What Does the Bible Say About the Different Names of the Church?

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God’s church is referred to in the Bible by several different names that in different ways say something about the nature of the church and what its function and purpose is. Some examples are Believers, body of Christ, God’s children, Christians, the flock of God, Sanctified, the Saints, the church of God, the Israel of God, elect Exiles, the Disciples, the Way, the sect of the Nazarenes, Pillar and Foundation of Truth, Firstborn. The most commonly used name for Christians in the New Testament is “the Saints”.

Bible Verses

44And all who believed were together and had all things in common.(Ac 2:44)

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.(1 Co 12:27)

2Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.(1 Jn 3:2)

16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.(1 Pe 4:16)

2shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;(1 Pe 5:2)

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,(1 Pe 1:1)

2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:(1 Co 1:2)

1After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia.(Ac 20:1)

2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.(Ac 9:2)

5For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.(Ac 24:5)

7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(Ro 1:7)

Study Questions

  1. Which of these names can you identify with the most?
  2. Which of these names can you identify with the least?
  3. Why was the Christian faith originally called the Way?
  4. What does the word “church” mean?
  5. Why is the term “the Saints” such a common description of the church?
  6. What meaning do the different names have for us believers?

Additional Bible Verses

Gal 6:15-16, 1 Tim 3:15, Heb 12:23

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