Words Not Found in Scripture – Church

I’ve decided to start a series of some of the theological words and terms that we use in our everyday Christian lives that are not found in Scripture. The first word I want to talk about is “church”. Right now you’re probably screaming that the word “church” (and it’s derivatives) appear 112 times in the New Testament (NASB). Well, many of the words that I am going to talk about are actually all over our English translations. This may sound contradictory, but I assure you it isn’t. Just follow along and you will see what I am talking about.

Because there are words in our Bibles that are not valid translations, it causes confusion and goes against the very nature of scripture. Our Old Testament scriptures were written in Hebrew (and some Aramaic), the language of the Israelites. Our New Testament scriptures were written in what is called “Common Greek”. In other words, our scriptures were written in the languages of the people. Remove ourselves from those languages, put in 2000 years of mixed up Christian history and you get translations and other doctrine that is full of words and terms written for professionally trained or educated individuals.

So, back to the word “church”. What does it mean? Where does it come from? Well, the English word for ‘church’ actually comes from the German word “Kirche” which is a translation of the Greek word “kuriakon”. Kuriakon means “belonging to the Lord” but was eventually used to designate buildings.

So, what’s the problem? Well, I’m not finished yet. You see, the word “church” in the Bible is never being used to translate the word “Kuriakon”. Instead, it’s being used to translate the Greek word “ekklesia”. The word “ekklesia” does not mean “belonging to the Lord” it means “assembly” or “congregation” — that’s it. You see, King James told the translators to use “church” to translate “ekklesia” instead of using “congregation” or “assembly” which was used by some of the earlier translation. Oh, if anyone tells you “ekklesia” means “called out ones” punch them square in the mouth.

The Facts

  1. The word “kuriakon” which again means “belonging to the Lord” occurs twice in the New Testament. It is not translated “church” in either case (1 Corinthians 11:20 & Revelation 1:10).
  2. The word “church” occurs 112 times in the NASB. It is never a translation of the word “kuriakon” (from which is it derived).
  3. The word “ekklesia” occurs 115 times in the New Testament. It is translated “church” 112 times, “congregation” 2 times, and 1 time it is translated “assembly”.

Conclusion

I hope you see where I am going with this. The word “church” does not actually exist, it is meaningless. In fact, it was originally used as a form of deception! We held onto the word because of tradition (and maybe because of more deception). We have used the word “church” to mean the building, the time, pretty much everything except what the Scriptures actually intended. The rest of this series will be about these nonsensical words. Hopefully we will all to stop using them and replace them with words that actually mean what God intended when he inspired these writings.

Comments

  1. From your diagnosis, it would seem that the word “church” is not so much the issue; rather, the problem is reading our current understanding of the word into the original text (a time-frame fallacy of sorts). In that sense, I agree. Modern Christianity has distorted the idea of church; instead of meaning a body of believers, it has come to mean (as you said) a program, building, or ritual.

    I believe that the concept of a community of Christ followers can be found in scripture, though.

  2. Welcome Nathaniel,

    It’s actually both. The word “church” is not a valid translation. It’s not a translation at all. It’s a made-up word with an intending meaning that does not reflect the real word and a literal meaning that does not reflect the real word.

    The issue is that our translations should not use words that the “common” man doesn’t understand. “Assembly” (and it’s derivatives) would work perfectly in any of those place and would cease any confusion as to what the authors were trying to say.

    If we *must* keep the word “church” (which there is absolutely no reason to do so) then yes, we are should assign it the definition of “assembly” which is what ekklesia means. No other definition would suffice, not “God’s Assembly” not “building” not “service time”. The word is required to me “assembly” if we’re going to use it as a replacement for ekklesia.

    I wouldn’t even necessarily say that this is Modern Christianities fault, this particular word has been historically distorted, which probably aids the problem.

    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

    God Speed,
    Lew

  3. Imagine a time in the future when someone is translating English. They come across the English word “coworkers”, but they translate it with their word that means “office building”. This is what has happened with the translation of ekklesia as “church”.

    -Alan

  4. Lou

    Much agreement – We “use” lot’s of words “not” in the Bible.
    We also practice “misusing” words that “are” in the Bible? Yes?

    “Church” is a good place to start.

