27th March, 2017
Signs and wonders: Acts performed by Jesus which further verified His claims of who He is.
PREVIOUS DEFINITIONS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:
Abaddon: The place of destruction.
Abba: a) Jesus' term of endearment for God as our heavenly Father, a relationship embracing trust and intimacy.
b) A Christian’s relationship with God is also to reflect this Father - child connection.
Abstinence: To keep yourself from. Biblical references usually refer to immoral behaviour.
Abyss: The prison for all who stubbornly refuse to obey God.
Abiogenesis: The creation of living matter from inanimate matter.
Accuser: A title for Satan as the one who accuses, charges and blames in an attempt to undo what God has done.
(Last) Adam: Christ the redeemer who restores God’s creation to an Edenic relationship with Him.
Adonai: God, Lord and Master over all created beings.
Adulterer: a) A person who has sex with someone other then their spouse.
b) Often said of Israel who breached their relationship with God by turning to idols.
c) Christians who choose to be ‘friends with the world’ (In today’s parlance – ‘friends with benefits’.) and so fail to remain committed to Christ.
Advent: The celebratory lead up to Christmas incorporating the four Sundays prior to 25th December.
Adventists: Historically, a Christian group who were waiting for the Second Coming (advent) of Jesus. The Seventh Day Adventist Church grew from this group.
Agnosticism: A belief that if God exists, He is unknowable.
Allegory: A story infused with a spiritual meaning.
Almighty: God; the One who has the strength to be ruler of all.
Alms: Outdated term for giving goods/money to the poor. New Testament references denote this giving comes from a merciful and empathetic attitude.
Alpha and Omega: God is first and last in time, eminence, source and consummation; He is all in all.
Amen: a) Said by people: "Let it be so".
b) Said by God: Emphatic - "It is and it shall be so”.
Angels: Spiritual beings who are the messengers, representatives and attendants of God.
Animism: A belief life is in nature; that trees, animals etc have souls.
Anno Christi: Latin for 'in the year of Christ'.
Anno Domini: Latin for 'in the year of our Lord'.
(The) Annunciation: The angelic declaration to Mary concerning her conception and who her Son was and would be.
Anoint: God gives authority to a person to operate in a particular gift, ministry or area of service.
Anointing: When the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit touch a person, or group of people; to heal, strip away, encourage, enthuse, restore etc. God's presence is electric on these occasions.
Antediluvian: Occurring before the flood of Noah.
Anthropomorphism: A representation of God in human terms to aid our understanding of Him.
Anthropopaphic: Applying human feelings to God.
Apocrypha: A collection of 15 books found in some Old Testaments. They are generally omitted because they were not in the Hebrew canon, are not quoted in the New Testament and make no claims to be divinely inspired.
Apocalypse: To reveal, unveil, disclose. (Originally, it did not have the cataclysmic end of all things focus.)
Apologetics: A branch of theology where people engage the public arena to present a reasoned objective defence of the Christian faith and it's doctrines.
Apostle: Someone commissioned and sent out with the message of Jesus.
Apostasy: Desertion from the faith.
Aramaic: Primary language of Palestine in the New Testament era.
Archbishop: Person who, in some denominations, oversees a large region of the church.
Arrogance: To think more of yourself than you ought, especially in respect to shaping your own life and being the master of your destiny.
Asceticism: A belief spiritual discipline can be achieved through extreme forms of self-denial.
Ascription: A text heralding God.
Ash Wednesday: Follows Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras); a day for placing ash on your head as a sign of penitence. Marks the start of Lent.
Ashes (on head): Used for fasting and mourning.
Assurance: A confidence that comes from knowing Jesus and what He has done for humanity.
Astrology: A belief that a person’s future can be foretold by studying the stars.
Atheism: A belief there is no God.
Atonement: An act that brings enemies together as friends, the most notable of which is Jesus offering up His life for ours. This was God's way of offering the hand of friendship and destroying the enmity (sin) that separated us. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The Word...
Backslide: To lapse into the life lived before salvation.
Banner: Jesus is the 'banner' under which God the Father has called the people's of all nations to rally.
Baptism: A public declaration that my old life has been washed away and I have begun to live focusing on Jesus and His ability to make all things new, not just for me but for anyone who gives their life to Him.
Beatified: Roman Catholic tradition of declaring a person a saint.
Behold: To take in everything as it is presented. To meditatively fix on what you are seeing.
For a fuller explanation of behold, visit The Word...
Begotten: Jesus was born in Bethlehem but the more accurate word for understanding His birth is 'begotten'. Jesuswas, is and always will be one with God the Father, 'begotten' of Him, that is separate and distinct from Him, yet still uniquely and intimately one with Him. (John 3:16-18)
Believer: Someone fully committed to Jesus' purpose for their life (not just a mental exercise acknowledging certain facts about Him).
