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ECCLESIOLOGY (A Study Of The Church) Lesson 3


A.The New Testament was written in the koine or “common” Greek.
B.The Koine differs in many respects to the modern or classical Greek.
C.Classical Greek refers basically to the ancient Greek tongue which found its roots in the Indo-Germanic family of languages.
D.The Koine age is approximately 300 B.C. To 500 A.D. Classical Greek is thought of as preceding the Koine; modern Greek is thought of as succeeding the Koine.

A.Dana says, – “In classical use ekklesia meant ‘an assembly.” It was derived from a combination of Greek root and prefixed preposition, the resultant meaning of which was ‘to call out.’ It was commonly used in reference to bodies of qualified representatives ‘called out’ for legislative functions” (Meaning of Ecclesia in the N.T., Overbey, p. 10).
B.Ewing writes, – “In every case, the word means an organized body, in opposition to a casual meeting…” (Ibid).
C.Liddell and Scott – “An assembly of the citizens summoned by the crier, the legislative assembly” (Ibid).
D.Seyffert’s Dictionary: – “The assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the power of final decision in public affairs” (Ibid).
E.Thomas – “It was the organized assembly of the authorized voters of the local community met to transact business of common concern. It corresponded to the town-meeting of New England of later days” (Ibid).
F.Overbey says, “A distinction should be maintained between the etymology of a word and its meaning at some particular time in history. Sometimes the two are the same; many times they are quite different. ‘Hussy’ came from ‘huswife’ which means housewife; today it means a worthless woman or girl, or a pert girl. ‘Constable’ came from ‘comes stabuli’ which means attendant of the stable; today it means a peace officer. ‘Ekklesia’ came from ‘ekkletos’ which means called out but in the times prior to the New Testament it meant assembly or called out assembly. To say it means the called out is not correct” (Ibid p. 11).
G.Broadus writes, – “The Greek word ekklesia signified primarily the assembly of citizens in a self-governed state, being derived from ekkaleo to call out; i.e., from their homes or places of business, to summon, as we speak of calling out the militia. The popular notion that it meant to call out in the sense of separation from others is a mistake” (Ibid).
H.F. J. A. Hort says, – “There is no foundation for the widely spread notion that ekklesia means a people or a number of individual men called out of the world of mankind” (Ibid p. 11).
I.Prof. Royal of Wake Fores College said, – “I do not know of any passage in classical Greek, where ekklesia is used of unassembled or unassembling persons: (Why Be a Baptist, Taylor, p. 45).

A.Ecclesia – the Church by B. H. Carroll
B.Meaning of Ecclesia in the N. T. by Overbey

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ECCLESIOLOGY (A Study Of The Church)


A.Overbey says, “According to most scholars the word church comes from a Greek word meaning ‘the Lord’s’ with the word house usually understood.” (The Meaning of Ecclesia in the N.T.. – Overbey, p. 7)
B.The Greek “kuriakos”:
1.Easton’s Bible dictionary says, “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 is is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early 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,” etc.
2.Smith’s Bible Dictionary says,
a.The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek kuriakon, “belonging to the Lord”. But the derivation has been too hastily assumed. It is probably connected with kirk,the Latin circus, circulus, the Greek kuklos, (kuklos), because the congregations were gathered in circles.
b.Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority. It was, in this last sense, that the word was adapted and applied by the writers of the New Testament to the Christian congreagation.
3.Kuriakos used in the New Testament.
a.Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day (kuriake hemera), and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”
b.I Corinthians 11:20, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper (kuriakon deipnon).”

A.Ecclesia – the Church – B. H. Carrol
B.Ekklesia – the Church – Bob L. Ross
C.Theodosia Earnest, Bol. II – A. C. Dayton

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ECCLESIOLOGY (A Study Of The Church)

A.Ecclesiology is a specialized study of the doctrines of the church. The study includes the origin, the continuity, the nature, and the ministry of this blood-bought institution.
B.Etymology of the word “ecclesiology”:
1.Ecclesia – assembly; congregation; church
2.Logos – word; study of
C.This study comprises one of the most imlportant, yet sadly neglected doctrines of the Bible.

