The New Testament also contains a few more images of the church that are used less but still pivotal to the understanding of the church. First, Paul described the church as serving as the pillar and bulwark of the truth. In the Book of 1 Timothy, Paul urged Timothy to ensure that the church was behaving properly and had a proper order concerning church life. In a world full of trivial and worthless philosophies and ideologies, the church was expected to function as the primary bearer of truth in the world. The church is to provide the gospel to all people making them the pillar and bulwark of the truth for all mankind.
Second, Peter described the church as a royal priesthood. As Christ’s priesthood, the church is to understand fully the responsibility of offering pure and holy sacrifices of praise to God. The church is also expected to represent God to the people by instructing them in holy living. As a holy assembly of people acknowledging a relationship with God, believers are expected to understand their role and fulfill their priestly duties.
Third, Paul described the church universal as an olive tree. Addressing the church assimilating both Jews and Gentiles, Paul presented the church as an olive tree of many branches. Paul stated that Israel served as a domestic tree which needed some of its branches cut off in order to graft branches from a wild tree, namely, the Gentiles. While Gentiles had always been seen as drastically different by the Jewish race, Paul taught that the church was bringing in all types of people regardless of nationality or previous spiritual affiliation.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.