What is a Church?

I want to take a look at a subject that unless you understand the meaning of you will never correctly divide God’s word. Before I get into the Greek I thought I’d look at the English which is where some of the misunderstanding comes from.

If you and I were driving down a street and we saw a building with a steeple you might well say to me “Look at the church.”  This is one meaning of the word church is a building. There is another meaning to the same word church. “The church prayed for your healing”. Here it is not talking about a building but a group of people who meet at the building. Lastly you will hear people talk about the church when talking mostly about the Roman Catholic Church, but it could be talking about any denomination.



All three words though having very different meanings are from the same word church.

Now the Greek word is the word, ekklēsia.  According to Strongs:

Outline of Biblical Usage
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
b) the assembly of the Israelites
c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
d) in a Christian sense
1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

If you look at the first usage it says it is a group of people called out for a purpose. There is nothing about Jew or Gentile there. Any group of people called out for a purpose would fit the definition. In fact in one chapter the word is translated assembly three times. Let’s take a look at those three times so we can understand why they didn't translate it church.

Acts 19: 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.




Christians were called followers of The Way long before they were first called Christians. They were not called that till acts chapter 11.

Act 11:26   And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;




Demetrius made his living by making Idols of Diana of the Ephesians. Now some people had come along and said there be no gods made with hands. So Demetrius calls a union meeting. We think we are so smart in this day and age we organize ourselves into unions to protect our jobs, they were doing the same thing 2000 years ago. Demetrius called together all the silver smiths and points out that these fellows are now saying that their god is no god at all.



25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.

31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

The word assembly in the Greek is the word, ekklēsia. The same word that is translated church one hundred and fifteen times.

33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.

34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.

37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.

39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.




The word assembly in the Greek is the word, ekklēsia. The same word that is translated church one hundred and fifteen times.

40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.

41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

Again it is the word ekklēsia.


There is in those three usages no hint of a group following the God and father of Jesus Christ, in fact it is about a mob stirred up by someone who was worried about sales of an Idol.


I want to look at Ephesians Chapter 3.


Eph 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward


We need to understand what the word dispensation  means to be able to understand what this verse is talking about.


It is the Greek word oikonomia


Outline of Biblical Usage
  • the management of a household or of household affairs
  • specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other's property
  • the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship
  • administration, dispensation


The word administration provides us with a clear meaning that most of us can understand.


Each of the presidents of the USA had a way in which it operated. They are referred to as administrations. It was the rules under which the people who worked for the president functioned.  The President would decide on a set of rules then he would give those rules to the people who ran the departments and they will give those rules to  those people working in their department. Then everyone who worked for the President knew what was expected of them.


We  currently have the Obama Administration in the White House. We know the Bush Administration is no longer there. We know that  the Reagan Administration ended back in 1989. Very similarly there are administrations in the bible as well. I believe that the  of God breaks dwn into 8 different administrations.

9915_376032955850769_2101031679_n.jpg

You can download this chart at The Chart



On the above Chart you can see how these administrations break down.


  1. The Original Paradise
  2. Conscience
  3. Civil Government
  4. Law
  5. Grace
  6. Tribulation
  7. Paradise
  8. Everlasting Kingdom

Here are some scriptures you would be hard pressed to explain without the administrations.

Matthew 10:23 
When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Matthew 16:28 
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 24:34 
I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Luke 11:49-51 
(49) Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' 
(50) Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 
(51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.


Each time period had it’s rules that it operated under such as rules. As an example in Genesis they were vegans. They ate herbs vegetables and fruit. Those rules ended with the coming of civil government which came right after the flood.


Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.


6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”


You see that God said all creature are for you to eat and he also started capital punishment for the crime of murder.  Things changed and the civil law administration started.


Now  the Law Administration Changed the dietary laws again plus gave a required sacrifice for various sins.


The Law Administration came to a quick end on the day of Pentecost. Many things changed on that day.


1 Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,


2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:


3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,


4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)


5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;


6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:


Things Changed on the day of Pentecost before that they were saved by their works. In the age of Grace, which is just another word for administration, according to Ephesians 2:8,9


Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
If you do not understand this there are sections in the Greek Scriptures you will never understand or will fit or make sense.


Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.


On the day of Pentecost everything that had happened changed. The sacrifices of the Hebrew scriptures were no longer required because Jesus Christ had paid the price for you and me. All we need to do after taking Jesus Christ as our savior and believing God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9,10) if we do something wrong is ask God for forgiveness. No more sacrificial lambs. Jesus Christ has paid the price.


i would suggest that you consider taking The End Times Class which gives a complete teaching on the Administrations. The teacher spends 2 and a half hours going over the details of the administrations.


You can order the class here.  I will be running the class on March 21, 22, and 23 it will be free for more details send me an email at don@tltf.org. If you cannot make all the sessions come to the ones you can.


You will notice at the bottom of the chart it says:
  • Gentiles
  • Jews and Gentiles
  • Jews, Gentiles, and The Church of the Body of Christ


Romans 16:25-27,


Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.


1 Cor. 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;


Eph. 3:For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Biblical customs can also come into play. Which we will examine next week.

Popular posts from this blog

Hebrews 3

Hebrews Chapter 1