3

I want to know if truly Jesus went to found a church or there was a church that there existed, and if there is more of one definition of it. I'd like also the original versions in hebrew and greek of the explanations to comprehend the concept well.

As in Ephesians 5:23:

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (ESV)

In the above verse we have Christ being the head of the church, but how does it differ from synagogue (if there is a true difference). In the following we see again this word Ephesians 1:22-23:

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (ESV)

However isn't it more a spiritual concept of church in this case, for the institutions may fail, and also the humans that are part of it?

2
  • 1
    See my answer here on the Q Did church gathered in Synagogues, James epistle? hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/63839/… -- The greek ekklesia -Church basically means Synagogue, both are synonyms. By church of Jesus, it simply means the group of his followers. There is no unique new entity called Church. It always existed, unlike what is taught by dispensationalists.
    – Michael16
    Nov 4, 2021 at 15:22
  • A similar confusion is created when Revelation twice refers to "them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie". That's a literally correct translation, but its meaning would be better rendered as "them of the church of Satan, which say they are Christians, and are not, but do lie". Nov 5, 2021 at 13:21

3 Answers 3

2

Ekkesia vs Synagogue

Technically, "synagogue" is the place of meeting at which the people who meet compose the "ekklesia". However, by metonymy, "synagogue" came to mean the people who meet at the synagogue, ie, the members of the synagogue.

OT ekklesia

The LXX uses the word “ekklesia” (often thought of as a NT word only) about 77 times, almost all of them refer to Israel, eg, Deut 31:30, Josh 8:35, Judges 21:8, 1 Chron 29:1. Ekklesia occurs about the same number of times in the NT as the OT.

NT Meaning of ekklesia

In modern useage, ekklesia has come to mean, via the English, "Ecclesiology" and its cognate relatives, the institution of the church including its bureaucracy; no such overtones exist in the Greek.

The BDAG meaning of ekklesia includes the following:

  1. a regularly summoned legistative body, assembly, eg, Acts 19:39.
  2. a casual gathering of people, assemblage, gathering, eg, Acts 19:32, 40.
  3. people with a shared belief, community, congregation, eg
  • OT Israelites, Heb 2:12, Acts 7:38
  • of Christians in specific place or area, Matt 18:17 (by Jesus!), 1 Cor 11:18, 14:4, 12, 19, 28, 35, Acts 15:22, Rom 16:5, 1 Cor 16:19, etc.
  • congregation (or church) as the totality of Christians living and meeting in a particular locality or larger geographical area but not necessarily one meeting place, eg, Acts 5:11, 8:3, 9:31, 11;26, 12:5, etc.
  • the global community of Christians, Matt 16:18, Acts 9:31, 1 Cor 6:4, 12'28, Eph 1:22, etc.
  • the ekklesia "of God", 1 Cor 1:2, 10:32, 11:16, 22, 15:9, etc.
  • the ekklesia "of Christ", Rom 16:16, etc.

The Greek word “ekklesia” literally means “called out [ones]”. There is no sense of a formal organised institution in the word. Further, the New Testament nowhere mandates any kind of formal institution.

It is obvious that Jesus intended Christians to be part of a close-knit community.

  • John 13:34, 35, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
  • Col 3:16, Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
  • Heb 10:24, 25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Thus, Jesus' primary intent is that Christians would be distinguished by their loving behavior not by their membership of an institution.

While none of the above implies a hierarchical structure, it is not excluded either.

0

OP: I want to know if truly Jesus want to found a church

Yes, Jesus tells Peter in Matthew 16:

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

The OT temple is a type of the NT church. It foreshadows the church. The church is the perfect fulfillment of the temple. The church is the body of Christ, John 2:

19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

This is the spiritual reality. Paul elaborates on this concept in Ephesians 5:

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

OP: In the above verse we have Christ being the head of the church, but how does it differ from synagogue (if there is a true difference).

Do not confuse synagogues with the temple, nor the local churches with the body of Christ. Synagogues and local churches are physical buildings that house attendants. Paul is not talking about physical buildings.

Ephesians 1:22-23:

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (ESV)

OP: However isn't it more a spiritual concept of church in this case, for the institutions may fail, and also the humans that are part of it?

Precisely. Paul continues, Ephesian 2:

14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,

Paul was a Pharisee. He attended synagogues all his early life. According to him, the temple with its associated synagogues was to be subsumed into the one new church.

16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The temple has been fulfilled in the body of Christ in the spiritual reality, regardless of where you are. We are united in the body of Christ.

2
  • So, in Revelations, is the word church different from the greek word quoted as ekklesia? Nov 5, 2021 at 9:19
  • Where did I assert that?
    – user35953
    Nov 5, 2021 at 12:57
0

In this answer I intend to step back and provide a broad [conceptual] overview for consideration…

I want to know if truly Jesus went to found a church” …

Jesus came as Messiah. He came preaching ‘the gospel of the Kingdom’, specifically the Kingdom of Heaven. This was prophesied throughout the scriptures…

MATTHEW 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

A ‘Kingdom’ needs a ‘King’ - and once again, a Messiah and coming King was prophesied throughout the scripture, and then clearly seen in this passage ..

LUKE 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

This was his intent. To ‘be’ that King that was promised … That’s why he came. That was the only reason. Because through being King, he could then deal with the evil oppression. And all other nations would then partake in that victory, and have access to the salvation that Messiah would bring. This was (and still is!) his ‘intent’. So the reason for his coming was not to establish a ‘church’, but to be a King.

So let’s now consider the passages from Ephesians you quoted. You asked … “However isn't it more a spiritual concept of church in this case,” - Yes! Exactly. The church is his ‘body’. And, it is totally a ‘spiritual position’.

Believers are ‘in Christ’. That phrase ‘in him’ is one Paul uses throughout his letters. Essentially, the ‘church’ is his ‘body’ because ‘we’ (believers) are ‘in him’. This quote obviously is not ‘physical’ - No, it’s speaking spiritually. Paul tells believers to ‘walk in the spirit’.

The power that is now working in us as believers is the same power that worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). Everything we have as believers in Christ comes from our union in Him.

Jesus came to reunite us with His Father, to make ‘us’ one. Echad!

John 17:21 that they all may be one [snip]

That’s what Jesus came to do - to unite man back to God … not to ‘start a [physical, ‘groups’ of believers] church’. The ‘ekklēsia’ is important, and even vital, but it is a result [fruit] of Jesus’s coming, not the reason.

Ephesians 5:25, Christ ‘gave himself for her’ - is referencing ‘her’ as the ‘spiritual’ church. In order to make it ‘one’ [part of his body] with himself, believers needed “‘cleansing’ and ‘righteousness’ - essentially to become a new creation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.