However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people.” Notice that it says “He ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same One who descended is the One who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that He might fill the entire universe with Himself. Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.Ephesians 4:7-11
What to do you ask yourself? It seems from the reaction of some of you that you are not sure what to do now. Maybe you have not been following Gems for very long. Before I begin to handle this knotty problem let me give you some direction.
The first step is to read the passage carefully and find where the emphasis is as Paul intended it. So a careful reading of the whole passage in a number of different versions would help you understand it better. Getting the whole passage in context helps you to deal with the pieces. Often the pieces fall into place if we have a good grasp of the whole. In this case seeing that Paul continues with the idea of gifts indicates to us that is his thrust or his point. Suddenly into the midst of it he puts the quote from the Old Testament.
Look at the range of the range of translations available to enable you to see how they handle it. It is possible that one translation will put it in a way that gives you the clue as to what is going on. But in this instance it is not going to help you. The issue is more what Paul is doing with the Old Testament passage than the translation of the verses. This one of those examples where we have to pay careful attention to the passage that Paul has quoted from the Old Testament and what he has done with it. Most of us don’t pay careful attention to the Old Testament quote. At best we just acknowledge in our minds, oh yes that is from Psalm 68:18 but that is all we do. What we ought to do is to look at the whole context from which it has been taken and see what Paul has done and why he has done. So there are some pointers for those of you who are totally lost.
Another thing you can do is to use the Commentaries in E-Sword to shed light on what is going on if you are totally lost. But it is far better to look at the commentaries after you have done your work on the passage. That way you will be less likely to just accept at face value what the commentators say. Sometimes (often) they don’t know what they are talking about either. Be warned that you often have to wade through a pile of waffle before you get to the good stuff. Realize also that the commentaries are merely the thoughts of the writer. And so they follow their own theological or denominational viewpoint, so there is some bias there as well. It is better to look at a number of commentaries so you get some balance. But many times we look at just one and think we have got the final word. That is not true. It is one opinion on the text. But at least it shows you where the issues are.
Having said all that it is now time to leave you the time to do something about this passage. Keep in mind: why are verses 8-10 sandwiched in between verses 7 and 11? I had intended I would start the discussion today but given the questions from people as to what to do I will do that tomorrow.
Above all else have fun rightly handling the Word of God.
True leaders don’t choose the popular way, they make the right way popular.Rick Warren
The turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.Ian Vail
When you fail at any skill you’re trying to master, just keep practicing! Every master was first a disaster.Anon