Edifying #3

Saturday, July 7, 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?

In today’s Scripture, the Greek word for “edifying” is oikodome (oikos meaning “house, temple;” doma is “to build, as in an edifice”). Notice “edification” is the process of constructing, or encouraging growth. For instance, Matthew 24:1 and Mark 13:1-2 highlight the “buildings” of the Temple complex. Here are literal, material structures in which the LORD God was to dwell. The physical Temple that King Solomon “built” is referenced in Acts 7:47.

The Bible also speaks of metaphorical construction (invisible edifices). For example, 1 Corinthians 3:9: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Ephesians 2:21-22 says: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (There is a related word, oikodomeo, rendered various ways in our King James Bible—“build,” “edify,” “builder,” “build up,” “be in building,” “embolden.” However, time and space do not allow us to delve into this any further. Just notice the connections.)

God aims to have the Church the Body of Christ “edified,” or built up (today’s Scripture). “Perfected” (or spiritually mature) saints do “the work of the ministry,” and that will result in “the edifying of the Body of Christ.” Verse 16 continues: “From whom [Christ] the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” The Body of Christ edifies itself. Its members build in each other an unseen structure that God Himself desires, the Body of Christ thus becoming the expression of His life. Refer back to Ephesians 2:21-22 (above) if necessary.

First Timothy 1:4 instructs church leaders: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” Let us see what godly edifying” entails….