FROM WHOM THE WHOLE BODY, BEING
FITTED AND HELD TOGETHER BY WHAT EVERY JOINT SUPPLIES: ex ou pan to soma
sunarmologoumenon (PPPNSN) kai sumbibazomenon (PPPNSN) dia pases aphes
(Eph 4:12; John 15:5) (Job 10:10,11; Psalms 139:15,16; 1Corinthians
12:12-28; Colossians 2:19)
From Whom -
Refers to the Head, Christ. from which the entire body derives its
capacity for growth. In the preceding verse Christ was the goal but here
He is the source.
In Colossians 2
Paul gives a parallel teaching describing those who are inflated in
unspiritual minds explaining that they are
not holding fast (continually
clinging to, adhering strongly to - implication = this takes effort) to
the Head (Christ), from Whom the entire body, being supplied and held
together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from
God. (See note
Comment: Holding fast to the
Head emphasizes the necessity for a moment-by-moment dependence on the
Lord. Yesterday’s help will not do for today. We can’t grind grain with
the water that has passed over the dam. It should also be added here
that where Christians do hold to the Head, the result will be
spontaneous action which will coordinate with other members of the Body.
There will be a oneness and harmony that is supernaturally super!
means all without exception and includes the ideas of oneness, a
totality or the whole. Paul clearly focuses on the growth of the body as
a whole, rather than individual believers. Remember the context of the
first 16 verses of chapter 4 is unity in diversity.
The whole body
being fitted and held together
- O'Brien writes that "The notion of believers’ unity and their growing together as a
collective whole is further accented by the following two verbs. The
first, ‘joined together’, has already been used of the harmonious
construction of the church as ‘a holy temple in the Lord’ (Ep 2:21-note), while the second,
‘held together’, appears in Colossians, where it refers to the body knit
together as a unity by the head alone (Col 2:19-note). The two
verbs are virtually synonymous and indicate that there is an ongoing,
unified growth to the body. It is ‘not shapeless’, but is ‘ordered and
united, . . . fitly framed and knit together’. (O'Brien,
P. T. The Letter to the Ephesians. W. B. Eerdmans. 1999)
adds that "The
participles (being fitted and held
together) denote present, continuous progress. The two participles
represent respectively the ideas of harmony or adaptation and
compactness or solidity. (Ephesians 4 Word Studies in Greek)
Greek NT explains that “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.” (Ephesians 4 Commentary
together, speaking of intimate union + harmologéo = join
together in turn from harmós = joint + lógos = word, account, reckoning) means to be fitted or joined
together with, literally used of the parts of the body or the stones of
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" see note
1 Peter 2:5).
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. (Ephesians 4 Commentary).
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. (Ephesians 4 Exposition
scroll down for homilies)
from sun = union + bibazo = to
force) means to cause to come together, bring together, join together
into unit, cause to be a unit, to unite, to cause to coalesce, to unite
or knit together, to combine. It means to bring
together by ligaments or joints.
By what every
joint supplies - This phrase indicates that while the empowering for
growth comes from the Head, the members of the Body are also fully
involved in the process. The joints are in contact with other parts of
the body and serve as the channels which extend nourishment from Christ,
(haphe from hápto = to connect, adjoin) refers to a
juncture or point of contact of one part of body with another. Joints or
parts of contact are very important among the members of Christ's body
even as the joints are to the body (see note
Spiritually, these joints receive their nourishment from the Head,
Christ (see note
but how we are joined together with other members of Christ's body
affects the whole body of Christ, the Church.
epichoregeo= give generously or
word study on
epichoregia) means literally to furnish or supply upon
and refers to lavish or generous giving or furnishing abundantly not in
a stingy manner.
The root of
epichoregia is the Greek choregia. In the ancient days in
Greece at the great festivals the great dramatists like Euripides and
Sophocles presented their plays; Greek plays all have a chorus;
to equip and train a chorus was expensive, and public-spirited Greeks
generously offered to defray the entire expenses of the chorus. (That
gift is described by the word choregia.) Later, in war time,
patriotic citizens gave free contributions to the state and choregia was
used for this, too. In still later Greek, in the papyri, the word is
common in marriage contracts and describes the support that a husband,
out of his love, undertakes to give his wife. Choregia underlines
the generosity of God, a generosity which is born of love, of which the
love of a citizen for his city and of a man for his wife are dim
Barclay gives us his version
of the historical background on this word group, writing that...
