House Church Buildings
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Early Christian Clubs 154

Synagogue Worship

SynagogueThe physical setting of the Apostle's assemblies, including the "Lord's Supper", can easily be visualized. Unlike the Jewish synagogue associations as at Capernaum Christians possessed no church buildings at all initially. While it is not impossible that, like the clubs, some early Christian congregations may have been given property, they apparently did not set aside house church buildings exclusively for worship until the late second century.✞

Homes or Rented Hall

Priscilla and AquilaLike the clubs, the house churches were sometimes a rented building such as the hall or "club of Tyrannus" or, as was more usually the case, they met in the home of a more affluent convert or Christian. Among such converts were Philemon and Nympha of Colossae, Jason at Thessalonica, and Titius Justus and Chloe at Corinth. Lydia at Philippi was probably another and possibly Stephanas and Gaius at Corinth, Phoebe at Cenchreae, and Onesiphorus at Ephesus. E. Earl Ellis (1926-2010 AD) in "Pauline Theology - Ministry and Society" tells us that some of these people held slaves, operated commercial enterprises, or were generally well-traveled, and in all likelihood they belonged to the wealthier strata of society and lived in the genteel surroundings exemplified by homes in Pompeii and Ephesus. They not only provided the buildings for a meeting place but also, like the patrons of the clubs, were sometimes its benefactors and leaders in its local ministry. The couple, Priscilla and Aquila, Paul's fellow missionaries, also belonged to a prosperous merchant class, having homes used by the church in one way or another in Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome.✞

"House Church Buildings"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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