Ephesians 2:19-22 – Growing into a Temple

Ephesians 2:19-22 is the conclusion of an argument which began in 2:11. Paul began this section by pointing out in that the gentiles were once enemies of God and totally separated from the Jews (2:11-13).  This left Gentiles without hope of salvation, especially since the hatred went both ways. There was a wall, a dividing wall of hostility, between the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul may very well be thinking of the literal wall in the Temple marking off the limited access for the Gentiles to worship in the Temple.

But in 2:14-18 Paul states that through Jesus we have peace with God, the enmity between Jew and Gentile is destroyed.  What Jesus did in his body on the cross created a peace between Jew and Gentile which was unimaginable in previous ages.

Perhaps his allusion to the Temple led Paul to use a Temple metaphor in verses 19-22.  On the other hand, architectural metaphors are common in the first century.  In Galatians Gal 2:9 Paul called the apostles “pillars,” a metaphor which is repeated in Revelation. Another example is 4Q Florilegium (4Q174) describes the “holy ones” as a temple, but one that is built in the last days.  For the writer of this document, the an image of exclusion, only the holy ones are a part of the temple, and of course the holy ones include only the writer and his community.  Paul’s church, on the other hand, is inclusive.  If the true Temple of God is built from both Jews and Gentiles, then all who are in Christ are a part of this temple.

House made of junkSeveral implications flow from this metaphor of the church as a Temple of God. If Paul has in mind the Temple in Jerusalem, then he may be thinking of the stones prepared by Herod’s stone workers.  These stones were cut and dressed so that the fit perfectly in the spot intended  If the individual believer is “like a stone” in the Temple, then we ought to find some comfort in the fact that God has prepared us for the role we play.

Second, the Temple is built on the proper foundation, the “apostles and prophets.”  It seems to me that Paul has in mind the first generation of the Church, the apostolic traditions and teachings.  But notice the “chief cornerstone” is Jesus himself.  In the traditional view, Paul is writing this letter in the early 60’s.  If is very likely that the first generation was beginning to die off.  Certainly the second generation of the church struggled with deviations in both doctrine and practice.  Using this metaphor, Paul is saying that anything not built on the foundation of the existing tradition is bound to be dangerous.

Third, the building is growing. This is a natural extension of the metaphor, since Greek and Roman buildings “grew up” as they were being built.  Like a tree, buildings start from the ground (the foundation)  and grow upward. There is a step-by-step process which must be followed over a long period of time.  The Church universal is continuing to grow, Paul says, until it is a Temple fit for God.

This third point ought to be a warning: We are continuing the process of “growing the church.”  What are we contributing to the Temple?  Is the contribution of the western Church material which strengthens and builds up the church?

34 thoughts on “Ephesians 2:19-22 – Growing into a Temple

  1. I’d never realized that the cornerstone was the first stone laid, around and upon which everything else was built. This makes a whole lot more sense than what I had heard. I heard the thought that Jesus being the cornerstone was like him being the capstone of a pyramid, which sounds cool but doesn’t really fit with the idea of the building growing from its foundation which is Christ.

    Your warning at the end did provoke some thought. What are we doing to “grow this building”? I would say it’s not only what might seem obvious – evangelizing – but also edifying or “building up” the Body of Christ with its present members. We need to do both, and all the while we ought to serve as examples of Christ, conducting ourselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). We should live as a testament to the truth that “Christ made it possible for Jew and Gentile to come together, no longer as two distinct entities but as ‘one new person'” (Polhill 366). Doing this, God can work in their hearts to welcome them into this growing building of believers.

  2. I like the “pivotalness” with which this passage is written. With Christ as the cornerstone, foundation, and stone from which everything else is built then that puts an interesting tension on a lot of the theological and denominational arguing that exists. Paul was talking about this concept of Jesus being the cornerstone as being the unifying and life changing aspect of the followers of God. His death and resurrection became that which brings us in relation with Christ and causes no more division or social differences.

