Question:  Why do you spell church of Christ with a small c?   

    Answer: If you are a regular reader of Bible Questions, you probably have also noticed that when we refer to the church we use the lower case for church (except when "church" begins a sentence or we are using it denominationally). I personally appreciate observant people and this question offers us the opportunity to explore a rich truth.

    There are often subtle nuances involved. Some contend "church of Christ" is a noun and, as such, should have a capital c for church. Others maintain "Church of Christ" (upper case) would be more of a denominational use of the expression. It is a fact that the early church (lower case) did not have an official name. Hence, we read of a number of designations (not names, Acts 20: 28; 1 Cor. 1: 2; Rom. 16: 16). Many times we simply read of "the church" (Acts 5; 11).

   The rule of many Bible translators. The translations I have before me all follow the rule of the lower case in the situation being discussed (even though many manuscripts, the uncials, have the upper case regarding all letters or characters). Hence, "...the churches (lower case, dm) of Christ salute you" (Rom. 16: 16). I am aware that in English all proper nouns, a particular person, place, or thing, are supposed to be capitalized. However, I believe the rule which governed most Bible translators who sought to express the Greek in English terms, concepts, and syntax in the case of "church" is a good rule, as I understand it.

    Beloved, the church Jesus built, while it is an organized entity, locally viewed, is not a denomination (Matt. 16: 18; 1 Tim. 3: 1-15; I Cor. 1: 10-13). The scriptures do not assign an official name, as such, to Jesus' church. Therefore, I subscribe to the rule practiced in translations using the lower case for church. Please give serious thought to the underlying reasoning for the foregoing.

Close Window