G- The Doctrine of the Church

Home/Studies/Knowledge/G- The Doctrine of the Church
G- The Doctrine of the Church2017-03-30T17:07:03-04:00


The doctrine of the church reveals how God corporately indwells and empowers his people.  This doctrine explores the nature of the church, the purpose of the church and the function of the church.  What is church?  Who is a part of the church?  What is God’s relationship with the church?  What does God call the church to be?  What are the responsibilities of the church?  What are the responsibilities of being a part of a church?  Why is church important?  How does God use the church to build us up in our faith?  Why is church an indispensable part of the Christian life?


Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

The ‘one anothers’

Mark 9:50 – Be at peace with each other. NIV

John 13:14 – You also should wash one another’s feet. NIV

John 13:34 – As I have loved you, so you must love one another. NIV

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. NIV

Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. NIV

Romans 14:13 – Stop passing judgment on one another. NIV

Romans 15:7 – Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you. NIV

Romans 15:14 – I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. NIV

Romans 16:16 – Greet one another with a holy kiss. NIV

1 Corinthians 11:33 – So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. NIV

1 Corinthians 12:25 – Have equal concern for each other. NIV

Galatians 5:13 – Serve one another in love. NIV

Galatians 5:26 – Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. NIV

Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. NIV

Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. NIV

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV

Ephesians 5:19 – Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. NIV

Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. NIV

Philippians2:3 – Consider others better than yourselves. NIV

Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. NIV

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. NIV

1 Thessalonians 3:12 – May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else. NIV

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. NIV

Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another daily. NIV

Hebrews 10:24 – Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. NIV

Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together. NIV

James 4:11 – Brothers, do not slander one another. NIV

James 5:9 – Don’t grumble against each other. NIV

James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. NIV

1 Peter 5:5 – Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. NIV

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?


G1 – Defining Church – Matthew 18: 18-20

Key Words: Church, Spiritual Community, Jesus – Name, Commitment

  1. How does Jesus define church in this passage? Is there anything else needed to be a church than what Christ expresses here: a building, a pastor, programs, a bible, etc… explain?
  2. What is the essence of a church relationship?
  3. What promises are given to those who gather in the name of Jesus?
  4. Does the Bible place special significance on names… for example, what does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus?
  5. Does this give insight into what it means to gather in his name?
  6. Do verses 15-17 help with context for verse 18?
  7. What insights does this passage give regarding the nature of church?
  8. Why is it imperative for all believers to be in a church relationship with someone or some community?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 4.0/5. From 2 votes.
Please wait...

G2 – The Church Universal – Revelation 7: 9-10

Key Words: Church, Inclusion, Praise, Salvation, Purposes of God

  1. Who are the people of the great multitude?
  2. Where are they from?
  3. Where do they gather?
  4. How should this picture encourage and inspire believers on earth?
  5. Is this the church universal from all the ages gathered in heaven… explain?
  6. Why are they wearing white robes… what do the robe symbolize (See verse 7:14)?
  7. What is the nature of their praise?
  8. What does this image teach us about the makeup of the church?
  9. What does this image teach us about the mission of the church?
  10. What insight does this passage give us regarding the nature of church?
  11. What insight does this passage give us regarding the nature of God’s will for humanity?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G3 – Little Christs – Acts 11: 25-26

Key Words: Church, Christlikeness, Spiritual Leadership, Mission

  1. Describe the stature of Saul and Barnabas in the church?
  2. Why is it significant for the church to not only host Saul, but allow him to eventually teach?
  3. Why might the church at Antioch be reluctant to help Saul?
  4. The word Christian means “little Christ.” Who first called the church in Antioch Christians: themselves or others?
  5. Describe the dynamic and witness of a church that compels outsiders to draw the connection between them and Christ?
  6. How does the reception of Saul confirm the exceptional character of the Christians in that church?
  7. Is this church normative or exceptional?
  8. Should this church be normative or exceptional?
  9. What insights does this passage give regarding the nature of church?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G4 – A Church of Saints – Ephesians 1: 15-22