    Obviously, things are a bit different for the current church, because a majority of the world (especially Christians) don’t see the need for preaching Jew and Gentile equality. We definitely deal more with the concept of social standing within the church, and being unified across denomination and social status. As far as the Western Church goes, though. I think we do strengthen aspects of the church, but I wonder if a lot of our focuses do much to strengthen the body of Christ as a whole, outside of individually, just within a church, or just within a denomination. We have to be careful that we don’t become individualistic and capitalistic in our approach to the temple of God. Jesus brought counter cultural, selfless, sacrificial, relational, resurrected, and life changing way of following God. At the time, the emphasis was completely on the inclusion of the Gentiles. While this still holds importance and is vital to the gospel message, as Christians within the Western church, we need to embrace this same message but with a cultural understanding. The same exact principles hold true today, and we need to embrace them just as much as the Jews and Gentiles of the First Century needed to.

  3. What a great question. The contributions that the western church has made to the Temple have had a great impact, both positive and negative, on the overall health of the church today. Paul’s metaphor in Ephesians 2 provides an excellent visual in which we can evaluate the efforts of our building.

    If “Paul is saying that anything not built on the foundation of the existing tradition is bound to be dangerous”, we must ask ourselves how biblical our current practices are. As Dave mentioned, our obsession with denominational differences and church status are probably falling short in this regard. It seems that the biblical message of inclusion taught by Christ and emphasized by Paul is being lost to man’s reason and individual need to be correct. Division and individualism are probably the most dangerous contributions to the Temple that the western church has made.

    For all of our failures, I believe that we have also made solid additions to the continuing temple work in our western context. The greatest of which is mission work in my opinion. Bible translation work done by predominately western missionaries has allowed for many to have the Bible in their own language. Though we are not as generous as we could be, churches have given funds that have allowed for orphan care around the world. As we move forward we must continue to hold our deeds up to the biblical model represented in Ephesians 2 and ask ourselves the question: are our efforts strengthening God’s temple or encouraging dangerous building practices?

    • (I know I might be hanging myself a rope here, but your question here sparked some thoughts, and questions of my own…)

      “If ‘Paul is saying that anything not built on the foundation of the existing tradition is bound to be dangerous,’ we must ask ourselves how biblical our current practices are.”

      In the same way, what of the movement of post-modernism? From what I’ve seen, the post-modern ideal seems to be bent on doing away with tradition and instead focusing on what is new or culturally relevant. I admit, I do not have much in-depth, philosophical knowledge of post-modernism, but of what I do know, I wonder: is post-modernism growing upon “the foundation of the existing tradition”? Or is it building upon its own ideals? Ergo, would that make post-modernism a “dangerous” movement?

      (These are honest questions… as in, I would honestly like some comments please?)

      • I think that most “pre-modern” Christians would agree with your last line (“ergo”), yes post-modernism is dangerous since it questions the very existence of the foundation.

        On the other hand, it is possible to separate some elements of post-mod thinking from the more dangerous elements. For example, I find a great deal of post-modern literary theory very helpful for interpreting the parables for example, although I twist it to my own uses. I think that the observation that there is no such thing as an neutral unbiased opinion is important, although I am not suspicious of all texts because they are biased.

        For me, the foundation of basic truth is intact even if I were to use some of the methods of post-modernist approaches to scripture. I guess that because I am committed to the intent of the author, I am always going to be non-post-mod, but some of the methods are intriguing.

        (I suppose I might say the same thing if I were dabbling in emerging church style worship, but at my age you can’t really pull that off anymore.)

    • Bible translation is a great example, Scott. While there are a few people out there who would demand the English Bible be taught as the inspired Bible, the modern church seems committed to getting the Bible into the heart language of all peoples everywhere. Definitely a positive contribution.

  4. The analogy you made about the temple of Jerusalem and the perfectly shaped stones has a major application for the church. This means that God has a plan for each of us and calls us to do something. On the other hand, if someone does not live according to his call, that is one piece of the temple missing. If pieces are missing, that slows down the building or growth. In my mind it creates something like Jenga, where pieces are missing and it becomes a less effective tower. The idea of having a cornerstone upon which everything else is built is that there is growth in the church; it is not static (363). P. Long asks, “What are we contributing to the Temple?” I would say that the contribution should be answering God’s call in our lives and offering ourselves up to Him. More specifically, I think the author of Ephesians wanted unity in the church. In a building, you build blocks on other blocks. In the church, we ought to build up each other, encouraging and teaching each other. Colossians 1:28 says, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” This was Paul’s aim, and it is a goal for the modern church also. We need to put our focus on Christ, and be unified in that purpose.
    As for the contributions the church has made in moving toward that goal, I agree with Scott that there has been positive and negative contributions.

