What is the “church,” and what does the Bible mean by that word?

The New Testament word “church” is the Greek word “ekklesia” which means the assembly, or the ones who are called out.


There are two different meanings that the Bible ascribes to the word church.

  1. First, it refers to every authentic Christianwho has ever lived throughout history.
    1. This is what is called the universal church. 
    2. The word catholic actually means universal, not to be confused with the Roman Catholic Church.
    3. Every Christian is part of the Universal or Big “C” Church.
    4. This will be all of the believers gathered in heaven at the end of time. We will leave it at that because there are lots of debates about the concept of heaven.
  2. Secondly it is used to refer to a local group of believers in a specific place.
    1. The church at Corinth met in Lydia’s home.
    2. Or us here at Plum Creek.
    3. This is the little “c” church.
    4. 95% of the time that the word is used in the Bible it is referring to this little “c” church.