They had to be exactly
measured to the design of the Master Architect, who is the cornerstone.
He is the one who has the design. He is the only one who can oversee the
The fitting is not too much fun to talk about. We are in the quarry.
Last time we talked about what it meant to be a nursery Christian. A lot
of Christians are in the nursery. They are the ones who are in the
quarry, but they don’t want to be fitted. They are fighting against the
hammer, and they are fighting against the chisel. They don’t understand
that everything in their life is overseen by the master architect who is
Christ Himself. They would rather blame the devil. They would rather go
off and chase something else. They don’t realize that everything going
on in their life is a process, and God, the Architect, is seeing to it
that a chiseling process can be useable in their life. The nursery folks
are the whiners. They are the ones who are always griping and judging
You are in the quarry whether you like it or not. When you get saved,
you are put in the quarry. Now the key is, are you going to let God fit
you or are you going to fight Him in the process? The key is, bow down,
come out of the nursery, quit whining and go on and let God work in your
life. You see, one of the things about a stone is, he doesn’t get to
choose the chisel God uses in his life to make him like He wants him to
be. A lot of us have different tools in our life that God is using. I
might be one in your life, I don’t know. God is using a lot of things
and circumstances. Go on and trust Him. Find your sufficiency in Him.
That is what it is all about. God will mold you, make you and conform
you into the image of Christ Jesus. The hammer that drives the chisel
appears, to me, to be the Word of God.
If you will go over to Ephesians 4:16
(note), he uses the same
phrase in a different context...
"from whom the whole body, being
fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according
to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the
body for the building up of itself in love."
That is in the context of God giving
apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers to the church. They
are equipping the body for the work of the ministry. So the Word of
God appears to be the "hammer". It’s either the studying of
it, the preaching of it, or the teaching of it. Somehow that’s where we
find the hammer that drives that chisel that is conforming us into the
image of Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:19-22 We Are the Temple of God
IS GROWING INTO A HOLY TEMPLE IN
THE LORD: auxei (3SPAI) eis naon hagion en kurio: (Exodus
26:1-37; 1Ki 6:7) (Ps 93:5; Ezek 42:12; 1Co 3:17; 2Co 6:16)
[word study]) means to cause to become greater in extent, size, state
or quality. The
pictures this as an
ongoing process. The
indicates the power producing the growth comes from an outside Source,
in this case God. In one sense though the building is structurally
complete, it continues to grow with the addition of individual stones.
The Church is also
a growing temple in that it is continually undergoing construction and
it is holy in the sense that it is being progressively set apart in
Christ for God’s glory.
The Church or Body
of Christ will not be complete until every person who will believe in
Him has done so. Every new believer is a new "living stone" in Christ’s
building, His holy temple. Thus Paul says the temple is growing because
believers are continually being added.
Surveys show that as much as 85
percent of church membership growth is made up of people who church-hop.
Other surveys show that there has been no real growth in church
membership in recent years; increase in some denominations is simply
offset by decrease in others. Gallup says 81 percent of those who have
changed are Protestant, and one out of four have changed faiths or
denominations (23 percent). He writes:
"A superficial view of the statistics
on religious life in America would suggest that there is little change
over the decades" (this, in spite of what he calls "constant
denominational shifting") (PRRC Emerging Trends (May 1991)
Wayne Barber writes that ...
there is the growth of the
temple...That term "is growing" is the word auxano. Now that word
is very interesting, and I want you to understand it. It is something
that man cannot do. Whenever you talk about church growth, the word in
Greek that means to grow is something that a man cannot do. It is what
God alone can do. God is causing it to grow. Now, He is using living
stones as we will see later on, but it is God who gives the growth. It
is God who causes the growth of the temple. It is in the present tense
which means it is going on right now. The church, the living temple of
God, is in the development stage.
What does that mean? It means that it is not finished yet. It means
there is still room in the kingdom. There is still room in the family.
