10 Key Bible Verses on Ministry

10 Key Bible Verses on Ministry

1 Peter 5:3- not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. Peter now gives three exhortations to elders as to how they are to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to them: (1) elders are to “shepherd” the church gladly or willingly, in accord with God’s will, instead of doing it out of a sense of compulsion; (2) they are to do the work eagerly and not out of greed or for shameful gain (Gk. aischrokerdōs, “in fondness for dishonest gain, greedily”); (3) they are to serve as examples to the congregation, and not use their place of leadership as a means to be domineering.

All commentary notes adapted from the ESV Study Bible.

1. Matthew 28:18–20

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Read More

The Risen Jesus’ Great Commission. As the resurrected Lord, Jesus calls upon his followers to make disciples of all people groups through the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom.

All authority. In his risen state, Jesus exercises absolute authority throughout heaven and earth, which shows his deity. His authority has been given by the Father, which indicates that he remains subject to the Father.

2. Ephesians 4:11–13

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Read More

Christ gives specific spiritual gifts to people in the church whose primary mission is to minister the Word of God (Eph. 4:12). Regarding prophets, different views on the nature of the gift of prophecy in the NT affect one’s understanding of this verse (see notes on Eph. 2:201 Cor. 12:10). Since the Greek construction here is different from Eph. 2:20 and Eph. 3:5, some see this verse as a broader reference to the gift of prophecy generally in the NT church, rather than a reference to the “foundational” prophets mentioned in Eph. 2:20 and Eph. 3:5. From the Greek word for the “gospel” (euangelion), evangelists denotes people like Philip and Timothy who proclaimed the gospel (Acts 21:82 Tim. 4:5). shepherds (or “pastors” [ESV footnote]). In the OT these are kings and judges (2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7). In the NT, elders “shepherd” by watching over and nurturing the church (Acts 20:281 Pet. 5:1–2). There is some uncertainty as to whether “shepherds and teachers” refers here to two different ministry roles or functions, or whether the reference is to a single “shepherd-teacher” ministry role (cf. ESV footnote), since Paul uses a different Greek conjunction at the end of the list, joining the two nouns more closely together than the other nouns in the list. If “teachers” are a separate group, they can be understood as a special branch of shepherds (overseers, elders) responsible for instruction in God’s Word (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17).

Those church leaders with various gifts (Eph 4:11) are to equip the saints (all Christians) so that they can do the work of ministry. All Christians have spiritual gifts that should be used in ministering to one another (1 Cor. 12:7, 111 Pet. 4:10).

The diversity of gifts serves to bring about the unity of Christ’s people. Mature manhood extends the body metaphor used earlier for the church and contrasts with “children” in the next verse (see Heb. 5:11–14). Some people think that the learning of doctrine is inherently divisive, but it is people who divide the church, whereas the knowledge of the Son of God (both knowing Christ personally and understanding all that he did and taught) is edifying and brings about “mature manhood” when set forth in love (Phil. 3:10). The work of the gifted ministers (Eph. 4:11) was to proclaim and teach the word centered on Christ rather than on speculative or eccentric teachings of their own (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2). measure. Christ Jesus is the standard of the maturity to which the church must aspire. Christ’s fullness is the full expression of his divine and human perfection (see Eph. 1:23; 3:19Col. 1:19; 2:9).

3. 2 Corinthians 4:1–6

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Read More

The New Covenant Dawning of the New Creation. In spite of those who reject his gospel, Paul does not lose heart in his ministry because through it God is bringing about the beginning of the new creation amid this fallen world.

Because Paul is not motivated in his ministry by money (2 Cor. 2:17), and because he does not crave human approval (Gal. 1:10), Paul refused to tamper(a word also used of wine merchants diluting their wares) with God’s word by watering it down or changing it to suit what people want to hear (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3).

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