[EGW editors note: proper viewing of the Greek vocabulary used in this article requires the true-type font Greek (download here)]
The English word church is used to translate the Greek word ejkklhsia (ekklehsia) which means the assembly; the called out. The name of the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes comes from this word. This word also forms the root of our English word ecclesiastical. In the New Testament this word refers to several things.
1. A collection or assembly of people. This word is translated assembly in Acts chapter 19, verses 32,39, & 41.
2. All Christians as a whole everywhere. Used this way in Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22, 3:21, 5:27; Philippians 3:6; Col. 1:24.
3. Local Christians as a whole in a particular region or city. Acts 8:1; Acts 11:26; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 4:17; Romans 16:1.
4. The gathering together of local Christians in an assembly. I Corinthian 11:18, 12:28, 14:4, 14:19, 14:28, 14:35.
In the New Testament the word church never refers to a physical building, especially in connection with God's people or His religion.