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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The original Greek word which is thus rendered, in its larger signification denotes a number of persons called together for any purpose, an assembly of any kind, civil or religious. As, however, it is usually applied in the New Testament to religious assemblages, it is very properly translated by 'assembly' in the few instances in which it occurs in the civil sense (; ; ). It is, however, well to note that the word rendered 'assembly' in these verses is the same which is rendered 'church' everywhere else.

In a few places the word occurs in the Jewish sense, of a congregation, an assembly of the people for worship, either in a synagogue () or generally of the Jews regarded as a religious body (; ).

But the word most frequently occurs in the Christian sense of an assemblage (of Christians) generally (). Hence it denotes a church, the Christian church; in which, however, we distinguish certain shades of meaning, viz.—

A particular church, a church in a certain place, as in Jerusalem (; , etc.), in Antioch (; , etc.), in Corinth (; ), etc. etc.

Churches of (Gentile) Christians, without distinguishing place ().

An assembly of Christians which meets anywhere, as in the house of any one (; ; ).

The Church universal—the whole body of Christian believers (; ; ; ; ; , etc.).





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Church'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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