God’s concept of ‘church’

Ekklesia

Ekklesia I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. Introduction Greek Word Study Scriptures Observations Final Thoughts Discussion Questions References

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18

I. Introduction
What comes to mind when you read the following word…church? A building? A choir? A pastor? Worship music? Hypocrisy? An offering plate? Steeples? Christians? Scandals? Suits and dresses? In our current culture, church is very a broad concept that carries many different meanings to many different people. However, what is ultimately essential for Christians to embrace is God’s concept of ‘church’. The goal of this study is to strip away our preconceived notions of ‘church’ and build a truly biblical concept of church. This is not to say that our preconceived notions of church are wrong, but they should be backed up with Scripture and notions that are not biblical should be questioned and possibly discarded if they oppose Scripture. Whenever you see the word ‘church’ in the Scriptures it is translated from the Greek word Ekklesia which occurs 111 times in the New Testament. There are hundreds of Scriptures that directly and indirectly allude to the Ekklesia; however, this study focuses only on Scriptures that contain the Greek word Ekklesia. The rationale behind this decision is that this is a Greek word study on Ekklesia and not a comprehensive topical study on the Body of Christ (Ekklesia) which is beyond the scope of a Greek Word Study. Section II of this study is an in-depth Greek Word Study of Ekklesia. Section III is a collection of all 111 Scriptures that contain the Greek Word Ekklesia. As you study these Scriptures, it is vitally important look them up in your Bible and read the surrounding context of each. Context will help reveal the true meaning of each Scripture. Section IV is a listing of general observations from the Scriptures on Ekklesia. Section V includes the author’s final thoughts. Section VI is a listing of discussion questions for personal or group use. It is the author’s firm belief that as you study the origins and occurrences of Ekklesia in Scripture you will begin to develop God’s concept of ‘church.’ Psalm 119:160 tells us that the sum of God’s Word is truth. So if you allow God’s Word to be your sole source of information you will have a truly biblical concept of ‘church.’

II. Greek Word Study
Ekklesia
(ek-klay-see’-ah) Word Origin From a compound of Ek (‘out of’) and Kaleo (‘to call’)1 Definition 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Those who are called out2 An assembly of Christians gathered for worship3 Those who [regardless of location] are united into one body The whole body of Christians scattered throughout the world The assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven The members of the Christian community on earth or saints in heaven or both The Ekkletoi (those called out) constitute the Ekklesia a. Ekkletoi derives from Ekkaleo (to call out) b. Ekklesia was a common term for a congregation of the Ekkletoi The Christian community was designated for the first time as Ekklesia to differentiate it from the Jewish community (Sunagoge) in Acts 2:47 Ekklesia denotes the N.T. community of the redeemed in its twofold aspect a. All called by & to Christ for all times worldwide b. A local assembly of believers

8. 9.

1 2

New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com/Lexicons/NewTestamentGreek/. Zodhiates, Key Word Study Bible. 3 Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

III. Scriptures
Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.4 "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things. "This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. And the news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch.

Acts 11:26

Matthew 18:17

Acts 12:1

Acts 12:5

Acts 5:11

Acts 13:1

Acts 7:38

Acts 14:23

Acts 8:1

Acts 14:27

Acts 8:3

Acts 15:3

Acts 9:31

Acts 15:4

Acts 11:22

And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. And when they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. And when they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.

4

All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible

Acts 15:22

Acts 15:41 Acts 16:5

Acts 18:22

Acts 19:32

Acts 19:39 Acts 19:40

Acts 19:41 Acts 20:17 Acts 20:28

Romans 16:1

Romans 16:4

Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas-- Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. And when he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted thechurch, and went down to Antioch. So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together. "But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly. "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's affair, since there is no real cause for it; and in this connection we shall be unable to account for this disorderly gathering." And after saying this he dismissed the assembly. And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; Who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;

Romans 16:5

Romans 16:16 Romans 16:23

1 Corinthians 1:2

1 Corinthians 4:17

1 Corinthians 6:4

1 Corinthians 7:17

1 Corinthians 10:32 1 Corinthians 11:16

1 Corinthians 11:18

Also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And thus I direct in all the churches. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.

1 Corinthians 11:22

1 Corinthians 12:28

1 Corinthians 14:4

1 Corinthians 14:5

1 Corinthians 14:12

1 Corinthians 14:19

1 Corinthians 14:23

1 Corinthians 14:28

1 Corinthians 14:33

1 Corinthians 14:34

What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

1 Corinthians 14:35

1 Corinthians 15:9

1 Corinthians 16:1

1 Corinthians 16:19

2 Corinthians 1:1

2 Corinthians 8:1

2 Corinthians 8:18

2 Corinthians 8:19

2 Corinthians 8:23

2 Corinthians 8:24

2 Corinthians 11:8 2 Corinthians 11:28

And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, And we have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; And not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ. Therefore openly before the churches show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you. I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to serve you; Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.

