- First Reference: Acts 9:31
- Last Reference: Revelation 22:16
- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: Yes
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: Yes
- Included in BDB: No
Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., "the Lord's house"), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship.
In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the "Church of England," the "Church of Scotland," etc.
We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:
1. It is translated "assembly" in the ordinary classical sense (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).
2. It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church (Ephesians 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Hebrews 12:23).
3. A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia (Romans 16:5; Colossians 4:15).
4. All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Acts 13:1); so also we read of the "church of God at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2), "the church at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1), "the church of Ephesus" (Revelation 2:1), etc.
5. The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Matthew 16:18) are the church of Christ.
The church visible "consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children." It is called "visible" because its members are known and its assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of "wheat and chaff," of saints and sinners. "God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the catholic or universal visible church." A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this church. This is "the kingdom of heaven," whose character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in Matthew 13.
The children of all who thus profess the true religion are members of the visible church along with their parents. Children are included in every covenant God ever made with man. They go along with their parents (Genesis 9:9-17; 12:1-3; 17:7; Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 29:10-13). Peter, on the day of Pentecost, at the beginning of the New Testament dispensation, announces the same great principle. "The promise [just as to Abraham and his seed the promises were made] is unto you, and to your children" (Acts 2:38, 39). The children of believing parents are "holy", i.e., are "saints", a title which designates the members of the Christian church (1 Corinthians 7:14). (See BAPTISM.)
The church invisible "consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof." This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called "invisible" because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who "searches the heart." "The Lord knoweth them that are his" (2 Timothy 2:19).
The church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises appertaining to Christ's kingdom belong, is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers, i.e., the church invisible.
1. Its unity. God has ever had only one church on earth. We sometimes speak of the Old Testament Church and of the New Testament church, but they are one and the same. The Old Testament church was not to be changed but enlarged (Isaiah 49:13-23; 60:1-14). When the Jews are at length restored, they will not enter a new church, but will be grafted again into "their own olive tree" (Romans 11:18-24; comp. Ephesians 2:11-22). The apostles did not set up a new organization. Under their ministry disciples were "added" to the "church" already existing (Acts 2:47).
2. Its universality. It is the "catholic" church; not confined to any particular country or outward organization, but comprehending all believers throughout the whole world.
3. Its perpetuity. It will continue through all ages to the end of the world. It can never be destroyed. It is an "everlasting kindgdom."
- The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek kuriakon (kuriakon) "belonging to the Lord." But the derivation has been too hastily assumed. It is probably connected with kirk , the Latin circus, circulus, the Greek kuklos (kuklos) because the congregations were gathered in circles.
- Ecclesia (ekklesia) the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority. It was in this last sense that the word was adapted and applied by the writers of the New Testament to the Christian congregation. In the one Gospel of St. Matthew the church is spoken of no less than thirty-six times as "the kingdom." Other descriptions or titles are hardly found in the evangelists. It is Christ's household, (Matthew 10:25) the salt and light of the world, (Matthew 5:13,15) Christ's flock, (Matthew 26:31; John 10:15) its members are the branches growing on Christ the Vine, John 15; but the general description of it, not metaphorical but direct, is that it is a kingdom, (Matthew 16:19) From the Gospel then we learn that Christ was about to establish his heavenly kingdom on earth, which was to be the substitute for the Jewish Church and kingdom, now doomed to destruction (Matthew 21:43) The day of Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian church. Before they had been individual followers Jesus; now they became his mystical body, animated by his spirit. On the evening of the day of Pentecost, the 3140 members of which the Church consisted were:
(2) previous Disciples;
In (Acts 2:41) we have indirectly exhibited the essential conditions of church communion. They are:
(1) Baptism, baptism implying on the part of the recipient repentance and faith;
(2) Apostolic Doctrine;
(3) Fellowship with the Apostles;
(4) The Lord's Supper;
(5) Public Worship.
The real Church consists of all who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ as his disciples, and are one in love, in character, in hope, in Christ as the head of all, though as the body of Christ it consists of many parts.
1. A house consecrated to the worship of God, among Christians; the Lords house. This seems to be the original meaning of the word. The Greek, to call out or call together, denotes an assembly or collection. But, Lord, a term applied by the early Christians to Jesus Christ; and the house in which they worshipped was named from the title. So church goods, bona ecclesiastica; the Lords day, dies dominica.
