Following my previous post (“David Thomas on the Meaning of ekkklesia“), I thought I would post a quote from a more recent commentary.
This time, the quote is from Craig Blomberg in his commentary on Matthew (NAC 22; Nashville: Broadman, 1992). Blomberg is commenting on Matthew 16:16-18. He defines the Greek term á¼ÎºÎºÎ»Î·ÏƒÎ¯Î± (ekklesia â€“ normally translated â€œchurchâ€) here because it is the first occurrence of the term in the Gospel of Matthew.
Here is the quote:
So what does Jesus promise Peter? He will be the foundation on which Christ will build his “church.” Here is the first use of ekklesia in the Gospels. It occurs only three times, all in Matthew, and the other two references are both in 18:17. Many hold that Jesus did not conceive of establishing a church and that these verses are later Matthean insertions. But the nature of Jesus’ instruction to his community of followers certainly implied their continued existence in some form, even if there is little of an “institution” yet in view. Moreover, the word ekklesia in Hellenistic Greek often simply meant an assembly… The popular view that the church is somehow to separate itself from society, based on the derivation of ekklesia from ekkaleo (to call out) affords a classic example of what linguists call the etymological fallacy. Words often develop meanings over time that differ from their roots. They only sense in which the word church in New Testament times means those who are called out is that believers routinely gather together by leaving their separate places of residence or work. (p 252-53) (italics in original)
Blomberg explains that the ekklesia (assembly) of God is different from all other ekklesiai because it is composed of those who submit themselves to the rule of God in their lives (i.e., the kingdom of God).