The Shocking Biblical Definition of Church

More and more people stop attending church. This is a sad trend that seems to continue for many years to come. There are a lot of big church buildings that are now almost empty to the point that they just stop existing. Whatever the reason behind this trend, we know that it leads to a lot of negative consequences.

How about you? Do you still find time attending church services on a regular basis? Do you see the need to assemble with like-minded individuals and become more active in doing God’s work? Or do you find things that are more appealing to do on weekends?

Whatever your answer to these questions, it doesn’t change the fact that God expects His people to congregate at least once every week. Attending church services play a vital role in our Christian lives. If you want to become an effective Christian, you need to develop the habit of attending church.

Common Misconceptions about the church

Before we can attend a “church,” we need to define it first accurately. Of course, we might already have our preconceived idea what a church is. For some, the concept of the church seems to be old-fashioned and antiquated. Even the word itself may make people feel uncomfortable.

On the other hand, some people think that a church is like those in the countryside with crosses on top of its roof or it could be those humongous European medieval cathedrals whose images are popular around the world. Others would automatically equate church with any place that is built for a place of worship.

Here’s how Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a church: “A building that is used for Christian religious service.”

Do any of these accurately reflect what the Bible teaches about the meaning of a church? What does the Bible say about this important and yet, often misunderstood term?

The Biblical Definition of Church

We need to know the truth if we want to correctly understand what a church is and how we must respond to God’s calling.

The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “a calling out.” When the word church used in the New Testament, it invariably refers to a group or assembly of people and never to a building or a place.

The church refers to a group of individuals who are “called out” to live a life different to the world. God called these people for a special purpose, and that is to train them of becoming a true Christian – followers of Christ and God the Father.

Notice what the Apostle Paul has to say about the church:

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:3-5).

If the church is a building, then it doesn’t make sense for Paul to say, “Greet the building that is in their house.” With this being said, a church is not a cold and lifeless concrete building, but rather it is a body of warm and living people who have dedicated their lives to God. A building with no worshiper is nothing but a structure in a biblical sense.

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3 thoughts on “The Shocking Biblical Definition of Church

      • Thanks Joshua. So, Exodus 12:16 actually states there shall be two holy convocations each week, one on the first day and one on the seventh day, in which man shall do no work and shall eat only. I think you are taking this out of context with the remainder of Exodus 12 which provides instructions for Israel to prepare for very first passover and then for ongoing annual passover memorials. I think it is a very long stretch to argue that this applies to Christians as a commandment to assemble weekly; and if so, then it must be twice weekly on the first and seventh days and no work shall be done on either. As Christians are we not free of these commandments which are practicing the law and statutes? If we are forced by the law to assemble weekly (or twice weekly) should we also be sacrificing lambs at the altar? If we work on these days of assembly, are we in violation of the law even if we assemble? At some point Christians have to acknowledge that Christ set us free, which means we are no longer obligated to fulfill the law ourselves (we are not capable) and because He did it for us.

        The Hebrews reference is valid, but does not command a time, place or frequency of assembly. Only that we should not forsake assembling. And assembly does not need to be in a church building – it is anywhere that “wherever two or three are assembled in my name, there shall I be in the midst of them”.

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