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Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher




As we begin to move towards the close of our present series, it may be worth stating again that the purpose of the series is to remind us of the 'tools' God makes available to His people for the fulfilling of our ministry. Our call is to declare and demonstrate the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and thus to make disciples of all nations.


The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus formed within us by the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are the tools the Holy Spirit uses to accomplish the ministry of Jesus through us.


The 5 ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4 are seen by many Christians as "callings" more than gifts  i.e. settings or ministries in which gifts operate. Whatever be your stance on this matter, I am going to treat them as gifts without which the Church would be very much poorer.


1.Read Ephesians 4/1-6

Identify from the above passage the attitudes and environment that are necessary for the gifts of the Spirit to function positively and effectively. List them below.

a. ____________________________ b. __________________________________

c. ____________________________ d. __________________________________

e. ____________________________


2.From the same passage, highlight the basis of our unity. Discuss some of the things that are useless as a basis of unity.


3.As I noted above, some believe that the 5 ministry gifts mentioned in v.11 are, in fact, "offices" or "positions" in the Church rather than spiritual gifts. While a reasonable case can be made for that point of view, a consideration of the function of these ministries is very appropriate for our studies.


Discuss together the suggested 'definitions' below (NB: we refer to 'apostles' in a general sense rather than its limited application to the Twelve). You may care to write your own definitions!


a)   Apostles = the God-given ability to minister trans-culturally or cross-culturally in pioneer evangelism.


b)   Prophets = the God given ability to correctly communicate the revelation of God (Do you believe there are still prophets today?)


c)   Evangelists = the God-given ability to effectively communicate the good news of the gospel


d)  Shepherds/Pastors = the God-given ability to shepherd the people of God to maturity and Christlikeness.


e)   Teachers = the God-given ability to clearly explain and effectively apply the truth of God's word.


4.Now read Ephesians 4/12,13 The exercise of spiritual gifts through the above ministries (v11) is meant to result in certain outcomes. As the above ministries function correctly, what is the aim?

V12   "to ________________________________________________________

"for ________________________________________________________

"so that_____________________________________________________


"we all reach_________________________________________________


5.Finally, consider vs. 14-16 Discuss together the process and sequence that Paul explains in these verses. Can you explain this progression in your own words? Is this something you see happening……..


a)in your own life?


b)in the life of your Church?


6.When it comes to spiritual gifts and their use in the Church, Paul has one major passion or concern. See if you can identify it from the following references:

a)   1 Cor. 14/3 and 4b _______________________________________________

b)  1 Cor. 14/12 and 26b_________________________________________________


c)  Eph 4/12b, 16__________________________________________________



Like so many aspects of our Christian life, the dimension of spiritual gifts is open to over-emphasis, misunderstanding and abuse. There is abundant evidence of that all around us these days. David Watson once said, "The way to deal with abuse is not disuse but right use"!


I agree. To encourage disuse is another form of abuse. What we need in the presence of abuse is godly but firm corrections so that the Church is not deprived of God's ministry through either disuse or abuse of spiritual gifts…or any of God's other provisions.

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