  5. This is yet another post where we come to terms to how much the historical context comes into play when we read the word. Often times it is surprisingly easy to skip over important background information of each chapter and word in the Bible and arrive at a totally off base understanding of the Bible. This fact plays back around into the second and third implications of the. The second implication is all about the proper foundation of the temple. The proper foundation of a Christian stems from a proper understanding of the context and background of verses in scripture. I don’t think I need to delve into that point any farther. The third implication of the set of verses found in Ephesians is that the temple is growing. Hopefully the church is truly growing as much as we hear around the world. Back to the main though on context, it is important to understand the context of the spiritual and physical needs of everyone around us locally and worldwide. Trying to understand where someone which can also be known as the context cannot be over emphasized enough in Bible study and in life in general. It can save so much misunderstanding in life and doctrine.

  6. The Church today is certainly no better than the second century Church, with our divisions and denominations. We have churches split over music style, or petty personal arguments, or even carpet color. Which brings me to the question: “What are we contributing to the Temple?” I understand evangelism; growing the physical Body. This is definitely a very important part of building the Temple. But what of discipleship? What of maturing these Christians we bring in through evangelism (helping them to grow up)? I can’t help but see a connection between immature Christians and these petty disputes within the Church. If in our churches (as well as in our relationships) we neglect to produce real “meat,” and instead continue to feed on mere “milk,” will we ever mature? What can underdeveloped parts contribute to the Body? Not much. (1 Cor 3:2-3)

    Instead, we need to refocus on building up from the Cornerstone. For it is by Jesus that “the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:21). It will be hard work, just as anything is that is worthwhile. But as P. Long pointed out, “[The stones for the Temple] were cut and dressed so that the fit perfectly in the spot intended.” We are cut and shaped by God so that we will be able to fit perfectly into His plan.

  7. I like how Phil Long shed light that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of all that is made up. According to Websters dictionary, cornerstone is something that is essential, indispensable, and needed. It is the thing in which everything else is based off of. Jesus is and should always be considered the cornerstone of everything. In everything that we do, think, say, etc. we need to have Christ as the center. I have also heard it like what Ryan said where Christ is the capstone…like that of the top of a pyramid, but that doesn’t make too much sense. In using that metaphor, we is saying that we do what we want and then at the end we sneak a bit of Christ in there to make sure everything is sound. That should not be the case. Jesus needs to be the foundation. “Paul is saying that anything not built on the foundation of the existing tradition is bound to be dangerous” (Phil Long).
    The church of today and the church during the time of Paul are rather different. Today we do not see Gentile and Jew equality as something we should pursue. In fact, I believe it is almost like the other way around. It was God who told the Jews to incorporate the Gentiles and they had a problem with it…today we Gentiles have a serious problem incorporating the Jews. We tend to focus more on the equality of those within out church or denomination more than trying to find equality to those who are outside of our church and/or denomination. However, there are things that we are doing that do good in building up the church. We are giving to the poor, evangelizing, I have been noticing more and more churches discipling the younger crowds, and going out in order to try to befriend and care for those that are unbelievers. Something that David brought up really stuck out to me. “We have to be careful that we don’t become individualistic and capitalistic in our approach to the temple of God.” It is true that we are different than the church of Paul’s day. We have a different culture, different government, different way of viewing things…It is very vital that we be careful though in how we use these difference to keep the church growing. It is okay we we may be more individualistic than that of the older church, but if we use it in ways that become detrimental to the ‘health’ of the church, we are in fact hindering its growth rather than glorifying God in keeping it alive.

  8. These are questions we must wrestle with. Questions which tug at the core of who we are and who true we are to our calling. It gets personal really quick when thinking about the contributions we as the western church have made. These nitty gritty questions tug at the heart of the matter. Generally as western society we are all about successes and gains. We crave success, we desire to achieve, and we will use whatever statistics, tips, tricks, or strategies to gain what we define as success or gain. So in talking about whether we are “growing the church” or not many point to numbers of conversions or church attendance as proof of our “success” in this area. Being discipleship minded I see success as something different. Jesus said over and over again “follow me” not come to this thing or do that thing. Jesus wanted followers not converts. Jesus as a the cornerstone taught unity and allowed Jew and Gentile alike to becoming a dwelling through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22).

