Translation of EKKLHSIA

myron kauk myronkauk at
Tue Aug 22 15:03:31 EDT 2000

Best treatment (thorough and balanced) of the word EKKLHSIA I have seen is

Radmacher, Earl D.  _The Nature of the Church_.  Hayesville, NC:  Schoettle
Publishing, 1996 (reprint from Portland:  Western Conservative Baptist
Seminary, 1972).

If I may summarize very briefly:

Classical Greek - EKKLHSIA refers to an assembly, a meeting, and not the
body of people who assembled or met together.  At Athens the BOULE or
council was body that existed even when it was not actually in session, but
there was an EKKLHSIA only when the citizens were actually assembled.  There
was a new EKKLEHSIA every time they assembled.

LXX - EKKLHSIA used to translate hebrew QAHAL 77/120 times (64%).  All uses
of the word never go beyond the simple meaning of "assembly."  There is no
specifically religious connotation in the Septuagint.  The assembly can be
for any purpose, but again, the assembly exists only when people are
actually gathered.

NT - Radmacher notes two developmental steps in the NT on the way to the
technical meaning "church."  First, EKKLHSIA comes to be associated
specifically with a Christian gathering which is identified as both a
"physical unity" and a "spiritual unity."  Second, the "spiritual unity"
continues to be called an EKKLHSIA even when the "physical unity" does not
exist.  Thus EKKLHSIA exists when not assembled and can even be used of the
body of all Christians who have never been assembled at one place (e.g.

 Grace be with you,

Myron C. Kauk
myronkauk at

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