Benediction: A prayer for God’s blessing (some church traditions have a benediction as the final element in their church service.)
Benedictus: Zachariah’s prophetic song of joy at the birth of his son, John the Baptist.
Benevolence: God’s good care bestowed on us.
Beseech: To plead strongly and urgently. Often used in connection with praying.
Bestowed: Given to one as a gift. For example, God has bestowed on us the gift of life, the ministries of the Holy Spiritand eternity with Him.
Bethlehem: Literally means house of bread. The Messiah, being of King David's lineage, was expected to be born here. He would come as the bread of life for His people.
Bible: The set of books recognised as God 'breathed'.
Bishop: A supervisor of clergy and churches.
Blaspheme: To doubt, deny or mock Father, Son or Holy Spirit.
b) To honour and respect a person for being holy.
Book of Life: God's list of believers who will abide with Him.
Booths: Rough shelters made of woven boughs that were constructed on roof tops or in fields as part of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Brethren/brothers: A term indicating the connection and love that is to exist between Christians.
Calling: a) God asks everyone to honor and serve Him; become more Christlike; add to the health and well-being of His church; and, to witness to this world what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have done and are doing.
b) A particular area of service God has asked a person to be committed to and for which He has prepared them.
Canonise: To formally recognise someone deemed to be a saint.
Carnal: To seek to fulfil all physical desires or to be content with pursuing only what this world can offer.
Carol: A joyful song, usually penned to celebrate Jesus' birth.
Catechism: An instructional Christian book summarising creedal beliefs in a question and answer format.
Catholic: A Christian adhering to the Roman Catholic Church centred on the Pope.
Chancel: The front part of a church containing the altar, sanctuary and sometimes the choir.
Cherubim: Mighty angelic beings whose chief duty is to guard the throne of God. Their field of expertise is justice.
Choir: Traditionally, a group of singers in a church.
Chosen: To be chosen by God means you are known to Him and there is a vital relationship. God chooses us to followChrist and He can also choose us for a particular task.
3. Great Shepherd: Jesus is the leader, protector and sustainer of His people.
6. High Priest: Jesus represents humanity to God interceding on their behalf through His completed salvation work.
Christian: Followers of Jesus. People who recognise they are under a higher command.
Christocentric: Theology centred in Jesus.
Christmas: The annual celebration of Christ’s birth.
Circumcision: Instituted in the Abrahamic covenant, the cutting off of every male’s foreskin signified a commitment to God through the generations and a firm belief that He is the one who blesses us with life.
Clairvoyant: A person who claims insight into hidden or future occurrences.
Comforter: A name given to the Holy Spirit that denotes the strength, encouragement and presence of God that is imparted in troubled times.
Commitment: To entrust your life to God as you actively serve Him.
Confession (of faith): Traditional statements of belief in various Protestant churches.
Consecrate: The act of giving to God so He can use what is offered (for example, the writing of a book or thecommitment of your life) for His kingdom purposes.
(Historical) Context: An understanding of the people and their culture in a Biblical passage.
(Literary) Context: An understanding of the author and stylistic features of a Biblical passage.
Corpus: All writings on a subject.
Covenant: God has drawn up an agreement, a contract, which binds Him to making it possible for us to build a healthy relationship with Him and each other.
Creation theories - 1.Traditional: Creation took place in six, 24 hour, days.
2. Gap: Original creation (Genesis1:1) was destroyed by judgement. A re-creation
then occurred in six, 24 hour days (Genesis1:2 on).
4. Pictorial: God revealed creation in six days; He did not create in six days.
5. Universal flood: Creation occurred in six days but the flood of Noah dramatically
changed the earth’s surface.
6. Alternate day and age: God created in six, 24 hour days but these
days were separated by vast geological ages.
7. Age-long day: The creation days are a sequence of consecutive ages, as day in theBible does not always refer to 24 hours.
Creed: A formal statement of Christian belief.
Credo: A set of strongly held beliefs that guide action.
Criticism (Higher): The use of historical and scientific techniques to critically determine authorship and other aspects of accuracy which go to the credibility of the Bible.
Criticism (Lower): The use of available manuscripts to critically determine the original wording of texts.
Cross-cultural evangelism: Introducing Jesus to people with a different ethnic and cultural background than your own.
Cult: A sect which often has extreme religious ideas.
Decalogue: The Ten Commandments.
Deify: To exalt a man or idol to the position of God.
Deism: A belief in God resulting from reason. Emphasises morality.
Deliverance: God frees us from the bondage of our misdirected lives and enables us to live full lives for Him.
Denarius: A Roman coin equivalent to one day's wage.
Desecrate: To divest or violate the holy and sacred character of a place or object.
