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A Closer Look at the Greek word Ekklesia under the Microscope

Updated on December 30, 2016

The church and home church movements basically define the Greek word ekklesia the same way, but go about it different ways, but Scripture has something different to say about what many call, “church."

The word ekklesia was corruptly translated from Greek to what what many believe to be the church institution. However, the true meaning of ekklesia (G1577) can be broken down into two separate words that represent two things. Ek (G1537), which means "from out of," and kaleo (G2564), which means, "to call forth."

Those within the home church movement will emphasize that ekklesia means to go out and plant a church at someone's house and then call forth a general assembly of believers to meet together in various homes. The institutionalized church will emphasize it to mean to go out and erect a named denominational building and call forth people to come in through her doors.

These two movements basically believe the same thing, but go about it different ways.

The replacement of ekklesia for church changes the true meaning of who we are in Christ for a physical building built with man's hands.

What is the Ekklesia?

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house – 1 Peter 2:5

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. - 1 Peter 2:9-10

From reading these few verses in 1 Peter, it becomes very clear that the ekklesia are spiritually made in nature. It is not a physical building, or a house that is built with man’s hands called church where people routinely gather. The ekklesia are the called out ones from the spiritual bondage of the systems of man into the light becoming a spiritual household made of living stones.

For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? – James 2:2-4

Looking at this verse closer, the word assembly does not mean ekklesia. It means meeting place, or synagogue (4864). An assembly is not the ekklesia.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him… - 2 Thessalonians 2:1

Paul in this verse was not referring to the ekklesia, but a collection of people (G1997) meeting together in one place. It is true that the ekklesia can gather together, but gathering together does not mean ekklesia.

It's a Matter of Perspective

The word ekklesia has taken on many secular perspectives, but the word has a uniqueness that was held by the early ekklesias that can be gleaned from Christ's own words.

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

Christ said that he would build his ekklesia; therefore, it is not religious men who build a spiritual house. Any man who calls something that is not living, such as a building, or house and calls it church is twisting the words of Christ. A physical building such as a house, or church in not the ekklesia because they are a spiritual house built by Christ himself.

If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the ekklesia of the living God – 1 Timothy 3:15

The household of God is spiritual in nature, it is not an institutionalized church building, or people in a house. The ekklesia was never intended to be represented in an inanimate physical building, but they are a spiritual remnant of people who Christ has assembled throughout the world in different localities. Unfortunately, too many people are reading Scripture and defining its word by man's definitions missing out on the spiritual context of who the ekklesia are. Religious men wnat tangible evidence of their religions and do not living by faith. They erect buildings in their name and embrace terms that have been twisted to take the focus off of Christ as the head to a place where man is in control.

The ekklesia of Christ are not a general assembly of believers in church buildings. The ekklesia are called out, not into. Even though those in the counterfeit church system strongly believe in going out and planting other churches, they are just propagating more physical buildings with their brands of denominations stamped upon them.

It is only Christ who creates the spiritual assembly of believers by joining likeminded believer together. The moment man put themselves in charge, it becomes church. This is antichrist.

Where in Scripture does it say that a house meeting are the ekklesia?

Where in Scripture does it say that a worship service are the ekklesia?

Where in Scripture does it say that church is a building made with man’s hands are the ekklesia?

I will Build my Ekklesia

The ekklesia are born again believers who are called out of darkness into the light of God who are a family of spiritual believers that cannot be planted, built, or organized by man. Christ is the architect of the ekklesia. He defined the ekklesia. You cannot go to ekklesia. You cannot teach in ekklesia. The ekklesia are not church.

If you go to church, then man has created it. If you teach in church, then you are in man’s domain. The ekklesia has nothing to do with what man's traditions, but everything to with what Christ has done.

And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter. And upon this rock I will build my congregation: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18 TYNT

Unfortunately, many people spend most of their lives within the confines of organized religion called church. They have not been seeing with their spiritual eyes, or reading God’s word without the lens of human tradition.They have changed biblical terminologies and the result is many who are stunted in their spiritual growth trapped and oppressed in spiritual Babylon.

The word church is a corrupted word found in most bibles today. Unfortunately, that is why so many are accustomed to using the term. If ekklesia was used instead, at least it might get the readers to think about its meaning rather than submitting to the devised human term. The ekklesia are singular; one body born into the Kingdom of God. Even the epistles were written to the one ekklesia of Christ located in different localities. Paul did not write to different churches, but he wrote to the one ekklesia of Christ (singular) who were a community of local believers (plural) located in different cities (localities). Ekklesia is singular in Greek, but many bible translations use church in plural form.

Can you see the damage the word church has done?

The word church has created physical institutional entities, not a spiritual one built only by Christ.

The counterfeit is in plain site, but many are too blind to see it.

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20

One Body

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – Ephesians 4:4

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. – Romans 12:4-5

The ekklesia are one body that consists of many parts. It is not a denominations, building, or man-made charitable 501(c)3 organization.