A.Never before in the history of the church has there been such a need of the Bible meaning of the Lor’s “church.”
B.G. D. Boardman, of last century fame, stated, “What is the church? Is the great problem of this century.” (Ekklesia The Church, Bob Ross, p. 3).
C.Satan has chosen a few doctrines to specifically concentrate his energies on to pervert: Genesis account of creation, inspiration of the Scriptures, virgin birth and deity of Christ, salvation by grace, perseverance of the saints, and the church of the New Testament.
D.Chester Tulga says, “The fundamentalists knew very well that many other spiritual movements had cooled off and departed from the faith, and they adopted many careful doctrinal confessions and required many sighnings, forgetting at times that eternal vigilance is the price of orthodoxy… they did not forsee that schools chich they founded would be infected by the culture of their day, the natural tendency of the human mind toward philosophical theology, and the adoption of the popular notions of the hour. Many movements are lulled to sleep with the conviction that ‘it can’t happen to us’…church history records that every movement eventually diminishes in vigor and strength of conviction; that the truths held dynamically in the beginning eventually come to be held formally.” (Fundamentalism Of Yesterday, The Evangelicalism of Today, and the Fudamentalis of Tomorrow, Chester Tulga, pp. 7,8).
E.The controversy centers around the question: “What is the nature of the church?” “Is it local or universal, visible or invisible?” IT CANNOT BE BOTH.
F.The ordinances of the church – baptism and the Lord’s Supper – can never have their full meaning, if the nature of the church be not properly understood.
G.Scriptural exhortations:
1.II Timothy 4:3,4 – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and athey shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
2.Matthew 24:12 – “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
3.II Timothy 3:1 – “This know also, that in the last days perilous (difficult) times shall come.”
4.I Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart form the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
5.Revelation 3:14-22 – the whole spirit of this Laodicean age is characterized by apathy, indifference, likewarmness, non-concern, and looseness – both morally and doctrinally.

A.The meaning of Ecclesia in the New Testament – Eddward Overbey
B.The Church That Jesus Built – Roy Mason
C.The Origin of Baptists – S. H. Ford
D.Theodosia Earnest – Volume II – A. C. Dayton
E.Baptist Succession – D. B. Ray
F.Concise History of Baptists – Orchard
G.The Curch and the Ordinances – Buell H. kazee
H.Alien Baptism and the Baptists – Nevins
I.The Baptist Story – A. A. Davis
J.The Church – L. L. Clover
K.Brief History of the Baptists – Edward Overbey
L.John’s Baptism – J. R. Graves
M.N. T. Baptists and Infant Sprinkling – Chester Tulga
N.Case for Dispensationalism – Chester Tulga
O.Seven Dispensations – J. R. Graves
P.independence of the Local Church – Chester Tulga
Q.Southern Baptist Convention – A Study in the Development of Ecclesiology – William Wright Barnes
R.The Baptist Heritage – Holliday
S.History of the Baptists – Thomas Armitage
T.The New Great iron Wheel – J. R. Graves
U.Truth About Conventionism – I. K. Cross
V.World System and the Social Gospel – S. E. Jones
W.Trilemma – J. R. Graves
X.Communism, Democracy, and Catholic Power – Paul Blanshard
Y.American Feedom and Catholic Power – Paul Blanshard
Z.First Baptist Church in America -Graves and Adlam
AA.Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History
AB.The Letters to the Seven Churches – Ramsay
AC.The Patmos Letters – Tatford
AD.The Churches of the New Testament – McDaniel
AE.Repent or Else – Vance Havner
AF.Seven Churches of Revelation – Ford
AG.Why Be a Baptist – Boyce Taylor
AH.Pillars of Orthodoxy – Ben Bogard
AI.Ecclesia – the Church – B. H. Carroll
AJ.Ekklesia – the Church – Bob Ross
AK.The Glorious Church – Roy M. Reed
AL.God’s Plan With Man – A. J. Kirkland
AM.Seven Questions & Answers as to Church Authority – Baptist Examiner
AN.Origin and perpetuity of the Baptists – Baptist Examiner
AO.The New Testament Church – A Local Body – A. J. Kirkland
AP.Biblical Proofs for identifying the True Church – L. D. Forman
AQ.The Trail of Blood – J. M. Carroll

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The Church – English Word


The English Word “Church”

My intent is to show what the Church is by using a methodical study. We need to begin by defining the word. I will be using references that are experts in language and linguistics.

The Word Defined

Overbey in his book (The Meaning of Ecclesia in the N.T. p.7) says, “According to most scholars the word church comes from a Greek word meaning “the Lord’s” with the word house usually understood.” This is taken from the Greek word “kuriakos” which comes from the word “kurios,” meaning “the Lord’s.”