    Strongs Concordance has ekklesia coming from two words.
    Ek – meaning out of. Kaleo – meaning to call.
    A calling out, assembly and congregation.

    If Jesus is the head of the body, the ekklesia, the church,
    and “ekklesia” only means “assembly” and “congregation” as you stated, then;

    Does that mean Jesus is only “the head of the body” when we’re assembled?
    Does the “body of Christ” no longer exist if believers are not assembled?
    Are we no longer members of the “body of Christ” when we’re home alone?
    What if someone is in prison, solitary confinement; he’s no longer part of the body?

    Right now I’m in Barnes & Nobles, blogging, all by myself, not assembled,
    Is Jesus still my head? Am I a part of “ the body of Christ,” the ekklesia, the church?
    When do we become “the assembly” that becomes “the church?”
    When two or three? More? How many?

    For myself, I kinda like using “ekklesia” and “called out one’s” when talking “Church.”
    It reminds me and others “the ekklesia of God” is always people.
    I can see “ekklesia” referring to being “by myself,” with two or three” an “assembly.”

    Church = assembly? OR Church = the Body of Christ, the called out one’s? Hmmm?

    I will build my church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    the Lord added to the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    If He adds someone in prison, solitary confinement;
    Is this person, all alone, now, part of Christ, part of “The church?”

    great fear came upon all the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Does fear only come when we’re assembled?

    great persecution against the church entering into every house
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Were there assemblies in every house? Or the ekklesia in every house?

    Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Why did he enter into every house?
    Why not just where they were assembled?

    they assembled themselves with the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Did they assemble themselves with the assembly?

    Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Only certain of the assemblies? Or certin of the called out one’s?

    and had gathered the church together
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    And being brought on their way by the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    This is Acts 15. Did the whole assembly bring Paul?
    Or just some, and they are called the ekklesia, the church?

    they were received of the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Hmmm? Must be a misprint? The least essteemed judges?

    If therefore the whole church be come together into one place
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    Christ is the head of the church and gave himself for it
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    Christ also loved the church,
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Only the assembly? Not the one alone in prison? At home?

    feed the church of God, which he hath purchased his own blood
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)
    Only feed the assembly. Or ekklesia, whereever they may be?

    gave him to be the head over all things to the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    the church is subject unto Christ
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    he is the head of the body, the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out one’s?)

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear “my voice;”
    and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    If Not Now, When?

    In His Service. By His Grace.

  5. Ouch!!!

    Someone noticed me commenting on your blog…

    And writing “ekklesia = called out one’s”

    And punched me square in the mouth…

    Please, be careful what you ask for… ;-)

  6. Lew,
    Can you please explain why you so strongly oppose defining “ekklesia” as “called out ones”? It is the most literal translation available. The term “assembly” works, but also may cause unnessesary confusion. Why not simply stick to the literal translation, and why such vehement opposition against it?
    Eric

  7. A. Amos Love and Eric,

    I’m not really vehement :), I was using hyperbole to get my point across. If you guys knew me, you’d know that I do not really advocate violence over poor Greek grammar ;).

    εκκλεσια is a compound word, made up of two parts, εκ (from, out of, away from) + καλεω (call, call by name, name) but when you combine the two, you don’t get “called out ones”. Saying that εκκλεσια means, “called out ones” is like saying “butterflies” are “flies made from butter”. The sum of the parts of a compound word changes the meaning of those parts.

    εκκλεσια means “assembly” or simply “a gathering”. That is the most literal translation. Any other is bad Greek grammar. There is nothing hyper-spiritual about the word εκκλεσια, if there were then we have a problem with Acts 19:23. Unless you believe the mob was “called out ones”.

    By the way, compounding εκ + καλεω actually makes sense. I imagine that most assemblies started by “calling out” “ones” to meet for a specific gathering. Like a council, party, conference, or any other reason why people would meet.

    God Speed,
    Lew

  8. A. Amos Love,

    To use one of your examples:

    Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

    “I will build my church” works fine as “I will build my assembly”. If you use “I will build my called out ones” then you have a problem with “Hades will not overpower it”… what is “it”? “It” in this sentence is singular, not plural. But “called out ones” is plural, while “assembly” is singular.

