The word church is a peculiar word. In our society, by common usage, it has a definite religious connotation. Such is not true of the Greek word from which it is translated. Originally, when the Greeks spoke of an ekklesia they had reference to an assembly, a gathering, a “called out” group. Once in the New Testament, the word is used to describe a group of people on the verge of a riot (Acts 19:32 & 41). In that same context (verse 39) a political assembly is identified by the word we translate a church.
The word is peculiar in another way. It is what the grammarians call a collective noun. That means that a singular noun is used to describe a plurality of people or things. A jury is a singular body or group of usually twelve people chosen to hear the evidence in a court proceeding. A chain is a singular collectivity of links joined together to form a functional unit. A herd is a collective of animals as is a flock or a covey or a pride. Collective nouns are not hard to illustrate. The church of Christ is defined as a collectivity of Christians all of whom have been added to that collectivity by Christ, according to His will. Acts 2:47, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Continue reading » Associate Editorial: More About the Church of Christ (Structure and Fellowship)