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. Chapter 4.

The Unity of the Body

1 I ENTREAT YOU, THEN—I, a prisoner for the Lord's sake: as God has called you, live up to your calling. 2 Be humble always and gentle, and patient too. Be forbearing with one another and charitable. 3 Spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives.
4 There is one body and one Spirit,
as there is also one hope held out in God's call to you;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But each of us has been given his gift, his due portion of Christ's bounty.
8 [ Ps.68.18. ] Therefore Scripture says:

9 Now, the word 'ascended' implies that he also descended to the lowest level, down to the very earth. [Or: descended to the regions beneath the earth.] 10 He who descended is no other than he who ascended far above all heavens, so that he might fill the universe. 11 And these were his gifts: some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip God's people for work in his service, to the building up of the body of Christ. 13 So shall we all at last attain to the unity inherent in our faith and our knowledge of the Son of God—to mature manhood, measured by nothing less than the full stature of Christ. 14 We are no longer to be children, tossed by the waves and whirled about by every fresh gust of teaching, dupes of crafty rogues and their deceitful schemes. 15 No, let us speak the truth in love; so shall we fully grow up into Christ. He is the head, and on him the whole body depends. 16 Bonded and knit together by every constituent joint, the whole frame grows through the due activity of each part, and builds itself up in love.

The Old Life and the New

17 This then is my word to you, and I urge it upon you in the Lord's name. Give up living like pagans with their good-for-nothing notions. 18 Their wits are beclouded, they are strangers to the life that is in God, because ignorance prevails among them and their minds have grown hard as stone. 19 Dead to all feeling, they have abandoned themselves to vice, and stop at nothing to satisfy their foul desires. 20 But that is not how you learned Christ. 21 For were you not told of him, were you not as Christians taught the truth as it is in Jesus? 22 —that, leaving your former way of life, you must lay aside that old human nature which, deluded by its lusts, is sinking towards death. 23 You must be made new in mind and spirit, 24 and put on the new nature of God's creating, which shows itself in the just and devout life called for by the truth.

Rules for the New Life

25 Then throw off falsehood; speak the truth to each other, for all of us are the parts of one body.
26 If you are angry, do not let anger lead you into sin, do not let sunset find you still nursing it; 27 leave no loop-hole for the devil.

28 The thief must give up stealing, and instead work hard and honestly with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the needy.

29 No bad language must pass your lips, but only what is good and helpful to the occasion, so that it brings a blessing to those who hear it. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, for that Spirit is the seal with which you were marked for the day of our final liberation. 31 Have done with spite and passion, all angry shouting and cursing, and bad feeling of every kind.

32 Be generous to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.

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