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APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, TEACHERS: UNDERSTANDING THE FIVE CORE LEADERSHIP FUNCTIONS IN EPHESIANS 4
Few chapters in the Bible are read as often as I Corinthians Chapter 13. However, the chapters that precede and follow Chapter 13 receive much less attention. I Corinthians 12 and 14 concern the spiritual life of Christians and Christian communities. They discuss the function of spiritual gifts within the life of the individual person of faith and within the community of faith.
Actually, it is not totally accurate to say that these chapters focus on spiritual gifts. Our translations of the Bible translate I Corinthians 12: 1 this way: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed."
In fact the word "gifts" is not included in the original Greek text. The Greek word translated "spiritual gifts" is actually just the adjective "spiritual," with the noun the word spiritual is meant to modify left unsaid. The most literal translation would be "spiritual things."
There was not a uniform list of leadership or ministry functions within the New Testament church. I would argue, however, that the five functions of Ephesians 4:11 – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher – are the basic, essential and perhaps minimal listing of functions needed in order for Christian communities to thrive and for Christian people to grow in grace and faithfulness.
Rev. Dean Snyder
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