There is still room in the temple. It is not finished yet. You see, the
word "growing" means it is increasing. It is being added to
consistently. Oh, the Gentiles of Ephesus that Paul was writing to, were
just a small speck in the gigantic building that God was making here on
this earth, that spiritual dwelling, that spiritual house that He wanted
to live in. When the last Gentile is brought in, then God is going to
turn His attention towards Israel. Right now, the Gentiles are coming in
and coming in and coming in. That is what he is trying to tell the
church at Ephesus: You can come in now. The building is still under
You see, a lot of folks misunderstand. In chapter 2, it says the Jew
and the Gentile had been made one in Christ Jesus. He didn’t say
Israel. He said the Jew. You see, a Jew is an individual. Israel
is a nation. Israel as a nation has shut down the process because they
have rejected Christ as the Messiah. That doesn’t mean that God has
gotten them out of His mind. He made an everlasting covenant with
Abraham. He’s got them on a shelf right now. He’s got them on hold right
now. He is in the process of bringing in the Gentiles. When that last
Gentile comes in and He takes us out of here, then He will put His whole
attention upon Israel.
If you will look in Romans 11:25, to me it is so clear. Paul says,
"For I do not want you, brethren, to
be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation,
that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the
Gentiles has come in." (Ro 11:25-note)
What is going on with Israel right
now? There is a mask over their faces. They can’t see it. Why? They
rejected Christ. Through the whole Old Testament and up until the book
of Acts, the Gentiles were shut out. They were strangers to the covenant
of promise. Now the wall has been torn down. Now the doors have been
thrown open, and God has appointed the apostle Paul with a ministry to
the Gentiles. He is saying,
"Listen, this is now open to you. It
is open to all the world and to whoever will come to Christ. There is
room in the kingdom. There is room in the family. There is also room in
I tell you, this ought to excite us
to missions. One of the things that worries me sometimes is when I
preach I can’t convict hearts. I might convince you, motivate you,
inspire you, but as soon as you walk out of here, all of that burns out.
Somehow, we have got to be overwhelmed with our salvation to the point
that we realize it could be offered to others. The family still has
room. The kingdom still has room. The temple still has room. Folks, you
need to get excited about the fact it is just growing now. There is
still room! There are people in your family who are desperate to hear
this. There are people in your neighborhood who are desperate to hear
this. What is wrong with us? We don’t even think about the fact that
there is a lost world out there. The family has room. The kingdom has
room. The Temple has room. It is in the development stage. There are
others who can come in!
If you can’t take the first chapter
of Ephesians and the second Chapter of Ephesians and get pumped up about
the fact that there are people who are lost out there in this world,
then something is wrong in your life. (Ephesians 2:19-22 We Are the Temple of God
[word study]) means that which is set apart, and so is
dedicated or consecrated to the service of God.
Temple - the Holy of holies,
not the "suburbs" but the sanctuary! The place where God dwelt
manifesting Himself in the cloud of glory! (see notes on
Shekinah glory cloud)
from naio = “to dwell) is the "abode of gods" or
the place or structure specifically associated with or set apart for a
deity, who is frequently perceived to be using it as a dwelling. In
Biblical use naos referred to the inner sanctuary of the Holy Temple,
the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, but not to the entire temple
complex (which is the word hieron =
Naos - 45x in 39v - Matt
23:16f, 21, 35; 26:61; 27:5, 40, 51; Mark 14:58; 15:29, 38; Luke 1:9,
21f; 23:45; John 2:19ff; Acts 17:24; 19:24; 1 Cor 3:16f; 6:19; 2 Cor
6:16; Eph 2:21; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 3:12; 7:15; 11:1f, 19; 14:15, 17;
15:5f, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22
It is interesting to note that for three hundred years Christians had no
buildings of their own.
Another interesting thought is Paul's
previous allusion to the Jesus' breaking down the barrier of the
dividing wall for the Gentiles. But what about the Jews? Did they not
have a barrier in the form of the veil separating the Holy of holies
(ark of the covenant, mercy seat, the Shekinah glory indicating God's
very presence) through which only the high priest could pass only once
per year? Thus every other Jew had a "barrier of a dividing wall"
preventing them from entering the very presence of God. However just as
Jesus abolished the enmity of the dividing wall in His flesh (on the
Cross), so too did He rend the veil that separated the Jew from God.
Matthew records that as our Savior offered up His life (as our High
Priest He offered the perfect sacrificial Lamb...Himself) that...
