Church Part 1
I. What is a church? Why does it exist? How important is it?
A. What’s the purpose of the church? How do you see that purpose reflected in the NT (Acts, the epistles, and don’t forget Rev 2-3)?
1. Look up the word for church in the OLB or Bible Dictionary as well as in a concordance. Record your initial observations.
2. What are some of the images used to describe the church and how do they help us understand it (Body, Temple, Bride, Household)?
3. How do the church-as-temple passages (like Eph 2:20 1Pt 2:9 1Cor 3:17) and the candlestick references in Rev 2-3 affect your understanding of church unity and the glory of God?
4. What did Jesus mean when He said: “I will build my church...”? Mt 16:18
B. What makes a church a church? What differentiates a church from a Bible Study? From a club, or a service organization?
1. Some make a distinction between the “local” and the “universal church”. What verses refer to the universal church? How are the NT authors using the references to the “universal church” to guide the behavior of recipients/readers in a “local church”?
2. If/since there is such a thing as a universal church, can any Christian be not part of a church?
3. Does two or three people gathered in Christ’s name constitute a church? What is the context and meaning of that phrase in MT 18?
4. Critique the view that “the church is anything that moves someone toward Christlikeness”. (Understanding II below will help answer this.)
5. Why should someone join a church? Who should be part of a church?
6. What should someone look for in a church? Why should someone leave a church? (These might be better answered at the end of your study.)
II. What is the/a Church supposed to do? How do you see the NT church(s) carrying out that purpose?
A. What are the most emphasized or repeated commands given to the church in the NT?
1. How do you see the Church obeying those commands? How do they relate to the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20)?
2. How would you express the “mission” of the church as specified in the NT?
3. Define unity. About what were the NT believers to be unified? See/Study the outline from Spring 2000 Retreat “Biblical Unity”
4. How does being “members of one another” fit with your understanding of unity?
5. How should issues of non or dis-unity be resolved?
B. How are NT believers to relate to each other in the context of a local church? Why?
1. Look up the one another passages (Strongs #240) as a start to get an understanding of how NT believers related to each other.
2. Who is the “another” in the “one another passages”? Why is the church called a Body? What are the implications of that description?
3. What priorities should a church have? What priority should your involvement with other members of the Body have?
4. Why do most churches have membership classes and covenants of membership? Are they Biblical?
5. Is God more pleased with a Christian who is part of a church than one who is living independently of others?”
6. How should a believer who is following Christ as His disciples, relate to carnal Christians, who are following their own desires?
III. Is there a Biblical structure that the NT-based church should have? Is structure Biblical?
A. What types of structure or format contribute to a church fulfilling its purpose/mission?
1. What types of structures or environments would hinder a church from its mission? How? What’s the corrective to bad structure?
2. What are the benefits/liabilities of the structures/formats you see reflected in the NT, church history, and in the present day?
3. What place do evaluation and planning have in the Christian life? Church life? What standards or criteria should be used, if any?
B. Who is the Head of the Church? How is a church to be lead? How do elders differ from Apostles? Bishops? Pastors? Popes?
1. Look up: elder(s), pastor/shepherd, and bishop/overseer in a concordance. What functions do such critters have?
2. Compare/contrast the common forms of church government: Congregational (democracy/anarchy); Baptistic (shepherd/pastor lead); hierarchical (bishop/overseer rule- Methodist/Episcopalian/Catholic); Presbyterian (elder rule); Pope .
3. Who were the itinerant preachers of the NT and how did they serve the church? What role do they have today?
C. What are elders? What do they do? What’s their Biblical basis? Acts 20; 1Pt 5; Titus 1; 1Tim 3; Heb 13
1. How does one become an elder? To whom are elders submitted? What is the difference between accountability and submission?
2. What’s the basis for ordination and a “professional clergy”? Is there a Biblical distinction between clergy and laity?
3. How does the NT indicate believers should respond to elders? How should someone respond to imperfect or corrupt church leadership?
4. How does submission relate to church? Should believers be submitted to one another? Leadership? How? When does submission end?
D. Ordinances: Baptism; Lord’s Supper; Church Discipline
1. What’s the significance of Baptism? Who should be baptized? Who should baptize? Should one be immersed or sprinkled?
2. What’s the significance of the Lord’s Supper being instituted at a Passover celebration? Should we celebrate or observe it?
3. Why and how does a church exercise church discipline? What’s the purpose of church discipline: for the person? For the Body?
