The Function of the Weekly Christian Meeting

The layout of synagogues testifies to their function. Paul transfers the Shabbat “reading, teaching, and exhortation” to the Lord’s Day Christian meeting (1Tim. 4.13-anagnosei, paraklaysei, didaskalia). The Jerusalem Temple, by contrast, functioned daily in cultic worship by portraying shadows, symbols, and signs of greater realities. While both the individual Christian’s body and the collective Christian community are temples, these realities do not negate the weekly meeting’s function. Instead, they are supplemented by the observance of the Lord’s Supper as part of the service: On the first day of the week we came together to break bread (Acts 20.7a).

Therefore, the weekly church meeting, as instituted by Christ’s Apostles, did not resemble either a concert (most Evangelicals) or a Mass (Orthodox and Roman Catholic) in any way whatsoever. Instead, it operated by individual participation of breaking bread (indicating the proclamation of Christ’s death-1Cor. 11.26) with reading, teaching, and exhortation.

A reconstruction of the Magdala Synagogue – Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

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