What Is the Body of Christ?

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The phrase "body of Christ" or variation thereof is used in the Bible to refer to a collection of true Christians in a certain place or to all believers. A Christian is someone who has been called of God, repented of their sins, been baptized and has the gift of the Holy Spirit residing in them.

For even as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function; Likewise, we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another (Romans 12:4 - 5, HBFV throughout)

For the body of Christ is not one member, but many (1Corinthians 12:14).

Now you are the body of Christ, and you are all individual members. (1Corinthians 12:27).

Gifts to Edify

The Apostle Paul reveals that God gives various spiritual gifts to those he has called and chosen in order to accomplish his goals. One of these goals is to strengthen the brethren, the body of Christ, so that they can become mature believers.

And He gave some as apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11 - 12).

Building His Church

During Jesus' ministry he proclaimed that he would build his church (Matthew 16:18). Was he talking about constructing a building for people to worship in? Was he promising to create a religious organization or denomination whose membership list contains all whom God is calling at a particular time? The word our Savior used for church is ekklesia (Strong's Concordance #H1577). It means a collection of those called out of the world whom he personally guides and leads.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church (ekklesia); and He is the Savior of the body (Ephesians 5:23)

The body of Christ is not bound or limited by any single organization created by man. It is rather a spiritual organism that transcends race, sex, class, age or other prejudices humans have used to separate themselves from others (Galatians 3:28). As such, its members (all of which are known only to God in heaven, see Revelation 20:12), are scattered in countless fellowships, ministries and groups around the world.

List of All Terms in
Dictionary of Biblical Words

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