    The “assembly” that Jesus is referring to is not our weekly Sunday gathering, I believe it is know more commonly as the Kingdom of Heaven. So, yes, Jesus is building his assembly. Just like Matthew 16:18 explains.

    God Speed,
    Lew

  9. Lew

    How about – It’s not “either/or” but both,
    Sometimes “assembly” works and some times “called out one’s?”

    It seems the word “build” also suggests to build up and to edify.

    I will build up and edify my “assembly” of “called out one’s.”

    Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will “build” My church;
    and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

    This is off my computer.

    3618 oikodomew oy-kod-om-eh’-o
    KJV – build 24, edify 7, builder 5, build up 1, be in building 1, embolden 1; 39

    1) to build a house, erect a building
    1a) to build (up from the foundation)
    1b) to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
    2) metaph.
    2a) to found, establish
    2b) to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
    2c) to grow in wisdom and piety

    If the word ekklesia also means “a calling out” then when
    we’re “called out” of one thing we often wind “in” something else.

    Jesus didn’t reform “the corrupt religious system”
    of His day.

    He left it.

    And took a bunch with Him…

    Jesus’ disciples were “called out” of “the Religious System”
    “Into” a relationship with God in the flesh. Jesus.

    Jesus is the “only head” of the body,
    the ekklesia, the called out one’s, “The Church.”

    The “disciples of Christ,” are “the Church.”
    the ekklesia, “the called out one’s.”

    They are “called out” of the religious system
    “into”
    a relationship with Jesus.

    They are “called out” of the worlds system
    “into”
    the Kingdom of God.

    They are “called out” of self
    “into”
    the body of Christ.

    They are “called out” of sin
    “into”
    righteousness.

    They are “called out” of bondage
    “into”
    liberty.

    They are “called out” of darkness
    “into”
    light.

    They are “called out” of death
    “into”
    life.

    Jesus loves me. Gives me Liberty

    • A. Amos Love,

      I do not believe it can be “both/and” because εκκλεσια does not mean “called out ones”. Although, we have been “called out” of death and “into” life (etc.) that does not make εκκλεσια mean “called out ones”. I am not denying that we are called out ones. In fact, I believe we are called out ones. But us being “called out” does not mean that εκκλεσια means “called out ones”. I believe by claiming that εκκλεσια means “called out ones” we are doing an injustice to the Scriptures.

      God Speed,
      Lew

  10. The fact that we are “called out” (using the kaleo word group in the NT), does not mean that “ekklesia” MEANS “called out ones”. “ekklesia” is not a word that was made up by the NT authors when they were writing. They used a normal Greek word that MEANS “assembly”. They used the word to REFER to those that God called out of the world to be his children.

    But, REFERENCE and MEANING are two different things. For example, Scripture occasionally uses the Greek word for “mountain” to REFER to Mt. Sinai. But, the Greek word for “mountain” does not MEAN Mt. Sinai.

    “ekklesia” does not MEAN “called out ones”. “ekklesia” MEANS “assembly”.

    -Alan

  11. Alan,

    I agree… by the way, you need to change the title of your blog to “The assembly of the called out ones” ;).

    God Speed,
    Lew

  12. Alan – Lew

    My lip is still swollen by the way.

    Just wondering if either of you could answer a few “previous questions?”

    “If Jesus is the head of the body, the ekklesia, the church,
    and “ekklesia” only means “assembly” and “congregation” as you stated, then;

    Jesus is the head of the body, the assembly.

    1 – Does that mean Jesus is only “the head of the body” when we’re assembled?
    2 – Does the “body of Christ” no longer exist if believers are not assembled?
    3 – Are we no longer members of the “body of Christ” when we’re home alone?
    4 – What if someone is in prison, solitary confinement; he’s no longer part of the body?

    Right now I’m in Barnes & Nobles, blogging, all by myself, not assembled,
    Is Jesus still my head? Am I a part of “ the body of Christ,” the ekklesia, the church?
    When do we become “the assembly” that becomes “the church?”
    When two or three? More? How many?

    For myself, I kinda like using “ekklesia” and “called out one’s” when talking “Church.”
    It reminds me and others “the ekklesia of God” is always people.
    I can see “ekklesia” referring to being “by myself,” with two or three” an “assembly.”

