Ekklesia: A Word Study

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Mt. 16:18 π Mt. 18:17 π Acts 2:47 π Acts 5:11 π Acts 7:38 π Acts 8:1 π Acts 8:3 π Acts 9:31 π Acts 11:22 π Acts 11:26 π Acts 12:1 π Acts 12:5 π Acts 13:1 π Acts 14:23 π Acts 14:27 π Acts 15:3-4 π Acts 15:22 π Acts 15:41 π Acts 16:5 π Acts 18:22 π Acts 19:32 π Acts 19:39 π Acts 19:41 π Acts 20:17 π Acts 20:28 π Rom. 16:1 π Rom. 16:3-5 π Rom. 16:16 π Rom. 16:23 π 1 Cor 1:2 π 1 Cor. 4:17 π 1 Cor. 6:4 π 1 Cor. 7:17 π 1 Cor. 10:32 π 1 Cor. 11:16 π 1 Cor. 11:18 π 1 Cor. 11:20 π 1 Cor. 11:22 π 1 Cor. 12:28 π 1 Cor. 14:4-5 π 1 Cor. 14:12 π 1 Cor. 14:19 π 1 Cor. 14:23 π 1 Cor. 14:28 π 1 Cor. 14:33-35 π 1 Cor. 15:9 π 1 Cor. 16:1 π 1 Cor. 16:19 π 2 Cor 1:1 π 2 Cor. 8:1 π 2 Cor. 8:18-19 π 2 Cor. 8:23-24 π 2 Cor. 11:8 π 2 Cor. 11:28 π 2 Cor. 12:13 π Gal. 1:2 π Gal. 1:13 π Gal. 1:22 π Eph. 1:22 π Eph. 3:10 π Eph. 3:21 π Eph. 5:23-32 π Phlp. 3:6 π Phlp. 4:15 π Col. 1:18 π Col. 1:24 π Col. 4:15-16 π 1 Ths. 1:1 π 1 Ths. 2:14 π 2 Ths. 1:1 π 2 Ths. 1:4 π 1 Tim. 3:5 π 1 Tim. 3:15 π 1 Tim. 5:16 π Phlm. 2 π Heb. 2:12 π Heb. 12:23 π Jas. 5:14 π 3 Jn. 6 π 3 Jn. 9-10 π Rev. 1:4 π Rev. 1:10 π Rev. 1:11 π Rev. 1:20 π Rev. 2:1 π Rev. 2:7 π Rev. 2:8 π Rev. 2:11 π Rev. 2:12 π Rev. 2:17 π Rev. 2:18 π Rev. 2:23 π Rev. 2:29 π Rev. 3:1 π Rev. 3:6 π Rev. 3:7 π Rev. 3:13 π Rev. 3:14 π Rev. 3:22 π Rev. 22:16
Greek Words Mentioned in This Article
Assembly, “Church” (KJV)Ekklesia – [1577] π Herald, Preacherkerux – [2783] π Belonging to a Lordkuriakos – [2960]

Ekklesia [ 1577 ], from ekkletos (a word not used in the New Testament), called out, which is from ekkaleo (also not used in the New Testament), to call out. It was a common term for a congregation of the ekkletoi (also not used in the New Testament), the called people, or those called out or assembled in the public affairs of a free state, the body of free citizens called together by a herald (kerux [ 2783 ]) which constituted the ekklesia.

The term ekklesia denotes the New Testament community of the redeemed in its twofold aspect. First, all who were called by and to Christ in the fellowship of His salvation, the ekklesia worldwide of all times, and only secondarily to an individual ekklesia. (Spiros Zodhiates, Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Reading these Scriptures with the word “church” in them has done centuries of damage to the body of Christ. A simple reading of these Scriptures with the Greek word “ekklesia” re-inserted may be a real eye-opener. Enjoy.

