In vitro enzymatic assays of cell-free extracts offer an opportunity to assess in vivo enzyme concentrations. If performed under conditions that resemble the conditions in vivo, they may also reveal some of the capacities and properties of the same enzymes in vivo; we shall call this the ex vivo approach. The kinetic characterization of purified enzymes has yet a different utility for systems biology, as does the in vivo determination of enzyme activities. All these approaches are different, and it is becoming important that the appropriate approach be used for the intended purpose. Here, we therefore discuss five approaches to the measurement of enzyme activity in terms of the source of the enzyme activity, the identity of the assay medium, and the purpose of the assay.