Help for Church Study Guide: Strong/Tayer/Trench/Hastings and Insufficient Verses BC 12/00
STRONGS 1577 ekklhsia ekklesia ek-klay-see'-ah from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; TDNT-3:501,394; n f
AV-church 115, assembly 3; 118 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly; 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating; 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously;
1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting;
1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body;1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth; 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven
TRENCH According to their derivation, sunagwgh is simply an assembly, a mass of people gathered together;
ekklhsia is a narrower word, also an assembly, but including only those specially called together out of a larger multitude,
for the transaction of business. ekklhsia usually denotes a somewhat more select company than sunagwgh. A significant use of
ekklhsia in strict harmony with its derivation was common among the Greeks. It was their common word for the lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those possessing the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs. They were summoned out of the
whole population, ``a select portion of it, including neither the populace, nor strangers, nor yet those who had forfeited their civic
rights''(Trench). sunagwgh had been, before N.T. times, appropriated to designate a synagogue, a Jewish assembly for worship,
distinct from the Temple, in which sense it is used in the N.T. Probably for that reason, and also for its greater inherent
etymological fitness, ekklhsia is the word taken to designate a Christian church, a company of believers who meet for worship.
Both these words, however, are sometimes used in the N.T. in a non-technical sense.
HASTINGS Bible Dictionary: Church
Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., "the Lord's house"), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship. In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew _kahal_ of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the "Church of England, "the "Church of Scotland, "etc. We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:
1. It is translated "assembly" in the ordinary classical sense #Ac 19:32,39,41
2. It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church #Eph 5:23,25,27,29 Heb 12:23
3. A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia #Ro 16:5 Col 4:15
4. All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church #Ac 13:1 so also we read of the "church of God at Corinth" #1Co 1:2 "the church at Jerusalem" #Ac 8:1 "the church of Ephesus" #Re 2:1 etc.
5. The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world #1Co 15:9 Ga 1:13 Mt 16:18 are the church of Christ. The church visible "consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion" is called "visible" because its members are known and its assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of "wheat and chaff, "of saints and sinners. "God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the catholic or universal visible church." A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this church. This is "the kingdom of heaven, "whose character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in #Mt 13:1ff See BAPTISM 23435
The church invisible "consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof." This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called "invisible" because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by him who "searches the heart." "The Lord knoweth them that are his" #2Ti 2:19 The church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises appertaining to Christ's kingdom belong, is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers, i.e., the church invisible.
1. Its unity. God has ever had only one church on earth. We sometimes speak of the Old Testament Church and of the New Testament church, but they are one and the same. The Old Testament church was not to be changed but enlarged #Isa 49:13-23 60:1-14 When the Jews are at length restored, they will not enter a new church, but will be grafted again into "their own olive tree" #Ro 11:18-24 comp. #Eph 2:11-22 The apostles did not set up a new organization. Under their ministry disciples were "added" to the "church" already existing #Ac 2:47 2. Its universality. It is the "catholic" church; not confined to any particular country or outward organization, but comprehending all believers throughout the whole world. 3. Its perpetuity. It will continue through all ages to the end of the world. It can never be destroyed. It is an "everlasting kindgdom."
Verses translating the word “ecclasia” = church/assembly. Try substituting the word “gathering” to help you understand the context.
Mat16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Mat18:17 " if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Acts 5:11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
Acts 8:1 ¶ Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Acts 9:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
Acts 11:22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Acts 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
Acts 12:5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Acts 14:27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Acts 15:3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.
Acts 15:4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.
Acts 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Acts 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.
Acts 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
Acts 20:28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Romans 16:1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea,
Romans 16:4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Romans 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.
Rm 16:23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.
1Cor 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
1Cor 4:17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
1Cor 6:4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?
1Cor 7:17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
1Cor 10:32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,
1Cor 11:16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
1Cor 11:18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
1Cor 11:22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
1Cor 12:28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
1Cor 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1Cor 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
1Cor 14:12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
1Cor 14:19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
1Cor 14:23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
1Cor 14:28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
1Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1Cor 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
1Cor 14:35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
1Cor 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Cor 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:
1Cor 16:19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,
2 Corinthians 8:19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,
2 Corinthians 8:23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
2 Corinthians 8:24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.
2 Corinthians 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 12:13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Galatians 1:2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.
Galatians 1:22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.
Ephesians (Worth reading whole letter) 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Ephesians 3:10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 3:21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Ephesians 5:24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Ephesians 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Philippians 3:6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Philippians 4:15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
Col 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Col 1:24 I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
Col 4:15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.
Col 4:16 when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Thess 1:4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
1 Timothy 3:5 (Worth reading whole letter) (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
1 Timothy 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Tim 5:16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.
Titus (Worth reading whole letter)
Philemon 1:2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
Heb 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Js 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
3 Jn 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well,
3 John:9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.
3 John 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
Rev 1:4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
Rev 1:11 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
Rev 1:20 "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
Rev 2:1 (Worth reading chapters 2 and 3 multiple times) "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, `These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
Rev 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'
Rev 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, `These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
Rev 2:11 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."'
Rev 2:12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, `These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Rev 2:17 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."'
Rev 2:18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, `These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
Rev 2:23 "I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
Rev 2:29 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
Rev 3:1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, `These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
Rev 3:6 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
Rev 3:7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, `These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens":
Rev 3:13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
Rev 3:14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, `These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
Rev 3:22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'"
Rev 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."