Destroyer: A name given to Satan because his purpose is to wreck what God has built.
Determinism: A belief that everything is determined by forces beyond a person’s will (similar to stoicism).
Devil's advocate: Someone who opposes for the sake of argument.
Diaspora: The scattering of the Jews from Palestine, beginning with the Babylonian conquest in 731 B.C.
Discernment: An ability to see into a problem, to understand why things differ. Christians are required to exercise discernment in respect to spirits, expressions of faith, separating good and evil; and so on.
Disciple: A student of Jesus who daily looks to Him on how best to live.
Divination: Using omens or other means to discover hidden knowledge or foresee the future.
Divine: Of God; relating to God.
Doctrine: A foundational teaching. For example, only through Jesus can we come to God.
Donkey: An animal symbolic of peace and humility.
Dowry: A cultural mandate in Biblical times requiring a man to give the parents of his bride a gift.
Doxology: A statement of praise to God. It is often the final statement in a church service, an epistle or even a line of thought within a book in the Bible, and it underscores everything prior to it.
Dualism: A belief that the universe is controlled by two equal opposing forces – good and evil.
Edify: To build up or to strengthen someone's spiritual growth.
Elohim: God, the mighty judge, who is to be revered.
El Elyon: God is supreme; the Most High One.
El Olam: God is eternal and unchangeable.
El Shaddai: God is complete, all sufficient and all powerful; able to fulfil His promises.
Entreaty: A prayer or appeal earnestly requested.
Epicureanism: A belief that there is no God or if there is a God, He does not care about this world. Random chance dictates everything. Death is the end so we should live for pleasure. (Similar to hedonism)
Epiphany: a) The showing of the baby Jesus to the magi which is celebrated on 6th January.
b) Any revelation or manifestation of Jesus where a person’s response is "once I was blind but now I seeJesus for who He truly is".
(Occasional) Epistles: New Testament letters penned in response to a set of circumstances.
Eschatology: A branch of theology which addresses the end of this age and world as we know it.
Essenes: A strict Jewish sect with a focus on purity laws and communal poverty who attributed all to fate.
Evangel: Any one of the four Gospels.
Evangelist: Someone who regularly introduces Jesus to others.
Evil One: A spirit, a force that seeks to seduce us away from God.
Exceedingly abundantly: Surpassing far beyond and above what we think is possible.
Exegesis: A close study of words and passages in the Bible.
Existentialism: A belief that only the here and now is real. Any consideration of origins and destiny is considered pointless.
Ex nihilo: A term indicating God created out of nothing.
Exodus: A departure, especially a mass departure, the most notable being Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan.
Expiate: To fully make amends for wrongdoing and hence restore a wronged relationship.
Fallen: Men and angels who lost the level of intimacy God designed for them to have with Him.
Fasting: Abstinence from food for the purpose of purifying motives and being attuned to God's will.
Feast of Passover: The first of three great feasts to be observed by all Israelite men each year. The Passover meal celebrated being freed from Egyptian slavery by God. It was followed by a week of eating only unleavened bread.
Feast of Tabernacles: The third of three great feasts to be observed by all Israelite men each year was held at the end of harvesting. People lived in temporary shelters (booths) to remember their wilderness wanderings under Moses and so celebrate God as their provider in the bountiful land they now possessed
Feast of Weeks: The second of three great feasts to be observed by all Israelite men each year occurred 50 days after Passover. Offerings of grains and flour were made to celebrate God’s daily provision.
Fire (of God): Refers to the holiness of God which has a cleansing and unquenchable aspect to it.
Firstfruit: a) Giving to God, in faith, the first portion of your livelihood.
b) The gift of the Holy Spirit to Christians, a first portion of God's presence.
c) Jesus, whose death and resurrection is the beginning of a harvest of souls into heaven.
For a fuller explanation, visit The Word...
Flesh: The desires of self that are at odds with God's best for us.
Follow (Jesus): To surrender your ambitions, goals, desires and whole life to the cleansing, enabling, energising Lordof life and companion of followers. For a fuller explanation of 'follow (Jesus)', visit The Word...
Forbearance: a) Putting up with the faults of others.
b) A fruit/outworking of the Holy Spirit in people's lives.
Foreigner: A term applied to Christians because they are citizens of heaven to which they owe their first allegiance. Hence, the foreigner prays Jesus' prayer "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The Word...
Forgiveness: Saying you bear no grudge for any wrong committed against you. You won't even talk about it anymore because you want a clean sheet to build a healthy relationship on.
Fornication: Sex outside the covenant of marriage.
Fourth watch: 3am to 6am; the point of greatest weariness before the new day.
Franciscan: A nun or friar in the order founded by St Francis of Assisi.
Futurist: A belief that Revelation chapters one to three refer to the time of writing, or that the seven churches are seven eras from the apostles to Jesus' return, and the remainder of Revelation refers to the Great Tribulation.
