Ekklesia – Part One – What is it?


What is Ekklesia?


Ekklesia is a Greek word. What does it mean?

  • Merriam-Webster
    1. A political assembly of citizens of ancient Greek states especially: the periodic meeting of the Athenian citizens for conducting public business and for considering affairs proposed by the council
    2. CHURCH sense 4d (- a public divine worship)
    3. One of the local organizations of the Christadelphians


  • “Ekklesia Rising” by Dean Briggs, 2014, Champion Press
    • “The authority of Christ in communities of contending prayer.” – subtitle
    • Page 103: “Ekklesia has to do with many things, but perhaps most of all, authority in prayer.”
    • Page 108: “Ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament. Of these, it is improperly translated church in all but three verses. The three remaining occurrences more accurately read as congregation or assembly, for that is what ekklesia generally, literally means: ‘assembly’.”
    • Page 109: “You see, the ekklesia was not just an assembly, it was a ruling assembly. It was governmental.”
    • Page 109: “According to Oskar Syffert’s Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, ekklesia was originally used to describe “the assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the power of final decision in public affairs.”
    • Page 109-110: “the day of the ekklesia”, referring to Deuteronomy 4:10 (in 9:10 and 18:16)
      • The first ekklesia in Israel’s history
      • Hebrew “qahal”
      • Greek “ekklesia”
      • “refers to a summoned people, assembling together to receive God’s law and to act upon it”
    • Page 114: “In summary, the ekklesia was by definition a governmental assembly. Therefore, the authority and function of the assembly is fundamental to properly understanding what Jesus inaugurated in Matthew 16:18,”


  • “Leaving Church Becoming Ekklesia” by Tim Kurtz, 2017, Kingdom Word Publications
    • “Because Jesus never said He would build a church” – subtitle
    • Page 116: “The ekklesia is an assembly of called out believers, committed to the Kingdom Mandate, who gather one or more times each week under the headship of Jesus Christ; who are submitted to each other in love; who support each other’s ongoing work of being and making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ; who edify, exhort and comfort one another; who submit and relate to elders, ministry gifts and apostolic leaders; who participate in planting and supporting new assemblies of believers to do the same with their prayer, time, finances and material resources.”
      • Note: all of this is broken down in chapter seven of the book.


“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my [church ekklesia]; and the gates of [hell hades] shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:18 – KJV

  • Church s/b ekklesia
  • Hell s/b hades


  • Hell: lake of fire
  • Hades, or Sheol: abode of the spirits of the dead
  • We contend with hades, not hell


Church is the word that has been used. What does it mean?

  • Merriam-Webster
    1. A building for public and especially Christian worship
    2. The clergy or officialdom of a religious body
    3. Often capitalized: a body or organization of religious believers
      • Denomination
      • Congregation
    4. A public divine worship
    5. The clerical profession


Bible.org, my summary of an article on Matthew 16:18.

  • Christ Jesus is speaking
  • You are Peter
  • Upon this rock – Peter’s confession of faith?
    • Peter’s revelation from the Father of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah
    • “and I” = “but I, for My part” (says Jesus)
    • Jesus reveals truth after the Father’s revelation
      • The key: Messiah and Revelation
    • “I will build my [church ekklesia]”
      • Church s/b ekklesia
      • Ekklesia, according to Walter Bauer
        • “assembly” such as a regularly summoned political body
        • “Assemblage, gathering, meeting”
      • “Jesus will build His own community (as seen in Acts), and nothing, not even death itself, will overcome the establishment of this body throughout history.”
      • Gates of [Hell Hades]
        • Hell s/b Hades
        • Gate or door
        • To the Nether World, the place of the dead
        • Hades
          • Threshold of the realm of the dead
        • Death, or the power of death, will not prevail


The ekklesia and what we call church today are not the same.

  • Also, ekklesia is not a superior or upper class of believers
    • This idea will lead to sin in pride


There is much more to explore on this topic.