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Ephesians 4:11 – BibleTools.info

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Ephesians 4:11

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.
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.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 237

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” 5T 237.1

That prayer of Christ embraces all His followers to the close of time. Our Saviour foresaw the trials and dangers of His people; He is not unmindful of the dissensions and divisions that distract and weaken His church. He is looking upon us with deeper interest and more tender compassion than moves an earthly parent's heart toward a wayward, afflicted child. He bids us learn of Him. He invites our confidence. He bids us open our hearts to receive His love. He has pledged Himself to be our helper. 5T 237.2

When Christ ascended to heaven, He left the work on earth in the hands of His servants, the undershepherds. “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: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” 5T 237.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 170

We must abide in Christ, and Christ must abide in us; “for we are laborers together with God.” The work of the Christian is an individual work. Let God's workers cease to find fault, for this is sin. Let them improve themselves as they think that their fellow workers should improve. It is their privilege to live in Christ by eating the bread of life. Those who do this will have a healthy, growing experience, and the righteousness of God will go before them as they do the work specified in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. 8T 170.1

Every branch of the work of God is to have recognition. “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. This Scripture shows that there are to be different workers, different instrumentalities. Each has a different work. No one is required to lay hold of another's work, and, though untrained, try to do it. God has given to each according to his ability. One man may think that his position gives him authority to dictate to other workers, but this is not so. Ignorant of their work, he would enlarge where he should retrench, and retrench where he should enlarge, because he can see only the part of the vineyard where he is working. 8T 170.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 52

God has a church, and she has a divinely appointed ministry. “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: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” TM 52.1

The Lord has His appointed agencies, and a church that has lived through persecution, conflict, and darkness. Jesus loved the church, and gave Himself for it, and He will replenish, refine, ennoble, and elevate it, so that it shall stand fast amid the corrupting influences of this world. Men appointed of God have been chosen to watch with jealous care, with vigilant perseverance, that the church may not be overthrown by the evil devices of Satan, but that she shall stand in the world to promote the glory of God among men. There will ever be fierce conflict between the church and the world. Mind will come into contact with mind, principle with principle, truth with error; but in the crisis soon to culminate, which has already begun, the men of experience are to do their God-appointed work, and watch for souls as they that must give an account. TM 52.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 446

God wants His people to be united in the closest bonds of Christian fellowship; confidence in our brethren is essential to the prosperity of the church; union of action is important in a religious crisis. One imprudent step, one careless action, may plunge the church into difficulties and trials from which it may not recover for years. One member of the church filled with unbelief may give an advantage to the great foe that will affect the prosperity of the entire church, and many souls may be lost as the result. Jesus would have His followers subject one to another; then God can use them as instruments to save one another; for one may not discern the dangers which another's eye is quick to perceive; but if the undiscerning will in confidence obey the warning, they may be saved great perplexities and trials. 3T 446.1

As Jesus was about to leave His disciples, He prayed for them in a most touching, solemn manner that they all might be one “as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” The apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians exhorts them to unity: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 3T 446.2

God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinions of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren? 3T 446.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 29

The same spirit led the management of the publishing house at Battle Creek to take every step within its power to gain control of the literary products it handled, and this resulted in cutting off a fair royalty income to authors of the books published by the house. In this way the income of the publishing house was enhanced. It was argued that those in positions of management in the publishing house were in a better position to understand the needs of the cause, and know how to use profits which came from literature, than were the individual authors. The authors, they felt, might fall short in proper stewardship of royalty incomes. In several communications, Ellen White, writing to those in positions of management, pointed out that selfishness motivated such plans. Counsel in this area is found in Testimonies for the Church 7:176-180. TM xxix.1

The influence of selfish, grasping methods and the exercise of “kingly power,” as Ellen G. White termed it, were contagious. Elder Olsen, president of the General Conference, in his hope that he could stay the evil work of such influences, made available to the ministers of the church many of the messages of counsel which came to him and other leaders in Battle Creek during this critical period. These messages, published in pamphlet form, were sent out as special instruction to ministers and workers. They were often prefaced by an earnest statement signed by the president of the General Conference or by the Committee. In Elder Olsen's introduction to the second of these numbered pamphlets, written about 1892, he states: TM xxix.2

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