or to believers as a whole . It is also used of Israel in the wilderness .
To avoid confusion with the way the word ‘church’ is used, Christadelphians usually use the word ‘ecclesia’ to describe a group of people who regularly meet together.
The ecclesia and the promises
The Greek word ekkl¯esia is used  to translate the Hebrew word qahal (‘congregation’) in a quotation from the Psalms . So qahal is an Old Testament word for ecclesia. The first occurrence of qahal is in Genesis where it is translated ‘multitude’ . So the ecclesia has its roots in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Later on in Genesis, Jacob set up a stone as a pillar and called it “God’s house”  . Paul alludes to this in writing to Timothy, when he likens the ecclesia to a house and a pillar .
The ecclesia and Christ
The ecclesia is likened to a body, with Christ as the head . Just as a body has many different parts, each with its own function, so the ecclesia is made up of many ‘brethren and sisters’ of Christ, each with their own role . As parts of this body, brethren and sisters should avoid schisms (divisions), and “care one for another” .
The ecclesia is also likened to a bride with Christ as the bridegroom 
- The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the ecclesia.
- Wives should be subject to their husbands, just as the ecclesia is subject to Christ.
- Christ loves the ecclesia as a husband should love his wife; such is his love that he gave himself for the ecclesia.
- The bride is to be cleansed by “the washing of water by the word”
and so the Word of God should play a central part in the life of an ecclesia.
A central aspect of ecclesial life is remembering the sacrifice of Christ by breaking bread and drinking wine at a weekly meeting . This meeting is also an appropriate time for exhortation  and for collections to be taken  .
Another Old Testament word which matches with ekkl¯esia is the Hebrew word miqra. This word is made up of the Hebrew words for ‘out’ and ‘called’  . Strong’s Concordance defines it as meaning ‘something called out’. It is translated ‘convocation’  or ‘assemblies’  . In Nehemiah 8 v 8 miqra is better translated ‘in convocation’ or ‘in assembly’  .
This assembly provides an example of the kind of things an ecclesia should do when it meets together:
- gather together as one (v. 1)
- read the Word of God (v. 3)
- worship God (v. 6)
- expound the Word (v. 7)
- teach (v. 9)
- have joy in understanding the Word (v. 12).
Revelation chapters 1 to 3 also provide instruction and warning about ecclesial life. The ecclesias mentioned there varied in their spiritual health. For example:
- The Ephesians were commended for their works, labour, patience, refusal to bear evil, and their hatred of things which Christ hated, although they had left their “first love” .
- The Laodiceans were rebuked for being materially rich but spiritually “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” 
||Acts 8 v 1
||1 Corinthians 15 v 9
||Acts 7 v 38
||Hebrews 2 v 12
||Psalm 22 v 22
||Genesis 28 v 3
||Genesis 28 v 22
||1 Timothy 3 v 15
||Colossians 1 v 18;1 Corinthians 12 v 27
||1 Corinthians 12 v 17-18
||1 Corinthians 12 v 25
||Ephesians 5 v 23-26
||Acts 20 v 7
||Hebrews 10 v 25
||1 Corinthians 16 v 2
||Hosea 11 v 1
||Exodus 12 v 16
||Isaiah 1 v 13
||Nehemiah 8 v 1-12
||Revelation 2 v 2-6
||Revelation 3 v 17