“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11)
The four or five specific spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul in this passage are said to have been given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). And all of this is for the ultimate goal that “we…speaking the truth in love, may grow up into [Christ] in all things” (Ephesians 4:14-15).
The teaching gift is of particular importance in attaining this goal. The gift of serving as an apostle was given only to the 12 plus a few others (e.g., Paul) who had actually seen the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1); the last of these was John. The gift of real prophets who could convey God’s revelations to men was necessary in that first century before the New Testament was written, but that also has apparently ceased (1 Corinthians 13:8), though there are still many false prophets (Matthew 24:11).
The gifts of evangelists and pastors will continue as long as there continue to be lost people who need to be won and new believers who need to be led (the word “pastor” actually means “shepherd” and is so translated in all its other occurrences). The other two lists of spiritual gifts do not mention either evangelists or pastors, but all three do mention teachers (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Many pastors also have the gift of teaching, but the other two lists indicate that teaching is a gift for many others as well.
In fact, Christ’s great commission included teaching people “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). And since He in the beginning had created “all things” and is now “upholding all things” (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3), this teaching could well include all true education, in every subject. HMM
From Days of Praise