An interesting and enlightening word, "added", is given to us in Acts 2:41. The verse reads, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Translators italicized "unto them" in the passage to show those two words were used as if to explain what "added" meant. Their interpolated words only help confuse the real connotation. The word "add" means "to put to". The reading therefore teaches us that by the end of that Pentecost Day of Acts Two, in response to inspired preaching, there were added certain souls who had obeyed. The reader may question, to whom or to what were they added?
A later historical account reveals, "The Lord added to the ekklesia (erroneously translated "church") daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). Lexicographers of note explain that ekklesia originally meant to "call out", or were the "called out", as the broken-down compounded root word suggests.
Thereafter, "Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women" (Acts 5:14). Likewise, "much people was added to the Lord" (Acts 11:24).
Summing up the above four passages, it reveals that baptized believers by the multitudes who were being saved were added, added to the ekklesia, thereby added to the Lord. The Lord's additions were added to Himself as His called out people. They are His ekklesia.
A question remains, What is the Lord's ekklesia like? We shall endeavor to find answer to this question by further descriptions in the NT. What the ekklesia is, and what it did, must not be confused. However, it's descriptive pattern, helps us understand what the NT ekklesia was and is.
Though those of the ekklesia often assembled themselves (1 Cot. 1 1:20; Acts 4:31), the ekklesia is not limited to an assembly only. They were still an ekklesia after they were scattered abroad due to persecutions (Acts8:1). Paul specifically wrote to the ekklesia of God at Corinth. He listed them as sanctified, called as saints, and addressed, "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:1-3). To call upon the name of one is to perform in obedience in order to invoke favor.
The Greek, being an inflected language, shows ekklesia to be a feminine word. It agrees in gender with rook, that foundation upon which Jesus promised to build his ekklesia, in contrast to Peter who was masculine (Matt. 16:18). Yet we do not refer to the ekklesia as a "she", or a "her" ekklesia, any more than we say a "she" rock, or a "her" rock. Paul illustrated the ekklesia to be likened unto Christ's wife, but it is rendered as "the" ekklesia, and "it" which He loved (Eph. 5:22-32). He further demonstrated how by "the" ekklesia God makes known HIS wisdom to us (Eph. 3:10).
Other descriptive things are said of the ekklesia. It can be built (Matt. 16:18). It may have things told to it (Matt. 18:17). It can fear (Acts 5:11). Other saints may come from afar and assemble with it in another place (Acts 11:26).
The ekklesia is singular in number, like Christ, it's head, is singular in number. Yet it is plural in the sense it was located in various places where elders were ordained in every ekklesia.(Acts 14:23). There was an ekklesia in ones own home (Rom. 1 6:5). Often apostles and evangelists were brought along in travel by an ekklesia (Acts 15:3). It can salute and be saluted (Rom. 16:16). Each received the same teaching as all other ekklesias (1 Cor. 14:5).
There were prophets in the ekklesia, and other spiritually gifted men among them (Acts 13:1; Eph. 11:11-13). All such gifts however, including apostles, evangelists and pastors were to cease. Without the written word at the time, the ekklesia was edified by inspired prophecies (1 Cot. 14:4). The ekklesias communicated with Paul by their material gifts (Phil.4:15). The ekklesia can be charged with personal support, or the support can be provided by individuals (1 Tim. 5:3-15). It can receive letters (3John 9; COl. 4:16).
The ekklesia has ears to hear (Acts 11:22). Saints come together in the ekklesia (1 Cor. !1:18). God receives glory in the ekklesia (Eph. 3:27). Prayer petitions can be made by the ekklesia (Acts 12:5). One can be a servant of the ekklesia at any given place (Rom. 16:1). It can be fed by the word of God (Acts 20:28). One can despise the ekklesia (1 Cot. 11:22). It is the same as a whole family in heaven and earth (Eph. 314,15).
By figure of speech, the ekklesia is identified as a spiritual body, likened unto a physical body, with spiritual members likened unto corporal members, with Christ as it's directing head (Eph. 1:19-23; 1 Cor. 12).
By figure also, the ekklesia is compared to a household, a family unit, having God as Father over all (Eph. 2:19; Gal. 6.10).'" The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the One from whom the whole family in heaven and earth derives its name (Eph. 3:14,15).
The ekklesia is composed of the sanctified, those called to be saints, and those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ (1 Cot. 1:2; 2Cor. 1:1). They make up the faithful in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:1). They are in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 1:1).
This is not intended to be an exhaustive study of all the ekklesia is, what it does, what is done for it, or its various characteristics. It is written to provoke study in those who love it, as the Lord loves it. It is to help permeate in our minds the differences in what the NT actually says of it, and institutions, organizations and strange doctrines about it, promulgated by men. Please join me in reading about and enlarging our faith in Jesus Christ, about the glory of His ekklesia, and the glory that shall follow. Lest we forget!