We have identified the four "church in thy house" type phrases found in Paul's epistles. We do not believe that these phrases are of insignificant. Quite the contrary, God has determined to emphasize them in His word.

Over the years we have also come to understand that there are other references to this basic Pauline pattern, that should not be overlooked. Paul's pattern was quite simple, he established local gatherings of saints primarily around converted households. Here are passages that we believe refer to this natural gathering of the body of Christ.

"And a certain woman named Lydia . . . and her household . . . besought us, saying, If you have judged me faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. . . . And they . . . entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them . . . " (Acts 16:14,15,40).

"But the Jews which believed not . . . gathered a company . . . and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And . . .. they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers. . . " (Acts 17:5).

"And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus . . . And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 18:7,11)

" . . . house to house" (Acts 20:20).

"And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching . . ." (Acts 28:30).

". . . Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household" (Romans 16:10).

". . . Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord" (Romans 16:11).

"Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them" (Romans 16:14).

"Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them" (Romans 16:15)

"Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, salute you . . ." (Romans 16:23).

" . . . them which are of the house of Chloe . . ." (I Corinthians 1:11).

". . . they creep into houses . . ." (II Timothy 3:6).

". . . Salute . . . the household of Onesiphorus" (II Timothy 4:19).

". . . who subvert whole houses . . ." (Titus 1:11).

This Pauline pattern of the church (i.e., the body of Christ) is not to be confused with Paul's evangelistic efforts -- the preaching of the gospel that was primarily public in nature. In this phase of Paul's ministry he utilized many public places ("publickly" Acts 20:20), such as synagogues (Acts 13:5, 14-50; 14:1-7; etc.), open air (Acts 14:8-21; 16:13, 19-22; 17:22-31, etc.), courtrooms (Acts 18:12-16, etc.), and schools (Acts 19:9-10, where he "disputed"). But, once again these public activities are not to be confused with what Paul did when he "gathered the church togeher" (Acts 14:27).

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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