    Contribution to the Temple must then be looked at through this lens. Are we striving after unity? As David and others have mentioned western culture and Christianity has much to do with individualism and separation between denominations/traditions. These stand at odds with the Jesus Paul preaches to the Ephesians about. Christianity it seems then should be all about tearing down walls that divide (just as Jesus did). Walls that have no purpose are destroyed in Christ (Polhill 365). The Spirit brings unity and is part of this new creation concept of the Christ follower (2 Corinthians 5:17).

  9. I think our contribution to the church needs to be edification, encouragement to one another – this is crucial if a church is to succeed in it’s mission of the gospel. How can this be done in the church today? We do this by building each other up in love, instead of tearing each other down with criticisms and pointing fingers. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:15-16). If Christ is truly our foundation in the church and love is our building blocks, the church will grow stronger in the unity of Christ-likeness, which in turn will enable the furthering of the gospel. Polhill furthers this by saying, “by being the one body of Jew and Gentile united in Christ the church would witness to God’s eternal purpose for the unity of all” (Polhill 364).

  10. Is it too absurd for me to suggest that maybe some of the foundation could be the OT prophets as well? Sure Paul is obviously talking about the first century believers but their scriptures were in fact the Torah, Prophets, History books and Poetry (what we call the Old Testament). Maybe the foundation goes further back than what Paul is suggesting, although he is most likely addressing a predominantly gentile audience, in which case, Paul does a masterful job crafting an image that can be taken both ways.

    As far as our Western contribution is concerned, I feel that there has been just as much good contributed as there has been bad… and that we have seemed to cling to many of the negative contributions, attached a certain spirituality to them and have crafted a kind of Christianity that has been tailored to our comfortable American values… A lot of our sacred cows may need to be shown to the slaughter house if we are to be able to say that we have contributed some things to Christianity… I hesitate to say “contributed” because it insinuates a certain amount of incompleteness that Christianity may have had… perhaps “enhanced” would be a better word… in any case, our sacred cows may be getting in the way of our contributions…

  11. Through reading through the post I see a common thread in what the church ought to be contributing. I see a few things here in the posts: (1) the edification of believers, (2) Unity of the Body, and (3) a building built by the apostles and prophets where Christ is the cornerstone. What I also notice in this passage is Ephesians 3:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Part of the edifying of believers will come about in the spiritual gifts listed in Ephesians 4:12-13:

    Paraphrased: The Lord gave some people gifts to be prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors, apostles… in order to prepare God’s people for works of service, “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity.” As an observation we see the the Body of Christ ought to be growing into the fullness of Christ Jesus.

    Anna made some good points about the Western church today; If we were to compare the mentality of western church to the Body maturing into unity, we will notice that the western church has fallen short in a lot of areas. To be honest, I believe the LORD is growing His church, and His Church which is the Body of Christ, is very healthy today regardless of what the western church does or does not do to the overall purpose and plan of God.

    One thing that I do want to notice is what Polhill writes on page 366. Polhill writes, “The real wall that separated Jew and Gentile was the Jewish law (v.15).” Polhill makes reference to the temple wall that divided them, but more specifically he talked more about the law that was the dividing barrier that separated Jew and Gentile. Polhill also writes about Isaiah and makes it clear that God’s original purpose was for the Jews to be a light to the Gentiles.

  12. After reading this post, I just can’t stop thinking about the fact that God has cut us, and made us fit perfectly into the place we belong in His building (His plan) and that we have a specific duty/calling in this world to which we are a singed. Everyone one of us, and all of the non-believers have a purpose. I know it sounds weird, it does to me too, but yes, I do feel that non-believers serve a purpose. I saw a video last week by the skit guys, and they said something that brought a different light to me about the non-believers. They said, “God does not make junk…” and it struck me, just because a person may not answer their calling from God, is does not make them any less of a part of God’s plan than what he has called them too. I just get this feeling that we all, every person on this earth giving to us by the Holy One, has a purpose, or why would we be here? “God does not make junk”.

