Posted by: SandreS | November 4, 2009

God’s Outsiders: The Called-Out Ones (A Biblical Look at God’s Ecclesia), Part 2

Common Definitions

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105).

Among the common definitions of the word “church,” we find the idea of:

  • a physical building, as in, “It’s our turn to clean the church.”
  • an organization, as in, “We are members of First Community Church.”
  • a meeting, as in, “Church starts in a half-hour.”
  • a doctrinal system, as in, “I’ve spent all my life in the Baptist church.”

These are all non-Bible churches. Therefore, dictionaries and other manmade reference tools can be of only so much assistance as we study the Scriptures; we should always keep in mind that they are just that – manmade. Ultimately, the premiere reference tool for any Bible study is the Bible itself, because the Bible has a way of defining its own words.

In all languages, it is usage which determines the meaning of words; and since usage determines meaning, biblical usage, certainly, always should determine biblical meaning. Therefore, we must acquaint ourselves with the Scriptures. We need not stumble around in the dark, for His Word sheds great light on our pathway. The more we read, study and learn the Bible itself, the more we will be equipped to know the meaning of Bible words, and to live our lives according to their context.

Let’s let God define His “ecclesia”!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2000, 2009

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