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Congregation or Assembly

CONGREGATION OR ASSEMBLY. The Eng. tr. of several Heb. words, the two most important being עֵדָה, H6337, and קָהָל, H7736.

It would seem, therefore, that no distinction in meaning is to be detected in the LXX’s use of ἐκκλησία, G1711, and συναγωγη. Differences in tr. depended mainly upon the particular literary tendencies of the individual tr. That neither had come to have a technical sense is shown by the wide use of terms; for instance, if ἐκκλησία, G1711, had become fixed to denote a special type of assembly it would hardly have been used of a company of evildoers (Ps 26:5). “So closely connected in original use are the terms Synagogue and Ecclesia, which afterwards come to be fixed in deep antagonism” (Hort).

New Testament usage.

Other terms.

(5). סוֹד, H6051, denotes a secret assembly, the meeting of friends (Ps 55:14), the company of merrymakers (Jer 15:17), and is used of the council of the Holy Ones of God (Job 15:8; Ps 89:7; Jer 23:18). See Church.


W. M. Ramsay, “The Lawful Assembly,” The Expositor, 5th Series, III (1896), 137; F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia (1897); T. M. Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries (1902); M. Flashar, “Assembly,” ZAW (1912); R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (New Ed.) (1915); B. H. Streeter, The Primitive Church (1929); J. Y. Campbell, “The Origin and Meaning of the Christian Use of the Word ̓ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ,” JTS XLIX (1948), 130-142; K. L. Schmidt, ̓ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ, TDNT, III, 501-536 (1965).