The Meaning of the Word "Church"
[In doing these lessons, it is best to use the King James Bible]
The dictionary defines the word "church" as "a building for public worship." Let us see if the word is used this way in the New Testament.
|Is the word "church" used in the New Testament to describe a literal church building? See the following verses of Scripture listed below:||
1. Acts 12:5. Can a building pray? _____
2. Acts 15:22. Can a building be pleased? _____
3. Acts 15:4. Can a building receive and welcome people? _____
4. Rom. 16:16. Can buildings send greetings? _____
5. 1 Cor. 15:9. Can a building be persecuted? _____
6. 1 Cor. 16:19. Can a building be in a house? _____
7. Rev. 2:23. Can a building know anything about God? _____
After reading these seven verses, is the dictionary definition given above a correct or incorrect way of describing the way the word "church" is used in the New Testament? __________________ And yet, there is some sense in which the church is a building. The Lord Jesus said that He would ______________ His church (Matt. 16:18). In 1 Peter 2:5 we discover that the church is indeed a building, a ___________________ house, composed of and built with (circle the correct answer):
a. Brick b. Steel c. Wood d. Living Stones e. Cement
Thus, the church is not a literal or physical building, but it is a spiritual building made up of those who have been quickened (made alive) in Christ (Eph. 2:5). Therefore Paul could write in 1 Corinthians 3:9 (at the end of the verse): Y___ (the Corinthian believers) are God's ______________________.
The word "church" as it is used in the New Testament always means "an assembly, a company of people gathered together for a certain purpose." Therefore as we read the New Testament we are not surprised to find the word "church" used with words that mean "gather together, come together, assemble together." Here are some examples:
1. Acts 11:26: "for a whole year they ______________ ______________ with the ____________."
2. Acts 14:27: "And when they were come, and had _______________ the ______________ ___________________."
3. Acts 19:32: "for the __________________ was in confusion; and the greater part knew not for what reason they were __________ _________________." [The word "assembly" in this verse is the word that is usually translated "church." This verse is not talking about a New Testament church but it is talking about an angry mob of people in the city of Ephesus who had come together and had assembled together for the purpose of stirring up trouble.]
4. 1 Cor. 11:18: "For first of all, when ye __________ ___________________ in the ___________________."
5.1 Cor. 14:23: "If, therefore, the whole ______________ be _________________ ___________________ into one place"
6. Hebrews12:23: "To the general ___________________ and _______________ of the first-born"
Did the early Church assemble together (Acts 2:42,46)? _______ Since the word "church" means "assembly," it would be unfitting and inappropriate for a person who is a member of the church not to assemble together with others who also belong to the church. If you are part of the assembly then you should assemble! Thus GOD tells us that we are not to forsake the __________________________________________ (Hebrews 10:25) as the manner of __________ is. Some refused to assemble.
What kind of people assemble together in all the assemblies (churches)--(see 1 Cor. 14:33)? S____________ (those people who have been set apart and separated unto the Lord).
The word "church" is the translation of the Greek word EKKLĒSIA which is really made up of two Greek words: 1) EK which means "out, out of " and 2) KLĒSIS which means "a calling" (from the verb KALEŌ which means "to call"). If we put these two meanings together we have "a calling out." Therefore the term "church" (EKKLĒSIA) means "an assembly of called-out ones, a called-out assembly."
In Acts 7:38 we learn about a called-out assembly, the nation Israel: "This is he (Moses) who was in the _____________ (assembly)." Where was this assembly (Acts 7:38)? _____ ______ _____________________ The children of Israel had been brought out of what land (Acts7:39-40)? ______________________ Read Hosea 11:1. Whom did the LORD love? ________________ Who is Gods son according to Exodus 4:22? ___________________ God says in Hosea 11:1, "I loved him, and _______________ My son ______ _____ Egypt." Was Israel Gods called-out assembly (Acts 7:38)? ________ NOTE: This does not mean that the assembly of Israelites who gathered in the wilderness was the same as the New Testament Church. They were different, but there are similarities. The same word "church" is used to describe both. The following charts may prove helpful:
Gods called-out assembly (Acts 7:38)
Gods SPECIAL called-out assembly--THE CHURCH
As believers in Christ we are Gods called-out ones! What has God called us
OF (1 Pet. 2:9)? ___________________ What has God called us
INTO (1 Pet. 2:9)?
The church is a called-out assembly, a company of people gathered together for a certain purpose: "to them who are the _______________ according to His _______________" (Rom. 8:28). Gods glorious purpose for the believer, according to Romans 8:29 is that he might be "conformed to the I_____________ of His S______" (that he might be like the Lord Jesus--compare 1 John 3:2). When Paul wrote to "the C_______________ of G_______ which is at ________________ (1 Cor. 1:2), he told them that they "were _____________ unto the _______________________ of His _______ Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor.1:9).
Today GOD is calling out and taking out a special group of people for Himself: "Simeon (Peter) hath declared how ________ at the first did visit the Gentiles (nations) to __________ _______ of them a ______________ for His Name" (Acts 15:14). This special called-out group is the church.
According to Matthew 16:18, the church belongs to whom? ________________ According to1 Timothy 3:15 the church belongs to whom? _____________ Is the Pastor speaking the truth if he says: "This is my church!"? ______ Should the elders or deacons say this? _______ Those who really understand what the Bible teaches about the church will say, "This is _______________ church!" It is His Church! Therefore, this special called-out assembly belongs to the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. In this set of study notes we will continue to study God's Called-Out Assembly--The Church.
Go to the Next Lesson--Lesson 2