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The church, often capitalized as Church, is the common name given to the body of believers in the LORD, especially since the first century AD. It is the visible people of God, originally known as a sect called "the Way" and named "Christians" because they were followers of Jesus Christ, believers began to meet in homes with worship based on that of the Jewish synagogues. The Apostle Paul became the primary evangelist that founded assemblies throughout the Roman Empire from about AD 45 to 65.

Etymology

The English word church is based on the Greek word kuriakos, meaning "of the Lord" or "belonging to the Master"[1]. However, the word is used to translate the Greek word ekklesia, meaning "assembly" or "those called out" (from ek + kaleo).

Foundation in the Old Testament

The idea of an assembly of chosen people goes back to at least Noah in the days before the Great Flood[2]. After the Flood, the descendants of Noah were scattered and yet again a special person was chosen by Yahweh to become the progenitor of a special people. Abram received a promise that he would father a great nation[3].

Those who followed God, believing that He would keep His promises, would become His representatives to the world at large[4]. In the day of David God would affirm that Jerusalem was to be the special place that would serve as the gathering place for special worship of God[5]. It was there that the temple would be built.

The people and the place would become complete in an unexpected form at the coming of God as the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus had risen from the tomb in Jerusalem[6], the beginning of the "New Testament" Church. The result of the preaching of Peter[7] on that late spring day in AD 33 brought about three thousand Jews from the diaspora together with a leadership team of about 120 men and women[8].

Verses

  1. 1 Cor 11:20; Rev 1:10 (Link)
  2. Gen. 6:8; 7:1 (Link)
  3. Gen. 12:1-2 (Link)
  4. Gen 12:3; Deu 7:6; 1 Kings 3:8 (Link)
  5. 2 Chr 6:6 (Link)
  6. Acts 2:1-13 (Link)
  7. Acts 2:14-36 (Link)
  8. Acts 1:15; 2:3-4, 41 (Link)
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