The various editions of the RSV reflect the problem and difficulty of
translating the verse in question. The original (1946) translated: "And
his gifts were that some should be apostles, ... for the equipment of the
saints, for the work of ministry, for the building up the body of Christ."
This translation assumes that the work of ministry is a work of the
apostles and other teachers. The revision (1971) reads: "to equip the
saints for the work of ministry ...."
The issue here is not simply a grammatical one. The meaning of diakonia
is also critical. John N. Collins book Diakonia: Re-interpreting the
Ancient Sources (Oxford) examines thoroughly the history of that word.
Calvin L. Porter
Professor of New Testament
Christian Theological Seminary