epichoregeo "is one of the many Greek
words which have a pictorial background. The verb epichoregein
comes from the noun choregos, which literally means the leader
of a chorus. Perhaps the greatest gift that Greece, and especially
Athens, gave to the world was the great works of men like Aeschylus,
Sophocles and Euripides, which are still among its most cherished
possessions. All these plays needed large choruses and were, therefore,
very expensive to produce. In the great days of Athens there were
public-spirited citizens who voluntarily took on the duty, at their own
expense, of collecting, maintaining, training and equipping such
choruses. It was at the great religious festivals that these plays were
produced. For instance, at the city of Dionysia there were produced
three tragedies, five comedies and five dithyrambs (a passionate choral
hymn in honour of Dionysus). Men had to be found to provide the choruses
for them all, a duty which could cost as much as 3,000 drachmae (Ed
note: A drachma was a Greek coin made of silver, roughly
equivalent to the Roman denarius, and one denarius was approximately one
day's wage, which makes 3000 drachmae equate with a relatively large sum
of money, so large that only a very wealthy person could provide...which
is an interesting thought when we look at the use in Peter. Certainly
all who are in Christ now have access to "all the treasures of wisdom
Col 2:3, and have
abundant spiritual riches accessible for the "production" of abundant
life and godliness as Peter explained in 2Pe 1:3,4-click
for those notes). The
men who undertook these duties out of their own pocket and out of love
for their city were called choregoi, and choregein was the
verb used for undertaking such a duty. The word has a certain lavishness
in it. It never means to equip in any cheese-paring and miserly way; it
means lavishly to pour out everything that is necessary for a noble
performance. Epichoregein (Ed note: note the prefix
preposition epi which means "upon") went out into a larger world and it
grew to mean not only to equip a chorus but to be responsible for any
kind of equipment. It can mean to equip an army with all necessary
provisions it can mean to equip the soul with all the necessary virtues
for life. But always at the back of it there is this idea of a lavish
generosity in the equipment. So Peter urges his people to equip
their lives with every virtue; and that equipment must not be simply a
necessary minimum, but lavish and generous. The very word is an
incitement to be content with nothing less than the loveliest and the
most splendid life." (Barclay, W: The Daily study Bible series, Rev.
ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press) (Bolding added)
Vincent explains that the derivation of the
epichoregeo is "from choron, a chorus,
such as was employed in the representation of the Greek tragedies. The
verb originally means to bear the expense of a chorus, which was
done by a person selected by the state, who was obliged to defray all
the expenses of training and maintenance. In the New Testament the word
has lost this technical sense, and is used in the general sense of
supplying or providing." (Cp Gal. 3:5, in 2Pe
translated "abundantly supplied")
ACCORDING TO THE PROPER WORKING
OF EACH INDIVIDUAL PART: kat' energeian en metro enos hekastou merous
(Eph 3:7; 1Th 2:13)
[word study] from energes = pertaining to being effective
in causing something to happen) describes operative power, most often
used of the working of God. It is effectual working.
(hekastos from hékas = separate) every single one.
This idea of singling out is expressed still more strongly
by heís (one or individual) hékastos (each).
this phrase reads in the measure of each individual part
regarding which Vincent comments says is "According as each part works in its
own proper measure." (Ephesians 4 Word Studies in Greek)
of each individual part - According as each part works in its own
proper measure. This phrase highlights the contribution of each member
to the life and development of the body as a whole.
wrote that "If we want to be considered members
of Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be
whatever we are for the benefit of each other"
(meros) is a division.
summarizes this somewhat complex sentence explaining that "The life of the Head flowing through
the bands of supply, is constantly joining together and causing to grow
together the individual members, this process being controlled or
dominated by the operative energy put forth, the volume or strength of
this operative energy coming from the Head of the Body, being determined
by the capacity of each part to hold and allow to operate in him or her.
That is, the degree to which this life of the Head flowing through the
members operates, joining the members of the Body more closely together
into a more compact organic union, is determined by the individual
saint’s fellowship with the Lord and with his fellow saints. This more
compactly built Body will show in the closer ties of Christian love and
brotherhood as exhibited by the saints in their Christian experience.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
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What happens when
each individual part of the Body of Christ does not function
S Lewis Johnson
explains that "when we don’t really operate within
the body, the body becomes a paralyzed body. If I don’t teach with my
same irritating way, constantly, the body loses something. Isn’t that
amazing to think that the body loses something if I don’t function? The
body loses something if you don’t function. The body does not function
perfectly if there are members in the body who are not functioning.
There is a measure of paralysis in the body. So may God help us to come
to know what our gifts are, and may God help us to exercise them and to
exercise them in love. (Ephesians 4:13-16 The Work of the Ministry -
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The following story by an unknown author gives an
interesting illustration of how one believer not
exercising their gift in the Body can affect the message produced by the
Evxn though my typxwritxr is an old
modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx of the kxys.
I havx many timxs wishxd that is workxd pxrfxctly.
It is trux that thxrx arx forty-onx kxys that function wxll xnough, but
just onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.
Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxthing likx my typxwritxr
-- not all thx kxy pxoplx arx working propxrly.
As onx of thxm, you may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I am only onx pxrson, I
don't makx or brxak thx church."
But it doxs makx a big diffxrxncx, bxcasx a church, to bx xffxctivx,
nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson.
