"Church Versus Ekklesia"
Discussion Questions and Study Guide

Discussion Questions

  • How is the Lord’s ekklesia different from the world’s ekklesia and how is it different from church? 

    • "Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church [ekklesia], and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:17-18).

  • According to these verses, what does the Lord’s ekklesia reveal about God’s eternal purpose?

    • "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord"  (Eph. 3:10-11). 

  • What was the conspiratorial reason to purposely mistranslate the word “ekklesia” to “church”?

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

Study Outline with Supplemental Scriptures

I.  QUESTION: (timestamp 00:21) What did Jesus mean when He said, "I will build my 'ekklesia'" in Matthew 16?

A.  The Greek word "ekklesia" has been mistranslated in the English version to "church." Most people would understand from Matthew 16 (Matthew 16:16-18) when Jesus says, "I will build My' church.'" But the Greek word He uses is actually "ekklesia." So we will distinguish between "church" and "ekklesia" as we move forward in this video.

1.  This matter is critical because Jesus said this after He asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15)

2.  And then Simon declared, "You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!" (Matthew 16:16)

3.  And Jesus answered him and said, "Blessed are you....because flesh and blood did not reveal this, but My Father in Heaven." (Matthew 16:17) 

4.  And Jesus continued by saying, "And I also say to you…." 

a)  By saying "And," Jesus is making a continuation of the revelation.

b)  In effect, Jesus is saying, "Peter, you received a revelation of Who I am, now I am going to continue that revelation and tell you what I am going to do. I'm going to build..." (Matthew 16:17-18) 

c)  Jesus said, "I'm going to change your name to Peter, 'a stone,' and you are going to be a stone in this building of my 'ekklesia.'"

d)  And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the ekklesia.

5.  That is why this phrase, "I will build my ekklesia" (Matthew 16:18), is so critical in the entire revelation of Christ and what He is doing. 

6.  In the New Testament, "ekklesia" is mentioned approximately 120 times. "Grace" is mentioned around 125 times. As Christians, we love the word "grace" because grace is how we are saved. Yet "ekklesia" is mentioned about the same amount of time as grace. If you love grace, then you should love "ekklesia"!

II.  QUESTION: (timestamp 03:15) How is the ekklesia depicted in the New Testament?

A.  Throughout the New Testament, "ekklesia" has prominence. 

1.  According to Ephesians 3:10-11, the Ekklesia is God's eternal purpose. 

2.  Ephesians chapter 1 says, "Ekklesia is His Body" (Eph. 1:22-23).  The Body of the One who fills all in all.

3. Ephesians 3 ekklesia is the one who displays the wisdom of God, the multivarious and multifaceted wisdom of God (see Ephesians 3:10-11).

4.  Also, it is in the ekklesia that God gets the glory (Ephesians 3:21; II Corinthians 8:23).

5.  Ekklesia is also the one who defeats the Enemy--the gates of Hell cannot prevail against the offense of the ekklesia (Matthew 16:18).

D.  Ekklesia is also the New Jerusalem.

1.  We may be going to Heaven, but the Bible tells us for certain that our future is the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2).

2.  Hebrews tells the New Jerusalem today is the ekklesia (Hebrews 12:22-23)

III.  QUESTION: (timestamp 04:26) When Jesus first said, "I will build My ekklesia," what did the disciples hear? What was the concept of ekklesia that they would have understood? 

A.  Ekklesia was a widely practiced forum during the days of Jesus. In fact, the Greeks founded Ekklesia about 600 years before Christ. 

1.  Ekklesia was the forum invented by the Greek for democracy. 

2.  Ekklesia was an assembly of the citizens of the city-state, they would come together, and they would have free speech in debating an issue. 

3.  After their debate, they would vote or legislate, so that was democracy. 

4.  When the Roman Empire took over the Greek Empire, they continued the practice of ekklesia.

B.  Ekklesia was a "democratic legislative assembly."

1.  Every stratum of the citizens in the city-state is assembled.

2.  They would have free speech to opine on whatever issue at hand before voting. 

3.  They make decisions (go to war, build a bridge, raise taxes, etc.) through voting.

C.  When Jesus said, "I will build MY ekklesia" (Matthew 16:18), nobody questioned what it was because they knew what it was. He is basically saying, "You guys have your ekklesia," and "I'm going to build my ekklesia." 

1.  The world has its democracy, which is supposedly the best form of government.

2.  Jesus is basically saying, "I am going to build Mine and create a contrast between your ekklesia and My ekklesia" (Matthew 16:18)

IV.  QUESTION: (timestamp 06:14) So, what is this idea of "His eternal purpose"? When you say, "The ekklesia is Jesus' eternal purpose"?

A.  Ephesians chapter 3 uses the term "eternal purpose." Here it says that the ekklesia will manifest or show to Satan and all "principalities and powers in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10) the multifaceted wisdom of God. 

