What does Ephesians 4:14 mean?
ESV: so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
NIV: Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
NASB: As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
CSB: Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
NLT: Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
KJV: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Verse Commentary:
One positive result from maturity in a believer is not being tricked by false teaching. Those who are "no longer children" can stand against lies and deceit. Paul's analogy of being "tossed to and fro by the waves" sounds like James 1:6, which instructs us to pray in faith without doubting. Jude 1:13 also uses the idea of "wild waves of the sea." The goal is to avoid being "carried about by every wind of doctrine." False teaching changes regularly. Those who are immature can easily be fooled into thinking false teaching is accurate.

This can take place in two ways. First, believers can be deceived by "human cunning." This is the power of human persuasion; a smooth talker can wield influence over others. Second, a person can be deceived by "craftiness in deceitful schemes." These are evil plans that may appear good but actually promote something false. In Ephesians 6:11 Paul will add that believers can "Put on the whole armor of God, that [they] may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."
Verse Context:
Ephesians 4:11–16 discusses both the gift of spiritual leaders and the importance of mature, loving, unified Christianity. Some people are endowed with gifts of teaching, preaching, and so forth. It is crucial to the health of Christian congregations that these members use their God-given talents appropriately. At the same time, different members of a church have different abilities. The community of believers functions best when all of those individual pieces are working together, through their unique roles. A healthy church is far more powerful than a ''big'' church.
Chapter Summary:
Truly understanding saving grace, as Paul explained in prior chapters, is the Christian's first motivation for living a godly life. Here, Paul encourages believers to live in way which honors that gift. All saved Christians are part of a single, unified family, part of the ''body'' of Christ. At the same time, different believers are given different talents. Some are called to positions of leadership and authority. All Christians should turn away from the ''old self'' we were prior to being saved. Paul's explanation of the ''new self'' includes some basic, practical steps.
Chapter Context:
The first half of Ephesians focuses mostly on doctrine, setting up ideas related to the Christian faith. The last half, beginning in chapter 4, puts those theories into practice. Paul begins by emphasizing the ultimate unity of all Christians, regardless of individual spiritual gifts. Paul also begins to explain how knowledge of the truths should translate into action. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 feature specific, real-world applications of Christianity to daily life.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:04:38 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com