  13. I like this metaphor, it is beautiful. It shows God’s power and ultimate control. It also shows that even though sometimes one can feel very insignifacant, no part of the temple is more important than the other..
    In response to your question, I beleive that the answer is double sided. On one side the american material is aweful. We are self seeking and most only want to take rather than give. However, many American Christians give generously of their time and money. american christians work hard to reach many countries that were once thought to be unreachable. Both of these sides make up America. At this point in time I would say that the good side is heavier than the bad. As Christians, we should reflect the what we want others to be. The temple is meant to grow both in knowlege and in people. We need to draw others to Christ and not be consumed with what the negative side of America fouses on. We should be the change that we want others to be.

  14. In western culture today there are some bright spots within Christianity. Some groups get it, other groups do not. Some groups are based on solid biblical teachings, others are swayed by the wind with everything that they hear. To say that western culture has not contributed anything to Christianity would just be wrong, but to say that it hasn’t taken anything away either would be wrong as well.

    There are gatherings where they do add to the “temple”. They add a steadfast basis that believers can build there faith. They understand what they are called to do as a believer and they go and do it. There are a few cracks in some of the temple stones though as some groups take away from it.

  15. The one thing I noticed right away was that the Jews and Gentiles were enemies. That Gentiles were enemies of God. There was even a wall of hostility dividing the Jews and Gentiles. I feel like in everyone’s lives they feel like they have enemies or people the despise or dislike. A lot of times to change that you need to understand why they do or believe what they do. Paul says through Jesus we have peace with God, and the enmity between Jew and Gentile is destroyed. In our book it says “Ephesians celebrate the unity of Jew and Gentile through Christ and considers the mystery of Christ to be “ that through the gospel Gentiles are heirs with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. “ (245, 2014). Through Christ we can find peace. It is important to build a relationship with God. The other thing I noticed about this was that the Chief cornerstone is Jesus himself. Paul says that anything not built on the foundation of existing tradition is bound to be dangerous. With that being the chief cornerstone we have to hold on tightly to that and keep the word alive. With the growth and evolution of church we cant lose sight of the foundation of our faith.

    • Yes, Blake, I also believe the hostility in the first-century church continues on today in the 21st first-century church. Hostility has continued to flood the church with disagreements and differences due to how one interprets scripture. These hostilities have been feed by the division in the church, which has been fueled by several factors regarding indifference among service and small, petty church traditions. I can’t tell you how many different types of churches I pass by on Burton street that are formed by various denominations. In my perspective, the church only seems to continually be divided into smaller subsets, which redirects the focus of Jesus Christ as the foundation of our faith. The body of Christ is often is giving an exact blueprint, but there is no actual description of those who make up the body of Christ. As mentioned in the blog post, we are all crafted into a specific shape in order to fill the body of Christ.

  16. It is very difficult to be unified as a body of believers if we do not have Christ as our solid foundation. People often try to build their lives on a foundation on religion and not on a relationship with Christ and this is a huge debate that takes place today. I think it is very fitting to use architecture examples in Scripture to resemble our faith. We are humans which means that we all are born with sin and so without Jesus in our lives, we will be walking with sticks as legs. And if we think we can do things in our own strength, our foundation will quake and crack and we will always fall and break and suffer. We will never be satisfied. This is even so if we prioritize religion over a relationship with Jesus because then our foundation will be based on traditions and man-made rules. All of these things will pass away so we must not rely on them. We must rely on Jesus who is a firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27). If we build our lives on His firm foundation we will find strength and courage through the trials because He will never fail us.

  17. The point in this blog posting that is most comforting to be is that each believer is a likened to “a stone of the temple”. Each stone was carefully cut and dressed, and while no single stone makes a temple in and of itself, together they all complete the structure. Each one of us is a stone in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and all were made to drink of one spirit”. What is even more comforting is found in Ephesians chapter 2. Paul reminds us that we were once “dead in sin”, and separated from God. And yet, God, in complete mercy and grace, extended a sacrifice (Jesus His Son) as atonement for us. However, if we base our faith in anything other than Christ alone, this is highly spiritually dangerous. There are three aspects to faith. It must in true faith alone in God. Firstly, if one does not have faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Secondly, one can have “faith”, but if you do not truly believe, you will be alike “a wave tossed in the sea” (James 1:6). And thirdly, if you put someone puts their trust in an idol instead of God, whether it be a significant other, material possessions, lust for fame and the love of the world, “they will be turned back in utter shame” (Isaiah 42:17). As to whether the western church is contributing material to the temple, the sadly is no. The west, namely the United States, Europe, etc. whores itself after idols, material possessions, lust for fame and power, and so on. We as a nation need to return back to God, and He will bless our lands again.

