The church is a menagerie

The French word menagerie is often used to describe a collection of wild animals kept in captivity. Menagerie can also be defined as, "a diverse or miscellaneous group". Menagerie comes from "menager", which means "to keep house", or "to husband". The word husband has at it's core, the idea of care-taking: "animal husbandry", for example. It doesn't mean being married, but caring for.

The church is also a menagerie, a diverse group of people, completely miscellaneous. I think that the fact that a diverse group is together in unity is a special attribute of the church.

I looked at two French translations of the New Testament and did not find the Greek word for household translated to menager or menagerie, but I really like the way that the CEB (Common English Bible) translates 1 Timothy 3. It has the word household in it several times. When a preacher says, "in the house", while preaching at a church meeting anywhere, he or she is correct. The NT does talk about the church as a house or household and it does not mean building; neither a church building nor a house, but the people of the church are the house (of God).

1 Timothy 3 (CEB)

Supervisors in God’s household
1 This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor[a] in the church, they want a good thing. 2 So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. 3 They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or a bully. Instead they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. 4 They should manage their own household well—they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect, 5 because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church? 6 They shouldn’t be new believers so that they won’t become proud and fall under the devil’s spell. 7 They should also have a good reputation with those outside the church so that they won’t be embarrassed and fall into the devil’s trap.
Servants in God’s household
8 In the same way, servants[b] in the church should be dignified, not two-faced, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. 9 They should hold on to the faith that has been revealed with a clear conscience. 10 They should also be tested and then serve if they are without fault. 11 In the same way, women who are servants[c] in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do. 12 Servants[d] must be faithful to their spouse and manage their children and their own households well. 13 Those who have served well gain a good standing and considerable confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Leading God’s household
14 I hope to come to you quickly. But I’m writing these things to you so that 15 if I’m delayed, you’ll know how you should behave in God’s household. It is the church of the living God and the backbone and support of the truth. 16 Without question, the mystery of godliness is great: he was revealed as a human, declared righteous by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to throughout the nations, believed in around the world, and taken up in glory.
  1. 1 Timothy 3:1 Or bishop, overseer
  2. 1 Timothy 3:8 Or deacons
  3. 1 Timothy 3:11 Or wives, omit who are servants
  4. 1 Timothy 3:12 Or deacons

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