1.  It is through the Ekklesia that they will recognize God's multivarious wisdom.

2.  Paul continued by saying, "According to God's eternal purpose." (Ephesians 3:11) 

3.  As we mentioned earlier: it is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2-3, 9-11)

B.  The Lord used a secular forum to contrast the kingdom of this world and His kingdom.

1.  Diversity-- The kingdom of Christ includes every kind of people (Revelation 5:9-10) 

2.  Every tribe, people, tongue, nation, male, female, masters, slaves, cultured and uncultured (Col. 3:11; Gal. 3:28)

V.  QUESTION: (timestamp 07:13) Can you tell us why you say, "This mistranslation from ekklesia to church is one of the greatest or perhaps the greatest conspiracy in history"? 

A.  William Tyndale, the first translator of the entire English Bible, translated "ekklesia" to "congregation," as in "congregating of an assembly of people." 

1.  The Roman Church vehemently objected. They threatened him and said, "You have to change this word from "congregation" to "church." It has to be translated as "church"! 

2.  Tyndale refused, saying, "That is not church! That is a congregation of people." Because he refused, the Roman Church killed him and then burned him at the stake after he was murdered. 

3. It was so important for Tyndale to be accurate. He said "ekklesia" is not "church," and he would rather die than mistranslate it.

B.  Eighty years later, King James had the Authorized Translation, and his Authorized or King James Version had eleven rules.

1.  Rule number three is that "ekklesia" has to be translated to "church" and not "congregation" or "assembly." 

2.  So the 43 translators lifted more than 85% from Tyndale, but they changed the word "congregation," which was Tyndale's word to "church."

C.  There is a deception, and the reason is that the word “church” in the dictionary and the etymology of this word “church”  is literally the building and not the people.

1.  Some who have more understanding concerning the Body of Christ have to redefine the word, “church.”

a)  These say, ‘“Church” is not the building; it is the people.” 

b)  But if you study the word you will find “Church” is literally the building.

2.  “Church” is the building. 

a)  Old English cirice, circe "place of assemblage set aside for Christian worship; the body of Christian believers, Christians collectively; ecclesiastical authority or power," from Proto-Germanic *kirika (source also of Old Saxon kirika, Old Norse kirkja, Old Frisian zerke, Middle Dutch kerke, Dutch kerk, Old High German kirihha, German Kirche). 

b)  This is probably [see extensive note in OED] borrowed via an unrecorded Gothic word from Greek kyriake (oikia), kyriakon doma "the Lord's (house)," from kyrios "ruler, lord," from PIE root *keue- "to swell" ("swollen," hence "strong, powerful"). 

c)  Greek kyriakon (adj.) "of the Lord" was used of houses of Christian worship since c. 300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike. An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic transmission of many Christian words, via the Goths; probably it was used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period.

D.  Then why did the Roman Church and King James want that word to be translated, "church" and not "assembly" or "people" or "congregation"? 

1.  Whoever owns the church dictates what is taught in that building. 

2.  The Roman Church was the political power of the time owned and controlled just about all of the churches in Europe. 

3.  King James, as the head of the Anglican Church, owned nearly all the churches in England. 

4.  So they had a motivation to have their subjects (who are the people) go to church. 

5.  Why? If you are the owner of that building, you control what is taught and how to interpret the Bible in that building.

VI.  QUESTION: (timestamp 11:09) Today, what is the difference between "church" and "ekklesia"? How do we bridge this gap between "church" and "ekklesia"? What are some differences and some key elements that are still in play today?

A.  First, praise God that there are now thousands of churches that believers can go to. Not just the Roman Church like it was 600 years ago or the Anglican Church if you are in England. 

1.  Now you can basically go to the church of your choice where you can receive the teachings of the Bible and worship corporately. 

2.  Today we have the freedom to go to all the different kinds of churches, and that is good.

B.  Today churches are still controlled by those who own that building, whether that be the ministry, the denomination, or the pastor. 

1.  In other words, you cannot go into any church building and try to disrupt what is being taught in that building. You cannot say, "What is being taught here is wrong, and I have a different interpretation." 

2.  You cannot go into a Pentecostal Church building and say, "Speaking in tongues is wrong, and let me tell you why." 

3.  If you said this, they would say, "Thank you, and then direct you to go to another church that believes the way you do."

4.  The differences are that there are many churches, but what is still the same is that whoever owns the building (aka "the church") controls what is being taught there. 

C.  Whereas, since the ekklesia is the democracy of the Lord Jesus, it is a place where all kinds of believers, no matter what perspective they have or what church they go to, come together to fellowship.

1.  The LORD wants to build us together in His ekklesia in diversity so He can show off the Oneness of His people and the love for each other because He is living in us. Therefore, we love one another even though we are very different. 

