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"But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift." Ephesians 4:7 ESV

"And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 ESV.

Christ's gift: Eph 4:7. Is this gift Christ giving himself, or a gift which belongs to Him?

Eph 4:8 "he gave gifts to men." The gifts belonged to Him.

Eph 4:11 "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry." NKJB.

My comment: After becoming part of the body of Christ, a new Christian needs to find their place in it, or rather, is allowcated a place in it "for the work of ministry".

Gift of the Holy Spirit: After someone has repented, after they have been baptised and therefore become part of the "body of Christ" [Eph 4:12], the next thing they need to know is their part in the body. After repentance and baptism "you will [future] receive the gift." [take their place in the body e.g. evangelist].

Is each Christians part in the body of Christ "Christ's gift"?

Is each Christians part in the body of Christ "the gift of the Holy Spirit"?

If this is not how they relate, how do they relate?

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  • An interesting question, but have you considered that Christ's gift could be the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling each member of his spiritual 'body' (i.e. each Christian)? Not until that gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed at the outset would a Christian then be able to learn from the indwelling Holy Spirit how to grow in grace, how to benefit the 'body', the Church. Just a thought!
    – Anne
    Nov 20 '21 at 17:51
  • @Anne I have considered that "gift" can be seen in various ways.
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 20 '21 at 18:01
  • Indeed, but there's only one Holy Spirit. I'd commented before Perry Webb's answer was posted. He and I seem to be on the same wave-length! I will await further answers with great interest and hope to learn much.
    – Anne
    Nov 20 '21 at 18:12
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In Eph. 4:7 Christ's gift denotes a person's gift from the Holy Spirit, who is the gift from Christ. That gift equips us to minister within the body. Thus, it is a gift resulting from a gift from Christ. Because of the proximity and context, "he" in 4:8 and 4:11 refers to Christ. The Holy Spirit isn't mentioned there. However, other passages such as Rom. 12:6-8 and 1 Cor. 12:4-11 identify these gifts as also from the Holy Spirit. Paul didn't distinguish between Christ's gift and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you take gift of the Holy Spirit as objective (i.e. the Holy Spirit is the gift that is given) then Christ's gift is the Holy Spirit.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16–17, ESV)

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4–5, ESV)

However, if gift of the Holy Spirit is subjective, then the Holy Spirt gives the gift.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom. 12:6–8, ESV)

 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Cor. 12:4–11, ESV)

"Christ gave" has Christ as the subject, which makes Christ's gift as the gift Christ is giving.

Similar Wording

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. (Eph. 3:8–13, ESV)

The Grammar of Subjective and Objective Genitive

1.      Subjective Genitive

  a.      Definition

The genitive substantive functions semantically as the subject of the verbal idea implicit in the head noun. This is common in the NT. -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 113). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

 2.      Objective Genitive

  a.      Definition

The genitive substantive functions semantically as the direct object of the verbal idea implicit in the head noun. This is common in the NT. -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 116). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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  • Sorry I'm a bit lost with subjunctive/objective. Re: Ephesians Is "Christ's gift" a place in the body e.g. evangelist?
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 20 '21 at 18:51
  • @Stroud See edit.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 20 '21 at 23:40
  • To be clear, in Eph 4:11 "He Himself gave". Who is "He"? Christ or the Holy Spirit?
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 21 '21 at 9:53
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Jesus is the head of the church. All authority was given to him by God to direct and empower the church to get ready, to be perfected.

The gift of the spirit (at baptism) is a generic gift enabling a Godly life lived by Godly love, grace and wisdom. The gifts Jesus gives are very specific gifts each member has to complete the body’s effectiveness.

And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,v11

Jesus now does whatever God would do. He was made heir to what God has.

whom He appointed heir of all things Heb 1:2

“All things” includes granting life, giving the spirit (the power of God), and everything else necessary for heavenly rulership.

The gifts Jesus gives are of God and only of God. The only gift Jesus gave was his humble obedience to God which has enabled the salvation of all!

