[b-greek] Re: Oikos and House Churches

From: Larry Overton (LGO@larryoverton.com)
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 07:48:53 EDT

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<P>James Gehman wrote <BR></P>
<P>&lt;&lt; It is sometimes argued that the early churches were house churches,
based on the use of oikos in the New Testament (such as Acts 2.42-47: KAT'
OIKON). This seems to be so as best as I can tell... &gt;&gt;</P>
<P>Yes, I would agree that the use of OIKOS in the NT leads to the conclusion
that "early churches were house churches."</P>
<P>&lt;&lt; the idea that the church became corrupted with the result that the
house chuches [sic] were moved into 'church buildings.' &gt;&gt;</P>
<P>The argument presented above is more a matter of history. It would not be
difficult to demonstrate from the later writings of the NT era and
ecclesiastical history that the EKKLHSIA did struggle with compromise and
corruption in the centuries that followed the first. Nor would it be difficult
to present evidence from history of a move of EKKLHSIAI from homes to buildings
in the latter half of the third century AD on into the time of Constantine and
the Edict of Milan. Such a discussion, however, is probably beyond the scope of
the parameters of this list.</P>
<P>As for the semantic range of OIKOS, lexicons do in fact list other meanings
(e.g., "part of a house, a room"; "a temple" as "the house of a god"; "family,
household"; "lineage") besides "a dwelling; house; home." The basic meaning of "
house," however, is seen in each of these applications. This is certainly true
of the exceptional applications of the term OIKOS found in the NT. The following
exceptional applications appear to refer to the building in question as an OIKOS
specifically because it was a "house" after a fashion.</P>
<P>EN TOIS OIKOIS TWN BASILEWN EISIN - "are in king's houses" or "palaces"
(Matt. 11:8)</P>
<P>TON OIKON TOU QEOU - "the house of God", i.e., "the Temple" (Matt. 12:4; Mark
2:26; Luke 6:4)</P>
<P>hO OIKOS MOU OIKOS PROSEUCHS KLHQHSETAI - "My house will be called a house of
prayer", i.e., "the Temple" (Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46)</P>
<P>METAXU TOU QUSIASTHRIOU KAI TOU OIKOU - literally, "between the altar and the
house", i.e., "the Temple", "the sanctuary" (Luke 11:51; cf. Matt. 23:35, which
has NAOU, "temple")</P>
<P>TON OIKON TOU PATROS MOU - "my Father's house", i.e., "the Temple" (John
<P>SOLOMWN DE OIKODOMHSEN AUTW OIKON - "But Solomon built Him a house." i.e.,
"the Temple" (Acts 7:47)</P>
<P>Just my two cents worth.</P>
<P>Larry G. Overton</P></DIV>
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