The English word “Church” was most likely derived from the Greek word kyriokos [pronounced ku-ree-ah-kus] which literally means “of the Lord” or “belonging to the Lord”.
Early authors used this word to describe the place of Christian worship as being “the house which belongs to the Lord” or more simply as “The Lord’s House”.
However, the Greek word that is actually translated as “Church” in our English Bible is a different word all together: ekklesia [pronounced ek-clay-see-ah].
This word is based on the verb that means “to call out” and might, therefore, be rendered quite literally as “the called-out ones”.
In its ancient and secular usage, this word was used to describe an assembly of the citizens, but the Scriptures use it more narrowly to designate:
– The congregation of the children of Israel (Acts 7:38)
– The whole Church as the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:28)
– The local congregations (Rom. 16:5 & 1 Cor. 16:19)
– The Church authorities as they sit in a judicial capacity (Matt. 18:17)