Ecclesiological Metaphors: The Church As A Family.

The Biblical writers often used metaphors to help their readers grasp spiritual Truth. Metaphors are God’s mercies to man who, most times, cannot readily understand spiritual things (due to the state of his heart).

In seeking to explain the Church to man, God inspired metaphors to help paint a picture. These metaphors would serve as a form of visual aid for us.

In the New Testament, Christ’s Church is called a “family.” The Greek word often used is “oikos” (οἶκος), which means “a household.”

1 Timothy 3:15 (NKJV)

15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the HOUSE (oikos) OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH of the LIVING GOD, the pillar and ground of the truth.  

If we are a household and that household is the household (or family) of God, then that means God is our Father. Galatians 3:26 says, “For you are all SONS OF GOD through faith in Christ Jesus.

This also means we are ALL brethren. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH.” A slightly different Greek word is used here (Gal 6:10) for “household.” It is the word “oikeios” (οἰκεῖος), which refers to those related by blood i.e. brethren. It is used figuratively here for intimacy. So no Christian is alone. Spiritually, we are all of the same family. God is our Father.

This same word “oikeios” (οἰκεῖος) is used again in Ephesians 2:19, which says, “Now, therefore, you are no longer STRANGERS and FOREIGNERS, but FELLOW CITIZENS with THE SAINTS and MEMBERS of the HOUSEHOLD (oikeios) OF GOD.

The Old Testament had spoken concerning Yahweh’s fatherly role.

Psalm 68:5-6 (NKJV)

5 A FATHER OF THE FATHERLESS, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. 6 GOD SETS THE SOLITARY IN FAMILIES; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. 

Here, He is described as fathering the fatherless and setting in families. This finds ultimate fulfillment in the New Testament:

Romans 8:15-16 (NKJV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the SPIRIT OF ADOPTION by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are CHILDREN OF GOD. 

Galatians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

6 And BECAUSE YOU ARE SONS, God has sent forth THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore YOU ARE NO LONGER A SLAVE BUT A SON, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

Therefore, the Church is an household of SONS. We all have the same Father (God) and are therefore brothers.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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