Question: What Does The Apostle Paul Mean In Ephesians 4:20-21 By: “Ye Have Not So Learned Christ,” And “Ye Have Heard Him, And Been Taught By Him?”
Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
At first glance, it would seem as though the Lord and Savior was physically right there among the Ephesians teaching them ‘first hand,’ and they were able to hear His teaching from His own mouth. But this was not their understanding of what Paul was saying at all, they knew that Paul was referring to the fact that they have ‘heard Paul’s preaching of the Lord’s doctrine,’ and that even though they were “in Him,” He was not “in” them. And this was because they were still be educated in the knowledge of His will, and they had not “yet” learned His sanctifying doctrine unto godliness. They had “not so learned” the “doctrine which is according to godliness.” It wasn’t that that hadn’t heard “of” The Lord Jesus Christ, remember; they were justified unto eternal life, but they are maturing unto Him in the knowledge of His will, this was Paul’s prayer for them in chapters 1, and 3.
1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Therefore, when Paul says “if ye have heard Him, and been taught by Him,” this is an ‘in time,’ and ‘each, and every time’ they were educated in the word of God, they were actually being taught by Him, and ‘learning Him.’ And as we can see in 1st Corinthians 2:13, the Holy Ghost “teacheth” us as we are being educated in the Living Word of God. And this is because we are educated by the Holy Ghost’s doctrine, and our now being educated in our Lord’s “Spiritual things.”
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?But we have the mind of Christ.
Furthermore, learning Him, being taught by Him, and hearing Him produces the “mind of Christ” within us. And it is done through the doctrine of the Holy Ghost’s ministry through those who wrote the word of truth. And we are ‘instructed’ by the Holy Ghost’s ministry, and we can ‘know the mind of the Lord,’ and actually be ‘instructed by Him,’ as we ‘hear’ the Holy Ghost’s teaching, and we will eventually ‘learn Him.’ And our ‘knowing Him,’ is knowing the “new man” that we are to “put on.”
Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Moreover, ‘knowing Him,’ ‘learning Him,’ and being ‘taught by Him,’ are not ‘positional truths,’ but ‘maturity truths,’ and many assume that Paul is saying that the Ephesians have not yet ‘heard of’ the gospel of Christ Jesus unto salvation, and they have not yet learned how to be saved from the debt and penalty of sin, and that they haven’t physically ‘heard His voice to call them unto salvation.’ But sadly enough, this is the common thinking by many. But as Paul is saying in Philippians 3:10, which is many years after he was justified and taught many through the Holy Ghost’s ministry, that he continues to “know Him,” he understands that the Father desires to continually “instruct” him. And that as Paul days in verse 8, he desires the “Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,” this is what ‘learning Christ’ is all about.
Php 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Finally, those things taught by Paul in Ephesians 4:20-21, all refers to having the “mind of Christ,” and that is knowing Him, and His selfless love and His ways. This is why Paul says in Philippians 2:5 that there is a knowledge of Christ’s thinking that ought to be within our minds. And as we can see, this thinking is selfless and it is attainable, and not ‘out of the reach’ of those who are in Christ, the issue is, forming Christ within them. And if this was not ‘conditional,’ Paul would not have to say “LET this mind be in you,” and we who are in Christ can learn Christ, and be taught by Him, but we must desire to ‘hear Him,’ as we are being “instructed by Him,” this will give us the “mind of Christ,” as we are being educated in the doctrine which is according to godliness.