Author: Ron Graham
Word family: church.
Synonyms: congregation, called assembly, body of Christ, family of God, kingdom of heaven etc [more terms below].
Related ideas: Calling or vocation, preeminence of Christ, fellowship of the saints.
Definitions: The church is the "called out" people of God, considered either as the great world-wide kingdom of God, or as a particular local body of saints who regularly assemble. In the New Testament the word church is never used for a chapel, and never for a denomination or schism.
Greek References: ekklesia 1577 (Strong) cf 1537 ek out of, kaleo bidden or called. The English word "church" is related to kurios 2962 meaning Lord.
Comment: The word "church" is used so loosely today that in almost any dictionary its real scriptural meaning is smothered by the other uses and meanings that have become attached to the word. Some translators rejected the word and instead used "congregation", for example Tyndale (1525), Alexander Campbell (1826), and Hugo McCord, ThD (1988). McCord also uses "called out people".