  18. In the world I feel like a lot of us people are separated by what they believe or just their opinions in general. I the beginning part of this article it talks about how there was a dividing part between the jews and gentiles and it was very hostile. But at the same it said that Paul may be very well talking about the a division meaning a literal wall divided them both. But later on just as Jesus did for all of us he did on the cross for our sins which put the jews and gentiles at peace and destroyed enmity. Paul talks about the metaphor with the temple and how the people are the temple. It talks about the stones being perfectly cut out for the places that they need to go to build the temple. Those stones were referred to as us people preferable believers. Then after we find out peace in the temple, God will give a way for us in life basically role that is required for us. Then it talks about how the temple is built on a strong foundation “apostles and prophets”. In other words the temple is made of a bunch of Christ followers. The third part is being able to grow the temple. God calls us to go out and make disciples of all nations. This is meaning by bringing them into the temple so we can grow and grow.

  19. This temple here is considered the temple of God to the Ephesians. Paul mentions that through peace we have God and that is very true. It is very important to have and build a relationship with God and maintain it as well. Showing love to God is all he asks for and for that to be shown to others as well. It is hard to be unifed as a whole body without God in your life. The temple is a sacred place in this article. The temple is built on a strong foundation with the apostles and prophets. And the building is growing.The temple is growing just like a tree and the way a tree starts its growth is from the bottom. From the ground is where the foundation starts and begans a new life. The temple continues to grow as Paul mentions until it is a temple fit for God. Fit for God meaning that everything is peaceful and in tact. Making sure you are contributing to the foundation is key as well. Make sure you are doing your part in life.

  20. It is so important as believers to notice how we can fit into the body and what God has naturally gifted us to do to help grow His Kingdom. I love the image of the stone fitting into the temple. One way we can truly uplift and grow the church is by pursuing the heart of God, and not doing what the people may want to see or do. One issue we struggle with in the Western church is trying to tailor every church to the need of every person so that it may be appealing to them… when in reality we are called to minister to God’s heart and lift Him up in His very own temple. Western Church is very consumer-driven, when it should be all about the chief cornerstone- Jesus Christ Himself.

    I love what you said about the firm foundation. If we do not build our churches and ministries upon the truth and upon the government of the church that Paul has so clearly laid out for the church, we will crumble. The key element is to go back to the Word, see what God made the church to look like, and implement the gifts and teachings He has so graciously given to us to steward. As one believer, I must do everything I can to love God and love His people with the best of my ability, and the best way to do this is by seeking higher gifts, and what God has given me to begin with.

  21. P. Long’s blog on Ephesians 2:19-22 provides a window by which we can understand the cultural references of Paul’s writings alongside challenging the western modern-day Church to determine what we are contributing to the growing of The Church (universal). As P. Long mentions, Paul’s metaphor gives a generational aspect to The Church, the first generation being the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone obviously being Christ, and the generation of The Church continue onward. I am (mostly) a descendant of Italian immigrants, as such I love and am proud of my Italian heritage, engaging with whatever Italian cultural events or practices I can. The same should be also for us as Christian’s today! After all, we are all part of the Body of Christ which Paul makes reference to in 1 Corinthians 12:25-27. Certainly, our faith heritage is most likely much more difficult to trance backwards. However, there is a sense of encouragement and responsibility when our faith in Christ also carries a sense of being passed down to us through the generations. As far as the topic of what materials the western modern-day church is contributing to the universal church, that is complex. Absolutely, I am positive there are churches that contribute strong oak logs or steel beams but there are others that most likely contribute toothpicks to The Church. To continue, or start, contributing solid materials for the building of The Church is to fulfil and follow after what we see in Acts 2:42, devoting ourselves to correct teachings, prayer, and communion.