The church attender will say that you need to get plugged into a church, or attend a church. They fail to understand that once a person is joined to Christ, they are part of his one body. There is nothing else for that person to join. It is people who are the parts of the body Christ, it is not different religious denominations in church buildings.

Wake up people! The practice of building temples and calling it church is idolatry. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not contained in your idols!

The church you may attend and worship in every Sunday morning is upon the altar of man's traditions with predetermined programs as a means to attain salvation. Christ did not shed his blood for church system full of clergy and laity.

The early ekklesia thrived without buildings and man-made programs, but most believe they can do nothing without them because they have become so dependent upon hirelings to direct their paths.

The ekklesia are called out of the world's way of doing things and aligning with the way of Christ and the apostles.

Vain Offerings

The words written in Isaiah make things crystal clear.

“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood. – Isaiah 1:12-15

We are not called to sit in pews in worship services directed by men, but to live a life of worship. The counterfeit church system embraces the mindset of the world because they are blind in their indoctrinated condition of neglecting the truth.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. – John 4:23

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) – Hebrews 9 :11

The religious deceptions have etched many minds with terminologies that are inconsistent with God’s word. If you call a building you attend religiously church, then you are deceived.

Get out while you still can.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues – Revelation 18:4

Please peruse part 2 to this theme, Ekklesia, or Church?

Were you IN "Church" on Sunday?

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    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I believe the context of the verse from previous verses applies to a disagreement between Christians, such as brother or sister who has sinned against another. Jesus says that when two or more witnesses come together He is there among them.

      In the Hebrew courts during Jesus' time on earth, a person could not convict someone on the testimony of a single witness, but the testimonies of two or more witnesses could well establish the truth.

      When I asked the question, "Can you see the damage the word "church" has done?", before I quoted Matthew 18:20, I was asking others if they have witnessed the damage the "church" system has done to so many people. I believe there is enough testimony and historical evidence to establish this as truth.

    • profile image

      SimplyI 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada


      Do you recall where Spurgeon talked against Darby? I am very curious as I come from Brethren. Sounds incredible. I consider them to be the closest to the bible format as far as organization of the meetings is concerned. Describing them as dangerous is ludicrous.


      When I read about 2 or 3 gathered in my name, it is referring specifically to prayers and answers to prayers not a corporate worship time. There is a definite difference between the two. Pls clarify.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Here, Here and I am so glad that you have brought this up. Jesus said many things that those organized religions do not believe and that have hidden from their congregations and the public.

    • profile image

      Liberty 3 years ago

      I have a Darby version bible and note he translates church and churches for assembly and assemblies. Spurgeon warned others about him and thought them dangerous.

      To the establishment, that is.

    • deorganicchurch profile image

      deorganicchurch 3 years ago from Newark, DE

      John Nelson Darby was known as one of the top leaders of the Christian movement called Plymouth Brethren. They later divided into two groups called Open Brethren and Exclusive Brethren. When the group split into two, John led the Exclusive Brethren. This group has some similar traits to house churches in that they use a participatory style of meeting and they celebrate the Lord's supper similar to house churches. The groups were against having salaried pastors and conducted services in more of an open format. John Nelson Darby was also a key figure in promoting the pre-tribulation rapture theory.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      The local Church is exclusive to believers in a certain area (locality). The universal Church is every Christian both living and dead throughout history.

      God never named the Church (ekklesia), but they are made distinct within their localities. There is only one Church, if there were more than one then they would have to be named, which is why we have thousands of different sects and denominations today. The Early Church did NOT consist of many different denominations with their own separate doctrines. They were referred to by the cities that they were meeting and living together in.

      Here is an example of the ekklesia in a certain locality gathered together.

      For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20

      I have not read much on John Neslon Darby.

    • profile image

      Liberty 3 years ago

      P&N & gents, I've taken to blue letter bible and have copied all the words for Ekklesia into a word doc. I noted that the word Assembly is in three places and there's an off situation with Heb 12:23. Not sure what to make of that one.

      If I look at all these verses where the word 'church' is and substitute it for a better word, what word would that be?

      Is assembly or congregation sufficient?

      If I wrote "called out ones" would that be better?

      I am struggling with this paradigm shift and any pointers would be appreciated.

      Is it correct to say P&N that you believe in the doctrine of the universal church and not the local church? (not to provoke just wanting to understand).

      FWIW, a friend of mine just got kicked out of a church by its 'Pastor' after preaching from Matt 23 (haha). He was then charged with not believing in 'pastoral authority' and the doctrine of the local church.

      This was timely as I'm working through these issues atm. (God is good).

      I'm also wondering if you read John Nelson Darby much?

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I know today the Quaker movement has had various branches and sects from its original founder George Fox. They could be defined as a cult as they fit most of the numbered options 2,3,5 and 6 below.

      1 (a) A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

      (b) The followers of such a religion or sect.

      2 - A system or community of religious worship and ritual.

