Understanding Ephesians 4:11-12

Q. The Apostle Paul speaks about the gifts that Christ has given the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and the teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build the church, the body of Christ. My first question is where the operation (job description) of these gifts are defined in the Bible because I want to know how a certain gift is expected to operate? Secondly, why in these days do we specifically hear only about Pastors and other gifts are seemingly disregarded as compared to pastoring?

A. The key to understanding Ephesians 4:11 can be found in a study of the Greek words Paul used, and comparing them with what he said about their purpose in verses 12 and 13. The word for apostle means ambassador or commissioner, the one for prophet means foreteller, evangelist means preacher, pastor means shepherd, and teacher means instructor. Their combined purpose is to bring unity, maturity, and purity to the body of Christ.

I think the position of pastor became the senior one among these when we began paying pastors as professionals and giving them ultimate authority over local congregations. But as Ephesians 4:11-12 indicates, this was not the original intention.

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