Online Bible Commentary
We Should No Longer be Children
Ephesians 4: 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJV)
In this passage Paul is reminding the early believers of their responsibility as Christians. He reminds them that Christ has sent them men of God to help them in their journey to become Christ like, to become mature Christians (vv. 11-13).
Jesus spent the full three years of His ministry training and disciplining men to take over His ministry. Even the miracles he performed were partly to convince the apostles of the power and glory of God, to sharpen them in their belief. He equipped, or prepared, the apostles so that they would go on to equip the multitudes.
The period after Christ ascended back to Heaven began the church age. We are still in the church age today. The beginnings of the church age are recorded starting at the Book of Acts in the New Testament. Its proper name is the “Acts of the Apostles.”
The “church” is not a building, but a movement of believers in Christ. In reality, there is only one church and that is the worldwide body of the followers of Christ. From one person, the man/God Jesus Christ, the Christian movement has equipped new leaders from generation to generation. This is no accident. This is the hand of God.
Beginning in verse 14 Paul gives us the goal of equipping others. That goal is to grow us from “children” in Christ to mature Christians. He defines children as those Christians who are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”
In other words, a child in Christ has not studied, or been taught, the Bible enough to know when they are being led astray. They may have been a Christian for one day or for one hundred years. The length of time that they have been a Christian does not matter. It is the depth of their study. Those who do not know the Bible are easily led astray by the ways of the world.
Paul then defines the mature Christian. He writes that the mature Christian speaks “the truth in love” (v. 15). In order to speak the truth we must first know the truth, the Bible. So study and discipleship must first occur. After we know the Bible we are then able to speak “the truth in love.”
We are then a mature Christian. The mature Christian is involved in spreading the truth of the Bible. Not all mature Christians are teachers or pastors. But all know enough not to be led astray, or to lead others astray.
The body of Christ is made up of many parts (v. 16). The Head of the body is Christ. The parts are pastors, teachers, workers, support staff, etc. They all are needed to equip others. And to properly equip others they must all be mature Christians. They should no longer be children.