2.  What a contrast that is between the LORD's ekklesia (the LORD's democracy) and the world's democracy! 

a)  The world's democracy is full of bickering and hatred, even division and corruption. 

b)  They can't be with those who are different. They feel uncomfortable spending time with people who are different from them, especially those with whom they disagree politically or doctrinally. 

c)  But in the LORD's Ekklesia, there is even more diversity than the world has because we have all those differences plus our doctrinal and denominational differences, yet we are One!

D.  There is a lot of division or differences, but yet as the LORD's ekklesia, we care for one another. We love one another, and we are One. 

1.  That is why the ekklesia in the New Testament is called "lampstand." (Revelation 1:20) It is a shining lampstand in this dark world. The ekklesia is the light in the world because when the world looks at the ekklesia, they will say, "Wow! How could this be possible!" 

2.  That all these different kinds of people could be opposing each other outside of the ekklesia, but in the ekklesia, they are loving one another. How is that possible? They would say, "Jesus must be real!" 

VII.  STATEMENT: (timestamp 15:26) Jesus must be real! Yeah! Jesus said, "The world will see that you are One, and they will believe." But we don't see that as much with the church because church kind of has a negative connotation for a lot of people. Jesus doesn't, but the church certainly does. It certainly seems this way. 

A.  Jesus' favorability is like 90%, but the church's favorability is about 50%.

1. https://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/

2.  https://www.christianpost.com/news/jesus-second-most-popular-person-in-america-poll-finds.html 

B.  Church has a bad connotation for a number of reasons, but the ekklesia the LORD wants to build is a light on the hill; it is a lampstand (Matt. 5:14; Rev. 1:20).

1.  When people see the Ekklesia in action, in practicality, they will say, "Wow! I want Jesus! I want to be part of Jesus!"

2.  Because the ekklesia is the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:2, 20; Acts 2:47)

VIII.  QUESTION: (timestamp 16:32) Just to be clear, what is the role of the church today? Let's be clear there is a role that the church plays. What is that role?

A.  The role of the church today is the house for all the various ministries which God has put into their heart. These gifted pastors and gifted ministers, what are they supposed to do? Ephesians 4 tells us that these five-fold gifts, these gifted ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers), are to equip the saints (Ephesians 4:11-16). 

1.  These gifted members are directed to use their gifts to equip believers to be activated and come into unity and fellowship with each other.

a)  This is the building up of the Body of Christ. 

b)  The built-up one Body of Christ is maturity.

2.  There is a role for ministries in the churches. 

a)  Their role is to equip the saints, not to hold onto the believers and say, "You belong to me because you are a Baptist" or "You belong to me because you are a Pentecostal." 

b)  No! They should be saying, "I am going to equip you now to go and fellowship with a Baptist if you are Pentecostal or with a Pentecostal if you are a Baptist or with a Catholic who loves Jesus. 

c)  They should be saying, "I am equipping you so you can fellowship with all kinds of believers." 

d)  So ministries definitely have a role. 

IX.  QUESTION: (timestamp 18:31) What if we just had churches and we don't have ekklesia, and we don't have an expression of that ekklesia. What are we missing out on? 

A.  That is what we have today for the last almost 1700 years. What is prominent now are churches ever since Constantine. And where is ekklesia? Where is the group of diverse believers who can freely come together to fellowship and be who they are without feeling like they need to be converted or be uniform and conform.  Where is that forum? 

1.  It has been hidden and obscured. This is why we are providing this series of eight videos to bring into light what is already in the Scriptures.

2.  It is in the Scriptures. There is a heart and a desire in believers for the Ekklesia. 

B.  If we only had churches in their current form and no expression of the ekklesia, the Body of Christ would stay in divided silos.

1.  Every church has its own view on various issues.

2.  Without the ekklesia, which is mistakenly translated as "church" in most translations, God is not getting the glory (Eph. 3:21).

3.  Without the Ekklesia, Satan is not getting crushed (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:20).

X.  CONCLUSION: (timestamp 20:04) What are some takeaways that we can take away from this discussion? 

A.  The takeaway is to understand there is a difference between churches as we know of and the LORD's ekklesia.

1.  One is a ministry.

2.  The other is an assembling of believers from many different kinds of ministries for the sake of building up the LORD's ekklesia, the Body of Christ. 

3.  When Jesus first becomes real to you, this Christian journey will lead you to discover ekklesia. 

4.  After Peter discovered that Jesus was the Christ, the very next revelation that Jesus gave was about His ekklesia, so His next words were, "I will build my ekklesia." (Matthew 16:18)

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Matthew 16:16-18 How is the Lord’s ekklesia different from the world’s ekklesia and how is it different from church? 

  2. What was the conspiratorial reason to purposely mistranslate the word “ekklesia” to “church”?

  3. Ephesians 3:10-11 According to these verses what does the Lord’s ekklesia reveal about God’s eternal purpose?

  4. Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?