Thayer says, (Thayer’s Lexicon, pl 365) “A Biblical and ecclesiastical word – of or belonging to the Lord, or relating to the Lord.”

Overbey asserts, “Time and the peculiarities of each language had its effect on the word (kuriakos) but the word still remained recognizable. In English it is church, in Old English cirice, in German Kirche, in Scottish kirk, and in Old Scandinavian kyrka.”

The Meaning of the Greek word “Ecclesia”

I want you to remember the word “Church” and it’s meaning while we examine the word “ecclesia”. As previously stated, most scholars agree that the English word “church” comes from a Greek word (kiriakos) which means “the Lord’s” with the word house usually understood.

Here is the etymology of the word Ecclesia.

  • Ek – out of.

  • Kaleo – to call.

  • Hence, a “calling out.”

The word church, according to Overbey, appears in the King James Bible because of Rule 3, established by King James. Rule 3 states – The old ecclesiastical words to kept.

  1. K. Cross makes this observation. “In Acts 19:39-41 the term is used twice. Once to refer to the ‘lawful assembly’ which was called out of the citizens of Ephesus to handle legal matters in the city. The other to refer to the assembly that had been called together to run Paul and his companions out of town. In either case the assembly, or ecclesia (for this is the word used here), was a called out group, called together for a specific purpose, and local in nature. This was the common usage of the term and always the proper definition of an ecclesia. THIS IS WHAT OUR LORD SAID HE WOULD BE BUILDING.”

  1. K. Cross continues, “If Jesus Christ had intended to build another kind of company there were other words in the language He could have used. He could have used the word ‘Synagoga,’ a term without such limitations and yet designating an assembly. It would certainly have been more fitting for a ‘universal company.’ He could have also used the word ‘panagris’ if He had a solemn assembly in mind of a massive and festal nature. But these were rejected in favor of the most limiting term in the Greek language with reference to an assembly; a term that can only be properly interpreted as an assembly local in nature.”

  1. K. Cross further states the word ecclesia is more than a mere assembly. The word is a compounding of two words. Kaleo, ‘to call” and ‘ek’, meaning out, or literally ‘to call out.’ Thus, an ‘ekklesia’ is a Called out assembly, implying some conditions. The Lord did not call all Christians in the area that cared to assemble into His ‘ekklesia,’ but he was very selective about it in Matthew 4:17-22; Matthew 9:1 John 1:43,44 and on until He had 120 in that assembly by the time he went back to the Father. I Cor. 12:28 says that ‘God hath set some in the church (ekklesia)…,’ not all. The same passage states that He set the apostles in the ‘ekklesia,’ and on the occasion when the apostles were chosen there was quite a congregation of disciples present of whom he chose the apostles – and Paul says the apostles, not the crowd, were set in the ‘ekklesia’.

Roy Mason asserts, “…I submit the proposition that the church that Jesus founded was the local assembly, and that to use the word ecclesia to designate a ‘universal,’ or ‘invisible’ church is to pervert its meaning, and to fall into serious error.” (The Church That Jesus Built, Mason, p. 26).

A. C. Dayton said, “The Greek ‘ekklesia’ consisted of certain individuals, who, when assembled and organized, constituted an official body for the transaction of such business as might come before them. It was not merely an assembly, but an official assembly, consisting of persons specifically qualified, and who had each his specific rights and duties as a member of the ekklesia to which was intrusted the management of public business; but the ekklesia were called out from the mass… Every assembly was not an ekklesia, nor was every ekklesia an ekklesia of Christ”. (Theodosia Earnest, pp. 72,73).

This leaves the question, why does the King James Bible use the word Church instead of the word congregation or the word assembly. I have heard those that would use the word assembly instead of Church. I have heard the arguments put forth. Here is what I have to say about the issue. Jesus said “I will build my ecclesia – assembly.

So Wednesday afternoon, I leave my house and walk to the assembly. One of my neighbors happens to be in their yard and ask me where I am going. I say, I’m going to the assembly. Reply – oh, the school assembly, No – Oh, the assembly at 3rd St and 4th Ave. No, I’m not going to the corner tavern. So what assembly are you going to? Church (THE LORD’S). My neighbors reply – why didn’t you say that to begin with? My reply – I wanted to be correct in usage whether you understood it or not. I believe that the word Church was used before they began building Church buildings. I also believe that the assembly we attend is “The Lord’s” assembly. The word Church is proper in declaring to others that we are attending “The Lords’ assembly.

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