The Church


The word “church” is used to translated the Greek word ekklesia, which simply means an assembly of people. It doesn’t always have to mean an assembly of Christians (Acts 19:32, 39).


There are two types of assemblies mentioned in the Scriptures.

          One is talking about all Christians as a whole

          The other talks about Christians who live in a local community and work and worship together.


For clarity, we will refer to the first as the universal church and the second as the local church even though those terms not used in the Scriptures. We are merely using the terms for clarity.


The Church in a Universal Sense

          There is only one (Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 12:22-23; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; I Corinthians 12:12-13)

          It has no particular location

          It is composed of all Christians, living and dead

                      It is not composed of denominations (I Corinthians 1:10-13)

                      It is not composed of local churches

          Membership comes when you become a Christian (Acts 2:47)

                      In other words, God controls the membership (Hebrews 12:22-23; II Timothy 2:19).

                      It consists only of the saved


The Church in a Local Sense

          There are many (Romans 16:16; II Corinthians 11:28; Galatians 1:2; Revelation 2-3)

          Each has its own location (I Corinthians 1:2; 11:18; 14:23; Acts 14:27)

          They work independently (Philippians 4:15)

          It is composed of Christians living in an area

                      The individual Christian is not the church (Matthew 18:15-18; I Timothy 5:16)

                      The church is not the building, but the collective members

          Christians join a local church (Acts 9:26)

                      In other words, the local church controls its membership (I Corinthians 5:11-12; II Corinthians 2:5-11; III John 9-10)

                      Not all members will be saved (Revelation 2:14-16)