Assembly Characteristics - Introduction

Local Assembly Characteristics from 1 Corinthians

by Joel Portman

January 1997

Please do not copy this book for re-publication without permission! However, it may be copied for personal use without any restriction.

First Printing, January 1997 Second Printing, October 2007


Table of Contents
1 Distinct Features of the Local Assembly

2 Lordship of Christ in the Assembly

3 Gospel Testimony of the Assembly

4 Work of the Assembly

5 Elderhood of the Assembly

6 Discipline in the Assembly

7 Righteousness of Saints in the Assembly

8 Liberties and Separation of the Saints

9 Headship in the Assembly

10 Lord’s Supper and the Assembly

11 Spiritual Gift and its Exercise in the Assembly

12 Sound Doctrine in the Assembly




This book is an edited version of a series of articles that were printed in the magazine “Truth and Tidings” ( ) in 1995. They were collected and printed in this form with the hope that they might provide further help to reinforce the truths of the local assembly in the hearts of the believers who enjoy such fellowship and to instruct younger ones who may be thinking of assembly fellowship. The viewpoint taken in this book is that the New Testament pattern for the gatherings and “church” function of believers in the Lord Jesus is still valid today. Though departure from this simple pattern has obviously taken place over the course of church history, yet that pattern was given by our risen Lord through His Holy Spirit, and it seems obvious that it was intended to be the “norm” for His people until He returns. The primary term for this gathering is “ekklesia” in the original language, which best translates as “assembly” or “congregation.” Therefore, that is the term that we will use in referring to a local church gathering throughout this book. In particular, we would commend this book to younger believers in assembly fellowship, if reading it could be of some help to further their understanding of the local assembly and its principles. I gladly acknowledge the indebtedness that I have to older brethren and others from whom I have learned truth over the years, “here a little, there a little.” Their names are legion and many of them are now with the Lord. Without their help and the work of the Holy Spirit, I would know nothing, and even now, I admit that I do not know as I ought to know. It is as a student of God’s Word and as a firm believer in the truth of the local assembly of saints gathered solely to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ that I write this with the hope that it will of some help to others, even as what I have heard and read has been a help to me. I am also indebted, more than words can express, to the continuing support of my dear wife, Janet, who has patiently helped and encouraged me over the years. Her record is on high and her reward is sure, but my present appreciation cannot be expressed as it should be with words. Many thanks from my heart!

Joel Portman July 2007