My Thoughts. . .
If the word “churches” includes a singular assembly that would be “a church.” If the expression “of” shows possession, then the expression “churches of” or “church of” should scripturally be followed with the owner of who that “church” or “churches” belong to. That is usually the rules of grammar given from some pulpits. However, there may be an inconsistency in that rule.
Since Jesus promised to build “his” church, that church would belong to him because he is the founder. Therefore, it would be grammatically correct to say, “Jesus Christ’s church, “Jesus’ church,” “church of Jesus,” or “the Lord’s church.” However, for some reason, none of those descriptions are used by God! But our grammar is correct, isn’t it? Just because something is grammatically correct doesn’t mean inspired writers wrote to satisfied our grammatical additions! It also doesn’t mean that the silence of the scriptures negates our additions due to that biblical silence. If there is a scriptural rule which allows us to believe and practice something that the scriptures are silent about, we need to see those detail in writing rather than assume it. Otherwise, would it not be sinful to speak of “Jesus’ church,” “the church of Jesus,” or “the Lord’s church”? Of course, if there is a “silence rule” in scripture, we need to see it spelled out to us. That desire is found within the parameters of giving book, chapter, and verse for what we believe, teach, and practice.
Since 1 Corinthians 14:33 speaks of “the churches of the saints” and these grammatical rules are applied, then “of” would show that “saints” are the owners of those “churches.” Grammar would also allow the singular from the plural which would give us “the church of the saints.” Therefore, it would be scriptural for those saints to speak of “our church.” Since “saints” are Christians, and an expression may be switched, then 1 Corinthians 14:33 speaks of the churches of the Christians, or Christians’ churches.
If an expression in the plural allows one to assume all assemblies wore that plural designation as a singular one, then that rule would apply just as biblically to 1 Corinthians 14:33 as it does to any plural statement about the church. Of course, the assumption that all first century assemblies nailed a sign on the place where they assembled is probably more of an assumption than a biblical truth. Greek Grammar may have different grammatical rules than does the English usage. If we are going to base a belief and practice upon English grammar, we need to know whether English and Greek are always alike. We should also be consistent in using those rules. When assumptions are morphed into scripture, there is the possibility of deception creeping in.
If “the silence of the scriptures” is a valid, ironclad guide, then we must limit our designations to what scripture actually gives. This would mean no additions, no subtractions, just the biblical facts!
The most used designation of the assembly of Jesus is “church.” It is translated from the Greek word ekklesia and found 115 times in the King James Version rendered as “church” and 3 times as “assembly.” The word “church of God” is found eight times, “church of Galatia,” “church of the Laodiceans,” and “church of Thessalonica twice for each. It is used once to describe the church in Ephesus, “church of the firstborn,” and “church of the living God.” The expression “churches of the Gentiles,” “churches of Christ,” “churches of the saints,” “churches of Macedonia,” “churches of Asia,” and “churches of Judaea” are each found once. The expression “churches of Galatia” is found twice. Although Jesus told his disciples that he would build “his church” it strangely is never referred to as “Jesus’ church.” (Matthew 16:18). It is referred to by his title “Christ” once. The KJV and following English translations seldom if ever translate the word “Christ.” It is the Greek word “Christos” from the Hebrew word “Messiah.” The word “Messiah” means “anointed one.” In the Old Testament the Hebrew word is translated in every passage it is found in as “anointed.” However, two times the KJV spells it out as Messiah rather than translating it. Those two times are in Daniel 9:25-26 referring to Jesus. What is interesting, there is no biblical rule telling the KJV translators to anglicize the word rather than translate it. If the KJV had translated the word, we would be reading and saying, “Jesus the anointed one.” The one time the word “Christ” is used in a descriptive name of the church, it is in Romans 16:16. If translated it would read “assemblies of the anointed one.” The word “Christ” is a 1611 gift to the world by the Anglican Church. The ASV, NASV, RSV, and NIV simply followed their lead by refusing to translate it. So, we were shouldered with an Anglican belief.
I have referred to a “rule” advocated by a number of ministers and church scholars who refer to it as “the silence of the Scriptures.” Basically, that doctrine states that if something is not mention in the New Testament, it is without scriptural authority. One would be shocked to learn of the number of additional practices engaged in by all that were introduced by man in the different English translations. Sometimes Grammar can be confusing.
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