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  #1  
Old Jun 22, '12, 8:26 am
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CutlerB CutlerB is offline
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Default The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Hi to all of you,

I've been listening to some debates and talks by Catholic apologists, and often the reference to 1 Tim 3:15 ("Pillar and bulwark of the truth") came up, which I think is very important.

However, as I'm from Germany, I'm more used to reading German translations. In many of the German translations, excepting the Catholic translation "Einheitsübersetzung", the word "Versammlung" or "Gemeinde" is used, which in English has the meaning of "congregation".

So it is quite a change for me to read the word "Church" in the text instead of "congregation", and that's why I'd like clarification on how this is to be translated. What are the grounds for this translation? This is of some importance to me, as I think the word "congregation" allows for a broader interpretation. It could mean what Protestants call the "invisible church". At least better thought I had readings. So if we have any grammarians here could you be so kind as to help me with this? Thank you.
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  #2  
Old Jun 22, '12, 9:42 am
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MarcoPolo MarcoPolo is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

The majority of even Protestant translations have the word "Church" there in 1 Tim. 3:15. Catholic apologist Colin Donovan (who I think is excellent) uses Church/Assembly somewhat interchangeably with the point of understanding the concept of Church/Assembly as that body which goes through the world witnessing to Christ. He writes: "it is rightly named Church [Ecclesia/Assembly] because it calls forth and assembles together all men."

Consider also verses like Colossians 1:24 which refer to "the church (ekklesia) which is his body." The same word is there for Church, and that doesn't refer to just a specific "congregation" as I think you are understanding the term.
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  #3  
Old Jun 22, '12, 9:55 am
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CutlerB CutlerB is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
The majority of even Protestant translations have the word "Church" there in 1 Tim. 3:15. Catholic apologist Colin Donovan (who I think is excellent) uses Church/Assembly somewhat interchangeably with the point of understanding the concept of Church/Assembly as that body which goes through the world witnessing to Christ. He writes: "it is rightly named Church [Ecclesia/Assembly] because it calls forth and assembles together all men."

Consider also verses like Colossians 1:24 which refer to "the church (ekklesia) which is his body." The same word is there for Church, and that doesn't refer to just a specific "congregation" as I think you are understanding the term.
Ah, alright, I think I got it a bit better now.
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  #4  
Old Jun 22, '12, 10:03 am
ltwin ltwin is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Ekklesia means "the one's called out" from ek="out from" and kaleo="to call." Originally, "the one's called out" had reference to legislative bodies, therefore "assemblies." Basically, when we say we are the Church, we are saying "we are the one's God has called out of the world for himself."
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  #5  
Old Jun 22, '12, 11:15 am
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlerB View Post
Hi to all of you,

I've been listening to some debates and talks by Catholic apologists, and often the reference to 1 Tim 3:15 ("Pillar and bulwark of the truth") came up, which I think is very important.
This is a good catch and you are right, an important one.

Quote:
However, as I'm from Germany, I'm more used to reading German translations. In many of the German translations, excepting the Catholic translation "Einheitsübersetzung", the word "Versammlung" or "Gemeinde" is used, which in English has the meaning of "congregation".
This is interesting since our word "Church" (if I recall correctly) came from the German Kirche (sp?)

Quote:
So it is quite a change for me to read the word "Church" in the text instead of "congregation", and that's why I'd like clarification on how this is to be translated. What are the grounds for this translation? This is of some importance to me, as I think the word "congregation" allows for a broader interpretation. It could mean what Protestants call the "invisible church". At least better thought I had readings. So if we have any grammarians here could you be so kind as to help me with this? Thank you.
According to Strongs"
Church = ekklesia
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
So - while congregation might be a fine translation on some levels, it could be found wanting on others. So it is important to look at where and how the term is used in the NT.
In the Gospels the term is used only twice. Both times in Matthew and both times by Christ himself AND both times it is connected to the granting of authority to "Bind and Loose" - "Whatever". (Mt 16:17-19) (Mt 18:15-18) This connection implies more than a simple "congregation" and FAR more than the "invisible church" idea of some protestants.
Jesus grants authority to bind and loose to His Church. That Church (in Acts 15) acts upon this authority to settle a doctrinal question that had effect, not in a single "local" community, but in all the "Ekkleisa" - universally.
So - based on this and looking at what St Paul says about the Ekklesia being the pillar and bulwark of Truth, it would make sense that he is talking about a universal, visible and authoritative Ekklesia (Church) and not a loosely connected collection of "local communities" tied together in some "invisible church"...

Hope this helps

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James
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  #6  
Old Jun 22, '12, 12:14 pm
Seira Seira is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltwin View Post
Ekklesia means "the one's called out" from ek="out from" and kaleo="to call." Originally, "the one's called out" had reference to legislative bodies, therefore "assemblies." Basically, when we say we are the Church, we are saying "we are the one's God has called out of the world for himself."
Basically, like saying you're God's chosen people.
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  #7  
Old Jun 22, '12, 12:32 pm
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CutlerB CutlerB is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
This is a good catch and you are right, an important one.


This is interesting since our word "Church" (if I recall correctly) came from the German Kirche (sp?)
Yes, exactly! In the "Einheitsübersetzung" commissioned by the Catholic Church, it uses that word in Matthew 16 and so forth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
So - while congregation might be a fine translation on some levels, it could be found wanting on others. So it is important to look at where and how the term is used in the NT.
In the Gospels the term is used only twice. Both times in Matthew and both times by Christ himself AND both times it is connected to the granting of authority to "Bind and Loose" - "Whatever". (Mt 16:17-19) (Mt 18:15-18) This connection implies more than a simple "congregation" and FAR more than the "invisible church" idea of some protestants.
Jesus grants authority to bind and loose to His Church. That Church (in Acts 15) acts upon this authority to settle a doctrinal question that had effect, not in a single "local" community, but in all the "Ekkleisa" - universally.
So - based on this and looking at what St Paul says about the Ekklesia being the pillar and bulwark of Truth, it would make sense that he is talking about a universal, visible and authoritative Ekklesia (Church) and not a loosely connected collection of "local communities" tied together in some "invisible church"...

Hope this helps

Peace
James
True, indeed! Thank you
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  #8  
Old Jun 22, '12, 11:21 pm
Todd Easton Todd Easton is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

The meaning of ecclesia is discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 751. I would have provided a link but, unfortunately, I do not find a German translation of the Catechism at the vatican.va website, which is a little ironic since we have a German pope.
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  #9  
Old Jun 23, '12, 12:05 am
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CutlerB CutlerB is offline
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Default Re: The meaning of the word "ecclesia"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Easton View Post
The meaning of ecclesia is discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 751. I would have provided a link but, unfortunately, I do not find a German translation of the Catechism at the vatican.va website, which is a little ironic since we have a German pope.
No problem, I have a German Catechism.
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