Ecclesiology is the study of the church. The New Testament church began at Pentecost in Acts 2. This is often referred to as the Church Age. The definition for a church is a group that meets regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25) under organized leadership (Hebrews 13:17-18) and practices the purposes that are seen in the early church in Acts 2:42-47. There are many different churches out there today with all kinds of different practices. The Bible gives many words about the church and things that need to be part of a church according to Scripture. Whenever we look at words about the church in the New Testament we need to be careful in our evaluation. What I mean by this is that there are 2 types of passages about the church. The first is when the church is described in “prescriptive terms.” This means that these are things that God says need to be part of the church. Baptism and observance of the Lord’s Supper would fall into this category. The second type of passages are “descriptive” passages about the church. These are passages that merely describe what the church did but we are not necessarily commanded to do the same. Cultural passages such as women wearing head coverings would fall into this category. It is important that we understand what God teaches us about the church so that we (the people) can “be” the church. Consider the following…
Acts 1:41-42 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Verses About The Church
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:23, 25 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior… Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
1 Timothy 3:15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
Verses About The Building
Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Verses About Church Unity
Ephesians 1:22-23 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Romans 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
Colossians 1:17-20 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
Verses About Serving in the Church
Acts 6:1-2 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Romans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
When you stop to think about it, isn’t it amazing that God wants to use us (Christians) to be and to build His church? Think about it. Even in spite of our sins and our shortcomings God allows us to be part of His church. He even says that each member is so important in building the body of Christ. The picture that He gives of the church members being like parts of a physical body vividly show this teaching. That is how much God loves us. That in spite of our sin, He sees something beautiful that He can use. Friends, I hope you know the God of the Bible. He is an amazing God and He wants and desires a personal relationship with you and in doing that, we can bring Him glory. Hallelujah!!
Looking for a church but don’t know how to choose? Take a look at this article:
Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”; YouTube “If we are the body” by Casting Crowns