New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Unity in the Body. 1 [a]I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,(A) 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,(B) 3 striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:(C) 4 [b]one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;(D) 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;(E) 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.(F)Read full chapter
- 4:1–16 A general plea for unity in the church. Christians have been fashioned through the Spirit into a single harmonious religious community (one body, Eph 4:4, 12; cf. Eph 4:16), belonging to a single Lord (in contrast to the many gods of the pagan world), and by one way of salvation through faith, brought out especially by the significance of baptism (Eph 4:1–6; cf. Rom 6:1–11). But Christian unity is more than adherence to a common belief. It is manifested in the exalted Christ’s gifts to individuals to serve so as to make the community more Christlike (Eph 4:11–16). This teaching on Christ as the source of the gifts is introduced in Eph 4:8 by a citation of Ps 68:18, which depicts Yahweh triumphantly leading Israel to salvation in Jerusalem. It is here understood of Christ, ascending above all the heavens, the head of the church; through his redemptive death, resurrection, and ascension he has become the source of the church’s spiritual gifts. The “descent” of Christ (Eph 4:9–10) refers more probably to the incarnation (cf. Phil 2:6–8) than to Christ’s presence after his death in the world of the dead (cf. 1 Pt 3:19).
- 4:4–6 The “seven unities” (church, Spirit, hope; Lord, faith in Christ [Eph 1:13], baptism; one God) reflect the triune structure of later creeds in reverse.