What is the church?

The word “church” is translated from the Greek word “ekklēsia” which is used 114 times in the Greek New Testament. (Koine Greek was the original language the New Testament was written in)

It is translated “church” 108 of the 114 times it is used. It means gathering or called out ones.

The first time this Greek word is used in the New Testament is Matthew 16:18 when the Lord Jesus says he will build his church, speaking of the church from all time.

In that text “church” speaks of what scholars label the “catholic” or “universal” or “invisible” church.

It is all those who are to be gathered around the throne of Christ as the chosen, called out, the redeemed in Christ’s work alone. It is all the redeemed in Christ from all ages, both Old and New Testament (Romans 3:21-26).


The word "church" “ekklēsia” is also used to describe the local church.

 Such as in 1 Corinthians 11:18.

18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church (ekklēsia. “a church”), I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 

The local church are those that gather on the Lord’s Day as the redeemed of Christ around the Word of God read, sung, preached, prayed, and practiced in the ordinances. A Biblical local church gathers under the care of qualified elders and is served by faithful deacons.  The local church is to be a local manifestation of the invisible church.