House churches and early church buildings (1 John 1)

Bilderesultat for house churches

The earliest Christians gathered for worship and fellowship in private homes. Affluent Christians with more spacious homes gererally opened them to their brothers and sister in Christ. In a context in which Christians frequently faced persecution, there were obvious advantages to meeting in a private setting. This practice is also consistent with kinship language found in the Bible. The New Testament letters mention several of the house churches in which believers congregated:

  • Romans 16:5 speaks of several house churches in Rome, and the households mentioned in Romans 16:10-11, as well as the groups in 16:14-15, might indicate the identities of the various homeowners.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19 tells of a church that met in the house of Aquila and Pricilla.
  • Colossians 4:15 reveals that a church gathered in Nympha’s home.
  • Philemon 2 contains Paul’s greetings to the church that met in the home of Philemon, Apphia or Archippus.
  • 2 John 10-11 warned its readers against bringing false teachers into their houses. This warning may have been a more comprehensive admonition to be cautious not to accept false teachers into the church.


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