The Trouble with our use of Church Terminology

Terminology can be extremely misleading. We use words sometimes without thinking of their meaning. Let’s take a look at the some of the words we use without really considering what they mean. Church for example: What does that word mean and what is its origin – Often times we forget that the new testament was written in greek and not Elizabethan English. Be that as it may, we might however be lead to believe that the word “church” has it’s origin in Greek. We’d be wrong to think that as the Greek word for church is almost always translated εκκλησια ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah. The Greek and the Spanish are more closely akin to one another as in the Spanish vernacular “Iglesias” is the word for church. Thayer’s  lexicon would have it defined this way: 1577 ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; TDNT – 3:501,394; n f KJV – church 115, assembly 3; 118 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven For Synonyms see entry 5897. Why this has become a problem is because we use the word church synonymously with a building where christians meet. When in actuality the term means the christians who meet and has nothing to do with a brick and mortar building. Some who attend church in such a building have greater reverence for the building than for the ones who meet there. This is just one word — there are many others. What are your thoughts on “The trouble with terminology”?

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