We have early historical evidence that for ancient Roman and Greek Christians (who converted from polytheistic beliefs), the act of going to church was much more meaningful than we might initially think.
In the Roman Empire, religion was a public matter and all religious practices(such as sacrifices to the gods) of non-Christian Romans were very much an open, public endeavor.
So, the concept of having a church meeting “behind closed doors” was a foreign and uncommon notion for those very first precious Christians that first adopted the practice.
When pagan Romans saw that the newly-converted Roman Christians engaged in religious meetings behind closed doors, this resulted in weird stares and looks.
Parenthetically, the act of going to church is described in many instances in the New Testament, and the Greek word for “church” is ekklesia; this word actually means congregation.
So, right out of the gate it is important to note that this word in the New Testament does not refer to a brick and mortar building; instead, it refers to a gathering of people.
There isn’t such a thing as “churches” in plural, as the body of Christ is only one; instead what the Greek refers to in the plural are “congregations” or gatherings of followers of Christ.
In short, in the present day many eschew the practice of going to meet with the other members of the body of Christ, but as we will see in these Bible verses, doing this is much more important than we initially thought.
1. Luke 22:19:
19 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
First illuminating us about why we should go to church is this Bible verse. How can we partake in the Lord’s Supper if first we do not meet together?
How else would we then break the bread and take the cup of the Lord’s Supper is we are not physically together?
2. John 13:34-35: One Of The Most Important Bible Verses About Going To Church
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In this Bible verse, the habit of going to church is very much implied. How can you love someone if you never see him or her?
As we will see further on, this Bible verse also enlightens us about why online preachings and church services will never be enough to replace physical meetings with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
3. 1 Corinthians 14:26:
26 “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”
In this verse, the sole fact and mention that Paul stresses, that “that the church may be built up,” intrinsically conveys by default that building up the church (and going to it) was and is important.
He had to instruct the Corinthians to not mess around.
4. Galatians 6:2:
2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
In this verse from Galatians, where Paul instructs to each church member to “carry each other’s burdens” we see why it is important that we go to church.
To carry another person’s burdens, whether those are emotional, financial or otherwise, first, we need to see them.
5. Matthew 18:20: Jesus Christ Is With Us Wherever We Congregate
20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
This Bible verse from Matthew is beautiful in the way that it presents theological difference from the Old Testament, in which the presence of God was in a physical place for the Jews to go to.
Pastors are the leaders who guide, but according to the Lord, as long as two little sheep(any sheep) of the gather anywhere to pray, he is with them. This is powerful.
If he wants his presence to be with us when we are together, then we must be together.
6. Psalm 27:
4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
The Old Testament also teaches us important things about going to church. This Psalm refers to Solomon’s Temple (which was the physical dwelling of the presence of God in the Old Testament).
Even though it was destroyed in 70 A.D, it has important implications for us nevertheless, as in this time, it is the gathering of followers of Christ where God’s presence is now.
7. Isaiah 56:7:
7“Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
As with the previous Psalm, in this verse, we learn from Isaiah that people came to a physical building to bring sacrifices and pray.
But in the present time it is in the congregation (in houses or anywhere) where we must now gather, and pray to God.
8. Psalm 84:10:
10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
Psalm 84 should inspire us to be the person who loves to dwell in the house of God, especially, to live close to the people that God loves, i.e. our fellow brethren.
9. 2 John 1:12:
12 “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
2 John 1:12 is a powerful example from the apostle John depicting why we should go to church, and especially why we should circumvent initiatives such as online preachings.
Referencing the communication methods that existed in his time, John himself expresses that “paper and ink” was a not a desirable enough communication method for him when he reached out to his fellow, beloved brothers and sisters.
He stressed how much he wanted to see them face-to-face, and therefore how much he loved them. We should learn from his love.
10. 1 Corinthians 11:18:
18 “In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.”
In this verse, where Paul protests that there were divisions when the Corinthians came together, he emphasizes the importance of being a united ekklesia, and of course being one that meets together.
11. Acts 2:1:
1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.”
This verse depicts something beautiful: what the first believers were together exactly at moment of Pentecost.
Even if it does not explicitly say that they were praying together, we can all expect that they were definitely not talking about the weather. We should learn from them today.
12. Acts 2:46:
46 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
This Bible verse is beautiful in that it depicts a dual practice: Christians met both at the temple (before it was destroyed in 70 A.D) and at their own houses to pray.
In this way, the book of Acts depicts the importance for the body of Christ to meet together, love one another, and be close.
13. Acts 3:1:
1“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”
Lastly from Acts, in one of the various occurrences in Acts depicting believers’ meetings, we learn in this Bible verse about a specific mention of the apostles Peter and John going up to pray with others.
They knew they could probably pray alone at home, but they stood up, rose and went to the special location where they could meet other believers and engage in worship and prayer.
14. Hebrews 10:25: Paul’s Direct Emphasis On The Importance of Church Attendance
25 “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:25 is Paul’s first direct and explicit mention of the importance of going to church, and he especially complains about individuals who were ceasing to go to church.
Of all the apostles, Paul gives the most explicit instruction to go to church. He establishes the fellowship with other believers as a necessary practice.
15. James 5:14:
14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”
How can be the sick be healed and be prayed for if believers are not together first? Indeed, the leaders can’t pray for the sick if the people do not show up.
This Bible verse shows that church attendance cannot possibly be circumvented, and it is even is the place of miracles.
16. 3 John 1:5:
5 “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters even though they are strangers to you.”
It is worth noting that the Greek word that describes “brothers and sisters” in this verse is the Greek word ‘adelphoi’, which is a plural noun and denotes siblings born from the same womb, of both genders.
This Bible verse conveys how powerful the unity of the church must be; in the way that it utilizes a Greek word that denotes blood- relationships for describing Christian strangers it is powerful.
Its teaching is that we are to go to church, and love our fellow adelphoi in Christ, and even if they strangers, we are to do this.
Undoubtedly, all of these Bible verses convey in conjunction that the body of Christ must be together, and not scattered, avoiding each other or remaining at home. The apostles showed us by example that fellowship with our adelphoi is essential in the faith.
Let us follow the words of God, and the deeds of the apostles, and have relentless fellowship and communion with our beloved adelphoi.
Let us pray for having hearts that love our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, so we are not hypocrites who have faith or fellowship in words only.
If we do not love our adelphoi enough to see them in person, we are not fulfilling the commandment of the Lord.
Whether it is for the breaking of bread, learning, praying or teaching, let us congregate as one body. With these Bible verses about going to church, I encourage you, my dear Christian to rise up and meet with your fellow people in the faith, and above all of course, love them.