    Lew

    You said,
    “The “assembly” that Jesus is referring to is not our weekly Sunday gathering,”

    Then what is it? How do we know it when we see it? Is it only spiritual in nature?

    Seems Eric is correct…

    “The term “assembly” works, but also may cause unnessesary confusion.”

    How will people understand “the church” is really “assembly”
    but not Sunday morning assembly?

    Now what? Now can you explain it so even I can understand? ;-)

    Peace…

  13. A Amos Love,

    Your questions are theological questions not semantic questions (which deal with meaning). Our theology should not force new meanings on words.

    If translating ekklesia as “assembly” causes confusion, its because we have predefined understandings of what ekklesia and “church” mean.

    Like Lew said, “ekklesia” does not mean “when we are assembled”… it means “assembly”. In the context of the NT, it often means (and is usually combined with words to mean) “God’s assembly” (i.e. “the church of God”).

    I do not think the NT authors use the word “ekklesia” specifically to refer to a group of people when that group is gathered together, so I don’t know why we would do that. But, notice, my previous statement (and your questions) is about REFERENCE not MEANING.

    -Alan

  14. A. Amos Love,

    The “assembly” is the “body”. That is, saying “Jesus is the head of the body” is the same as saying “Jesus is the head of the assembly”. The “assembly” isn’t a specific gathering of people, but all people who follow Jesus are the “assembly” whether or no they are physically assembled or not. The “assembly” is those who are followers of Jesus.

    So regardless of where we are, who we are with, we are the Assembly of Jesus.

    This may be confusing in the sense that normally we consider an ‘assembly’ to be a physical gathering of people. But that confusion is part of Scripture and the word that the authors used. I would not say that it adds confusion but some confusion may already exist. Especially for reasons that Alan has mentioned, “we have predefined understandings of what ekklesia and ‘church’ mean.”

    Does that make sense?

    God Speed,
    Lew

  15. Lew – Alan

    I guess I’m turning the other cheek. Still have a lip not bloodied.

    Did a search on Google. Seems to be some debate about “ekklesia.”

    Here are a few who disagree with “assembly” only.

    1 – Ekklesia Ministries.

    http://www.ekklesia.ws/ekk_defined.htm

    For 17 Centuries the greatest understanding in Christendom has been hidden behind the ministry of the priest and pastors of the traditional church. Starting first under the Roman Catholic (i.e., “universal”) Church, then by way of the reformation to the protestant church, and finally into the evangelical church, this great understanding, the way of truth, has been maligned.

    This great understanding is the ekklesia.

    The goal and mission of Ekklesia Ministries is to make ekklesia a household word, that every person who names the name of Christ will know it intimately.

    Without a clear view and understanding of ekklesia we shall never reach the real joy that comes with knowing Jesus and Him crucified. Knowing the ekklesia and its function are the bedrock of being a member of the body of Christ. It is the only way to experience the oneness of the body of Christ that Jesus prayed for in John 17.

    Ekklesia is the Greek word that has been translated in the Bible as “church,” 108 times! Every time you read the New Testament Scripture concerning the ekklesia, your mind tells you that you are reading about the “church.” This is the root of the greatest deception perpetrated on the body of Christ.

    Ekklesia means “the called-out ones.”

    Ekklesia does not mean, “church.”

    ———————-

    2 – Ekklesia Revisited – By WAYNE JACKSON, November 24, 2009

    http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1500-ekklesia-revisited

    …My criticism is not that these brothers are uncomfortable with the “called out” sense of the term—that is their privilege, however incorrect I believe it to be. It is their inflexible view, one that ridicules a considerable body of scholarship (that conflicts with their personal perspective) that I feel is misguided. Either they are unaware of the wider range of scholars who dispute their theory, or else they have fixated on a position and are not open to any other possibility…

    …J. H. Thayer described it as “a gathering of citizens “called out” from their homes into some public place; an assembly” (1968, 195-196; emphasis added). In his classic essay on ekklesia in Kittel’s remarkable work, Schmidt, who sometimes seems self-conflicting, nonetheless wrote:

    The citizens [in Greek society] are the ekklesia, i.e., those who are summoned and called together by the herald. This teaches us something concerning the biblical and Christian usage, namely, that God in Christ calls men “out of the world” (1965, 513)…

    …William Barclay alluded to the common idea that ekklesia refers to a “body of people who have been ‘picked out’ from the world.” He says:

    It has not in it that exclusive sense. It means a body of people who have been “summoned out” of their homes to come and meet with God; and both in its original Greek and Hebrew usages, that sense was not exclusive but inclusive (1964, 70; emphasis added).