2 Corinthians 12:13

Galatians 1:2 Galatians 1:13

Galatians 1:22

Ephesians 1:22

Ephesians 3:10

Ephesians 3:21

Ephesians 5:23

Ephesians 5:24

Ephesians 5:25

Ephesians 5:27

Ephesians 5:29

Ephesians 5:32

For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! And all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it; And I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Philippians 3:6

Philippians 4:15

Colossians 1:18

Colossians 1:24

Colossians 4:15

Colossians 4:16

1 Thessalonians 1:1

1 Thessalonians 2:14

2Thessalonians 1:1

2 Thessalonians 1:4

As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. And when this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.

1 Timothy 3:5

1 Timothy 3:15

1 Timothy 5:16

Philemon 1:2

Hebrews 2:12

Hebrews 12:23

James 5:14

3 John 1:6

3 John 1:9

3 John 1:10

(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); But in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed. And to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Saying, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the CONGREGATION I will sing Thy praise." To the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And they bear witness to your love before the church; and you will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and he forbids those who desire to do so, and puts them out of the church.

Revelation 1:4

Revelation 1:11

Revelation 1:20

Revelation 2:1

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:8

Revelation 2:11

Revelation 2:12

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; Saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea." "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.' "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.' "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

Revelation 2:17

Revelation 2:18

Revelation 2:23

Revelation 2:29 Revelation 3:1

Revelation 3:6 Revelation 3:7

Revelation 3:13 Revelation 3:14

Revelation 3:22 Revelation 22:16

'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.' "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 'And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

IV. Observations
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Hell cannot overpower the Ekklesia (Mt. 16:18) The Ekklesia is to engage in corporate discipline as needed (Mt. 18:17; 3 John 1:9-10) Total honesty is essential within the Ekklesia (Acts 5:11) The Israelites in the wilderness are referred to as the Ekklesia (Acts 7:38) The Ekklesia is persecuted (Acts 8:1,3; 12:1; 1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6; 1 Thes. 2:14; 3 John 1:10; Rev. 2:9) The Ekklesia grows as it goes forward in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31) The early Ekklesia was centered in Jerusalem (Acts 11:22) The Ekklesia is to be discipled (Acts 11:26) The Ekklesia prays fervently for its brothers and sisters (Acts 12:5) In the Ekklesia there are prophets and teachers (Acts 13:1) Apostles appointed elders in the Ekklesia through prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23) The Ekklesia regularly hears reports of what God is doing in believer’s lives (Acts 14:27; 15:3-4; 3 John 1:6) The Ekklesia sends out apostles (Acts 15:3) The Ekklesia makes decisions through consensus (Acts 15:22) Ekklesia’s are strengthened in faith through traveling apostles (Acts 15:41; 16:5; 18:22) The Ekklesia grows daily (Acts 16:5) Apostles may convene elders from local Ekklesias (Acts 20:17) Idolatry causes confusion in the Ekklesia (Acts 19:32) The Ekklesia is to settle disputes among believers (Acts 19:39-41) The elders are to oversee and shepherd the Ekklesia (Acts 20:28) Women are important in the Ekklesia (Romans 16:1,4) The Ekklesias met in homes (Romans 16:5, 23; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Phil. 1:2) Traveling apostles frequent the Ekklesia (Romans 16:23; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Cor. 8:18) The Ekklesia is sanctified and filled with saints (1 Cor. 1:2) The Ekklesia is a place of reconciliation (1 Cor. 6:4) Believers in the Ekklesia ought to continue leading the life the Lord assigned them (1 Cor. 7:17) Judgment has no place in the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 10:32)

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Unity in the Ekklesia is paramount (1 Cor. 11:16, 18, 22) A multitude of gifts are present in the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 12:28) The gifts – prophecy, interpreted tongues, etc. - edify the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 14:4, 5, 12) Instruction occurs in the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 14:19) There is peace & order in gatherings of the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 14:23, 33) There is no single leader in local Ekklesias, all are able to freely participate in gatherings (1 Cor. 14:26-28) Tongues need to be interpreted in the Ekklesia (1 Cor. 14:28) Women were to keep silent in the Ekklesia in Corinth (1 Cor. 14:34-35) The Ekklesia is to take up collections for the saints (1 Cor. 16:1) The Ekklesias received letters from apostles (2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:1; Rev. 1:4,11) God gives his grace to the Ekklesia (2 Cor. 8:1) The Ekklesia appoints apostles (2 Cor. 8:19) Apostles receive contributions from local Ekklesias to minister at other local Ekklesias (2 Cor. 11:8) Apostles have a deep burden in their hearts for the Ekklesias that they visit (2 Cor. 11:28) Apostles can receive contributions from Ekklesias (2 Cor. 12:13; Phil. 5:15) Christ is the head of the Ekklesia (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) God’s wisdom is to be seen through the Ekklesia (Eph. 3:10) Christ is to be glorified in the Ekklesia (Eph. 3:21) Christ is the Lord and Savior of the Ekklesia (Eph. 5:23) The Ekklesia is subject to Christ (Eph. 5:24) Christ loves and died for the Ekklesia (Eph 5:25) The Ekklesia is to be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:27) Christ nourishes and cherishes the Ekklesia (Eph. 5:29) Christ and the Ekklesia are one flesh (Eph. 5:32; Heb. 2:12) Ekklesias help support travelling apostles (Phil. 4:15; 3 John 1:6) Apostles are willing to suffer for the Ekklesia (Col. 1:24) Letters from apostles are read in gatherings and shared among other local Ekklesias (Col. 4:16) When apostles visited local Ekklesias they would bring stories of God’s movement in other local Ekklesiaes (2 Thes. 1:4)

