Ephesians 4:12 reveals the threefold work of the church: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” “Perfecting” means “to place the parts of any machine or body in their proper order and to unite them in such a manner as to render the machine or body complete.” This indicates then what we call the work of edifying the body — the work of educating or training Christians in right living and acceptable service to God.
The church is edified by the strengthening, growth and development of its members. The purpose of every child of God is to do all things for the purpose of edification (Romans 14:19). The proper objective of its members is not numerical growth alone but the development of spiritual strength (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are no longer to be children tossed by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14-15). We are no longer babes to be fed on milk (Hebrews 5:12-14). We must grow in godliness and ability to overcome temptation and lead pure lives. We must establish our hearts unblameable in holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:13). We must build up ourselves on our most holy faith (Jude 17-23). We must resist the devil and draw nigh to God (James 4:7-10).
The congregation may edify its members through worship (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 2:5; Colossians 3:16), faithful teaching, proper discipline (Titus 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Romans 16:17-18) and proper love and consideration of the members one for another (Ephesians 4:29-32; Philippians 2:3-4; 4:2; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 12:25).