The Bible on the Church and Ministry

  1. The People of God

The historic community whose origin stemmed from God’s covenant promises and whose pilgrimage had been sustained by God’s call.

  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 – You are . . . God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of the One Who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
  • Genesis 12:1-3 – God’s covenant with Abraham
  • Exodus 19:1-6 – Out of covenant, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation
  1. The New Creation

The new community growing from the new humanity, revealed by Jesus Christ, and characterized by a continuing renewal in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

  • 2 Cor. 5:17 – If anyone is in Christ, w/he is a new creation. The old has passed away – behold, the new has come!
  • James 1:18 – Of God’s own will God brought us forth by the Word of truth., that we should be a kind of first fruits of God’s creatures.
  1. The Fellowship in Faith

The disciplined company of believers bound together in Christ and called to a faithful witness of servanthood to one another and to the world.

  • John 15:26-27 – The Counselor . . . will bear witness to Me, and you also are witnesses, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
  • John 3:11 – We speak of what we know and bear witness to what we have seen.
  • 1 John 1:3 (see vv. 1-4) – That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us.
  1. The Body of Christ

The spiritual body, called into ministry, consisting of many members with a variety of gifts, united through the covenant with Jesus, Who is its head.

  • 1 Cor. 12:27 – Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
  • 1 Cor. 12:12 – 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.


Ideas from Paul S. Minear, Images of the Church in the New Testament, presented by the Center for Parish Development, Chicago.