      3 - The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.

      4 (a) A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.

      5 (a) Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.

      (b) The object of such devotion.

      6 - An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

      The Quaker doctrine that originates from James Fox focuses on the reliance of the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, love for one another and their enemies, and speaking truth. On the surface this sounds good, but I presume that a deeper look into the various Quaker sects that they have strayed from the standard of Scripture.

      Fox's story of one being persecuted for his convictions is compelling as I believe as followers of Jesus Christ speak truth and share the Gospel, they too will be persecuted for it. The brief synopsis reminded me of Paul. I have not read the doctrinal books of George Fox, but it has piqued my interest. Thanks for the link. I would have to read in more depth on his teaching, but I am usually skeptical of doctrine that pertains to any man outside of Scripture; therefore, it must be filtered through the Word of God.

    • profile image

      Neil Braithwaite 3 years ago

      I was wondering if you have read much of George Fox's writings? (Quaker founder)

      I find his take on the organized "church" of his day to be pretty much in line with how many of us feel about today's corporate church.

      I thought this passage from a website about his life was interesting:

      "In Leicester at a meeting held in a church to discuss religious issues: A woman asked a question from the first epistle of Peter, "What that birth was — a being born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, that liveth and abideth for ever?" The local priest said to her, "I permit not a woman to speak in the church." This brought Fox to his feet, who stepped up and asked the priest, "Dost thou call this place a church? or dost thou call this mixed multitude a church?" But instead of answering him, the priest asked what a church was? to which George replied, "The church is the pillar and ground of truth, made up of living stones, living members, a spiritual household, of which Christ is the head; but he is not the head of a mixed multitude, or of an old house made up of lime, stones and wood." This set them all on fire; the priest came down from his pulpit, the others out of their pews, and the discussion was broken up. (from Janney's Life of Penn)"

      Fox was thrown in jail several times for speaking out about the counterfeit church and interrupting preachers during their sermons. Maybe it would be helpful for someone today to "speak out" during a sermon as he had the courage to do? If for nothing else than to observe the reaction of the "church" leaders to hear their defense of their "religious" positions.

      Your insight into his writings would be interesting.

    • deorganicchurch profile image

      deorganicchurch 3 years ago from Newark, DE

      I know it is important for believers to meet together as the assembly in order to build each other up in the faith and minister the word to one another. The house church that I attend meets at different locations because it is the group of believers that form the assembly not the particular house. It does seem that the majority of Christians, at least where I live in the northeastern United States, don't seem very interested in just meeting together as the assembly. If it isn't in a building with a steeple on it with a senior pastor upfront, they don't have any interest. They want to drive to a church building, sit in a pew, listen to a sermon, talk a little bit afterwards (and sometimes they don't even want to do that) then go home. I tried in vain by posting online to find just one person that wanted to help began a new meeting of the assembly in my area but found none. I believe the area where I live is absolutely steeped in religion.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      So many people are looking for Church in the wrong place. Since we are citizens in the Kingdom of God that cannot be seen, it only makes sense that the Church is spiritual in nature too because Jesus is the one who builds it.

      For we walk by faith, not by sight. - 2 Corinthians 5:7

    • profile image

      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- Great article- It took many years of study to realize the church is spiritual. It was at the same time I began to realize and understand the meaning when Jesus said;"But ye seek first the Kingdom of God"....... Once I began to Seek the Kingdom of God it all began to fall into place. Many of the verses I had not understood before began to make sense. Many believe that " going to church" helps build our relationship and understanding of God. Which in fact is far from it. I took years for me to understand through God's word that the church is within us. That we are drawn into the EKKLESIS by God. It took years to understand that at the time one begains to seek the Kingdom, then you become part of the body of Christ who is the head of the true church which is within or part of the Kingdom.

      Again, I'll state how important it is to step away from man made churches and then study the God's word on your own. One can not seek the Kingdom of God when man made churches are the cause of spiritual blindness

      God bless PandN

    • profile image

      liberty 3 years ago

      Thanks P&N.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      Each one of us has a choice to accept and believe the truth of Jesus Christ as it is presented in His Word. We cannot have God's truth in us if we do not keep with what He has taught. I believe the delusion comes once we know the truth, but willingly refuse to obey it. This is willful disobedience, which God allows Satan to open the doors to all forms of lies, deceptions and corruption.

      ("Do you believe that the 'delusion' God sends is Christianity?")

      I believe it is "Churchianity" that has been conjured up to deceive the masses in bringing on a strong delusion in these end times.

      And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. - Romans 1:28

      Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. - 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

      It is our mandate as followers of Jesus Christ to urge people to accept the truth. Unfortunately, many have rejected the truth and twist the Gospel for their own gain. We all have an opportunity to repent, but when people willfully continue to reject truth, God hardens their heart to their fate.

    • profile image

      Liberty 3 years ago


      Do you believe that the 'delusion' God sends is Christianity?

      I am wondering this atm.