God provides the blueprint for Church growth in Ephesians 4:16.
The first part of the verse establishes our connection to one another which will be the topic of this post.
The second part of the verse shows the purpose or outcome of following God’s design — the topic of the next post.
Exposition of Ephesians 4:16a on How We are Connected to One Another
“From” is a primary preposition signifying origin, the point from which something happens or proceeds.
We find the identity of “Him” within the context. Verse 15 references Christ as the Head of the Body.
As the Head, He is the control center of the Body. He has both the authority to make the decisions and power to make it happen. (Eph. 1:19-23)
As the Head, He has first place. He is preeminent. It’s all about Him. (Col. 1:17-18)
Jesus, then, as the source, is qualified to bring the effect yet to be described later in this verse.
“the whole Body”
1 Corinthians 12 likens the church to the human body … a collective whole, yet made up of many individual parts. By using the adjective “whole” we must thus conclude that this verse pertains to every member, any and every one in the Body.
Without exception, then, what is yet to be described in this verse affects and is relevant to every believer.
“joined and held together”
Being “joined” together is more of a building concept, similar to framing a structure together. Ephesians 2:11-22 describes the institution of the church as “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” When we are in Christ, we are no longer isolated entities. We belong to something bigger than ourselves. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body … and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor. 12:12-13). Our identity shifts from “me” to “we” as we are one in Him, “fitly framed” together as translated in the ASV.
Being “held together” suggests that this joining together is meant to last. We are “knit together” (ASV) signifying such an intertwining that what affects one, affects the others (1 Cor. 12:24-26).
“by every supporting ligament”
The word “by” lets us know that we are going to be given the means through which we are joined and held together.
“Every” is the same Greek word used earlier translated “whole.” So, again, we must conclude that this affects any and every member of the Body.
The NIV use of “supporting ligament” fails to adequately communicate its meaning. Most other translations help us better understand by wording it as that which every joint supplies. These are connection points, the junction at which the parts are fastened or bonded together … the points where we connect one to the other.
Though every part doesn’t connect to all parts, by virtue of the point at which it does, it now belongs to the whole. Using the analogy of the human body, we would acknowledge that the arm is not directly connected to the leg. Yet, they are members of the same body. Where one goes, the other goes.
Certainly we must conclude that in Christ we are connected to one another, but for what purpose? — The topic of the next post.