Key Words: Church, Salvation, Hope, Assurance, Spiritual Authority

  1. Who is Paul speaking to in this passage?
  2. Who are those who qualify as Saints (See verse 1:1)?
  3. What do verses 18-19 imply regarding how to become a saint?
  4. Must you be a saint to be a genuine part of the church?
  5. What does this imply regarding the nature of the church?
  6. If the church is composed of believers, how then does one become a genuine member of Christ’s church?
  7. What is Paul praying for regarding the saints or church in Ephesus?
  8. Why and how do the saints in Ephesus have a glorious inheritance?
  9. How do we join in that inheritance?
  10. How do we know that inheritance is secure?
  11. According to verses 20-22, how is our inheritance secure?
  12. What is the nature or basis of authority in the church?
  13. What is implied by Christ being the head of the church?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G5 – A Beautiful Church – Acts 2: 42-47

Key Words: Church, Spiritual Community, Service, Hospitality, Prayer, Favor, Good Deeds

  1. What activities and patterns do we see in this picture of the early church?
  2. What aspects of the church community described in this passage are especially attractive to you?
  3. What do the verbs of this passage teach us about church?
  4. What motivated the people to function in this way: guilt, duty, love, inspiration, excitement, or something else?
  5. What qualities made this church effective and attractive?
  6. How do we know this church was attractive to others?
  7. What did they do to gain favor with the people in the community?
  8. Do you believe that faithfulness, enthusiasm, generosity, hospitality and service would gain favor for the church in society today… explain?
  9. What can we learn from the early church about being church today?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G6 – The Foundation of the Church – Matthew 16: 17-20

Key Words: Church, Spiritual Community, Commitment, Lordship

  1. How do we know that the rock Jesus refers to is Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ rather than Peter himself (See 1 Peter 2: 1-8 for how Peter viewed this concept)?
  2. Who builds the church?
  3. What should this one truth teach us about church growth?
  4. How does Jesus build his church?
  5. What does Peter’s confession reveal about who is a part of the church?
  6. Can anyone be a part of the church who has not acknowledged Christ as Lord?
  7. Why must the church by definition be made of committed Christians, or Christians who have committed themselves to Christ?
  8. How has the church loosened this standard at times?
  9. What happens to the church when it is filled with those who do not accept or practice Christ as Lord?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

The Church is Christ’s Body

G7 – A Body of Service – Romans 12: 3-8

Key Words: Church, Service, Ministry, Spiritual Gifts, Purpose

  1. How is the term body being used in this passage: is it a body like a body of water, or is it like an actual person’s body, or is it something else?
  2. What is Paul trying to communicate in saying we are the body of Christ?
  3. By calling us his body, does Jesus imply that we are to carry on his ministry… explain?
  4. How does Christ compensate for human limitations and shortcomings as we seek to carry on his ministry in the world?
  5. Where do spiritual gifts come from, and why is this source significant?
  6. What is the advantage of spreading the gifts around rather than giving them all to one person?
  7. Does this image of a body carry implications regarding how we are to function and treat one another?
  8. Does this image of a body carry implications regarding ministry and interaction with the world?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G8 – Spiritual Gifts – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-26

Key Words: Church, Spiritual Gifts, Service, Ministry, Purpose, Mission

  1. Where do spiritual; gifts come from?
  2. Who determines who receives various gifts?
  3. Why do different people receive different gifts?
  4. What is the purpose of the gifts according to verse 7?
  5. What do our gifts imply regarding our role in the body?
  6. How well does the body function when everyone accepts their gifts and humbly serves accordingly?
  7. How well does the body function when people are ignorant or apathetic regarding their gifts?
  8. How well does the body function when people are envious or dismissive of the gifts of others?
  9. What role do the gifts play in enabling the church to fulfill its identity as the body of Christ?
  10. How should the gifts shape the vision and ministry of a particular church?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Christ is the Head of the Church

G9 – The Head of the Church – Colossians 1: 15-20

Key Words: Church: Church, Humility, Spiritual Authority, Spiritual Leadership, Mission

