What is Church, according to the Bible?–Part 1


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9 thoughts on “What is Church, according to the Bible?–Part 1

  1. Very interesting post Chris.

    When I think of the word Church, I never think of a building unless I say “I’m off to Church!” As you rightly say the word ‘Church’ (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to ‘call out of’) means a convocation or an assembly, so for me even a parish can be called a “church”.

    In your post you ask what is Church in English and what is Church in Greek, and after reading the post I thought about what Church is in Irish (I’m Irish). In my native language the word is eaglais and refers to a building – and is usually used only of Roman Catholic churches in Ireland; Protestant churches are called teampall i.e. temple. But “an Eaglais” (the word “an” being the definite article in the Irish language, and pronounced like “on”) is “the Church” as an institution regardless of denomination: the Anglican Church of Ireland is called Eaglais na hÉireann in Irish.

    But if we look at the inner meaning of the word we come to know that the Church has been seen as people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    The Church is also referred to as a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ. It is a flock of which God Himself foretold He would be the shepherd.
    The Church is also compared to a piece of land to be cultivated, the tillage of God and on that land the ancient olive tree, rooted in the holy Prophets, grows. Grafted onto that ancient olive tree, we Christians bear fruit in Christ alone. Cut off from Him we can do nothing.

    So for me unity is essential to the inner meaning of the word Church with Christ as the Head of the Body.

    Looking forward to your future posts.

    • Thank you Thérèse, for your insightful comment. I find it interesting to see that Irish has followed the path of Spanish and other Latin languages in transliterating Ekklesia rather than the Teutonic route of transliterating kyriakon. It seem that the result has been the same in all cases, since as you note “In my native language the word is eaglais and refers to a building.”

      It is hard for us to escape the power of vocabulary to control our thinking. I suspect that when you said “Protestant churches are called teampall…” that you were referring to the building as well, rather than the people.

      I have found that often the first step in successfully changing our thinking is to change our vocabulary. One of the purposes of this blog series is to see if we can find a more accurate way of expressing the Greek word ekklesia.

      Thank you again for your input, and stay tuned.

      For the king–Chris

  2. Pingback: The Old Testament Church: What is Church--Part 2 - RadicalFish.net

  3. Pingback: Translating Ekklesia: What is Church--Part 3 - RadicalFish.net

  4. Hi Chris,

    I am new to your blog but I like what you have written so far. Before going to the other pages to read them may I make a comment about those who suggested you keep things shorter?

    I say don’t pay them any attention!

    I (I hate starting sentences with so many I’s but what can I – oops there I go again – say? :)) would encourage you to write whatever and however long you feel is necessary to adequately explain your topic.

    So write and write away and don’t be concerned about people who don’t want to read long posts. For every person who doesn’t want to read long posts there is a person who doesn’t mind as long as what you write is insightful and relevant.

    What is important is what the Lord has laid on your heart to say NOT how many words you use in the sharing.

    For what it’s worth.


    • You are very gracious Carlos, and I hear you. I am simply struggling with trying to make the message (I believe) God has given me as palatable as possible. As much as possible I would like to be all things to all men that I might win a few. :-)

      • Chris.

        I hope I am not being presumptuous in saying so but I would suggest that you not concern yourself with how palatable you are coming across.

        It seems to me that Jesus did not concern Himself with such.

        Truth from God is imminently palatable to those who have ears to hear no matter how you phrase it whereas, for those who are resistant or outright disobedient to the Lord, they will denounce whatever truth you share – no matter how you put it.


        • I think I hear what you are saying and am in agreement. However we need to be sensitive to the state of our audience. Jesus had no problem calling the Pharisees “white washed graves full of dead men’s bones,” but He drew out the woman at the well by telling her to bring her husband.

          We should try not to offend weaker brothers, but we need to be prepared to battle Pharisees. Sadly, It seems to me that the assembly of citizens often gets this backwards. :-(

  5. Wow, your “We should try not to offend weaker brothers, but we need to be prepared to battle Pharisees. Sadly, It seems to me that the assembly of citizens often gets this backwards” is the best I have heard in a while.

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