Below we have the various dictionary definitions of the word: house. It is the definitions 1.a and 1.b and 9. in which we are particularly interested.
n. pl. hous·es (hou z z, -s z)
a. A structure serving as a dwelling for one or more persons, especially for a family.
b. A household or family.
2. Something, such as a burrow or shell, that serves as a shelter or habitation for a wild animal.
3. A dwelling for a group of people, such as students or members of a religious community, who
live together as a unit: a sorority house.
4. A building that functions as the primary shelter or location of something: a carriage
house; the lion house at the zoo.
a. A facility, such as a theater or restaurant, that provides entertainment or food for
the public: a movie house; the specialty of the house.
b. The audience or patrons of such an establishment: a full house.
a. A commercial firm: a brokerage house.
b. A publishing company: a house that specializes in cookbooks.
c. A gambling casino.
d. Slang A house of prostitution.
7. A residential college within a university.
a. often House: A legislative or deliberative assembly.
b. The hall or chamber in which such an assembly meets.
c. A quorum of such an assembly.
9. often, House: A family line including ancestors and descendants, especially a
royal or noble family: the House of Orange.
a. One of the 12 parts into which the heavens are divided in astrology.
b. The sign of the zodiac indicating the seat or station of a planet in the heavens. Also called
11. House music.
In the Bible we often see the word house used to mean a dwelling and we often see it used to mean a family. For example, we see the word house used to indicate a dwelling in Genesis 19:10, "But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door."
We see the word house used to indicate family in Genesis 7:1, "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."
Another verse where the word house means dwelling is Joshua 2:1, "And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there."
In the following verse Joshua is referring to the offspring of three families. The men Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh have been dead about 400 years at this time. Joshua 17:17, "And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:"
Another well-known passage which relates to the temple in Jerusalem, a physical building, is I Kings 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"
The 23rd Psalm ends with this verse, Ps 23:6, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." When I was a kid, my Sunday school teacher told us that to understand this psalm we should think of ourselves as sheep, and Christ as our Shepherd. I did all right with that until we came down to the part about, “I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” I just couldn’t picture a sheep always wandering around in the temple in Jerusalem without ever going out to the green pastures or beside the still waters…it just didn’t make sense. But after I got more mature I learned that the word house could also mean family. Ahh…so it means that I will live forever in the family of God. And this is true, He is my Father, and I am His child, and I have eternal Life. Now it makes sense.
In the following verse we see the word, house, used to mean a building and again as a family, Ezek 43:10, "Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern."
In the Old Testament, we see the following expressions with the word house used to mean family:
The house of Israel
The house of Jacob
The house of David
The house of Joseph
The house of Esau
The house of Judah
And many others. For an example of the word house where it means family see:
Throughout the Old Testament, the 23rd Psalm is the only place where the expression, the house of the LORD, means the family of God. This is because during Old Testament times no man could have been a child of God because Jesus had not yet died for them. God was not yet the Father of any man! No man was in the family of God. Sanctified Old Testament souls went to paradise until Jesus redeemed them after his death on the cross, then they were born again by the Spirit of God and admitted into the family of God.
John 14:2 says, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." The word, mansions, means dwelling places. The emphasis is on the words, “I go.” Jesus had to “go,” in other word he had to die, to provide a place for us in the family of God.
Some people think that Jesus is in heaven working as a carpenter building mansions for us. This is erroneous thinking; Jesus finished His work when He died on the cross.
In John 13:33 He says, “…I go…”
In John 13:36, He says, “…I go…”
In John 14:2, He says, “…I go…”
In John 14:4, He says, “…I go…”
Jesus provided a place for us in His Father’s house (family) by going from our physical presence, not by building a structure.
1 Cor 3:16, says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Hmm…so the temple of God is no longer a building in Jerusalem.
1 Tim 3:15, says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Ahh…so the expression “House of God” means the people, the church. The word Church refers to the born again people. The born again people are the house of God.
It is an error to refer to the church building as the house of God just as it is an error to call the church building the church. God’s church has eternal life, but that building won’t be standing a hundred years from now. As a Baptist preacher friend in Illinois said one time, “Jesus died for the church, but He sure didn’t die for no building!”
Often we hear someone say, “It has sure been good to be in the house of the LORD today.” But if we’re born again, we’re in the house of the LORD every day for all eternity, according to Psalm 23! Praise the LORD!