Believe and Church
We want to take a moment and examine two words, two concepts about which there seems to be some confusion in the Body today. We also always want to keep in mind that the purpose of all Scripture is to point us to The Messiah Who in turn makes the way for us to be restored to our Heavenly Father.
The Scriptures repeat over and over again the importance and necessity and preeminence of ‘believing’ in The One Who is Worthy to be believed.
“For in the volume of the Book it is written of Me.” Hebrews 10:7
“And beginning with Moses and the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27
“Yeshua said – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; No one comes to the Father except through Me.”” John 14:6
Now, let’s begin . . .
The English word ‘believe’ appears over 170 times in the Scripture (we’re using the NKJV) – with at least 25 of those occurrences in the Tanakh or Old Testament. Without exception, each of those occurrences is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘aman’ (Strong’s #0539 and the source of the English word ‘amen’) which means ‘to support, confirm, be faithful to, to rely upon, to entrust.’
In the remaining 145+ appearances of ‘believe’ in the Apostolic Writings/New Testament, some are in the positive – believing – and some are in the negative or ‘not believing’. But all forms of the word stem from the same root – Strong’s #2982 – which, when simply put, means ‘persuaded’.
“For this reason I (Paul) also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have BELIEVED and am PERSUADED that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that Day.” (2Tim 1:12)
Belief – in both ends of The Bible – means simply what it says – ‘to be persuaded, to be faithful to, to entrust to, to rely upon’. Belief in Messiah Yeshua is the only separation between difference heaven and hell.
Now, let’s talk about the ‘church’, or ‘circus’ as some might phrase it. And yes, sometimes the congregation can look like a circus with folks singing and dancing, praising and praying, especially when The Holy Spirit chooses to move on and among the people!
But again, let’s look at the word ‘church’. There are at least two primary schools of thought as to the etymology of the word ‘church’. One trail leads backward from the old English ‘cirice’ through the German ‘kirika’ to the Greek ‘kuriake’ which means ‘of or pertaining to the Lord’ and is related to the Greek word ‘kurios’ (translated most often in the NT as Lord) and refers to ‘Master’ or ‘Him to Whom it belongs.
The other school of thought on this matter states that the word ‘church’ has it’s roots in the Anglo-Saxon ‘kirke’ which hails from the latin ‘circus’, a Romanized version of the Greek word ‘kirkos’ which simply means ‘ ring or circle’. There is evidence to support the fact that early assemblies would at times gather in a circle, much like what we see today in groups both large and small.
Both schools of thought on this matter (whether they realize it or not) seem to wind up at the same place – a circle or ring of believers that trust in The One To Whom It All Belongs.
There ARE so-called ‘congregations’ that push the limits of behavior beyond what would be considered Scripturally acceptable, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
So whether it’s ecclesia or congregation or assembly or kahal or edah or sode or church or, even at times perhaps a circus, it’s all about Him. Shabbat Shalom