The first part of Ephesians 4:16 shows us how God designed the Body, His Church, to be connected to one another.
But, for what purpose?
The second part of the verse answers that question. — It’s God’s blueprint for the growth of the Body.
Exposition of Ephesians 4:16b shows the Purpose for which We’re Connected to One another
“grows and builds itself up in love”
In the Body of Christ every connection adds into the whole Body. When we work together, with each part doing its work, the Body functions most efficiently, causing it to become all it can be. And, when we are who we should be, we see growth. Look at the example of the early church in Acts 2:42-47. As they lined up with God’s design, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” That’s real church growth. We’re not talking about increase through transplants of people leaving one church to become part of another group.
But, it isn’t all about growing numerically. The Body “builds itself up” — an edification and equipping process done “in love” but also resulting in greater love. Hence, when the Church follows God’s design, we learn to love more. We live out His purpose for us to love Him and others, the Greatest Commandments according to Jesus (Matt. 22:37-40).
“as each part does its work.”
The word “as” denotes the measuring rod to which we will see this kind of growth and edification in the Body. Growth will be in proportion to “as each part does its work.”
“Each” of us holds a vital part in this process … each a part of the whole.
The Greek word for “work” – energia – used in the New Testament in conjunction with superhuman power is significant. What separates the church from other growing organizations is the power source. The true church isn’t a man-made institution but rather a living organism infused with the “energia” of an Almighty God.
What each “part” or member of the Body has to offer to the whole would be tied into spiritual gifts as seen in the context of this verse. Spiritual gifts can be defined as “special divine empowerments.” Given by the Holy Spirit, they enable believers to do their part supernaturally so that the body “grows and builds itself up in love.”