The Definite Article THE
Mr. Webster says that the word The is used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance.
If I say the man, I am specifying a specific man and not a group of men. If I say the apple, I am specifying a specific apple and not the whole bushel. If I say go stand in the corner, I mean a specific corner and not just any corner. If I say a corner you may stand in any corner but by saying the corner I am pointing out a specific corner. When the bible speaks of the church, it is speaking of a specific church and not a group of churches. When Christ said he would build his church, he was talking about a specific church. (Matthew 16:18 “I will build my church”) He did not say he was going to build a bunch of churches. The possessive my indicates one church. The possessive my also indicates ownership. Ownership indicates authority to control or rule over. The singular church indicates one church, not churches. We can say then that Christ built the church.
There are 70 verses in the New Testament that use the phrase “the church” when talking about the church. The scriptures do not say a church, any church or that church or this church. The bible plainly says the church. The church is a definite church. The church is one church. The church indicates a specific church and it is the church that Christ purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28) The church is the only church mentioned in the bible. Paul uses the phrase the churches of Christ to indicate churches in different cities. These churches in different cities were congregations of the church. If Christ purchased the church, then there can only be one church. All churches started by man hundreds of years later are not the church.
When the bible speaks of the church, it eliminates all other churches. An example would be if you went to the car dealer to purchase a red car. You have eliminated all other colors of cars. You would not look at blue cars, white cars, green cars or any other color except red. By specifying red, you have eliminated all other colors. When Christ said he would build his church, he eliminated all other churches. When God told Noah to build an Ark, he eliminated all other structures. Noah could not build a house, a barn, a fence, a chicken coop, or any other structure. God eliminated all other structures when he said Ark. When God told Joseph to take Mary and the Baby Jesus to Egypt, he eliminated all other countries. Joseph could not go to Italy, Assyria, Samaria, Jordan, or any other country. God eliminated all those countries when he told Joseph to go to Egypt. In these cases God did not say not build other structures or not to go to any other country. He did not have to say not to since he eliminated the other choices by specifying what he wanted them to do.
When God tells us to do a thing, he does not have to tell us not to do other things. In the book of Mark, chapter 16, and verse 16, Christ said “he who believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” He did not say that he who is not baptized will not be saved. He did not have to. Since he said that he who believeth and is baptized will be saved, then it stands to reason that he who does not believe and is not baptized will not be saved. Things that the bible does not say have no bearing on our salvation or anything else. God told the early Jews to keep the Sabbath day holy. He did not have to tell them not to keep Sunday thru Friday holy. Since God only said to keep the Sabbath day holy, they knew that he meant the Sabbath day. It is what God has said that we should put our trust in, not what he has left unsaid. God had told us what to do in matters of religion. It should be obvious what we are not supposed to do. If God did not say do it, we do not do it! It couldn’t get any easier than that! Donald Boice
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