Home |  About Us  |   News & Views  |   Articles & Studies | Meditations  | E-periodical |   Links | Contact Us |


By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Summary:- Spiritual Edification is an important topic repeatedly referred in the New Testament.Do not be just satisfied with the experience of salvation. We need to grow, move forward. God has just begun a good work, still much more to be done. We will consider it under four topics:- 1. The meaning. 2  The importance  3  Three area of edification.  4. The means of edification


     “Why should you preach to the converted, preach to the unconverted” thundered a Christian ‘leader’ recently. According to him, it seems once saved - born again- leave him alone. He will fend for himself! There are many Christians like him who do not take spiritual edification seriously. For them it is not an important matter at all. That’s not the Biblical teaching. Notice the words of Apostle Paul:-

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romasn.14:19
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1Thessalonians.5:11.

I. The meaning:-
     What does it mean by edification? The word ‘edification’ comes from a Latin word, ‘aedificare’ which means, “build”. The idea therefore is, ‘to improve the mind or character of some one by teaching’.

     Therefore, spiritual edification refers to the process in which a Christian is being built up to stand firm against every wind of doctrines as well as attacks from the evil one.

     It is just like a structure being built with a strong foundation and quality materials by skilled workers, so that the building may be strong. A weak foundation always weakens the superstructure. If the materials used are of inferior quality, it affects the whole building gradually.

     In the same manner the building up of a Christian’s life and character is very important. The foundation must be strong; the materials must be of high quality. As far as a Christian is concerned the foundation is the word of God which is settled heaven for ever. Understanding the Bible accurately and systematically is essential to lay such a strong spiritual foundation. This process is called spiritual edification.

     Spiritual growth also has similar idea but with little difference in the emphasis. Growth refers to the process in which a born again child of God getting matured day by day to become like Christ in his attitudes and life.  Both have to do with spiritual progress of a Christian by making use of the word of God. 1Peter.2:1, 2. A clear picture of an edifying life is seen in Ephesians 4:12 onwards.

     “For the equipping of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things in to Him who is the head – Christ-….” Epehesians.4:12—16

     The above portion refers to various aspects of a growing life: increasing in faith & knowledge, growing to the stature of Christ, to be stable at diverse wrong teachings etc.

Keep growing
Yes, a true Christian never stays static. He keeps growing, advancing forward, and becoming stronger every day. If there is no progress spiritually, such a life is abnormal as in the physical realm.

  Is your life a growing one?
  Are you being built up daily in spiritual life?
  Can you say that you have become stronger and matured than the last days in relation to faith and attitude?

The Lord wants us to grow and be edified. Let us peruse spiritual edification and growth.

II. Spiritual Edification: - Importance

     Why is it essential for a Christian to pursue edification? Why should we make every effort for spiritual advancement? Three reasons are noteworthy:-

1. The Concern of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians. 4:11, 12.

     “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

      Notice the purpose for which the risen Lord has placed gifted men in the church-“for the edifying of the body”. Edification of His church is the burden of Christ. He has already provided the resources for the same.

2. The commitment of Apostle Paul. 2Corinthians.12:19b.

     “We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.”     Observe the commitment of Apostle Paul for the edification of the saints in Corinth. He never left believers alone to fend for them. When people began to follow Christ subsequent to his preaching, he did everything possible to build them up in Christian faith. As a father and mother he cared for them. Taught them, wrote letters, and visited them repeatedly. cf. 1Thess 2

      He was aware of the God-given authority for the edification of the church. 2Corinthians.10:8; 13:10. He never misused it to disturb or destroy the church. Rather he was even willing to forfeit his legitimate freedom / rights for the sake of believer’s edification. 1Corinthians.10:23. His primary purpose in ministry and life was edification - the building up of the Church of Christ.

      Do we have such a passion for the spiritual edification of our brethren?

3. The exhortation of Apostle Paul. Romans.15:2.

     “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”
     “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification...” Epheisans.4:29.
     “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.”1Thessalonians.5:11.
Consider the repeated instructions of Paul. Believers must be concerned about the edifying of one another. Even the words of a Christian should be so controlled that it may help the listener in his spiritual edification.

Thus, the above mentioned reasons- Christ’s concern, Paul’s commitment and exhortations – underscore the importance of spiritual edification. As Paul we must do all that we can for that end.

     Is Spiritual edification important to you?
     What have you done in this aspect?

III. Three area of Spiritual edification:-

     We have seen briefly about the meaning of spiritual edification and the importance of it. As we take it seriously and approach the word of God with a view to grow in our knowledge and faith we come to realize that the Lord wants us to grow in three avenues.

A. Personal Edification. Colossians.2:6, 7

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught...”
     Each believer must be concerned about his/her own personal spiritual growth and do all what they can do to get strong and matured in Christ.

     We should remember that our conversion is only a beginning. There is much more to be done in our life. Philippians.1:6. God has begun a good work in us, and He will complete it, but not over now! As we yield to Him and His word it is the Holy Spirit who works with in us to make us conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. If we are careless and disobedient in this work of God, how can we grow?

