What does Ephesians 4:5 mean?
ESV: one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
NIV: one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
NASB: one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
CSB: one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
NLT: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
KJV: One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
NKJV: one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Verse Commentary:
This brief verse adds three more "ones" to those shared in verse 4. These repeated references to unity highlight our intended harmony. We are meant to conduct ourselves as members of a single universal community of believers: the church.

First, Paul's use of "one Lord" is a clear reference to Jesus. He is called "Lord" on more than 20 occasions throughout this letter to the Ephesians.

Second, there is "one faith." Here, Paul is primarily referring to salvation (Ephesians 2:8–9), but the context also extends to imply the necessary, foundational teachings of the church. There is room for liberty regarding non–essentials in the body of Christ (Romans 14). However, there are some fundamentals which every Christian should accept. These foundations of the faith are important for true unity within the church.

Baptism, mentioned third, is often overlooked in contemporary Protestant churches. Baptism was closely associated with salvation, often taking place on the same day as a person's acceptance of Christ (Acts 2:41). It identified a person as a follower of Christ, one who accepted Jesus as Lord. This teaching also has interesting implications regarding our understanding of baptism. There is often debate within the Christian community over New Testament references to baptism, especially as it relates to practices such as baptizing infants. Scriptural references also differ from the practice of many churches to require a period of education prior to baptism.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 4:1–10 is Paul's compelling description of Christian unity. Every saved believer, regardless of talent or skill, Jew or Gentile, male or female, is saved by the same faith in the same God. Each Christian, therefore, is part of a single, universal family of believers in Jesus Christ. At the same time, God gives different gifts to different people, so that they can serve the many roles needed to accomplish His purposes here on earth. Rather than being concerned about what gifts we might lack, each Christian can rejoice in our unity, and focus on serving God to the best of our ability.
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.
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