Ephesians 4:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 4:8, NIV: This is why it says: 'When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.'

Ephesians 4:8, ESV: Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:8, KJV: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Ephesians 4:8, NASB: Therefore it says, 'WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE the captives, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO PEOPLE.'

Ephesians 4:8, NLT: That is why the Scriptures say, 'When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.'

Ephesians 4:8, CSB: For it says:When he ascended on high,he took the captives captive;he gave gifts to people.

What does Ephesians 4:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul quotes Psalm 68:18 in this verse. The "it" he refers to is Scripture. Paul seems to have assumed his audience would recognize this reference to Psalms without Paul needing to spell it out. This implies that early Christians commonly used the Psalms in their gatherings. The quote itself references two actions fulfilled in Jesus.

First is the ascension of Jesus. After His ascension, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2) and gave spiritual gifts to God's people.

Second, Jesus "gave gifts to men." This statement uses the Greek word anthrōpois, which is a general word for human beings. "People," in other words, not merely "men." All believers have at least one spiritual gift. Some are listed in Scripture (Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11), while it's possible there are others not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. The focus of Paul's teaching is not on how many gifts, or even which gifts, a person has. Rather, the point is that Christians should strive to use the gifts God has given in order to serve others.