11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 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;
He (v.11) = He, Himself and no other
gave (v.11) — These gifts were themselves men; and their ministry was for the winning of men to Christ; and then, having won them, to build them up in Christ until they reached perfect Christian manhood (v.13). The miraculous gifts of Pentecost and Corinth were distinct. They had to do with Israel and the earthly kingdom.
The apostles of verse 11 were not the Twelve Apostles. Those were given prior to the Lord’s resurrection; these, subsequent to it. — Williams, page 925
pastors (v.11) = shepherds
pastors and teachers (v.11) — the Greek construction indicates that these refer to one and the same person
equipping (v.12) = fitting for service
come (v.13) = to arrive at, to attain to
to (v.13, first usage) = into, unto — a goal to be striven for
knowledge (v.13) = full knowledge, precise and correct knowledge
perfect (v.13) = mature, complete, full-grown
the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (v.13) — The words further define what Paul means by the mature saint. The expression “the fullness of Christ,” refers to the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (Ephesians 1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us. Thus the whole idea will be this — “the measure of the age, or (better) the stature, that brings with it the full possession on ours side of that which Christ has to impart — the embodiment in us the members, of the graces and qualities which are in Him the Head. — Wuest, page 102.
The idea here is, I think, that God gave men with specific gifts to the Body of Christ so that it could grow toward maturity. The apostles and prophets were temporary gifts (1 Corinthians 13:8), but in a sense we still benefit from their ministry through the Word. I’m not sure here, but I don’t think that Paul is saying that the ministry of those with these gifts will eventually result in all the members of the Body attaining maturity. Instead, I think he’s saying that the ministry will continue until the Body does attain maturity at the Rapture. In other words, there will continue to be evangelists and shepherds who minister to the growth of members until the time comes when their ministry won’t be needed any longer because maturity will be attained by all at the Rapture. Until that occurs, we can all grow toward maturity but few, if any, will attain it.