o o o

o o o o o o o

Elders must know how to oversee their own household before overseeing a Ekklesia (1 Tim. 3:5) Apostles help guide Ekklesias in how they ought to behave (1 Tim. 3:15) If possible, believers should meet the needs of their own families so that they will not overburden the Ekklesia. This allows the Ekklesia to help those who have no one to help them (1 Tim. 5:15-16) The elders of the Ekklesia are to pray over the sick, anointing them with oil (James 5:14) Seven angels oversaw the seven Ekklesias in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:20) The Ekklesia is to test the authenticity of apostles (Rev. 2:2) The Ekklesia is to steadfastly follow Jesus (Rev. 2:4-5) The conquering Ekklesia will be in Heaven (Rev. 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 3:5; 3:12) The Ekklesia will be tested (Rev. 2:10) Jesus reproves and disciplines the Ekklesia because He loves the Ekklesia (Rev. 3:19) Miscellaneous References: Romans 16:16; [Romans 16:27]; 2 Cor. 8:18; 2 Cor. 8:23; 2 Cor. 8:24; Gal. 1:22; [2 Tim. 4:22]; [Titus 3:15]; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 22:16  Scripture references in brackets come from the KJV and the authenticity of these particular passages is questioned

o

V. Final Thoughts
The first English translation of the Bible (Tyndale’s Translation circa 1524) accurately translated the Greek word Ekklesia as ‘congregation’ or ‘assembly’. However, most modern translations of the Bible translate Ekklesia as ‘church.’ This is done out of out of convenience to the readers since ‘church’ is the common cultural word used for an assembly of believers. However, this does not mean it is an accurate translation of Ekklesia. Webster’s Dictionary defines church as ‘a building for public and especially Christian worship’. However, not one Scripture reference in the Bible connects Ekklesia with a building for worship. Unfortunately, when we hear the word ‘church’ our mind often paints a picture filled with unbiblical characteristics. It is time that Christians reclaim and proclaim a truly biblical concept of Ekklesia. Scripture confirms over and over again that an Ekklesia is a gathering of those who are called out of sin and called to Christ. Many of our modern concepts of ‘church’ are simply not found in Scripture and some even oppose Scripture. So how do we even begin to develop a biblical concept of ‘church’? We must allow God’s Word to define ‘church’ and consider all other sources secondary. When God’s Word is supreme we will begin to see an image of church emerge that is impossible to resist! When believers gather as a biblical Ekklesia…  Christ will be the head of the church and He will draw the believers into the manifest presence of God.  The body of Christ will truly unite and mature as one.  The church will be so contagious that each day there will be people observing it that will be drawn in and incorporated into the body of Christ.  Believers will find abundant & fulfilling relationships with God and other believers.  Every Scripture in God’s Holy Word related to the Ekklesia will bear itself out in fullness and glory.

VI. Discussion Questions
Based on the Scriptures and observations provided, how would you define Ekklesia?

Which observation(s) of Ekklesia surprised you the most? Why?

How are your preconceived notions of ‘church’ equivalent with Scripture? How are they different or opposed?

Do you regularly experience biblical Ekklesia? If so, how? If not, why not? How can you begin to experience Ekklesia more often?

How can you promote and encourage a lifestyle of Ekklesia to those around you?

Based on all the Scriptures and observations of Ekklesia, how do you envision the ‘perfect’ Ekklesia? (Keep in mind that perfection includes all the messiness, sinfulness & brokenness of humanity)

Is the term ‘church’ salvageable or should we discard it for a more accurate translation of Ekklesia? What word would you use?

How did Jesus live out Ekklesia during his earthly ministry?

What one thing can you begin to do this week that will draw you into deeper Ekklesia with other believers?

VII. References
Holy Bible, New American Standard Bible. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 2005. Key Word Study Bible, editor: Spiros Zodhiates. Canon City, CO: AMG Publishers, 2008. New Testament Greek Lexicon. http://www.biblestudytools.com/Lexicons/NewTestamentGreek/. Thayer, Joseph. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996.

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