Is Church a Place…or the People of God?
Written by Christi Given | February 11, 2014
PI Girls, as you know, I love reading God’s Word and I will be contributing a couple of articles a month on a “Bible study” topic for you. My prayer is that these pieces will deepen your faith, stir a hunger for more truth and spark an interest in other facets of your relationship with Christ.
The church is likened to many different symbolic and literal meanings in the Bible. God calls us His children and sons and daughters, but I wanted to break down the different Biblical affiliations the Lord gives us in the scriptures about WHO the church is and WHAT the church is called. Focus on the Family, a Christian radio ministry, explains the meaning of the church in a great article called, “What Is the Church.”
Let’s look into the names of the church in the Bible and see why God uses these other names to describe His chosen people.
The Church as the Building of God’s House
Many times people will say “I am going to church,” and some think that church is a place. Yes, as believers technically you are going to meet with “the church” and the gathering of the assembling of believers. (Hebrews 10:25) The church, according to the Bible, can be a place, but also is known as the people of God. (Spiritual house)
In the Old Testament, there was the building of the temple (an actual place), by King Solomon to bring glory to God. (1 Kings 6:1) Now in the new covenant, there is a spiritual church being built.
“He shall build my house FOR MY NAME, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.” -1 Chronicles 22:10
The Church as the Body
The church is likened not only to a building, but also to a human body. We are considered the Bride of Christ; the members of the body of Christ each have their own roles to play, and Christ is the head of the church.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” -1 Corinthians 12:12-14
The Church as the Bride
The Bible and the Lord tells us that we are also cherished, loved, valued and prized by God like a husband loves a bride. The Lord pursues us, chases us, and is jealous for us like a married couple. In Revelation, God speaks about the return of Christ and the Bride (the church) preparing herself for the Lord’s return.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” –Revelation 19:7
The Church as Israel
The last, and possibly most significant, name of the church is Israel. (This is also representative of God’s chosen people). When you read the Bible and God is addressing Israel, it also can be a synonym for the “church.” In the Bible, there is an interwoven thread of God’s covenant (Genesis 12:1) and promises to Israel. From the Abrahamic covenant, God told Abraham He would bless his descendants and that they would outnumber the stars in the sky. (Genesis 26:3) The preceding covenant is through the line of David (Davidic Covenant), which would be the bloodline of Jesus. (2 Chronicles 13:5)
“Even to them I will give in My house, and within My walls a place and a name, Better than that of sons and daughters I will give them an everlasting name That shall never be cut off.” –Isaiah 56:5
Do you love meeting with the people of God? Also, did you know the different names of God’s people and the church?