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The operative word, δωρεά (dórea) occurs just 11 times in the NT as follows:

  • John 4:10 - Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” [Gift here is the gift by grace of salvation using the metaphor of "living water".]
  • Acts 2:28 - Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 8:20 - But Peter replied, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! [From the previous few verses, this gift here refers to the Gift of the Holy Spirit.]
  • Acts 10:45 - All the circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
  • Acts 11:17 - It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, [This is conformed by V15 as well]
  • Rom 5:15 - But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many! [The gift here is the free gift of salvation by grace by Christ Jesus.]
  • Rom 5:17 - For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! [The gift of righteousness here is another name for salvation by grace by Christ Jesus.]
  • 2 Cor 9:15 - Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! [The previous verse again identifies the gift of grace as salvation by grace via Christ Jesus.]
  • Eph 3:7 - of which I became servant according to the gift of God's grace, having been given to me according to the working of His power. [This gift of grace is another name for salvation by grace by Christ Jesus.]
  • Eph 4:7 - Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
  • Heb 6:4 - It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit [It is not immediately clear whether this gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit or Salvation by grace. I am inclined to the latter but would not exclude the former.]

Some things become immediately clear from the exhaustive survey:

  1. "gift" always refers to a divine gift to humans
  2. "gift" refers to either the gift of the Holy Spirit, or, the gift of salvation by grace by Christ Jesus.
  3. "gift of Christ" is a phrase unique to Eph 4:7, however Rom 5:15 is very similar

For consistency, the "gift" in the OP's verse of Eph 4:7 is presumably one of these three options.

  • The free gift of salvation by grace by Christ Jesus
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit
  • One of the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. Note that "gifts" in V8 is a different but related word, δόμα (doma, Matt 7:11, Luke 11:13, Eph 4:8, Phil 4:17) and refers spiritual gifts bestowed by and at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. It should be observed that the gift (singular) of the Holy Spirit and the gifts (plural) of the Holy Spirit are closely related - the latter is a consequence of the former.

Since the "gift of Christ" is singular, it cannot be one of many gifts of the Spirit; therefore, it must be either the gift of the Holy Spirit or the free gift of salvation by grace by Christ Jesus.

CONCLUSION

The wording in Eph 4:7 strongly suggests that this gift is discussing the free gift of salvation by grace by Christ Jesus, because of its similar wording to Rom 5:15, and because of the explicit mention of "grace".

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  • "To each one of us" Eph 4:7 . Christ's gifts are many but if to each one only one gift is given, then could that be why "gift" is singular in Eph 4:7?
    – C. Stroud
    Jan 22 at 14:39
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The original Greek didn't use commas, so referring to "Christ's gift" as "the gift of the holy spirit" makes perfect sense.

Compare:

  • My wife's gift is the gift of the family we share.
  • My father's gift is the gift of this new bicycle.
  • Christ's gift is the gift of the holy spirit.
  • A gift of song is a gift of love.

As with many other scriptures that mention "holy spirit", for non-trinitarians, there is no reason to think there is anything confusing here.

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  • 'given' Eph 4:7 and 'gave' Eph 4:11 are both Strong's 1325. There appears to be a strong link between them. 'Holy Spirit' and 'gift' can be linked but can 'given/gift/and gave' be separated?
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 21 '21 at 20:18
  • @C.Stroud, I'm not sure of the point you are asking. Christ's gift is the holy spirit. The same word for "gift" is used in Romans 6:23 ­— "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.". People can't earn salvation, so whatever they receive must be a gift. Nov 21 '21 at 21:47
  • Yes often Christ's "gift" is the Holy Spirit. But Eph 4:7 "gift" is close to Eph 4:11 "gave". Things that Christ gave or are given by him are gifts. In Eph 4:11 Christ/He gave something which was not the Holy Spirit. Christ gave some to be apostles. An apostle is not the "Holy Spirit". Christ's gifts cannot exclusively said to be the Holy Spirit.
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 21 '21 at 22:03
  • each person would receive one gift if one person becomes evangelist and another teacher etc:
    – C. Stroud
    Nov 21 '21 at 22:14

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