Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: What is the difference in the figure of the local assembly as a building (1 Cor. 3:9) and a House of God? (1 Tim. 3:15).

Answer: To understand the various descriptive terms describing a local church of God is of great value and spiritual profit and will lead believers to appreciate more fully the place where God's house dwelleth.

There is a difference in understanding the words of Paul "Ye are God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9) and His later phrase written to Timothy that he might know "How men ought to behave themselves in the House of God" (1 Tim. 3:15 R.V.)

The assembly of God as a building, that is a building in the course of erection, presents great truths concerning the foundation and progress in structure. The only foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ and the means of building the doctrine of the Scriptures. The fire will try the work of the builders. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. (l Corinthians 3:14-15)

It is very important to realize that sound doctrines are not the foundation of a church of God. The foundation is Christ alone, but all teaching to build up must center in the Lord Jesus, bringing honor to God.

Any teaching which is Bible-based, and presenting the whole truth of God, is gold, silver and precious stones. While that which subverts or suppresses sound doctrine is wood, hay and stubble and will be burnt at the Bema of Christ. We know that no believer will be burnt, but the outcome of fleshly words of man's teaching of his own devising will be.

A local assembly is also "a house." Here the figure differs from a building in the process of erection, to a dwelling place for a household. Authority and order is the outstanding teaching of the house. All authority is vested in our Lord Jesus. He who is the foundation of the building is the Head of house. Paul writing to Timothy gave him instructions that he might know how to impart teaching concerning the behavior of those in the house of God. The first epistle to Timothy was written to deal with the conduct of the various members who formed the assembly as the House of God. This is most important as the local church is also the pillar and ground of the truth of God concerning the person, worth and work of His Son, our glorious Lord. The doctrines taught in the building figure are to be expressed in the godliness of the behavior of those in God's house. The basic difference is evident in the two figures. In the first it is doctrines taught, in the second truth practised.

Question: What is inferred in the question of the people of Nazareth concerning the Lord? "Is not this the carpenter?" (Mark 6:3).

Answer: From this expression it can be reasonably inferred that our Lord Jesus acted as the carpenter of Nazareth. His workmanship was above all others. The words also would infer that Joseph was dead and that He was the support of His widowed mother. That the rest of the family did not believe in Him or honor Him is a sad proof of the blindness of man's heart (verse 3). These things being so add to the grace of Him who remained hidden at Nazareth and worked so lovingly with His hands in the common rounds of the life of a workman. The sincerity and lowliness of Christ in the despised Nazareth makes a direct appeal to the love and gratitude of our hearts. His Nazareth experience reveals His condescending love as the eternal friend. Jesus Christ the Same!