Church — Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., “the Lord’s house”), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship.
In the New Testament it is transliteration of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly.
There is no instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church of Scotland,” of the “Roman Catholic Church”, etc.
We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:
1) It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary classical sense (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).
2) It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ (Eph. 5:23, 25, 27, 29).
3) Christians associated together meeting in their home (Rom. 16:5).
4) All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Acts 13:1); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2), “the church at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1), “the church of Ephesus” (Rev. 2:1).
5) The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Matt. 16:18).
What is the Church?
The church is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers. It is the Body of Christ. As its members we are empowered to change the world through the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
God constantly seeks to:
o To unify His Body. It is the universal church; not confined to any particular country or outward organization, but comprising all believers throughout the whole world.
o To establish His preeminence. To get us to see He must be first in every area of life!
o To perpetuate His Gospel. God ensures that his Church continues through all ages to the end of the world. It can never be destroyed. It is an “everlasting kingdom.”