In 1525, one of the first people to translate the Bible into English, William Tyndale, translated the word ekklesia as congregation. However, in 1611 the translators of the King James Version of the Bible chose to completely drop the Greek meaning of ekklesia and to replace it with the English word church which has a different meaning.  Since then, most English translations have followed the King James example and used church to replace the meaning of the word ekklesia.

However, the Greek word ekklesia, now lost to most English Bibles, has a completely different meaning than the word church. Ekklesia literally means “the called out ones.” It also was the proper name of the governing bodies of independent Greek city-states. These bodies (Ekklesias) were open, participatory, interactive assemblies that gathered to conduct city business.


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