Meaning and Value


While most people identify the word "church" with a building or denomination, the meaning of the Greek word for "church" in the New Testament is an assembly of people. When Jesus told His disciples that He would build His "church" He did not mean a building or organization but simply a group of people redeemed from sin by His sacrificial death.

(Matthew 16:13; 16-18) Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" .....{16} And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." {17} And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. {18} "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.

The true nature of the church as an assembly of people and the true essence of Christianity as a relationship rather than a religion is clearly demonstrated in Paul's letter to the Ephesians where he used the relationship of the church to her Savior Jesus to illustrate the ideal relationship between husband and wife.

(Ephesians 5:22-32) Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. {23} For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. {24} But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. {25} Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; {26} that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, {27} that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. {28} So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; {29} for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, {30} because we are members of His body. {31} FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. {32} This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

The English word "church" found in the New Testament is used to translate the Greek word "ekklesiai" which in general can refer to any assembly of people. When used in the New Testament to refer to believers the term "ekklesiai" refers to that group or assembly of people who belong to God as a result of being redeemed from sin through the death of Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this section "The Local Church" is to highlight the importance of the local church for the believer who needs to grow in the faith and for the non-believer who is seeking to know God and understand the truth.


The apostle Paul when writing to Timothy described the church in this way:

(1 Timothy 3:14-15) I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; {15} but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

The church is called by Paul the pillar and support of the truth. The truth of God's Word has been preserved and disseminated throughout the ages by the church. All people desiring to grow in the knowledge of the truth and learn more about God should find a local church that honors and teaches the Bible and begin to benefit from the teaching ministry which is offered there for them by God.


When describing the exalted position of Jesus the apostle Paul explained that the church was the "body of Christ" with Jesus as it's "head".

(Ephesians 1:22-23) And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, {23} which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

This description emphasizes the relationship that each Christian and local church has to Jesus. The church is a living organism consisting of people related to a living Savior Jesus Christ who rules over them and works through them from His place in heaven. Those who wish to draw closer to Jesus Christ and experience His working in their lives will want to come into association with a local church connected to Him by faith.


The apostle Paul explained in scripture that gifted people have been given to the church in order to bring the members of Christ's body to a place of maturity and fruitfulness in service:

(Ephesians 4:11-13) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, {12} for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; {13} until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Those wishing to grow in the Christian faith and become fruitful in service to God need to recognize the important role that the local church has in this process. Each believer needs to become a part of a local church which has people in it who have been called by God to the important biblical roles of Pastor, teacher and evangelist. God has raised up these people to build up and equip the church and without benefit of their ministry the believer will fail to grow and become fruitful.


The local church is a valuable resource to any who are seeking to grow closer to God and who want to learn more about the Christian faith. Any person in this category should feel free to visit a local church in their area and take advantage of the teaching and counseling ministry that is offered there in part for them. Those who are seeking God are always welcome in the local church and should never hesitate to visit during the regularly scheduled services of the church.

For the Christian the local church is essential and without it the believer will not grow or become fruitful for God. Some Christians mistakenly conclude that they can live the Christian life independently from the local church. God's Word is clear in instructing believers not to forsake the assembly of the brethren- Hebrews 10:24-25. We urge any who have made a decision to follow Jesus Christ to make it their top priority to search out a biblically sound local church becoming a participating member as soon as possible.

In closing we encourage everyone to connect with a local church in their area to begin to benefit from what God has provided in and through His people in that place. Select the continue button to move to the next page for assistance in finding a local church in your area.