Friday, July 6, 2018
“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:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).
What does “edifying” mean here?
The purpose of ministry in the Bible is to “edify.” To better understand this verb, we will survey parallel verses. When Paul spoke of his apostolic office, his right as God’s spokesman to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13), he said: “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed” (2 Corinthians 10:8). “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction” (2 Corinthians 13:10).
One way to grasp spiritual truths is to compare and contrast. In the above verses, we see two contrary ideas—“edification… not destruction.” Whatever “edification” is, it is the exact opposite of “destruction.” Later, we will return to fine-tune our definition. For now, we look at instances of edification in the Scriptures. “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Romans 15:2).
“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort…. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying…. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church…. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Corinthians 14:3,5,12,26). “Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying” (2 Corinthians 12:19).
Rather than destroying, we are building….