Mt. 16:18 - “And I also say to you that you are Peter (petra), and on this rock (petros) I will build My ekklesia, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (top)

Mt. 18:17 - “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the ekklesia. But if he refuses even to hear the ekklesia, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (top)

Acts 2:47 - praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the ekklesia daily those who were being saved. (top)

Acts 5:11 - So great fear came upon all the ekklesia and upon all who heard these things. (top)

Acts 7:38 - This is he who was in the congregation (ekklesia) in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, (top)

Acts 8:1 - Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the ekklesia which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. (top)

Acts 8:3 - As for Saul, he made havoc of the ekklesia, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. (top)

Acts 9:31 - Then the ekklesias throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (top)

Acts 11:22 - Then news of these things came to the ears of the ekklesia in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. (top)

Acts 11:26 - And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was for a whole year they assembled with the ekklesia and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (top)

Acts 12:1 - Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the ekklesia. (top)

Acts 12:5 - Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the ekklesia. (top)

Acts 13:1 - Now in the ekklesia that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (top)

Acts 14:23 - So when they had appointed elders in every ekklesia, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (top)

Acts 14:27 - And when they had come and gathered the ekklesia together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (top)

Acts 15:3-4 - So, being sent on their way by the ekklesia, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the ekklesia and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. (top)

Acts 15:22 - Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole ekklesia, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. (top)

Acts 15:41 - And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the ekklesias. (top)

Acts 16:5 - So the ekklesias were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily. (top)

Acts 18:22 - And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the ekklesia, he went down to Antioch. (top)

Acts 19:32 - Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly (ekklesia) was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. (top)

Acts 19:39 - But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly (ekklesia). (top)

Acts 19:41 - And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly (ekklesia). (top)

Acts 20:17 - From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the ekklesia. (top)

Acts 20:28 - Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the ekklesia of God which He purchased with His own blood. (top)

Rom. 16:1 - I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the ekklesia in Cenchrea, (top)

Rom. 16:3-5 - Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the ekklesias of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the ekklesia that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. (top)

Rom. 16:16 - Greet one another with a holy kiss. The ekklesias of Christ greet you. (top)

Rom. 16:23 - Gaius, my host and the host of the whole ekklesia, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. (top)

1 Cor 1:2 - To the ekklesia of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (top)

1 Cor. 4:17 - For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every ekklesia. (top)

1 Cor. 6:4 - If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the ekklesia to judge? (top)

1 Cor. 7:17 - But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the ekklesias. (top)

1 Cor. 10:32 - Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the ekklesia of God, (top)

1 Cor. 11:16 - But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the ekklesias of God. (top)

1 Cor. 11:18 - For first of all, when you come together as a ekklesia, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. (top)

1 Cor. 11:22 - What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the ekklesia of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. (top)

1 Cor. 12:28 - And God has appointed these in the ekklesia: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (top)

1 Cor. 14:4-5 - He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the ekklesia. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the ekklesia may receive edification. (top)

1 Cor. 14:12 - Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the ekklesia that you seek to excel. (top)

1 Cor. 14:19 - yet in the ekklesia I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (top)

1 Cor. 14:23 - Therefore if the whole ekklesia comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? (top)

1 Cor. 14:28 - But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the ekklesia, and let him speak to himself and to God. (top)

1 Cor. 14:33-35 - For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the ekklesias of the saints. Let your women keep silent in the ekklesias, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in the ekklesia. (top)

1 Cor. 15:9 - For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the ekklesia of God. (top)

1 Cor. 16:1 - Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the ekklesias of Galatia, so you must do also: (top)

1 Cor. 16:19 - The ekklesias of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the ekklesia that is in their house. (top)

2 Cor 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the ekklesia of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: (top)

2 Cor. 8:1 - Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the ekklesias of Macedonia: (top)

2 Cor. 8:18-19 - And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the ekklesias, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the ekklesias to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, (top)

2 Cor. 8:23-24 - If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the ekklesias, the glory of Christ. Therefore show to them, and before the ekklesias, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf. (top)

2 Cor. 11:8 - I robbed other ekklesias, taking wages from them to minister to you. (top)

2 Cor. 11:28 - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the ekklesias. (top)

2 Cor. 12:13 - For what is it in which you were inferior to other ekklesias, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong! (top)