    In other words, both ideas, “out of the world” and “summoned to assemble,” are inherent in the original word. “Usually the Greek term represents God’s people as distinguished from others, thus called out (ek ‘out’ and kletos ‘called’) of the world” (Myers 1987, 215).

    It is very difficult to see how either the term “assembly” or “congregation” can, in any fair sense of those terms, be applied to the church on a universal scale. The universal church is never assembled. It is not an unassembled assembly. Cremer defined ekklesia in its universal aspect as “the entire congregation of all who are called by and to Christ, who are in the fellowship of His salvation” (1962, 334; emphasis added). The teaching that Christians have been called from the world into a relationship with Christ is profuse in New Testament literature (Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Peter 1:10). These texts perfectly complement the meaning of the original term rendered “church” in the New Testament….

    —————–

    3 – GORDON-CONWELL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:pDa4vXP4s8cJ:www.iamadisciple.com/articles/papers/TheRiseOfBishops.pdf+William+D.+Mounce+ekklesia&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjN2J22p1kASunbVBkRbyOex8fId_Y2i-KAwNKVZqT1Zjl68LyYqdlnv2-C6heUHoIlUrLGRG2T1GZHK3_Kz15MOlPnny8AVhyEn7eTsXCrKf2fBP5UqLwZmJ3tifUGC9wQOvD8&sig=AHIEtbSnvl_Fr1OSkPJ1u5JSSmQYnwQUIg

    PDF can be downloaded – THE RISE OF THE MONARCHICAL BISHOPS IN THE ANCIENT CHURCH

    Page 3 next to last para.

    “To join the Church, a person does not do so through filling out a membership card, taking
    a class, or partaking in any “rites” such as baptism or communion. The Greek word used in the
    Scriptures to describe the Church is “Ekklesia,” which means “called out ones.”3 To join the
    Church, an individual must “come out” (Rev 18:4) of the spiritually corrupt, sin-filled world, and
    come into the kingdom of God by faith, and enter into a spiritual union with Christ.”

    My cheek is turned but I’m runnin fast… ;-)

    Catch me if you can.

  16. Ooops!!!

    Found another one.
    The Ekklesia
    Part One

    John G. Reisinger

    http://www.soundofgrace.com/jgr/index040.htm

    It may seem strange that the Romanist and the Landmark Baptists are both so adamant against any idea of a ‘universal’ church. However, when we see that their respective concepts of authority are almost identical, it becomes very clear why they are kinfolk. Every group that emphasizes ‘God ordained authority’ for either their particular church practices or the authority of their ‘duly authorized leadership’ will always emphasize the so-called ‘local/visible’ church as the true ekklesia of Christ. Baptists who do this can be just as tyrannical as Roman Catholics. We will say more about this later. For now, I intend to argue that there is only one definition of the word ekklesia in the New Testament Scriptures even though there are two applications of the one definition.

    The first question we must ask is, “What is the best way to translate the Greek word ekklesia.”? Some people go into the various words used to define the meaning of ‘church’ in many different languages, Scottish kirk etc. This may explain history but it does not help us at all to grasp Scripture. The Plymouth Brethren use the word assembly and some other groups use congregation, but nearly everyone uses the word church which means nothing. I personally, until recently, would have said that ‘assembly’ was probably the best way to translate ekklesia. I would no longer do that. I would now translate it so that it clearly expresses exactly what everyone agrees is the actual meaning of the word. I would translate ekklesia as the called out ones since that is precisely what the word means. This is not only the true and accurate translation of the word ekklesia, it also demonstrates the first major truth, namely, that the ekklesia of Christ is they, meaning people, and not an it, meaning an organization. If you cannot speak of the ekklesia as ‘they’ but constantly think and speak in terms of ‘it’ you have not totally come out of Romanism!

