Christian LivingThe Church

What is the Church?

Church History

According to the New Testament, the earliest Christians did not build church buildings. Instead, they gathered in homes (Acts 17:5, 20:20, 1 Corinthians 16:19) or Jewish worship places like the Second Temple or synagogues (Acts 2:46, 19:8).

The earliest archeologically identified Christian church is a house church (Domus ecclesiae), the Dura-Europos church, founded between 233 and 256. In the second half of the 3rd century AD, the first purpose-built halls for Christian worship (aula ecclesiae) began to be constructed. Although many of these were destroyed early in the next century during the Diocletianic Persecution, even larger and more elaborate church buildings began to appear during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. They were interested in continuing to read about church history.

House Church

House Churches started during the 1st century as a shared assembly place for Christian believers. Some believers offered their houses for worship. Significant church buildings have started to rise in the past ten centuries, from halls to stylish buildings to cathedrals with various architectural designs. That started the house church to disappear. The following are house churches during that apostolic age.

And Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Philemon 1:2

How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable and teaching you in public and from house to house Acts 20:20

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts Acts 2:46

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers. Acts 2:42

The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca and the church in their house send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 16:19

Greet also have a church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, the first convert to Christ in Asia. Romans 16:5

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.” Matthew 18:20

Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and Nympha and the church in her house. Colossians 4:15

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom I give thanks, and all the churches of the Gentiles also give thanks. Greetings also to those who have a church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, the first convert to Christ in Asia. Romans 16:1-27

And suddenly, there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2

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 Corinthians 14:26

For as in one body, we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which the command of God our Savior has entrusted me; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. This is why I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you. Titus 1:1-16

The Bible uses a wide range of metaphors to describe the church. These include:

  • Family of God the Father (Ephesians 3:14-15,2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • Brothers and sisters with each other in God’s family (Matthew 12:49-50)
  • Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:31-32)
  • Branches on a vine (John 15:5)
  • Olive tree (Romans 11:17-24)
  • Field of crops (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
  • Building (1 Corinthians 3:9)
  • Harvest (Matthew 13:1-30, John 4:35)
  • New temple and new priesthood with a new cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8)
  • God’s house (Hebrews 3:3-6)
  • Pillar and foundation the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)
  • Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

We should remember that the church is us, not the building, and our salvation is not the religion we joined but our relationship with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, which will give us a way to join the Godhead.

Read more 14 Points to Recognize a church.

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