The Greek word translated for church in the New Testament is “Ekklesia”, and it actually means assembly, convocation, congregation, company. It can be easy to think of church as a word that came into use after the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when we usually think that the church started, but the Greek word was already in use hundreds of year before the beginning of what we study as the Church Age. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament that was done by about seventy Hebrew scholars in the third century B.C., and the Hebrew word qahal (קָהָל) was translated as Ekklesia, and it means assembly, company, congregation, and it was used almost one hundred times in the Septuagint.
This is important for me because it can change the way I read both Old and New Testaments understanding that sometimes the meaning of words can get lost in the translations, and that words can have different meanings in different times, but when we go back to the original language of the Bible and understand the original meaning of the words it can impact the way we can read our bibles today.
Now when I read words like assembly, congregation, and company in the Old Testament I know that those words were translated with the word Ekklesia that we use for church today. And at the same time, when I read the word church in the New Testament, I can get the meaning that the Greek word had at that time.
““The LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly (Ekklesia)” (Deuteronomy 9:10, parenthesis mine).
“The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly (Ekklesia) of the holy ones” (Psalm 89:5, parenthesis mine).
“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation (Ekklesia) of the godly ones” (Psalm 149:1, parenthesis mine).
“Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company (Ekklesia) of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied” (1 Samuel 19:20, parenthesis mine).
1 Kings 8:14-16