  1. What is the status, position and authority of Christ in creation?
  2. What is the status, position and authority of Christ in the Church?
  3. What do we know about the body and how the members function together from 1 Corinthians 12?
  4. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks figuratively about different members of the church being an eye or a hand as members of the body; what does this teach about how the body functions?
  5. Does Christ likewise play a role or fulfill a function in the church?
  6. What does it indicate that Christ is the head of the church rather than an individual being the head?
  7. What does this imply about leadership in the church?
  8. How can we tell when Christ is the head of a church and when he is not?
  9. What does this imply regarding the nature, function and mission of the church?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G10 – The Bride of Christ – Ephesians 5: 21-32

Key Words: Church, Lordship, Jesus – Love

  1. With what analogy does Christ compare the church?
  2. What does this teach about the nature of our relationship with Christ as a people or body?
  3. What does this teach us about how Christ feels about us and relates to us?
  4. How does Christ express the depth of his love for us?
  5. How do verses 31 and 32 work together and what does it indicate about our relationship with Christ?
  6. What does this teach us regarding how we are to feel about Christ and relate to him?
  7. What does the text say about why the church should submit to Christ?
  8. What does it look like when a church submits to Christ?
  9. What does it look like when a church does not submit to Christ?
  10. What does it indicate about a church when they do not submit to Christ?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Unity in the Church

G11 – Destructive Church Attitudes – 1 Corinthians 11: 17-22

Key Words: Church, Unity, Divisions, Lord’s Supper

  1. Why does Paul have no praise for the church in Corinth?
  2. According to verse 17 what effect do divisions have on the church?
  3. How do these divisions deny the very point of the Lord’s Supper?
  4. What should the Lord’s Supper symbolize about a church?
  5. How is the way they practice the Lord’s Supper a denial of the meaning and purpose of the Lord’s Supper?
  6. What adjectives do you believe describe the attitudes of the people in the church of Corinth towards each other?
  7. What adjectives should describe their attitudes towards one another?
  8. How did their actions despise the church as verse 22 indicates?
  9. Instead, how could they have expressed honor towards the church?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G12 – The Preeminence of Unity – John 17: 20-23

Key Words: Church, Unity, Prayer, Mission, Kingdom of God

  1. When is Jesus praying this prayer, and what significance does this timing have?
  2. Why is Jesus praying this prayer… what is his frame of mind?
  3. Of all the things he could pray about before he is arrested, what does he emphasize?
  4. What does the inclusion of a prayer for unity among his followers indicate about the heart and concerns of Christ?
  5. According to the text, why does Jesus desire unity in the church?
  6. What does verse 22 communicate regarding the community within the Godhead and our calling to reflect that community to the world?
  7. What does our unity communicate to the world? How does unity in the church validate the person and work of Christ according to verse 23?
  8. How does disunity undermine the work and kingdom of Christ in the world?
  9. What steps can we as individuals and as churches to practice unity?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Church as an Inclusive Community

G13 – A Family of Acceptance – Galatians 3: 26-28

Key Words: Church, Acceptance, Inclusion, Love, Spiritual Community

  1. In what way is the church to reflect heavenly realities rather than earthly realities?
  2. How strong were class and social distinctions in the first century?
  3. How is the ethic described in this passage hundreds or even thousands of years ahead of its time?
  4. Are human beings generally more concerned with who’s in or who’s out?
  5. Why do people generally drift towards exclusivism?
  6. What happens to the spirit and nature of churches when they become exclusive?
  7. What does this teach about the spirit and culture that should exist in churches?
  8. Describe a church today who genuinely practices the spirit of this passage.
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G14 – We are the Dwelling of God – Ephesians 2: 19-22

Key Words: Church, Church Growth, Spiritual Authority, God’s Presence, Significance

