The Meaning of the Word "Church"

Greek word is ekklesia

Variously translated: church, congregation, assembly

From ek 'out of' and kaleo 'call', but does not mean 'called out'

"Ecclesiastical" comes from ekklesia English 'church', German 'Kirche', and Scottish 'Kirk' from the Greek word kuriakos 'Lord's' or 'lordly'

Seven Meanings in the New Testament: (Match the correct meanings with the scriptures.)

1.Universal church
"all the people who are saved throughout the whole world
throughout the whole Christian age"
___ I Cor. 11:18;
       Heb. 2:12
2.Regional church
"the universal church at a particular time in a particular region"
___ Rom. 16:5;
       Col. 4:15
3.Local church (congregation?)
"the saved in a particular locality"
___ Acts 9:31 not KJV
4.House church (congregation?)
"the saved who gather at a house"
___ Matt. 16:18
       Eph. 1:22-23;5:23
5.Old Testament church
"the people of Israel gathered in the wilderness"
___ Acts 14:23;
       Rom. 16:1;
       I Cor. 1:2;
       II Cor. 8:1;
       Col. 4:16
6.Non-religious assembly
"any group of people gathered together"
___ Acts 19:32,39,41
"an assembly of people"
___ Acts 7:38
  ___ I Cor. 16:19

Note that 1 through 6 refer to the people who assemble and 7 refers to an assembly of people."

Why does Christ call his people a "church"?

  1. The local church gathers together--I Cor. 14:23
  2. The universal church will gather together--I Thess. 4:16-17

What "church" means in English that it doesn't mean in Greek:

  1. The clergy of a religious body
  2. Building where a congregation meets
  3. Denomination--"a religious organization uniting in a single legal and administrative body a number of local congregations"--Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

In the New Testament sense, a church is made up of people, not of congregations.

To the universal church one is added by God--Acts 2:47; Col. 1:13 One can only "join" a local church--Acts 9:26

Bruce Terry's Home Page
Bruce Terry's Home Page   Class Index Page  Class Syllabus hosted at
Last updated on April 18, 2003
Page maintained by — Copyright © 2001 Bruce Terry