A Mini Commentary, Pt 13 (Ephesians 4:13, cont.)

Both the previous post and this one deal with the same verse. However, the last one was more of an outline of how we got to where we are.

This time we will look specifically at verse thirteen.


4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Words mean things, especially God’s words. Therefore, when He says that He gives a gift “for” a reason, we should take note: God’s gifts to the Church are not arbitrary. Beginning with verse 12 and all the way through verse 16, there are multiple prepositional phrases which detail both the progressive working of the Spirit in the Body and the overall purpose, that being to “grow up into [Christ]” and “increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (vs. 15 & 16).

Till we all come

            There is a reason it is called “the road of life.” Life is more than simply stepping over the threshold; it is a path with ups and downs, twists and turns, and many, many lessons to learn. It is also a journey where we are nourished and instructed along the way. The spiritual life is no different, as the meaning of the word translated “come” (καταντάω; katantaō) so adequately affirms: “to attain or arrive at a particular state.”[1] The believer is always growing (at least he SHOULD be) every day, more and more conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29; 12:2; 13:14).

in the unity of the faith,      

            Unity is a dangerous word, much like the word love. To strive for unity without a deeper understanding of what one is to by unified with is terribly misguided. Yet, many of the religious and spiritual people of the day say we need to come together and set aside our differences for the sake of peace. However, it was Jesus who said that He did not come to give peace on earth (contrary to the majority of Christmas wishes), “but rather division” (Luke 12:51).

Unity of faiths is not the same thing as the unity of “the faith.” Paul wanted the Ephesians to grow together, united together for the same purpose as cells in the human body would be. The “faith” that he is talking about here is not the simple act of placing one’s trust in something or believing for the sake of believing, but faith in Jesus Christ. This unity is nothing that happens overnight, either.

and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

            It is one thing to know about something, but it is a totally different thing to experientially know something. The word Paul used in this case is ἐπίγνωσις (epignōsis G1922),the same word he used in Romans 12:2 where he describes those who had a zeal for God, but “not according to knowledge.” It is also the same word he used in Ephesians 1:17 where he prayed that the Ephesians would have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (emphasis added) of him.” God’s Word is not there for us to simply be informed, but to come to know Jesus in a deeper and more personal, experiential way.

unto a perfect man,

            Many people read this and think that to be a Christian one must be “perfect.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. To be perfect is to be complete, perfect, whole, full-grown, mature.[2] Keeping with the metaphor of a human body, the gifts the Church is given (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers) are necessary until it is all that measures up to the image of Christ.

unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

            We will break this prepositional phrase down into its separate parts, but before we do that, let us pause and meditate on the wonder, the majesty, the glory, and the absolute impossibility for any man or woman to attain such a high and magnificent standard! In the Greek, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ; in reality, only by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the gifts of grace through Jesus Christ himself.

            What is the “measure”? It is that of the “stature of the fulness of Christ.” What measure! What stature! What fulness! It is this measure to which the gifts are to be applied in instruction, example, discipline, and correction. It is the measure that is the “perfection of the saints for the work of the ministry.” To be like Christ, and no other!

  • Measure

            Μέτρον (metron): that by which anything is measured.[3]To what or whom do we measure ourselves? The preacher, teacher, actor, singer? Is our measure of morality our parents, spouse, or some ancient philosopher? The measure, the meter, the ruler, the yard stick, the flawless and perfect example is Jesus.

  • Stature

            At first glance, this word may generate mental images of tall statues, like that of a great historical figure in a museum or national monument. However, the meaning of ἡλικία (hēlikia G2244) is broader than that. It can refer to the lifespan of someone (Matthew 6:27); the height of something (Luke 19:3); the social recognition, qualifications, or maturity of someone (Luke 2:52; John 9:21); or the physical abilities of a person comparable to his age (Hebrews 11:11).

  • Fulness

            Once again, the depth of a word in relationship to Jesus Christ is worthy of pondering! The Greek word from which we get “fulness” is the same root word from which we get the word “plethora.” The word πλήρωμα (plērōma G4138) can mean a full measure, a full number (as in a full compliment of ships), the sum total of something, a piece inserted to fill up, or as one Greek lexicon described it, “the satiety of the feast.”[4] Any preacher worth his salt should be able to come up with a fantastic sermon outline using only the definition of “fulness”! How sufficient is Christ! Jesus is truly all we need!


[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 150.

[2] Barclay M. Newman Jr., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993), 180.

[3] Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 1123.

[4] H.G. Liddell, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996), 647.

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