  1. Compare this passage with 1 Peter 2: 1-10.
  2. What similarities do they have?
  3. How do we know these passages are referring to the church?
  4. What does it mean to make Christ the foundation or cornerstone of a church?
  5. How does verse 19 describe our status in the church?
  6. Why would this teaching be surprising to many people in ancient times?
  7. Why would this teaching be surprising to many people in modern times?
  8. How does verse 21 describe church growth?
  9. How does verses 21-22 describe the significance of each and every person as the church grows?
  10. What is the significance of God living in us as a people?
  11. How does God’s presence make church growth a unique and supernatural endeavor?
  12. How would you describe the role and contribution of each person in the church?
  13. How faithful are churches today to this approach, ethic and culture?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Church as a People of Spiritual Growth

G15 – Growing in Christ – Ephesians 4: 11-15

Key Words: Church, Church Growth, Discipleship, Spiritual Leaders, Maturity, Spiritual Authority, Spiritual Growth

  1. What are the 5 roles of church leadership mentioned in verse 11?
  2. What are the six purposes given in verses 12 and 13 for various church leaders?
  3. What do all these purposes have in common?
  4. Are the leaders doing the actual ministry of the church; if not, what role are they playing?
  5. Do church leaders function this way today… explain?
  6. What are the results in the church when the leaders are functioning properly according to verses 14-16?
  7. How important does it seem to Paul that people grow in their faith… explain?
  8. Compare this with Paul’s prayer in 3:14-21.
  9. Does Paul have an expectation that people mature in their faith?
  10. According to these verses in Ephesians, what is the mark of a mature Christian?
  11. Do you feel like you are growing as a Christian… explain?
  12. How can you assist your church to be and make better disciples?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G16 – Passing the Light – 2 Timothy 2:2

Key Words: Church, Discipleship, Spiritual Growth

  1. How many generations of disciples are represented by this verse?
  2. Paul and Timothy are church leaders, is this expectation only for church leaders?
  3. Respond to the following statement: the church is always one generation away from extinction.
  4. Respond to the following statement: everyone should have both a Paul and a Timothy in their life.
  5. Who is your Paul?
  6. Who is your Timothy?
  7. Is it reasonable to expect every Christian in a church to be growing in their faith?
  8. What happens when Christians do not take spiritual growth seriously and stall in their faith?
  • Sit and think before answering
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Church as a People of Mission

G17 – The Great Commission Matthew 28: 18-20

Key Words: Church, Mission, Power, Discipleship

  1. What exactly is the Great Commission asking us to do?
  2. Why do people often understand this command as only making converts?
  3. What is the difference between making converts and making disciples?
  4. How does this distinction impact how we approach our mission?
  5. Some say Jesus gave this command to only those present at that time, what do you say to that?
  6. How can we be assured this command is for all the church for all of time?
  7. Some say this command means that every believer must go to the ends of the earth, what say you to that?
  8. In light of this command, how should all believers relate to sharing the gospel and missions?
  9. What promise did Jesus give to help us as we go in his name?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G18 – To the Ends of the Earth – Acts 1:8

Key Words: Church, Spiritual Leaders, Mission, Fear, Service, Kingdom of God, Holy Spirit

  1. Is this passage prescriptive or descriptive?
  2. Is it a command or a promise?
  3. What was the frame of mind of the disciples who heard this encouragement from Christ?
  4. They thought Jesus was going to usher in his kingdom, and then he was crucified, how did they react to the crucifixion… were they discouraged, frustrated, excited, optimistic, frightened, confused, overwhelmed, confident, joyful, what?
  5. What did they do, how did their actions reveal their frame of mind?
  6. In spite of being frightened, confused and extremely disillusioned, do you think they still desired to serve God?
  7. Do you think they had any clue how to move forward?
  8. How would this promise impact the disciples?
  9. What would change in their minds? What would change in their mission?
  10. How does the presence of the Holy Spirit empower us to do more than we can on our own?
  •  Seek Nuance
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G19 – Giving our Best to the Kingdom – Acts 13: 1-3

Key Words: Church, Love, Spiritual Community, Authenticity, Loving God

  1. What roles did Barnabas and Saul play in the church in Antioch?
  2. How important do you suppose they were in the life of the church?
  3. Do you think they may have been the best teachers in the church… explain?
  4. Why would a healthy and growing church send away two of their best leaders, if not their two very best leaders?
  5. What prompted them to even think to do this in the first place?
  6. What does this kind of seeking and obedience say about the church?
  7. What do their actions reveal about the values of the church?
  8. Did their actions reflect a ‘my kingdom attitude’ or a ‘thy kingdom’ attitude?
  9. Which attitude do we see in churches more today?
  10. How can churches be more about building God’s Kingdom than their own kingdoms?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Church as a People of Service and Love

