6.2.3.6 Further images for the church

The New Testament contains other figurative descriptions that underline the above-mentioned hallmarks of church and illustrate its additional characteristics. These include: God's field, God's building, the house of God, the dwelling place of God, the temple of God, the woman clothed with the sun and the male child, as well as the bride (1 Corinthians 3: 9; 1 Timothy 3: 15; 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17; Revelation 12, Revelation 21: 2). The interpretation of these images is dependent on their respective biblical contexts. Depending on its context, one image can therefore be used to make different statements. It is significant that in some biblical passages several images are linked to each other.

Thus the individual image should not be viewed in isolation. When viewed together, however, the images allow us to recognise that the church is one, apostolic, universal–that is all-encompassing–and holy.

SUMMARY

The New Testament contains a great number of images and examples in which the nature of the church is revealed. (6.2.3)

The image of the church as the body of Christ is often applied to those who, through baptism, faith, and profession, belong to Jesus Christ. It demonstrates that the church is similar to an organism in which all are dependent on one another. The growth of the body is geared toward Christ, who as the head is Lord, standard, and goal. (6.2.3.1)

Just as God chose the people of Israel out of many nations, He has also chosen a people in the new covenant, namely His church. (6.2.3.2)

In the image of the city of God, the church is shown as the place where God dwells in the midst of all those who are His own. (6.2.3.3)

The image of the kingdom of God refers to the rule of God in His church. (6.2.3.4)

The image of the flock shows the church as a community which follows Jesus Christ, the good shepherd. (6.2.3.5)

Other images for the church include the house of God, the temple of God, the woman clothed with the sun and the male child, as well as the bride. (6.2.3.6)

See also