Gal. 1:2 - and all the brethren who are with me, To the ekklesias of Galatia: (top)

Gal. 1:13 - For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the ekklesia of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. (top)

Gal. 1:22 - and I was unknown by face to the ekklesias of Judea which were in Christ. (top)

Eph. 1:22 - And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the ekklesia, (top)

Eph. 3:10 - to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the ekklesia to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, (top)

Eph. 3:21 - to Him be glory in the ekklesia by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (top)

Eph. 5:23-32 - For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the ekklesia; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the ekklesia is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the ekklesia and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious ekklesia, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the ekklesia. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the ekklesia. (top)

Phlp. 3:6 - concerning zeal, persecuting the ekklesia; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (top)

Phlp. 4:15 - Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no ekklesia shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. (top)

Col. 1:18 - And He is the head of the body, the ekklesia, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have preeminence. (top)

Col. 1:24 - I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the ekklesia, (top)

Col. 4:15-16 - Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the ekklesia that is in his house. Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the ekklesia of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (top)

1 Ths. 1:1 - Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the ekklesia of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (top)

1 Ths. 2:14 - For you, brethren, became imitators of the ekklesias of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Jews, (top)

2 Ths. 1:1 - Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the ekklesia of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: (top)

2 Ths. 1:4 - so that we ourselves boast of you among the ekklesias of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, (top)

1 Tim. 3:5 - (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the ekklesia of God?); (top)

1 Tim. 3:15 - but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the ekklesia of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (top)

1 Tim. 5:16 - If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the ekklesia be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows. (top)

Phlm. 2 - to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the ekklesia in your house: (top)

Heb. 2:12 - saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the congregation (ekklesia) I will sing praise to You.” (top)

Heb. 12:23 - to the general assembly and ekklesia of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, (top)

Jas. 5:14 - Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the ekklesia, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (top)

3 Jn. 6 - who have borne witness of your love before the ekklesia. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, (top)

3 Jn. 9-10 - I wrote to the ekklesia, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the ekklesia. (top)

Rev. 1:4 - John, to the seven ekklesias which 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, (top)

Rev. 1:11 - saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven ekklesias which are in Asia: To Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” (top)

Rev. 1:20 - 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 ekklesias, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven ekklesias. (top)

Rev. 2:1 - To the angel of the ekklesia of Ephesus write, “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:” (top)

Rev. 2:7 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (top)

Rev. 2:8 - And to the angel of the ekklesia in Smyrna write, “These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life” (top)

Rev. 2:11 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. (top)

Rev. 2:12 - And to the angel of the ekklesia in Pergamos write, “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword” (top)

Rev. 2:17 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. To him who overcomes I will give some to the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. (top)

Rev. 2:18 - And to the angel of the ekklesia in Thyatira write, “These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass” (top)

Rev. 2:23 - And I will kill her children with death. And all the ekklesias shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works (top)

Rev. 2:29 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. (top)

Rev. 3:1 - And to the angel of the ekklesia in Sardis write, “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.’” (top)

Rev. 3:6 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. (top)

Rev. 3:7 - And to the angel of the ekklesia in Philadelphia write, “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’” (top)

Rev. 3:13 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. (top)

Rev. 3:14 - And to the angel of the ekklesia of the Laodiceans write, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (top)

Rev. 3:22 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ekklesias. (top)

Rev. 22:16 - I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the ekklesias. I am the root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. (top)

As a closing contrast, here are the only two verses where “kuriakon” [ 2960 ], the Greek word that became the English word “church,” can be found in the New Testament. Again, a simple reading of these Scriptures with the English word “church” re-inserted may be a real eye-opener. Weeping is in order once you can see the deception the body of Christ has been under for so many centuries.

1 Cor. 11:20 - Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat church supper. (top)

Rev. 1:10 - I was in the Spirit on church day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet... (top)

That’s it. That’s all the original New Testament writers had to say about “church.” Makes you wonder how it got to be the center of all things “Christian,” don’t it?

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