So, thx nxxt timx your xfforts arx not nxxdxd vxry much, rxmxmbxr my
typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson in thx congrxgation
and I am nxxdxd vxry much."
This is what happxns to thx wholx church, and multiply this by many
timxs -- thx whole thing just doxs not makx sxnsx!
"Belovxd don't bx like a broken
HERE'S THE POINT DEAR BELOVED SAINT...
You must utilize your spiritual gift.
Saint, don't be an "ain't"!
The local body of Christ where you worship needs you
and cannot be the same without you!
Do you really believe that?
Are you a good steward of the gift God has entrusted to your care?
You are under grace, not law, but you are still accountable.
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CAUSES THE GROWTH OF THE
BODY FOR THE BUILDING UP OF ITSELF IN LOVE: ten auxesin tou somatos
poieitai (3SPMI) eis oikodomen eautou en agape: (Ep
4:15; 1:4; 3:17; 1Corinthians 8:1; 13:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,13; 14:1;
Galatians 5:6,13,14,22; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 2:2; 1Thessalonians
1:3; 3:12; 4:9,10; 2Thessalonians 1:3; 1Timothy 1:5; 1Peter 1:22; 1John
(poieo) expresses action either as completed or
continued. It refers to of an external action as manifested in the
production of something tangible.
auxano) literally refers to increase and is here applied
explains that "The noun growth (auxesis, used
only here and in Col 2:19-note)
is present middle in form, indicating that the body produces its own
growth through resident dynamics. As with all living organisms,
spiritual growth in the church does not come from forces outside but
from the vital power within that causes the growth of the body for the
building up of itself. All of this is in love, which is always to be the
spirit of the fellowship of believers. Above all things, the Body is to
manifest love, and when it is built up according to this plan, the world
will know it is the Body of Christ (John 13:34,35).(MacArthur,
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
predicates an object having the element of life within itself and being
acted upon by an outside power or force to produce either natural
growth (eg, "lilies of the field grow" - Mt 6:28-note)
or, in the metaphorical sense, spiritual growth, as in this
verse. John the Baptist used the related verb auxano in his reference to
Jesus, declaring "He must continually increase
(auxano) and I must continually decrease." (Jn 3:30-note)
(soma) is an organized whole made up of parts and members.
Building up of
itself - It is a living organism, and its growth is produced
by vital power within itself. Clearly the whole body is involved in this
process of building, not simply those who are leaders or who have
from oikos = dwelling + doma =
building) literally refers to the building of a house but figuratively
to any sort of construction or building process.
The word for
“edification” describes the building up of the house (oíkos). A house is
a building to shelter people. When one is in public worship, the
paramount concern must be how all the believers should be built up and
not how someone or a small group may selfishly benefit by the public
experience. In Christian worship the individual worshiper ought to be
concerned how he or she can spiritually benefit others by what he or she
does and says.
Of itself in
love - O'Brien explains that...
‘[Of] itself’ adds to the
previous reference of the church’s active participation (though
ultimately Christ is the source of growth), while the words in love,
which begin and end the paragraph, further underscore Paul’s emphasis on
agape as the indispensable means of building the body. If it is only
in love that the body increases, then it is only in love that
true Christian ministry will contribute to the building of the body. The
‘spiritually gifted community is not only distinguished by its full
possession of gifts through which divine energy flows, but it is also
marked by its divine nature’. Love thus becomes the criterion for an
assessment of the church’s true growth. Even the fullest demonstration
of gifts has no spiritual value if love is lacking (cf. 1Cor 13:4-8). (O'Brien,
P. T. The Letter to the Ephesians. W. B. Eerdmans. 1999)
In love -
This phrase occurs three times in Ephesians 4 (showing tolerance
in love - Ep 4:2-note,
Ep 4:15, 16) which points to the glue (along with peace) by which unity is
maintained. In Colossians we read...
And beyond all these things put on
love, which is the perfect bond (glue) of unity.
(agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love which is the love
that that God is and so describes a divine love, a love which is
commanded by God, empowered by His Spirit, activated by personal choice
of our will, not based on our feelings toward the object of our love and
manifested by specific actions (e.g., especially 1Cor 13:4-8)
sums up this section writing that...
Love is the circulatory system of the
body. It has been discovered that isolated, unloved babies do not grow
properly and are especially susceptible to disease, while babies who are
loved and handled grow normally and are stronger. So it is with the
children of God. An isolated Christian cannot minister to others, nor
can others minister to him, and it is impossible for the gifts to be
ministered either way. So, then, spiritual unity is not something
we manufacture. It is something we already have in Christ, and we must
protect and maintain it. Truth unites, but lies divide. Love unites, but
selfishness divides. Therefore, “speaking the truth in love,” let us
equip one another and edify one another, that all of us may grow up to
be more like Christ. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)