"behold, the veil of the
temple (naos = same word Paul uses for Temple) was torn in two from
top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split" (Mt 27:51)
The writer of Hebrews offers the best
commentary on this earth shaking (literally) event exhorting believing
Since therefore, brethren, we have
confidence to enter the holy place (Holy of holies) by the blood
of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us (when he
inaugurated the "New Covenant" in His blood) through the veil
(same word that Matthew used above), that is, His flesh, and since we
have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near (which is
what Paul is saying is now made available to both Jew and Greek in one
body) with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure
water. (Hebrews 10:19-22-note)
MacDonald reminds us that...
There are several lessons for us
here: (1) God indwells the church. Saved Jews and Gentiles form a living
sanctuary in which He dwells and where He reveals His glory. (2) This
temple is holy. It is set apart from the world and dedicated to Him for
sacred purposes. (3) As a holy temple, the church is a center from which
praise, worship, and adoration ascend to God through the Lord Jesus
In the Lord - in the sphere of the presence and power of the
Lord. He is the Source of the holiness.
from kúros = might) in classical Greek was used of
gods, inscriptions applied to different gods, Hermes, Zeus, etc as well
as to the head of the family, who is lord of wife and children.
The inherent idea of Kurios is one who has absolute ownership,
uncontrolled power and supreme authority.
The Lord is the center
of its unity of the Church and its members are holy (their position) by
virtue of their indissoluble union with Christ, and are now to be holy
out of love for Him (their practice).
Johnson explains that the
church collectively is a holy temple...
We should think of ourselves as a
holy temple of the Lord...That means that everything we say should be
thought out before we utter. We shouldn’t bound up on our feet and say
things without thinking. We should observe what is transpiring, how the
Holy Spirit guides our meeting, how the things that are said meet
together and create a teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s
Habitation of God. God dwelt in
Israel, they were His habitation. The Tabernacle was His figure of it.
And He dwelt in Israel for communion, that they might have communion
with Him. And He has this great temple of which we are apart that we
might have communion with Him. He dwelt in Israel in order to instruct
them, and we, too, meet as a holy temple of the Lord with the gifted men
to give us instruction. And He dwelt in Israel that they may serve him
properly. And we, of course, meet with the Lord for the same purposes. (Ephesians
2:11-22 Made Nigh by the Blood of Christ)
Wayne Barber has these
practical comments on "Holy Temple" and "dwelling of God"...
The final thing I want to share with
you before we close out chapter 2 is this, the Purpose of the Temple.
What is a Temple for? Now he tells you very clearly in verses 21 and 22:
"being fitted together is growing
into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built
together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."
The normal word for temple is
the word hieron. It means the whole complex, all the precincts of
the temple. This word is the word naos. It is the word that
doesn’t describe the whole temple, it describes the Holy of Holies where
God would meet with man and dwell and fellowship with man.
So, what is this temple all about? What is our purpose of being
put into this temple? That God might indwell us, that God might commune
with us, that God might fellowship with us. God desires to fellowship
with us, and He wants us to be the vessel on this earth that He
indwells. He wants to meet with us. He is the architect. He wants to
give us His design. He wants to empower us for His ministry and His
In the Old Testament, God came down to dwell with the people in the
Tabernacle. That is what "tabernacle" means, the dwelling of God.
Wherever they would go, they would fold up that Tabernacle and carry it
with them. It was a tent of meeting, and inside that Tent of Meeting,
there were two rooms. One of them the priests could go into, but one
only the High Priest could go into, once a year, and meet with God in
representation of the people and atone for their sins by the sacrifices
that he would make. That went on and went on and went on. Once a year
man could meet with God. Finally it moved into a permanent Temple which
was a little different, but it had the same basic idea and still had
that Holy of Holies, that inner sanctum, that naos, where God would meet
with man based on the sacrifice, based on the blood that had been shed.
In the book of Malachi, however, God decided not to dwell with man
anymore. Man became so stubborn and so hard-headed that God withdrew the
fire out of the Temple. For 400 years it was a period of darkness. Now
obviously God was here. He is omnipresent, but He didn’t allow man to
know that He was there. He said nothing for 400 years. Then finally, He
broke the silence. This time the Temple didn’t come with brick and
mortar and stone. It came in the body of human flesh. It was born in a
manger. The Temple on this earth, God’s dwelling with man on this earth,
was the Lord Jesus Himself. He said, "I am going to tear this Temple
down, and in three days, I am going to raise it up." He was talking
about His own body and being God inside of a body.