An Historical Study Of Special Revelation Concerning The Local Church -- By: Gordon H. Lovik

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 15:3 (Fall 1972)
Article: An Historical Study Of Special Revelation Concerning The Local Church
Author: Gordon H. Lovik

An Historical Study Of Special Revelation Concerning The Local Church

Gordon H. Lovik

Registrar Centra! Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis

The use of the Greek word ekklesia (assembly, church) has been the subject of much discussion. The Greek New Testament uses this word 115 times scattered throughout seventeen of the twenty-seven books. This study of the term will follow the framework of Biblical Theology in that (1) the source of the material, (2) the form of the writing and (3) the content of the message will each be considered. Each book will be considered separately so that the chronological revelation of God regarding the ekklesia can be unfolded.

While many things are said about the local church in the New Testament, only the passages using the word ekklesia are examined. The result should be an historical study of God’s revelation concerning the ekklesia especially as it relates to the local church.

The Preparation For The Local Church — The Gospels


The Gospels contain only two references dealing with the word ekklesia. Both references occur in the book of Matthew within the last months of

the Lord’s ministry. In Matthew 16:18 ekkiesia is used once; Matthew 18:17 contains the word twice.


Although the inscripturation of Matthew took place long after the death of Christ, these two accounts are the first historical references to the church. That is, the words spoken are a direct discourse from the Lord but were recorded by Matthew at a later time. These are historical accounts given in the region of Caesarea Philippi to the disciples. A question put forth by Christ is the occasion for the first reference (Matt. 16:15). The second reference to the church suddenly appears in the midst of a peculiar context which seems to indicate that previous instruction had been given to the disciples concerning the ekkiesia but not recorded in Matthew’s account.


Matthew 16:18. Verse eighteen introduces the first use of the word ekkiesia in the New Testament. This reads, “and I am saying to you that you are Peter (petros) and upon this petra (feminine) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not win a victory over her.”

Prior to determining the interpretation of this passage, the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke must be used to establish the time of this ministry of Christ. Mark 8:27–33...

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