FREE booklet: The Church Jesus Built
The Church Jesus Built
¬ Introduction
¬ A People Special to God
¬ The Historical Background of the Term Church
¬ How the Word Church is Used in Greek and English
¬ 'Church' and 'Congregation' in the Scriptures
¬ Biblical Phrases and Terms for God's Special People
¬ A Spiritually Transformed People
¬ The Apostles: A Case Study in Conversion
¬ The Mission and Responsibility of the Church
¬ What is the True Gospel?
¬ Is Today the Only Day of Salvation?
¬ The Rise of a Counterfeit Christianity
¬ Changes in Christian Scholars' Perspective on God's Law
¬ Early Trends That Affected the Future of the Church
¬ The Church of God Today
¬ What Did the Early Church Believe and Practice?
From the publisher of The Good News magazine.
The Church Jesus Built
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'Church' and 'Congregation' in the Scriptures

The exact relationship of the New Testament Church (Greek ekklesia) to the congregation of Israel in the Old Testament can best be understood when we learn the different interpretations placed on the two Hebrew words for "congregation": 'edah and qahal.

The Holman Bible Dictionary, in its article "Congregation," explains that these Hebrew words were used with a significantly different meaning in the days of Christ and the apostles. "In the Greek Old Testament [the Septuagint] 'edah was usually translated [into Greek as] sunagoge, [and] qahal [as] ekklesia. In late Judaism [the Greek word] sunagoge depicted the actual Israelite people and [the word] ekklesia the ideal elect of God called to salvation. Hence [the Greek word] ekklesia became the term for the Christian congregation, the church . . . There is a direct spiritual continuity between the congregation of the Old Testament and the New Testament Church. Significantly the Christian community chose the Old Testament term for the ideal people of God called to salvation (ekklesia), rather than the term which described all Israelites collectively (sunagoge)."

This explains why the New Testament word for the Church, ekklesia, refers only to those people, Jews and gentiles, who are called by God to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Therefore the Church of God, the term most generally applied to God's people in English translations of the New Testament, is the body of people who are special to God because they obey His Word and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messiah.

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