What do you think of when you hear the word church? The word church is used in many different ways by people today. The word church is defined as those called out for a specific purpose. It simply means the people whom Jesus has called by the gospel: To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2.14). The Bible primarily uses the word church in two senses. First, the Bible uses the word church to describe all people whom Jesus has called by the gospel. For example, when Jesus said, I will build my church (Matthew 16.18), and when Paul said, Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body (Ephesians 5.23). Secondly, the Bible uses the word church to describe those whom Jesus has called by the gospel that are in a specific geographical region and have joined together. For example, Paul addresses his letters to the Corinthians to the church of God that is in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1.2; 2 Corinthians 1.2), and Luke describes how there arose “a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 8.1). Thus the Bible refers to the universal church (all whom Jesus has called by the gospel) and to local churches (those whom Jesus has called by the gospel in a specific locality that have joined together).
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