An organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure. Such an association of individuals may share in performing activities religious, social or industrial, subjecting themselves to some form of government or organizational control. An association may be referred to as a society. At 1 Peter 2:17; 5:9 a form of the Greek word a·del·phoʹtes (“association of brothers”) is applied to the united body of Christians throughout the earth, even though it is composed of small groups, congregations or physically isolated individuals.
The Bible refers to the organized association of Nimrod’s time as “one people.” (Gen. 11:6) Israel is repeatedly referred to by the collective term “people,” the context indicating that it is an organized association of people that is meant. (Deut. 33:29; 1 Sam. 12:22; Isa. 62:10) The Hebrew Scriptures refer to the united worshipers of God earth wide as “[people of] the earth.” (Ps. 66:4; 96:1) Humankind as a family, though not in unity, is sometimes referred to as the “earth” because of their association in a general framework or system of things that controls them.—2 Pet. 3:7; Gen. 18:25; Ps. 96:13.—See WORLD.