Reading: Ephesians 4:7-10
Questions for observation and application:
What has been given and who gives it?
Where did Jesus go and where is he now?
There are several difficult interpretive questions in this text, but the big idea is that Christ “descended”, conquered his enemies, and after his ascension, gave gifts to his people. As to his descent, it has been traditionally understood to mean a descent into hell. But, perhaps better, the “lower, earthly regions” could simply refer to the “earth, which is below.” If that is the case the “captives” are those spiritual powers he defeated through his death on the cross. Regardless, the focus here is on his conquest and the resulting gifts which he gives to his people. As we will see, those gifts – “grace given as Christ apportioned it” – are given to build up the body of Christ into maturity (4:12,13).
Here “grace given as Christ apportioned it” goes beyond salvation, but equips us for the good works God has prepared for us to do. What gifts of grace have you received? How are you using those gifts?
Bonus Reading: Psalm 119:161-168