Sunday, April 29, 2018

Church is not in the Bible

The word church is not in the Bible. Ok, don't pick up rocks and start stoning the blasphemer just yet. True, our English translations do have the word “church” in 115 places, but the Greek term ekklesia {ek-klay-see'-ah} rendered as "church" in the New Testament and our English word church are not related at all.

The Greek word kuriakos {koo-ree-ak-os'} from which we get our English word church is found in the New Testament only two times, once translated as "the Lord's supper" and once translated as "the Lord's day", but never translated as "church”.

The Greek word ekklesia {ek-klay-see'-ah} rendered as "church" in the New Testament is better translated as "assembly" or "congregation". According to the Blue Letter Bible Dictionary and Word Search, ekklesia is a compound term for "out of or away from" and "to call or to be called to bear a name or title". In addition to the 115 occurrences where ekklesia is rendered as "church" it appears in three more places in the New Testament where it is rendered as "assembly" to describe a public gathering.

It is interesting to note that the Septuagint (third century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) uses ekklesia to describe the assembly of the people of Israel. To the New Testament writers, the Greek term ekklesia was common to them, it was in their Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures that they used daily and most likely understood simply as the gathered people of God.

In 1 Timothy 3:15 we find the phrase "...the house of God, which is the church of the living God..." In the original Greek it reads: "oikos theos hostis esti ekklesia zao theos", literally "the house of God, which is the assembly of the called out people of the living God". In other words, God dwells within his people individually and collectively, not in buildings called churches.

We are the assembly of the called out ones of God that make up a living house of the living God. In Acts 7:48 Saint Stephen declares “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands…" and according to Ephesians 2:19-22 we are called God's Temple where the Spirit of God dwells. It is not a physical building of brick and mortar but "living stones" that the living God has assembled for his habitation.

Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them". How simple is that? An ekklesia, a gathering, a congregation, an assembly of two or more followers of Jesus wherever and whenever they meet with Jesus present every time – the true Church!

Peace, Love, and Light through Jesus the Christ!
Kevin (Cloud)

1 comment:

Herobill said...

Very interesting blog! Thanks, brother, for posting. I'm looking forward to reading more here.

I've saved a link to your article so I can peruse it in depth. I remember reading (Oxford English Dictionary, maybe) that "Church" came from a Dutch word, (Kyurk?) but I never thought further back than that. Your research is very intriguing so far, indeed.

I happened to study Greek at LSU, so it was secular ancient greek. Whever I do word-study, I start with the Liddell-Scott Lexicon, from Oxford University... I much prefer the secular translation over wondering what 'interpretation' the 'christian' lexicons have superimposed onto the words.

More later, maybe...