  22. A matter that Paul had to deal with during his ministry was ensuring all things were built upon the foundation of the Lord. This matter is expressed in Ephesians 2: 19-22, where the Apostle Paul expresses that they are no longer strangers, and they needed to build the holy temple on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus (NIV). In other words, Paul does not want the financial contributions to get in the way of them knowing where their true foundation lies. Moreover, this message is also indicating that everyone’s heart should be in the right place while building up the temple. However, this is a message that has been building to this point, as mentioned by Dr. Long on his notes about Ephesians 1:3: “In addition, these blessings are ‘in heavenly places’”. In essence, the message by the apostle connects to the church today because of how churches mismanage money. When it comes to this matter, one way that people can contribute to building the church in our Western culture is by teaching and spreading the truth of God in all aspects of a person’s spiritual life. At the end of the day, Paul’s call for building our faith on a solid foundation is the only way that the church can last and bring the Good News to each and every congregate.

  23. I really liked the beginning of this post and how it is structured. It clearly writes out how Jesus’ sacrifice impacted the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. On the other hand, it also made me think of our society today and how the church is viewed. There are people out there that can probably picture a wall dividing them from God’s word, and in some instances that wall is us Christians. There may not be the hostility or the level of hatred that Gentiles and Jews had for one another, but there is uncertainty and a reluctance that can be seen when reaching out to nonbelievers.
    I think that the material the western church presents intends to strengthen and build up the church, however I think that the way the Christians who attend the churches can be seen in ways that damage that mission. The blog post points out that anything that deviates from the foundation of the existing tradition is bound to be dangerous, and in the world today with how vast it is, translations and false preaching’s create a dangerous framework that can be detrimental to the Christian mission.
    What are we contributing to the temple? I think as Christians everyone is called to do something different with their gifts. Some are missionaries, teachers, coaches, friends, family members…everyone who believes has a gift that can be used to contribute to the temple and help build on the foundation laid. It is a matter of if people choose to listen to God who provided those gifts and how they choose to use them that ties into how we are contributing to the temple of God.

  24. In the middle of this article there is a section about the hostility between the Jews and Gentiles because they were separated by what they believe and their opinions. This would cause a divide in the church and when Paul was speaking of this, he could have actually meant a real dividing wall within. Later on, it then speaks about Jesus dying for our sins on the cross and Paul brings the Jews and Gentiles together and brings peace between them. Paul uses many metaphors within his writings such as the people are the temple and what hold it together. It talks about stones which would be us as believers and being perfectly cut for its spot in the temple. We are the stones that fit perfectly into the church and we must embrace everyone with love and help guide them through their spiritually journey. If we can bring this peace into the church such as Paul did them more stones will be perfectly cut for their spot in the church. The church must have a strong foundation and we as believers are the foundation holding up the church. After the temple has a strong foundation holding it up we can go out and bring more people in to find their spot within the Church and lead them down the path to eternal life.

  25. This is an interesting perspective of Paul’s allusion to the temple. It seems like there would have been a decent amount of anxiety as the second generation had to reaffirm the foundation from which the first generation has been building their whole lives, as well as the growth of the building. I also like how Paul stated we have peace with God through Jesus, meaning the hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles is destroyed. The Gentiles are no longer strangers but are now counterpart citizens with God’s people and are part of his household (Longenecker and Still, p250). This foundation is built of both prophets and apostles as Jesus is the chief cornerstone. Henceforth Paul calls the new relationship: God’s household, a holy temple, and a new body (Long, p161).

    Overall as a growing temple it can be quite a bit to nurture and be firmly planted in its foundation. In a western Church nowadays I say that a thing that contributes plenty is tithes and offerings as every Sunday the pastor would always mention it and the church would get a plentiful amount. It is not bad unless it gets banaled and overworked.

