As a born-again Christian born and raised in a family of pastors, I started going to Church from a very young age. The Church is the house of God and a place for Christians to come together and worship the Lord their God.
I have been reading the Bible to understand more about the Church and noted that it is mentioned several times.
So, how many times is Church mentioned in the Bible?
The number of times the Church appears in the Bible varies from 114 to 120 times, depending on the version of the Bible. This word does not appear in any book of the Old Testament. However, in the New Testament, it is mentioned in 111 verses. It is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia,” which, without the prefix “ek,” means “to call.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the topic of the mention of the Church in the Bible. We will also learn the meaning of Church according to the Bible, the first book and verse where the Church is mentioned, and how the word church is used in the Bible, so read till the end.
What Is the Church according to the Bible?
The Bible says that the Church is the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12, the Bible used the word body of Christ to represent the Church.
According to 1 Corinthians 12:12, the Bible expresses that the body is one, but with many members. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
This refers to the people who accept the salvation of Jesus Christ and follow his teaching.
They all become united into the Church through one body of Jesus Christ. Therefore, being part of the Church or the body of Jesus Christ means we are required to lead a life like the one Jesus led when he was on earth.
Also, according to Ephesians 5:25-32, the Bible implies that the Church is the bride of Christ. Therefore, believers learn that the Church is connected to Jesus in an intimate and deep relationship with a covenant similar to the covenant of marriage.
Just like the husband takes care of his wife and loves her, Jesus also takes care of the Church and loves it unconditionally.
According to Acts 20:28, Jesus obtained the Church with His blood. Jesus died on the cross for the redemption of man and for the Church to thrive in Him. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Therefore, he has shown his undying love for the Church as its bride.
How the Word “Church” is used in the New Testament
In the New Testament, the Word church is used to show the gathering of Jesus’ believers. This word does not mean a building.
It has been used to show the presence of Jesus Christ when the believers are together to worship and learn his teachings.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Peter that on the Rock, (He referred to Peter as the Rock), He would build his Church which the gates of hell shall not prevail. The bible says, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus did not mean that he would start constructing a building or hire people to build a church.
He meant that through Peter, many people would receive salvation and accept to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. They would become the members of the body of Christ, which is the Church.
This is seen in Acts 2, where the Bible mentions that Peter gathered people and taught them the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many people were saved and even received the Holy Spirit.
According to Acts 2:47, the Bible implies that Lord added the numbers of those who were saved daily. “Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
This is what Jesus means by building a Church through Peter.
Also, according to Matthew 18:20, the Bible explains that where the people of God are gathered, God’s presence is there. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
This is what the word “Church” is used to represent in the Bible.
Where was the word “church” first mentioned in the Bible?
The first time the word church is mentioned in the Bible is in Matthew 16:18. Jesus told Peter he would build his Church at the Rock, which refers to Peter. This was after Peter revealed that Jesus was the Messiah.
The Bible narrates that when Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples who the people say He is. The disciples gave different answers, which led to Jesus asking them who they say He is.
Simon Peter replied boldly that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God in Heaven.
What was the original Church?
It is quite difficult to trace the original Church or the first Church since the Bible does not give any names. However, according to theologians, the original Church is the New Testament Church which is recorded in the book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul.
Many people believe this because it is said to be God’s foundation of the Church. The Bible in Acts 20:17-38 mentions that the Apostle Paul talked to the church elders and warned them about false prophets.
Though we learn about the church elders, we don’t know the name of the Church that these elders came from. Since Peter was telling them to be careful, this shows that they were true believers of Christ.
Therefore, the Church that is being discussed in this book may be the original Church.
Bible verses about the Church
Acts 20:28 – “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
The bible says the followers of Christ should pay attention to the Holy Spirit and care for the Church that Jesus obtained with his blood.
Ephesians 1:22 – “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.”
God has Jesus Christ in charge of all things for the benefit of the Church.
Colossians 1:18 – “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
The bible says Jesus is the head of the Church.
1 Timothy 3:15 – “If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”
The verse implores that the Church is the household of the living God, the buttress and pillar of truth.
The bible explains that Jesus said to Peter that on the Rock they were at, He would build his Church which the gates of hell shall not prevail.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.