Bible Study Outlines
Volume 3, Lesson 13
by C.I. Scofield
- What is the Church?
How the Church is formed
When the Church began
- The word ecclesia (translated 'church') means "the called out assembly."
The Church is not a [physical] building. It is made up of all believers, with Christ as its Head.
- Ephesians 1:22 - "Gave Him to be the Head over... the church, which is His body"
- Ephesians 2:21,22 - "An holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit"
- A dwelling place for God
- Old Testament
- Exodus 40:34,35 - "The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." This was Jehovah's habitation through the shekinah (or, cloud of glory).
- New Testament
- Matthew 18:20 - "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Now He dwells in gathered believers through the Holy Spirit.
The mission of the Church
- Matthew 16:18 - "I will build My church." The church, therefore, was yet future when Christ spoke.
- Ephesians 3:9 - "The mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God"
- 1Corinthians 12:12,13 - "By one Spirit... baptized into one body"
- Acts 1:5,8 - "Baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence"
The church began when the believers were baptized into one body at Pentecost. The disciples and the first converts are, for the first time, called "the church."
The attitude and expectation of the Church
- Acts 1:8 - "Receive power... be witnesses... uttermost part of the earth"
The whole number of believers from Pentecost to the event predicted in 1Thessalonians 4:14-17, forms "the church, which is His body" (Ephesians 1:22,23). It is formed by the baptism with the Spirit (1Corinthians 12:12,13), and is an organism, not an organization. This is the true or invisible church.
The word is also used of any "called-out" assembly, such as a town meeting in Ephesus (Acts 19:32). In the plural, churches, the word is used of local assemblies of professed believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, who gather themselves together in His name for worship and service.
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