  26. The Gentiles felt that they weren’t truly accepted because of those cultural differences. Paul made them accepted because that is what the gospel truly was teaching. Paul made the temple a place where they would feel welcomed because he knew that God had intended for all to be together in worship, even the differences. Long describes it as the “true temple” that was intended by God would be accepting to both the Jews and Gentiles. The church is a metaphor for the Temple of God. Paul is using the actual temple as a metaphor of how we are now all accepted in Christ no matter what our differences were in the past. This idea of growing into a temple shows a more accepting concept to all believers. I like the metaphor of the foundation of the church being found in Christ because to this day without that key factor of relying on soly God, we cannot truly be the type of believers that we need to be for God and for those who are unsaved. And then the final metaphor of the church growing is so perfectly designed by God. We are to be built with His foundation, accepting to all, but through this we will continue to grow and continue to bring more people to Christ. The temple metaphor Paul describes works together with the truths brought by God for His people. We need to be contributing truthful facts and growing the kingdom in a way that is biblical and not false teachings. It can be easy in the current Western world to allow a lukewarm type Christianity to take over and not fully be reliant on God. It is seen that our church is “growing” but the question is whether our people are truly saved? The Western church is so comfortable that it can be hard to have faith for some and it is easy to be caught in this lukewarm Christianity. The Western church is not following these materialistic metaphors Paul explains.

  27. Hi,
    Paul, I believe, was talking about Gentile Christians, and he said that they are equal, full members of God’s family and should not consider themselves to be second-class citizens in God’s kingdom. We can all see that we are members of the same body and that we have equal access to God. As a holy temple where God lives in beauty and glory, God’s people must grow together as a family. The church is a temple that is holy, and it is the place of God and his people. I believe that God’s actions in the church brought honor to his power and love, so God is to be praised for His wonderful church. As Christians, we all should go to church and praise God.

  28. Here is what the Bible says about the Temple. “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others’’ (Romans 12:4-5). We all are called and give a gift to build the temple of Christ. To be able to build the temple, we have to be a piece of the temple. For instance, when we match a puzzle we can not complete unless the pieces are part of the puzzle. We are pieces of the temple since it was made by the Holy Spirit inward ‘’do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?’’ (1 Corin 6:9). But when we all come to put all the pieces together in one place, on the foundation ground which is Christ the head of the Temple and foundation, we make the shape which is outward. But to connect each piece together, only one thing we need and this is what Christ’ only commentmend for us, that is LOVE. Because without love we can not keep the journey of spirit alive. This is what love can give: “​​”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corin 13:4-7).

  29. The idea of Christ being our cornerstone or foundation is something that we should be more grateful for. Christ is our foundation and the reason we are able to be with God when it is our time. He died for us and became the foundation to our world. A lot of people nowadays build their lives on a foundation of religion rather than actual relationship with Christ. We are humans, which means we are born into sin. We are sinful, and without Jesus we would be with nothing. People can lose sight of the idea that He is our solid ground and foundation and think they can do things by their own strength. In verse 20, Paul describes Him as the “chief cornerstone” and he is telling the Jews and Gentiles who express hatred both ways and put up a wall of hostility from one another. Paul is telling them that without Jesus they have no foundation and that they must come together and continue to build up onto His foundation. There is such a divide in our world today and many people have lost sight of God and chosen to follow other things. We must continue to spread the word of God to people and continue to build up on His foundation.

  30. There is no doubt that there were many divisions at the time that Paul was writing this. Paul proclaiming that Jesus was the cornerstone and foundation that everything is built off of is an amazing call to unity. The social difference between the Jews and Gentiles was indeed vast and the two people groups were quite literally divided with a big wall at the temple. Paul’s life mission was to present a new gospel; one of love and unifying grace. This Jew and Gentile equality would in turn be the church that Christ began to build and the same one that people still build on today.
    Obviously, the church today is a bit different and people who are not studying the Bible closely enough do not even understand the difference between Jew and Gentile. There is no doubt, however, that there is a ton of social unrest inside the church, both universal and local. There are more denominations of the Christian church than there are minutes in an entire calendar month. Needless to say, there is not a ton of unity in the church today. Even inside the local church there is often a subliminal hierarchy of social status that dominates the common church goer. I do not believe this is what Paul was intending. This certainly is not what Jesus wants. This division in the church is in fact not building but destroying any unity in the body of Christ. Paul’s message was gentile inclusion. While this is still important today and vital for the gospel message as a whole, the same truths hold today. We are called to brace these ideas with a Christlike cultural understanding. This will then provide growth in the temple of God.

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