itself should teach us to regard only Christ?s laws as our rule of organization.
(e) Besides these two signification of the term ?church,? there are properly in the New Testament no others. The word ejkklhsi>a is indeed used in
<440738> Acts 7:38; 19 32, 39; <580212>Hebrews 2:12, to designate a popular assembly but since this is a secular use of the term, it does not here concern us. In certain passages, as for example <440931>Acts 9:31 ( ejkklhsi>a , sing., a ABC), <461228>1 Corinthians 12:28, <500306>Philippians 3:6, and <540315>1 Timothy 3:15, ejkklhsi>a appears to be used either as a generic or as a collective term, to denote simply the body of independent local churches existing in a given region or at a given epoch. But since there is no evidence that these churches were bound together in any outward organization, this use of the term ejkklhsi>a cannot be regarded as adding any new sense to those of ?the universal church? and ?the local church? already mentioned.
<440738> Acts 7:38 ? ?the church [margin ?congregation] in the wilderness? = the whole body of the people of Israel; 19:32 ? the assembly was in confusion ? the tumultuous mob in the theater at Ephesus; 39 ? ?the regular assembly?; 9:31 ? ?So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace; being edified?; <461228>1 Corinthians 12:28 ? ?And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers?; <500306>Philippians 3:6 ? as touching zeal, persecuting the church?; <540315>1 Timothy 3:15 ? ?that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.?
In the original use of the word ejkklhsi>a , as a popular assembly, there was doubtless an allusion to the derivation from ejk and kale>w , to call out by herald. Some have held that the N. T. term contains an allusion to the fact that the members of Christ?s church are called, chosen, elected by God. This, however, is more than doubtful. In common use, the term had lost its etymological meaning and signified merely an assembly, however gathered or summoned. The church was never so large that it could not assemble, The church of Jerusalem gathered for the choice of deacons
( <440602>Acts 6:2, 5), and the church of Antioch gathered to hear Paul?s account of his missionary journey ( <441427>Acts 14:27).
It is only by a common figure of rhetoric that many churches are spoken of together in the singular number, in such passages as <440931>Acts 9:31. We speak generically of? ?man,? meaning the whole race of men and of ?the horse,? meaning all horses. Gibbon, speaking of the successive tribes that
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