The English word church, like the Scottish word kirk and the German word kirche, is derived from the Greek word kyriakos, which means “belonging to the Lord.” The Greek word kyriakos is found in the Bible only in 1 Corinthians 11:20, where it refers to the Lord’s Supper, and in Revelation 1:10, where it refers to the Lord’s Day. In neither case are God’s people described. Yet the English word church is found over 100 times in most English Bibles as a (mis)translation of the Greek word ekklesia, which would be better translated as “congregation” or “assembly.” It is unfortunate that English Bibles translate the word ekklesia as church because it obscures the essential continuity that exists between the people of God in all times and cultures, especially in regards to the Old Covenant and New Covenant eras. In turn, this lost sense of continuity erodes the understanding of the Church as a holy nation of nations. Centuries ago in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury instructed the interpreters of the Bishops’ Bible to use the ecclesiastical term church instead of the word congregation when translating ekklesia. Thus years later when translation work began on the King James Version the word church had already become fused in the English mind with the Greek word ekklesia. Due to the KJV's broad use in the English-speaking world since 1611, it is now an accepted and usually unquestioned convention to use the word church in referring to the people of God. Thus while we may use the word church, we must restore it to mean all that ekklesia actually means. Basileia recognizes the Convergence movement as a move of the Holy Spirit that began in the late 20th century that is affecting a recovery of the Church as ecclesia. The practical convergence of liturgical and sacramental, Evangelical and Reformed and Orthodox and charismatic expressions of the Church produces such an elevated feel for the Church that this inevitably leads to rediscovering why the early Christians choose to call their assemblies by the name ecclesia – a much more radical choice of a name than the pedestrian use of the English word “church” indicates.
Also see Citizen, Congregation, Convergence, Ecclesial City and Jurisdiction.