The Unity of the Body
1 So, as a prisoner for the Lord, I beg you to live the way God’s people should live, because he chose you to be his. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. 3 You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, and God chose you to have one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6 There is one God and Father of us all, who rules over everyone. He works through all of us and in all of us.
7 Christ gave each one of us a special gift. Everyone received what he wanted to give them. 8 That is why the Scriptures say,
“He went up high into the sky;
he took prisoners with him,
and he gave gifts to people.” Psalm 68:18
9 When it says, “He went up,” what does it mean? It means that he first came down low to earth. 10 So Christ came down, and he is the same one who went up. He went up above the highest heaven in order to fill everything with himself. 11 And that same Christ gave these gifts to people: He made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to care for and teach God’s people.* to care for … people Literally, “to be shepherds and teachers.” 12 Christ gave these gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. 13 This work must continue until we are all joined together in what we believe and in what we know about the Son of God. Our goal is to become like a full-grown man—to look just like Christ and have all his perfection.
14 Then we will no longer be like babies. We will not be people who are always changing like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to deceive us—those who make clever plans and use every kind of trick to fool others into following the wrong way. 15 No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head, 16 and the whole body depends on him. All the parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and to be stronger in love.
The Way You Should Live
17 I have something from the Lord to tell you. I warn you: Don’t continue living like those who don’t believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. 18 They have no understanding, and they know nothing because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. 19 They have lost their feeling of shame and use their lives to do what is morally wrong. More and more they want to do all kinds of evil. 20 But that way of life is nothing like what you learned when you came to know Christ. 21 I know that you heard about him, and in him you were taught the truth. Yes, the truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to leave your old self. This means that you must stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self gets worse and worse, because people are fooled by the evil they want to do. 23 You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. 24 Be that new person who was made to be like God, truly good and pleasing to him.
25 So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,”✡ Quote from Zechariah 8:16. because we all belong to each other in the same body. 26 “When you are angry, don’t let that anger make you sin,”✡ Quote from Psalm 4:4 (Greek version). and don’t stay angry all day. 27 Don’t give the devil a way to defeat you. 28 Whoever has been stealing must stop it and start working. They must use their hands for doing something good. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor.
29 When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. 30 And don’t make the Holy Spirit sad. God gave you his Spirit as proof that you belong to him and that he will keep you safe until the day he makes you free. 31 Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. 32 Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.
*4:11 to care for … people Literally, “to be shepherds and teachers.”