I have been reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians lately, and it has been an enriching experience. Today I came across Ephesians 4:1–6, which is quite obviously about life in the “body of Christ.” In verses 1 and 3 Paul, as a prisoner for the Lord, emphatically says that a communal life filled with humility, gentleness, patience and love is an important part of our calling as followers of Jesus.
When I was younger I used to think that our calling was only about preaching the gospel. But for years I have come to believe that our calling is to participate in Christ’s life, death and resurrection, which includes not only proclaiming the gospel but also participating in the community of Christ.
I think it is worth spending some time to reflect on this in prayer. In the following I will cite several versions of Ephesians 4:1–6 (highlighting several things in blue), which should help us in our reflection.
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (NRSV)
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (NIV)
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all. (CEB)
我 為 主 被 囚 的 勸 你 們 ： 既 然 蒙 召 ， 行 事 為 人 就 當 與 蒙 召 的 恩 相 稱 。2 凡 事 謙 虛 、 溫 柔 、 忍 耐 ， 用 愛 心 互 相 寬 容 ，3 用 和 平 彼 此 聯 絡 ， 竭 力 保 守 聖 靈 所 賜 合 而 為 一 的 心 。4 身 體 只 有 一 個 ， 聖 靈 只 有 一 個 ， 正 如 你 們 蒙 召 同 有 一 個 指 望 。5 一 主 ， 一 信 ， 一 洗 ，6 一 神 ， 就 是 眾 人 的 父 ， 超 乎 眾 人 之 上 ， 貫 乎 眾 人 之 中 ， 也 住 在 眾 人 之 內 。(Chinese Union Version)
Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε, 4:2 μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ, 4:3 σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης· 4:4 ῞Εν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα, καθὼς |καὶ| ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν· 4:5 εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα, 4:6 εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων, ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν. (New Testament Greek; Downloaded from net.bible.org)