B. Edifying one another. Romans.15: 2.

     “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” Here it has to do with our effort to edify others. We must sacrifice our interest and ego to make sure that the weak in Christ grow. In Ephesians 4:19 Paul refers to control our words with the same intention. For the sake of some one’s spiritual progress we may have to keep quite! Or we may have to choose appropriate words. Such conscious effort is needed from each of us to see the other is growing and edified.
   1Corinthians. 8:1b. “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”
     This is another noteworthy principle in relation to edifying one another. We can not help others grow just by repeating facts. Our knowledge must be balanced with love for others. Then only we can edify one another.

C. Edifying the Church. 2Corinthians.12:19b.

     “We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things beloved, for your edification.”
   Here Paul refers to the Corinthian Church. The local Church as a whole must develop. The building up of the local assembly must be the goal of every preacher, teacher or elder. Paul says he never used the God - given authority to destroy the church. 2Corinthians.10:8; 13:10.

     Yes, never ever a servant of God should give harm to the Church of Christ. Our effort must always be the edification of the entire Church. Exploiting and manipulating the people of God for the benefit of leaders and in turn weakening the testimony of the Church will be a great disservice to the cause of Christ.
     The Lord, who has bought His Church by His precious blood, wants that His people as a whole may grow, and be established.

     Thus we can notice that there are three distinct yet well connected areas where edification is necessary. We can not just separate these and focus on one or two. Personal edification makes us fit to edify others and that in turn leads to the edification of the entire Church.

     Do we have spiritual edification as our priority? How is our personal spiritual development? And what are we doing for the building up of one another as well as the local Church?

IV. The Means of Edification: - How is it possible?

Introduction: - If spiritual edification is so important, how is it possible? What shall we do for growth in personal life as well as the church as a whole? Three things are noteworthy:-

1. The faith. Jude. V.20

     “Building yourselves upon your most Holy faith”. This is the basic means by which a Christian is supposed to build himself up in spiritual life. The ‘faith’ refers to the body of truth revealed in the Bible. Jude.v.3. Understanding and obeying the word of God causes spiritual growth in our life. Matthew. 7:26; Acts.20:32; 1Thessalonians.2:13; 2Timothy.3:16, 17; 1Peter 2:2. The word of God works in those who believe it and build them up.

     That’s why we need to study the scriptures systematically and accurately. We are well aware of the danger of constructing a structure with low quality material. It can not be strong and durable. At any time it may collapse. So in Christian life, if our life is not based on the word of God –accurately understanding and following- we may feel we are growing, however it may not be of quality.

     Let us be rooted and grounded in the word of truth. Take every effort to familiarize with the mysteries revealed and make it our life.

2. The Gifts. Ephesians. 4:11, 12

     “And He gave some…..for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
      Every born again child of God receives a special ability at the time of conversion, so that he will be equipped to minister to the needs of the others Christians. 1Peter.4:10. 1Corinthins. 12:7. The right exercise of this spiritual gift is essential for edification. When the gifted men and women of a local Church faithfully exercise their God-given ability, edification of the whole assembly takes place. 1 Corinthians. 14:3, 12.

     So, spiritual edification demands two things: First, We should recognize and use our spiritual gifts. Secondly we must make use of the gifted people among us.

3. The fellowship. Hebrews. 10:24, 25

     “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”
     By ‘fellowship’ we mean the gathering together of the redeemed children of God. That is the place where we find the exercise of spiritual gifts. A believer who neglects the gathering together will definitely suffer from spiritual weakness.

     It is the divinely appointed method for the spiritual building up of the saints. Ephesians. 4:12; 1Corinthians.14:3, 12. That was one of the problems faced by the Hebrew Christians. Hebrews.10:24. Because they forsook the assembly, they became weak and wavering Christians, frightened to go forward. Heberews.6:1; 12:1, 2.

     Not only has it calls for attending the church seriously, but be submissive to the Church as well. Every Christian must be submissive to the spiritual authority found in the local assembly. Questioning the authority is rebellion and it affects the spiritual well being of each other. At the same time, an exercise of false authority - which has not been approved by the Lord – also equally affects the church.

     Paul was aware of His authority. He exercised and defended it when Corinthians questioned, because that was essential for their edification. 2Corinthians.13:10; 10:8.

     That means a healthy assembly as well as a healthy relationship between one another is imperative for spiritual edification.

     The above three, I believe, are the basic means God has designed to edify the individual believer as well as the Church collectively. We can definitely find something more that helps us in our spiritual progress like, prayers, worship, meditation, and discipline etc. The most important factor is we may be rooted in Christ individually. Colossians. 2:7. As each one of us stay close to Christ and grow in His knowledge, spiritual growth is the natural outcome. That in turn leads the entire Church to spiritual edification.

     Spiritual edification is the process by which a Christian is being built up in faith and knowledge of Christ to grow and be like Christ, in his / her attitude and actions. Individual reading, studying, and understanding of the word of God, coupled with implicit obedience to the spiritual truths help one to grow. Fellowshipping with the local saints accelerates this process. Let Spiritual Edification be our priority – personally as well as collectively. Can we make the following threefold commitment in this connection:-

     a. I will do all what I can for my personal spiritual growth.
     b. I will do all what I can for the spiritual growth of others.
     c. I will do all what I can for the edification of the local Church.

     Beloved, our effort through this website is exactly this. It is our prayer, that through these articles, studies and various other resources added here, every visitor may know Christ and grow in His faith and the local Assemblies may be strengthened to continue the testimony effectively.  Please feel free to share your suggestion, doubt etc in the following address.


Related topic: Systematic Bible Study


Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study. You can also reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and
reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com