What did the early church do while “in church”?

Acts 2:42, 46, They continued. (See notes at 1 Tim 4:13.) This passage along with 1 Tim 4:13 is a list of activities the early saints did when they gathered together. This included continuing steadfastly in the apostles’s doctrine, which includes “reading [the “Old Testament” Scriptures], exhortation, [studying or teaching] doctrine” (1 Tim 4:13), fellowshipping, eating meals together, praying and praise [and worshipping] Elohim. Expounding on this further, we read in 1 Cor 14:26, “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” Spiritual gifts should be exercised when the saints come together as well (1 Cor 14:12). How many modern church gatherings habitually incorporate these elements into their weekly meetings?

The following is a list of activities the first century saints did when they came together on the Shabbat and at other times:

  • Teaching the word of Elohim, teaching doctrine (including the Torah), presenting the gospel (Acts 2:40–42; 1 Cor 14:26; 1 Tim 4:13)
  • Baptizing new converts (Acts 2:41)
  • Fellowshipping (Acts 2:42)
  • Sharing meals together (Acts 2:42
  • Praying for the sick (Jas 5:14)
  • Singing psalms (Gr. psallo meaning “to play on a stringed instrument a praise song to Elohim, Jas 5:13) or to give a psalm (Gr. psalmos meaning “a striking, twanging, of a striking the chords of a musical instrument, of a pious song, a psalm, 1 Cor 14:26), for singing in general (1 Cor 14:15)
  • Confessing one’s sins one to another (Jas 5:16)
  • Praying for one another (Jas 5:16) or prayer in general (1 C or 14:14–15)
  • Turning those who are wandering from the truth back to Elohim (Jas 5:19)
  • Reading the Scriptures (1 Tim 4:13)
  • Exhorting (Gr. paraklesis meaning “calling near, summons, importation, supplication, entreaty, admonition, encouragement,consolation, comfort, solace,” 1 Tim 4:13)
  • Exercising the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12) including speaking in tongues and prophesying (1 Cor 14:12, 26, 29, 39)
  • Giving spiritual revelations (1 Cor 14:26)

5 thoughts on “What did the early church do while “in church”?

  1. My church and I think typical format: Mingling fellowship before Bible Study (Sunday school), more mingling before opening prayer, Praise and Worship mingled with prayer, end of praise & worship with prayer, introduction to congregation, prayer, sermon; speak of meetings etc, prayer before offering, salutation& ending prayer. Possible fellowship potluck depending.

  2. I believe the thrust of “breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42 has more to do w/ the sacrament of the Lord’s presence, the eucharist, than it does w/ sharing meal e/ our another, although those are not excluded. In Luke 22 @ the institution of the Lord’s supper and in John 6 where He proclaimed himself to be the “Bread of Life,” repeatedly, the same word (or its cognates) for “bread” is used each time. We have, and the early church both heard and understood this principle, we have no life in us if we feast not upon the Bread of Presence, the ultimate Showbread, in our temple-bodies.

  3. I long for this type of fellowship. This is way it should be and finding and using our gifts for the body. ️

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