    • A. Amos Love,

      I’m sure I could find you hundreds of people who believe “called out ones” is a valid definition for εκκλεσια. There are hundreds of sources that incorrectly define the word as “church”. But doing so would actually be a philosophical fallacy called “Appeal to Popularity”.

      1: Most people approve of X.
      2: Therefore X is true.

      If εκκλεσια means “called out ones” how do you/they deal with the mob in Acts 19:32 being called εκκλεσια. What about the εκκλεσια in Acts 19:39. Not to mention the numerous non-Scriptural texts that use the word εκκλεσια to refer to an assembly/gathering.

      According to the latest version of BDAG:

      1. A regularly summoned legislative body, assembly, as gener. understood in the Gr-Rom. world (Jos.; Ant. 12, 164; 19, 332; Vi. 268; Acts 19:39)
      2. A casual gathering of people, an assemblage, gathering (1 Sam 19:20; 1 Maccabees 3:13; Sirach 26:5; Ac 19:32,40)
      3. People with shared belief, community, congregation (Deut 31:30, Judg 20:2; 1 Km 17:47; 3 Km 8:14; SongOfSol 10:6; TestJob 32:8; Philo; Jos., Ant. 4, 309; Diod. S. 40, 3, 6; Hb 2:12; Ps 21:23; Dt 4:10, 9:10, 18:16; Ac 7:38)

      By the way, εκκλεσια occurs 24 times in Acts. Don’t you think it would be a little unusual for an author to completely switch the definition of a word in the middle of his writing? If εκκλεσια means “called out ones” in Acts 5:11, it should mean “called out ones” in Acts 19:39. It would be like me saying, “I really hate to eat celery. I really love to eat celery.” In the second sentence, “celery” really means “peppermint stick ice cream”.

      Basically, what the proponents of the “called out ones” definition are saying is that the authors of the New Testament used the word εκκλεσια in a way that was completely unknown to their contemporaries. In other words, the people reading these letters would have completely misunderstood what they were saying. They would have read it as “assembly”.

      God Speed,
      Lew

  17. A Amos Love,

    I noticed that none of your sources showed how “ekklesia” means “called out ones” in any other context besides the NT writings when referring to the church.

    The only evidence that refers back to linguistic evidence is this: “J. H. Thayer described it as ‘a gathering of citizens “called out” from their homes into some public place; an assembly’.”

    Thayer put “called out” in quotes to show the words etymology. However, as Lew pointed out above with “butterfly”, etymology often leads us astray. There has been much study in NT Greek since Thayer. In fact, a huge number of archaeological finds have helped us understand this language. This evidence was not available to Thayer and his contemporaries.

    I could copy article after article showing that “ekklesia” means “assembly,” but that really wouldn’t help, would it?

    -Alan

  18. Here are some interesting English dictionary definitions of the word “assembly”:
    a group of parts that fit together to form a self-contained unit, the act of constructing something, a unit consisting of components that have been fitted together, a group of persons who are gathered together for a common purpose, whole, unit – an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity

    Because looking at term assembly from those definitions caused me to to realize that it can mean more than just people getting together and it parallels the Body of Christ and its parts coming together as one.

    It all relates back to the body because another possible word to use for ecclessia (aside from assembly & congregation) is council which English definitions start out with “body” & “A body of people”
    That goes way past the non-biblical word that is church.

    “And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the assembly as head over all things. Now the assembly is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”(Ephesians 1:22-23)
    We see here that the assembly is Christ’s body. Read 1 Corinthians 12 (particularly verse 27 “Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you is a member of it.”)
    We see that, while assembly can mean a group of people meeting in a particular place and time, Biblically it can also refer to the Body of Christ with similar or exact definitions to those English definitions I presented above.
    (a group of parts that fit together to form a self-contained unit, whole, unit, an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity)

    Since the assembly is the body and in marriage the two become one and we are the body of Christ we become one with God.

    “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.” (John 17)

    “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, – since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength. This power he exercised in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the assembly as head over all things. Now the assembly is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

    “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

    “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be eliminated is death. For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)


    Here is another excellent resource on the misuse of the word church for ekklesia – http://ecclesia.org/truth/ekklesia.html

    Also there is one English translation I know of that uses the word assembly instead of church and that is the World English Bible (http://www.biblesway.com/versions/world_english_bible)