[b-greek] Re: Historical Development of EKKLESIA?

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 14:58:03 EST

on 11/26/01 10:46 AM, Glen L Naftaniel wrote:

> I was taught that it literally means: "'the called out ones.'


The historical development of the word may shed some light on NT usage but
often it just suggests avenues of unwarranted speculation. One of the best
sources for lexical semantics of the NT is the lexicon by Louw&Nida
available in both electronic form and in hard copy. Since it was designed
with the intend of being electronic it is actually more useful in that form.


11.32 ekklesiaa, as f: a congregation of Christians, implying interacting
membership ‹ Œcongregation, church.¹ te ekklesia tou theou te ouse en
Korintho Œto the church of God which is in Corinth¹ 1Cor 1:2; aspazontai
humas hai ekklesiai pasai tou Christou Œall the churches of Christ greet
you¹ Ro 16:16.
    Though some persons have tried to see in the term ekklesia a more or
less literal meaning of Œcalled-out ones,¹ this type of etymologizing is not
warranted either by the meaning of ekklesia in NT times or even by its
earlier usage. The term ekklesia was in common usage for several hundred
years before the Christian era and was used to refer to an assembly of
persons constituted by well-defined membership. In general Greek usage it
was normally a socio-political entity based upon citizenship in a city-state
(see ekklesiac, 11.78) and in this sense is parallel to demos (11.78). For
the NT, however, it is important to understand the meaning of ekklesiaa as
Œan assembly of God¹s people.¹
    In the rendering of ekklesiaa a translator must beware of using a term
which refers primarily to a building rather than to a congregation of
believers. In many contexts ekklesiaa may be readily rendered as Œgathering
of believers¹ or Œgroup of those who trust in Christ.¹ Sometimes, as in 1Cor
1:2, it is possible to translate ŒPaul writes to the believers in Christ who
live in Corinth.¹ Such a translation does, however, omit a significant
element in the term ekklesiaa, in that the sense of corporate unity is not

11.33 ekklesiab, as f: the totality of congregations of Christians ‹
Œchurch.¹ su ei Petros, kai epi taute te petra oikodomeso mou ten ekklesian
Œyou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church¹ Mt 16:18.

11.78 ekklesiac, as f; demos, ou m: a group of citizens assembled for
socio-political activities ‹ Œassembly, gathering.¹
ekklesiac en te ennomo ekklesia epiluthesetai Œit will have to be settled in
the legal assembly¹ Ac 19:39.
demos ho de Alexandros Š ethelen apologeisthai to demo Œbut Alexander Š
wanted to make a speech before the assembly of the citizens¹ Ac 19:33.
    It is possible that in ekklesiac there is somewhat more focus upon the
people being together as a legal assembly, while in the case of demos the
emphasis is merely upon a meeting of citizens. But in the NT one cannot
distinguish clearly between the meanings of these two words.
    ekklesiac and demos may be rendered in some languages as Œa meeting of
the people who belonged to that place¹ or ŒŠ who were inhabitants of that
town¹ or ŒŠ whose homes were in that town.¹

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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