2. The collective body of Christians, or of those who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Savior of mankind. In this sense, the church is sometimes called the Catholic or Universal church
3. A particular number of Christians, united under one form of ecclesiastical government, in one creed, and using the same ritual and ceremonies; as the English church; the Gallican church; the Presbyterian church; the Romish church; the Greek church
4. The followers of Christ in a particular city or province; as the church of Ephesus, or of Antioch.
5. The disciples of Christ assembled for worship in a particular place, as in a private house. Colossians 4:15.
6. The worshipers of Jehovah or the true God, before the advent of Christ; as the Jewish church
7. The body of clergy, or ecclesiastics, in distinction from the laity. Hence, ecclesiastical authority.
8. An assembly of sacred rulers convened in Christs name to execute his laws.
9. The collective body of Christians, who have made a public profession of the Christian religion, and who are untied under the same pastor; in distinction from those who belong to the same parish, or ecclesiastical society, but have made no profession of their faith.
CHURCH, verb transitive To perform with any one the office of returning thanks in the church after any signal deliverance, as from the dangers of childbirth.
A place of worship.
Psalms 65:4; Psalms 84:2; Psalms 84:10; Psalms 92:13; Psalms 96:8; Psalms 100:4; Psalms 116:19; Isaiah 1:12; Isaiah 62:9; Zech 3:7
House of God
Genesis 28:17; Genesis 28:22; Joshua 9:23; Judges 18:31; Judges 20:18; Judges 20:26; Judges 21:2; 1 Chronicles 9:11; 1 Chronicles 24:5; 2 Chronicles 5:14; 2 Chronicles 22:12; 2 Chronicles 24:13; 2 Chronicles 33:7; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Ezra 5:8; Ezra 5:15; Ezra 7:20; Ezra 7:23; Nehemiah 6:10; Nehemiah 11:11; Nehemiah 13:11; Psalms 42:4; Psalms 52:8; Psalms 55:14; Psalms 84:10; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Isaiah 2:3; Hosea 9:8; Joel 1:16; Micah 4:2; Zech 7:2; Matthew 12:4; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 4:17
House of the Lord
Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 23:18; Joshua 6:24; Judges 19:18; 1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 1:24; 2 Samuel 12:20; 1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 6:37; 1 Kings 7:40; 1 Kings 8:10; 1 Kings 8:63; 1 Kings 10:5; 2 Kings 11:3-4; 2 Kings 11:15; 2 Kings 11:18-19; 2 Kings 12:4; 2 Kings 12:9-10; 2 Kings 12:13; 2 Kings 12:16; 2 Kings 16:18; 2 Kings 20:8; 2 Kings 23:2; 2 Kings 23:7; 2 Kings 23:11; 2 Kings 25:9; 1 Chronicles 6:31; 1 Chronicles 22:1; 1 Chronicles 22:11; 1 Chronicles 22:14; 1 Chronicles 23:4; 1 Chronicles 26:12; 2 Chronicles 8:16; 2 Chronicles 26:21; 2 Chronicles 29:5; 2 Chronicles 29:15; 2 Chronicles 33:15; 2 Chronicles 34:15; 2 Chronicles 36:14; Ezra 7:27; Psalms 23:6; Psalms 27:4; Psalms 92:13; Psalms 116:19; Psalms 118:26; Psalms 122:1; Psalms 122:9; Psalms 134:1; Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 37:14; Jeremiah 17:26; Jeremiah 20:1-2; Jeremiah 26:2; Jeremiah 26:7; Jeremiah 28:1; Jeremiah 28:5; Jeremiah 29:26; Jeremiah 35:2; Jeremiah 36:5-6; Jeremiah 38:14; Jeremiah 41:5; Jeremiah 51:51; Lamentations 2:7; Ezekiel 44:4; Haggai 1:2; Zech 8:9
