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ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Hobbes, Faith needs freedom and counseling

From Leviathan


The Original Greek New Testament

    THE WORD Church (Ekklesia) signifieth in the books of Holy Scripture diverse things. Sometimes, though not often, it is taken for God's house, that is to say, for a temple wherein Christians assemble to perform holy duties publicly; as, "Let your women keep silence in the churches": but this is metaphorically put for the congregation there assembled, and hath been since used for the edifice itself to distinguish between the temples of Christians and idolaters. The Temple of Jerusalem was God's house, and the house of prayer; and so is any edifice dedicated by Christians to the worship of Christ, Christ's house: and therefore the Greek Fathers call it Kuriake, the Lord's house; and thence in our language it came to be called kirk, and church.

Church, when not taken for a house, signifieth the same that ecclesia signified in the Grecian Commonwealths; that is to say, a congregation, or an assembly of citizens, called forth to hear the magistrate speak unto them; and which in the Commonwealth of Rome was called concio, as he that spake was called ecclesiastes, and concionator. And when they were called forth by lawful authority, it was ecclesia legitima, a lawful Church, ennomos Ekklesia. But when they were excited by tumultuous and seditious clamour, then it was a confused Church, Ekklesia sugkechumene.

Bishop, a word formed in our language out of the Greek episcopus, signifieth an overseer or superintendent of any business, and particularly a pastor or shepherd; and thence by metaphor was taken, not only amongst the Jews that were originally shepherds, but also amongst the heathen, to signify the office of a king, or any other ruler or guide of people, whether he ruled by laws or doctrine. And so the Apostles were the first Christian bishops, instituted by Christ himself: in which sense the apostleship of Judas is called "his bishoprick." And afterwards, when there were constituted elders in the Christian churches, with charge to guide Christ's flock by their doctrine and advice, these elders were also called bishops. Timothy was an elder (which word elder, in the New Testament, is a name of office as well as of age); yet he was also a bishop. And bishops were then content with the title of elders. Nay, St. John himself, the Apostle beloved of our Lord, beginneth his Second Epistle with these words, "The elder to the elect lady." By which it is evident that bishop, pastor, elder, doctor, that is to say, teacher, were but so many diverse names of the same office in the time of the Apostles. For there was then no government by coercion, but only by doctrine and persuading. The kingdom of God was yet to come, in a new world; so that there could be no authority to compel in any church till the Commonwealth had embraced the Christian faith; and consequently no diversity of authority, though there were diversity of employments.

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         Cf. Heidegger, Through a foundational poetic and noetic experience of Being, Dryden, Perfection is conciseness Samuel Johnson, Prepare for eternity,   Mail: The word 'Church' in the Bible  Papacy 

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