Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
Chapter 8, “The Growth of the Church toward Unity and Maturity (4:1-16.” pp. 246-290.
Thielman notes that chapters 4-6 of Ephesians are a distinct second part of the letter. The opening paragraph, discussed here, serves to link the sections together as it talks about overall unity (Thielman 2010, 246). The identity which the Ephesians share in Christ should result in a particular lifestyle (Ibid., 251). This lifestyle involves an attitude of humility and gentleness (Ibid., 253), seen as positive characteristics, counter to some pagan expectations. The challenge in this is that within the life of the church there is an appropriate zeal both for unity and for truth (Ibid., 255). The text goes on in Ephesians 4:4-6 to identify seven elements of doctrine which demand unity of belief. In all this, God is the sovereign Father who has done all things. The interaction of “all” and “one” is very intentional (Ibid., 259).
In Ephesians 4:7 the text begins speaking about very specific ways God has given gifts to his people (Ibid., 262). Verse 8 makes a quotation which may or may not be of Psa There is some similarity but it is introduced differently than Paul’s normal introductions and the wording does not seem to match. Thielman discusses various ideas, concluding that Paul drew on the idea of Psalm 68 but not the words themselves (Ibid., 268). Next, the picture of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation bears comment. Christ descended, but why? (Ibid., 269). Thielman concludes that Paul’s intent is to dispel the Ephesians’ fear of death, knowing that Jesus triumphed over it (Ibid., 272). The discussion then turns to the people God has given in verse 11. As seen in 2:20, the apostles come first, then the prophets (Ibid., 273). Thielman discusses the different roles and especially the way that “pastors and teachers” seem connected in the Greek syntax (Ibid., 275). He then deals with the relationship of the prepositional phrases in verse 12 (Ibid., 277). The question at hand is whether the apostles, prophets, etc. equip the saints to do ministry or if they themselves are the locus of equipping and of doing works of ministry. Thielman concludes that the leaders prepare all the saints to engage in the ministry (Ibid., 280). The overall goal is that the whole body of Christ is built up, as a unit and in all its members (Ibid., 281).