1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
Let all things be done for edification. The word “edification” is a word that is not used very often. In fact, I would venture to say that many people are unfamiliar with the word. It is not commonly used and therefore it is not commonly understood. But the New Testament writers, particularly Paul, used this word many times to describe what we are to do for one another. The word “edify” is found in some variation (edify, edification, edifying and building) 18 times in the New Testament and having an understanding of what it means can give us a better idea of what we are to do for one another.
What does the word “edify” mean? Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the word as: 1. (the act of) building, building up; 2a. the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness; 3. a building.
In my opinion, the most interesting definition of the word edify is “a building.” There are several places in the New Testament where this word is translated as “building.” One of the passages where it is translated as “a building” is in 1 Corinthians 3:9-11. In this passage Paul compares us to a building. “For indeed we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
We, individually or collectively as a church, are compared to a building in this passage. The construction of a building is a process. It begins with the foundation and from there pieces are added in a systematic way. If the building has been well designed and if it is being constructed well it will get stronger as the process goes along. Christians also have a foundation- Jesus Christ. And on top of that foundation our spiritual building is constructed. As our spiritual building is being constructed we become spiritually stronger and more complete. This is what it means to edify. When Paul told the Roman brethren in Romans 14:19, “Therefore let s pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify one another,” he was instructing them, and in turn us, to help one another grow spiritually.
God has graced us with talents and abilities for this purpose. Ephesians 4:11-12- “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 the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” So it is our responsibility to use the talents that God has given us for the edification of our fellow Christians.
This is an important task that all of us must be focused on accomplishing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 talks about remaining prepared for the “day of the Lord-” the day of the second coming. It says because this day will come as a “thief in the night” that we need to “watch and be sober; put on the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation.” And at the conclusion of the thought of remaining prepared for the day of the Lord it says in verse 11, ”Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” The continual effort of remaining prepared for the day of the Lord requires us to continually edify one another. We have to help one another remain prepared for the day of Lord and one of the ways that we accomplish this is by edifying one another.
One of the opportunities that we have to edify one another is in our worship services. Consider again 1 Corinthians 14:26- “Whenever you come together…Let all things be done for edification.” One of the purposes of a church gathering together is to edify one another. The most recent post by Kyle, titled “A True Worshiper”, talked about not focusing on ourselves but on God as we worship- making worship about God and not about what we are getting out of worship. Along that same line of thought is that when we gather as a church our concern needs to be edifying our brethren. When I attend a church service my concern does not need to be for myself but for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I need to make sure that what I am doing in the worship service will edify the others who are in attendance.
Edification is the process of spiritually building up one another. God has given us talents for this purpose and He has designed a church body to give us a place where we might strengthen one another. By edifying we help one another remain prepared for the day of the Lord. Let us continually be looking for ways that we may edify one another so that we may all come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.