Ephesians 4:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 4:11, NIV: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:11, ESV: And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,

Ephesians 4:11, KJV: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:11, NASB: And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:11, NLT: Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.

Ephesians 4:11, CSB: And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,

What does Ephesians 4:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This important verse mentions some of the spiritual leaders Christ gives as "gifts" to the church. First, notice that these leaders are given by God. Though God encourages learning and training, God's calling is the first priority for any of these leaders.

Second, there are a variety of leaders. Apostles primarily traveled to share the gospel and start new congregations. Pastors and teachers focused on leading a particular congregation or possibly groups of local house churches. The structure of the original Greek seems to link "shepherds" and "teachers" as a single office.

Third, it is important to note that this list was written for a particular audience. Paul wrote to the Christians of Ephesus regarding the types of leaders they were encountering. This would have included Paul as an apostle. We now live in a time after this initial period of apostles and prophets. Though people today may serve in similar ways, they are different from the actual apostles and prophets of the New Testament.

Evangelists are literally those who share the good news. This word is used elsewhere only of Philip (Acts 21:8) and of Timothy, who was commanded to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). That may or may not have been his primary spiritual gift. Pastors are mentioned elsewhere as elders (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1) and lead local congregations. Teachers are those with the ability to effectively communicate God's Word to others. All pastors must have the ability to teach (1 Timothy 3:2), but some people may be gifted as teachers while not called to be pastors (Romans 12:7).