In a recent article called 7 Ways to do a Bad word Study,” the author lays out 7 bad ways of doing word studies from the Bible and making faulty conclusions. The article reminded me of D.A. Carson’s book Exegetical Fallacies, chapter 1. In this article, Regarding point number 1, he states:
You’ve heard this: “The word ekklesia is a Greek word for the church that literally means, “called out ones””. Technically, this isn’t true. While combining the two root words (“called out from”) does indeed create something like “called out ones”, the truth is, the word ekklesia is never used that way in the New Testament or its contemporaries. In fact, ekklesia was used to refer to a group of philosophers, mathematicians, or any other kind of assembly in the Greco-Roman world. So unless we’re supposing that actors and gladiators were called to a holy lifestyle by assembling together, we can’t create a relationship between holiness and ekklesia necessarily. While it’s true that the church is composed of “called out” ones – that’s not the particular point of this word. It just means “assembly” or “gathering.”
While focusing on a good issue, namely fallacies regarding the roots of biblical words, I think he makes too many assumptions regarding ekklesia. What about you?
Can you justify “Ekklesia” as meaning anything other than “gathering” or “assembly?”
Does it matter?