G20 – Loving One Another – 1 John 4: 7-21

Key Words: Church, Love,

  1. The scriptures command us many times to love one another; why is loving one another is so important according to this passage?
  2. What is the rationale or basis for our love for one another?
  3. In what way is love a validation of our relationship with Christ?
  4. On the other hand, how is our lack of love an indication we do not know or love God?
  5. How is God described in verses 8 and 16?
  6. In what ways should we respond to the love of God?
  7. Why should God’s love naturally inspire us to love?
  8. What does a loving church say about their relationship with God?
  9. What does an unloving church say about their relationship with God?
  10. What does a loving Christian and loving church look like (See 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 and Acts 2: 42-47)?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice

    Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

G21 – A People of Grace– 1 Peter 4: 8-11

Key Words: Church, Love, Grace, spiritual Gifts

  1. How are they to love each other and why?
  2. How does love cover a multitude of sins?
  3. Does this idea follow the same reasoning as Jesus when he gave the Great Commandment in Matthew 22: 37-40?
  4. What does hospitality indicate about a person’s heart?
  5. How do hospitality and service go together?
  6. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?
  7. Why are the various spiritual gifts referred to as God’s grace?
  8. Why do have a responsibility to pass on the grace we have been given?
  9. What does it say about an individual who is not willing to give to others what he has received from God?
  10. What various expressions of grace have you received from God?
  11. How can you specifically pass on to others each of these wonderful gifts?
  12. What does this passage teach regarding our attitude towards others in the church and the spirit that should exist in our churches?
  13. What steps do you need to take to work towards this standard in your church?
  • Remember there are other learning and scripture studies in the Growing Exercises section
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...


  1. Search out all of the ‘one another’ and ‘each other’ type passages in the New Testament? How many different commands do we have regarding how we treat one another?  How does this change your idea of church?  What steps do you need to take to be a better member of your church?  Discuss with your coach.
  1. Contrast and compare the each of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. For what is each church praised?  For what is each church criticized?  What commands are each church given?  Use the answers to these questions to summarize what you believe God is looking for in a church?  Discuss with your coach?
  1. Meet with a leader in your church to discover and implement your spiritual gifts in a tangible way.
  1. If you are not currently actively involved in your church, or you do not feel you know people well in your church, take steps to initiate a deeper relationship. Join a Sunday School class or small group.  Volunteer to serve in a ministry.  Practice hospitality by inviting someone to lunch or dinner either in your home or at a local restaurant.  Strike up spiritual conversations with fellow church members.  Make a genuine effort to connect with others for a sustained period of time (at least 3 month).  Meet with your coach to discuss how it is going.  Do you feel you are connecting with people?  Has your relationship with your church changed?  Has the role of church in your life changed?  What has been a pleasant surprise?  What has been a disappointment?  How can you continue to improve as a church member, friend and fellow Christian?

Start a small group Bible study with the intent of practicing the ‘one anothers’ and the principles you have learned in this study.  Meet with your appropriate church leadership, inform them of your vision and seek their permission and guidance.  Seek out people who may be searching for this kind of biblical community.  Model and practice the community you yourself wish to experience.  Remember, it may take people a while to get it.  Stick with it and stay true to the biblical values you desire to experience.  Allow your coach to mentor you through this process


  1. The Body by Charles Colson
  2. I am a Church Member by Thom Rainer
  3. The Divine Commodity by Shye Jethani
  4. Church: Why Bother? By Phillip Yancy
  5. The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
  6. The Great Evangelical Disaster by Francis Schaeffer
  7. The Great Evangelical Recession by John Dickerson
  8. The Story of Christianity Volumes I &II, by Justo Gonzalez
  9. The Anabaptist Story by William Estep