Exodus 25:8; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 21:12; Numbers 3:28; Numbers 4:12; Numbers 7:9; Numbers 8:19; Numbers 10:21; Numbers 18:1; Numbers 18:5; Numbers 19:20; 1 Chronicles 9:29; 1 Chronicles 22:19; 1 Chronicles 24:5; 1 Chronicles 28:10; 2 Chronicles 20:8; 2 Chronicles 26:18; 2 Chronicles 29:21; 2 Chronicles 30:8; 2 Chronicles 30:19; Nehemiah 10:39; Psalms 20:2; Psalms 28:2; Psalms 63:2; Psalms 68:24; Psalms 73:17; Psalms 74:3; Psalms 74:7; Psalms 77:13; Psalms 78:69; Psalms 150:1; Isaiah 16:12; Isaiah 63:18; Lamentations 2:7; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:1; Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 42:20; Ezekiel 44:5; Ezekiel 44:27; Ezekiel 45:3; Ezekiel 48:8; Ezekiel 48:21; Daniel 8:11; Daniel 8:13-14; Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:31; Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:1-2
House of Prayer
Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13
Exodus 26:1; Leviticus 26:11; Joshua 22:19; Psalms 15:1; Psalms 61:4; Psalms 76:2; Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:2; Hebrews 9:11; Revelation 13:6; Revelation 21:3
1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3; 2 Kings 11:10; 2 Kings 11:13; Ezra 4:1; Psalms 5:7; Psalms 11:4; Psalms 27:4; Psalms 29:9; Psalms 48:9; Psalms 68:29; Isaiah 6:1; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 4:5; Matthew 23:16; Luke 18:10; Luke 24:53
Psalms 9:11; Psalms 48:11; Psalms 74:2; Psalms 132:13; Psalms 137:1; Isaiah 35:10; Jeremiah 31:6; Jeremiah 50:5; Joel 2:1; Joel 2:15
Exodus 28:29; Exodus 38:24; Leviticus 6:16; Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 14:13; Leviticus 16:2-24; Joshua 5:15; 1 Kings 8:8; 1 Chronicles 23:32; 2 Chronicles 29:5; 2 Chronicles 30:27; 2 Chronicles 35:5; Ezra 9:8; Psalms 24:3; Psalms 46:4; Psalms 68:17; Ecclesiastes 8:10; Isaiah 57:15; Ezekiel 41:4; Ezekiel 42:13; Ezekiel 45:4; Matthew 24:15; Acts 6:13; Acts 21:28; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:25
Psalms 5:7; Psalms 11:4; Psalms 65:4; Psalms 79:1; Psalms 138:2; Jonah 2:4; Jonah 2:7; Micah 1:2; Habakkuk 2:20; Ephesians 2:21; Ephesians 3:17
My Father's House
John 2:16; John 14:2
Exodus 30:26-29; Exodus 40:9; Leviticus 8:10-11; Leviticus 16:33; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 21:12; Numbers 7:1; 1 Kings 9:3; 1 Chronicles 29:3; 2 Chronicles 3:8; Isaiah 64:11; Ezekiel 23:39; 1 Corinthians 3:17
Synagogue; Tabernacle; Temple
The collective body of believers.
CHURCH-ALE, noun A wake or feast commemoratory of the dedication of the church.
CHURCH-ATTIRE, noun The habit in which men officiate in divine service.
CHURCH-AUTHORITY, noun Ecclesiastical power; spiritual jurisdiction.
CHURCH-BENCH, noun The seat in the porch of a church.
CHURCH-BURIAL, noun Burial according to the rites of the church.
CHURCH-DISCIPLINE, noun Discipline of the church, intended to correct the offenses of its members.
CHURCHDOM, noun The government or authority of the church.
CHURCH-FOUNDER, noun He that builds or endows a church.
CHURCH-HISTORY, noun History of the Christian church; ecclesiastical history.
CHURCHING, noun The act of offering thanks in church after childbirth.
CHURCH-LAND, noun Land belonging to a church.
CHURCHLIKE, adjective Becoming the church.
1. An ecclesiastic or clergyman; one who ministers in sacred things.
2. An episcopalian, as distinguished from a presbyterian or congregationalist, etc.
CHURCH-MEMBER, noun A member in communion with a church; a professor of religion.
1. The service of singing or chanting in a church.
2. Music suited to church service.
CHURCHSHIP, noun Institution of the church.
CHURCH-WARDEN, noun A keeper or guardian of the church, and a representative of the parish. Church-wardens are appointed by the minister, or elected by the parishioners, to superintend the church, its property and concerns, and the behavior of the parishioners. For these and many other purposes, they possess corporate powers.
CHURCH-WAY, noun The way, street or road that leads to the church.
CHURCH-WORK, noun Work carried on slowly.
CHURCH-YARD, noun The ground adjoining to a church in which the dead are buried; a cemetery.