Author: Ron Graham
—Simply Bible Readings
¶“1I, the prisoner for the Lord, plead with you to walk the walk. Be worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and control yourselves. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Try hard to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace 4—one body and one Spirit. This befits your calling: you were called to one hope, 5one Lord, one faith, one immersion, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
¶“7But each one of us was given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Therefore God says, ‘When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ 9But this, ‘He ascended’ —didn't he also first descend into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:7-10 quoting Psalm 68:18).
Growing Up in Christ
¶“11And truly God gave the apostles, and to those he added the prophets. He also gave those who preach the good message. Furthermore he gave the shepherds and teachers.12He did this to perfect the holy people to work as servants. This leads to the body of Christ being built up 13until we all arrive at the one faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. So the body of Christ becomes a mature man, measuring up to the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
¶“14May we be no longer children, tossed by waves, and blown around by every wind from the false teachers. These men are shrewd and cunning. They look to schemes of error. 15May we instead, speak the truth in love. May we grow up in every way toward the Christ who is head. 16From him the whole body is framed together, united by every joint provided. Each part works in its measure to make the body grow, building itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16).
¶“17So I say this, and say it solemnly in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do. They walk in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding. They are alienated from the life of God. That's because of the ignorance that is in them due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality. They crave to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:17-19).
¶“20But that is not the way you learned Christ 21—if indeed you did hear about him, and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus. 22 You are to renounce your old self, which belongs to your former way of life. The old self is corrupt befitting its deceitful desires. 23You are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. 24 You are to put on the new self. It has been created as befits God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:20-24).
¶“25So renouncing falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. 27Give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but instead toil. Do good work with your own hands so that you may have something to share with the needy” (Ephesians 4:25-28).
¶“29Let no unwholesome word escape your mouth. Instead, say only what is good to build up. Speak as needed to give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and bad temper and anger and outbursts and slander be rejected from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32).