Definition of “Ekklesia”
An Explanation of the Greek word ekklesia translated church in the New Testament.
Today the word church has a wide variety of meanings from referring to a building to performing a religion service. Although we need to understand the modern use of the word it is of little significance in understanding the use of the word in the New Testament. It is essential that we understand its original meaning as it was used in New Testament times. In order to establish a New Testament church we must first know what the word “church” means in Scripture.
In our English Bible the Greek word, “ekklesia” is translated in most places “church.” The word “ekklesia” is found in one hundred and fifteen places in the New Testament. It is translated in English one hundred and thirteen times “church” and the remaining times it is translated “assembly.” In classical Greek the word “ekklesia” meant “an assembly of citizens summoned by the crier, the legislative assembly.” The word as used in the New Testament is taken from the root of this word, which simply means to “call out.” In New Testament times the word was exclusively used to represent a group of people assembled together for a particular cause or purpose. It was never used exclusively to refer to a religious meeting or group.
An examination of the Greek word “ekklesia” reveals that the word is properly translated into English as the “assembly” or “congregation.” It is used to refer to a group of persons that are organized together for a common purpose and who meet together.
Based on the above, another way of defining the word “church” in today’s world could be “The Called Out Ones.”