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Ephesians 4 The Voice (VOICE)

As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.

Now that Paul has described the new world as God would have it, he urges believers to live out their callings with humility, patience, and love: to walk as Jesus walked. These are the ways of Jesus. Paul encourages them to do whatever it takes to hold onto the unity that binds people together in peace. He does not ask them to create that unity; this has already been accomplished through the work of the Rescuer and His Spirit. Rather, he calls believers to guard that unity—a more modest but no less significant task—because that unity is founded on God’s oneness and work in the world.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were all called to pursue one hope. There is one Lord Jesus, one living faith, one ceremonial washing through baptism,[a] and one God—the Father over all who is above all, through all, and in all. This God has given to each of us grace in full measure according to the Anointed’s gift as the Scripture says,

When He ascended to the heights,
    He put captivity in chains;
And in His triumph, He gave gifts to the people.[b]

(Well, when it says “He ascended,” then that must mean that He had descended earlier to the lower levels, that is, to the earth. 10 The One who descended is the same One who rose from the dead to ascend far above all the heavens so that He could fill all things.)

11 It was the risen One who handed down to us such gifted leaders—some emissaries,[c] some prophets, some evangelists, as well as some pastor-teachers— 12 so that God’s people would be thoroughly equipped to minister and build up the body of the Anointed One. 13 These ministries will continue until we are unified in faith and filled with the knowledge of the Son of God, until we stand mature in His teachings and fully formed in the likeness of the Anointed, our Liberating King. 14 Then we will no longer be like children, tossed around here and there upon ocean waves, picked up by every gust of religious teaching spoken by liars or swindlers or deceivers. 15 Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him—the Anointed One, the head. 16 He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.

17 Therefore, as a witness of the Lord, I insist on this: that you no longer walk in the outsiders’ ways—with minds devoted to worthless pursuits. 18 They are blind to true understanding. They are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones. 19 And now, since they’ve lost all natural feelings, they have given themselves over to sensual, greedy, and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites.

20 But this is not the path of the Anointed One, which you have learned. 21 If you have heard Jesus and have been taught by Him according to the truth that is in Him, 22 then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self—that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust— 23 to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. 24 Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.

25 So put away your lies and speak the truth to one another because we are all part of one another. 26 When you are angry, don’t let it carry you into sin.[d] Don’t let the sun set with anger in your heart or 27 give the devil room to work. 28 If you have been stealing, stop. Thieves must go to work like everyone else and work honestly with their hands so that they can share with anyone who has a need. 29 Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them. 30 It’s time to stop bringing grief to God’s Holy Spirit; you have been sealed with the Spirit, marked as His own for the day of rescue. 31 Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison. 32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:5 Literally, immersion, in a rite of initiation and purification
  2. 4:8 Psalm 68:18
  3. 4:11 Literally, apostles
  4. 4:26 Psalm 4:4
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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