Christ Loves the Christ


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In the New Testament, the word church is a translation of the Greek word elklesia, which means “a called-out company,” “a gathering” or an “assembly.” Stephen used the word to describe Israel as “the church (assembly) in the wilderness’, (Acts 7:38). It is also used in the book of Acts to describe a heathen mob at Ephesus (Acts 19:32,39,41). But the most common use of the word in the New Testament is to describe a group of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus Paul speaks of “the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, the great apostle divides the whole world into Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32). Again, he identifies the church of God as including the group of Christian believers whom he persecuted before his conversion (1 Corinthians 15:9).

It has often been said that the Church is not an organization but an organism. By this is meant that it is not a lifeless institution but a living unit. It is a fellowship of all those who share the life of Christ and who are linked together in living union by the Holy Spirit. It has been well called “a pure communion of persons without institutional character.” Many descriptive titles are given to the Church in the New Testament, and one of the best ways of arriving at an understanding of the church is to consider the significance of each title. The following are the prominent descriptions of the church: