Saturday, July 2, 2011

THE MEANING OF THE WORD “CHURCH”

The word "church" is derived from the Greek kuriakos, of or belonging to the Lord, house (Greek oikos) being understood. It comes to us through Anglo-Saxon circe (Scottish kirk)… which has a phonetic resemblance to the Afrikaans word “kerk”, don’t you think?

The modern-day usage of the word is varied, and can have any one or more of the following meanings:
  1. A congregation;
  2. A particular church (England, or Rome, etc)
  3. A ministry of a church;
  4. A building in which the congregation assembles;
  5. Church as distinct from Chapel;
  6. “The church” as distinct from “the world”, and lastly,
  7. In the Pauline sense, of the body of Christ(which is the correct and accepted usage, that Christians should recognize.)
As sourced from: Appendix 186 from The Companion Bible.

See also: The online Afrikaans article Wat is die kerk?


Considering that there’s so much debate going on nowadays, about the word “Church”, let’s briefly examine other usages as derived from Appendix 186 from The Companion Bible:

The Greek word ekklesia

The Greek word ekklesia means assembly, or a gathering of called-out ones. It is used seventy times in the Septuagint for the Hebrew kahal (from which latter we have our word call), rendered in Septuagint by sunagoge and ekklesia. This latter word occurs in the New Testament 115 times (36 in plural), and is always translated "church" except in Acts 19:32, 39, 41 (assembly).

The Hebrew word kahal

kahal is used as follows:
  1. of Israel as a People called out from the rest of the nations (Genesis 28:3);
  2. of the tribal council of Simeon and Levi, those called out from each tribe (Genesis 49:6);
  3. of an assembly of Israelites called out for worship or any other purpose (Deuteronomy 18:16; 31:30. Joshua 8:35. Judges 21:8);
  4. any assembly of worshippers as a congregation (Psalm 22:22, 25. Ekklesia in Matthew 16:18; (18:17. 1Corinthians 14:19, 35, etc.);
  5. the equivalent ekklesia of separate assemblies in different localities (Acts 5:11; 8:3. 1 Corinthians 4:17, etc.);
  6. of the guild or "union" of Ephesian craftsmen (Acts 19:32, 41), and verse 39 (the lawful assembly).
  7. Finally, the special Pauline usage of ekklesia differs from all these. Other assemblies consisted of called-out ones from Jews, or from Gentiles (Acts 18:22), but this new body is of called-out ones from both.

Biblical Usage

  1. Church of God; Acts 20:28. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16 (plural), 22; 15:9. 2 Corinthians 1:1. Galatians 1:13. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 (plural). 2 Thessalonians 1:4 (plural). 1 Timothy 3:5, 15 (c. of the living God).
  2. Churches of Christ; Romans 16:16.
  3. Church in .. house; Romans 16:5. 1 Corinthians 16:19. Colossians 4:15. Philemon 2.
  4. Churches of the Gentiles; Romans 16:4.
  5. Churches of Galatia; 1 Corinthians 16:1. Galatians 1:2. Of Asia; 1 Corinthians 16:19. Of Macedonia; 2 Corinthians 8:1. Of Judaea; Galatians 1:22. Of the Laodiceans; Colossians 4:16. Of the Thessalonians; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1.
  6. Church of the firstborn (plural); Hebrews 12:23.
  7. Church in Ephesus, Smyrna, etc. Revelation 2 and 3; and
  8. Churches; Revelation 22:16.
Sourced from: Appendix 186 - The Companion Bible.

According to the scriptures in Ephesians 1:22-23, the Church is the body of Christ, and He (and no one else) is the head.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:20

And what if you’re unaccompanied, all by your lonesome self?

Well – first of all, you are NEVER on your own…

“…I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:20

For where two are gathered, in Christ’s name…. You and your Maker (God - the Creator of this universe) equals two.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
I Timothy 2:5


Obviously, the more likeminded folk in one assembly, the better!

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