I am very interested in the church’s purpose when it gathers. I have previously posted a long (50 page) paper on this topic. However, I’m currently working on another paper for school. There is a short – 5 page – section in this latest paper describing edification during the gathering of the church. I thought I would post this section in four different blog posts. I would appreciate feedback as I finish working on the paper. This post is the introduction to edification during the church gathering:
According to several New Testament passages, the church gathered often, sometimes daily. In 1 Cor. 14:26, Paul instructed the church in Corinth that whenever they came together, everything they do should edify the church. The term edification, or building up,  arises from the New Testament authorsâ€™ use of the Î¿Î¹ÎºÎ¿Î´Î¿Î¼ÎÏ‰ / Î¿Î¹ÎºÎ¿Î´Î¿Î¼Î® word groups. Furthermore, in several passages, the biblical writers associate edification with exhortation (Ï€Î±ÏÎ¬ÎºÎ»Î·ÏƒÎ¹Ï‚â€”1 Cor. 14:3), comfort (Ï€Î±ÏÎ±Î¼Ï…Î¸Î¯Î±â€”1 Cor 14:3), and benefit to others (ÏƒÏ…Î¼Ï†ÎÏÏ‰â€”1 Cor. 10:23). Among the authors of the New Testament, Paul particularly used the language of edification to describe the goal of believers toward one another, either during the gathering, or not; and his exhortation toward edification continued throughout his apostolic career from his earliest extant letter, until his latest. Similarly, Luke and Jude call believers to edify one another (Acts 9:31; 20:32; Jude 1:20), and the author of Hebrews reminds his readers that they should continue to gather together in order to encourage one another toward love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25).
David Peterson suggests that edification is the primary (or possibly sole) purpose for those early Christian gatherings. While others disagree that edification is the sole purpose of the church gathering, most agree that edification is at least one of the purposes. Therefore, when a church gathers together, they must examine their actions and their words to determine if they are edifying one another, otherwise they may not accomplish this scriptural purpose. According to Scripture, there are several requirements that a church must meet in order to ensure that those gathering together edify one another. Among these requirements are the following: 1) the source and result of this edification must be found in the person of Jesus Christ, 2) the focus of edification should be placed on others and not on the self, and 3) the opportunity should be given to all believers to use their spiritual gifts to edify others.
 Unless specified otherwise, all definitions of Greek words come from Walter Bauer, Walter F. Arndt, F.W. Danker, and F.W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature 3rd ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000).
 James L. Benedict, â€œThe Language of Edification in 1 Corinthians and End-of-Life Decision Making,â€ Brethren Life and Thought, 41 (Spr-Sum 1996), 20.
 David Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1992).
 For example, see John S. Hammett, Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2005), 239-40, D.A. Carson, Worship by the Book (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 45-46, and Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 244-46.