Gehenna: A rubbish and waste dump outside Jerusalem which continually burnt. It became a figurative description ofhell.
Genealogy: A family tree tracing back to a particular ancestor. For example, Matthew’s genealogy for Jesus traces back to Abraham because he was writing to a Jewish audience.
Genesis: The title of this Old Testament book is derived from its first three words in the beginning.
Gentile: a) A non-Jew.
b) Those outside the privileges and unique experiences afforded the Jews by God. They were not to remain so with the coming of Jesus.
Genuflect: To bend the knee, to humble oneself, in worship.
Gird: To be ready for action in Christ's service. (From the idea of hitching up your long garments so you can move faster and more freely.)
'Gloria in excelsis Deo': The angels' song of praise at Jesus’ birth.
Glory: a) Beauty, honour and adoration all rolled into one. Empires or individuals can "shine" in this way.
b) God is glorious. Everything He creates emanates glory. Think splendour, perfection and goodness all rolled into one; that is the glory of God. For a fuller explanation of glory, visit The Word...
God: The one Supreme Being who creates everything and maintains governance over what He creates.
God-fearing: To devoutly revere God.
God-forsaken: To be be rejected and forlorn.
Godsend: A surprise boon, readily welcomed.
Godspeed: May your journey be joyous, prosperous and successful.
Gospel: Good news! Jesus has ascended to the Father so that we can follow in His footsteps!
Grace: With pleasure, God offers humanity His free and undeserved favour. It is up to us whether we will waste or embrace His grace.
• (Common) Grace: (see above)
• (Prevenient) Grace: (see below).
Greed: An excessive desire for money, even to the point of using dishonest and questionable means to obtain it. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The Word...
Hallelujah!: An exclamation of delight meaning literally "praise be to the God of our salvation".
Hallowed: Anything set apart for holy use.
Hamartiology: The aspect of theology dealing with sin.
(Place) Hand under a thigh: Cultural practice to signify a serious vow. Placing the hand close to the penis and testes might have indicated the person’s descendants would avenge any breaking of the vow and/or a swearing on your life.
Hardness (of heart): A rejection of God or His will in a particular situation.
Heathen: An archaic term for someone who isn’t a Christian.
Hedonism: A belief that pleasure is the primary goal and value of life (similar to epicureanism).
Hell: Satan's home, filled with his misguided lackeys (fallen angels) and house bound guests (people who chose not to love God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It's a house of pain, "worms" and "unquenchable fire". (The opposite ofheaven.)
Henotheism: A belief you can worship one god while not denying other gods.
Hermeneutics: The use of methodological principles to understand how the Bible applies to our lives.
High place: a) Elevated places where altars were often built, in Old Testament times, and which were sources ofapostasy for Israel.
b) Used figuratively of the place God calls humanity to step up into, a place of worship, glory and intimacy.
Holy: Someone set apart from his or her former life (or something set apart from its common use) to serve God. For a fuller explanation of holy, visit The Word...
Homiletics: The craft of preaching.
Hope: A substantial conviction that what has not yet fully transpired in our relationship with Jesus will occur. Not just a wish. A trust or promise received. A confidence and expectation of things to come that is stronger than mere desire or possibility. For a fuller explanation of hope, visit The Word...
Humanism: A belief that man is a moral being capable of self-fulfilment.
Husband: a) An illustration highlighting some of the attributes of God's love for His people.
b) An image of Jesus as He waits for His bride, the church, who is preparing herself for their wedding at the end of this age. For a fuller explanation of husband, visit The Word...
Hymn: Traditional song or thanksgiving or praise to God.
Hymnal: Traditional church songbook.
Hymneal: A wedding hymn, song or poem.
Iconostasis: A screen adorned with icons separating the nave from the rest of the church in Eastern Orthodox churches.
Immanentism: A belief that God indwells all creation.
Immanuel (also Emmanuel): Literally means ‘with us is God’ and has become a title of God the Son.
Immutable: Unchanging and unchangeable - said of God and His plans and purposes.
Imperishable: Something that cannot be ruined or changed for the worse.
Ineffable: a) In a spiritual context, this is an experience of God so overpowering that you fail to find the words to express it.
b) It also refers to things that should not be said. For example, the Israelites' unwillingness to speak the name of God in Old Testament times.
Inner man: The spirit or innermost self of a person that lives on after the body is dead.
Investiture: To put on the robes of office for a church-appointed position. An inauguration.
Jehovah: God, the Lord of all creation. (Originally spelt JHVH as the Jews, in reverence, were not permitted to pronounce God’s name.)
Joint: Found in Hebrews 4:12, "joints and marrow". A figurative expression for the totality of a person's spiritual and moral being.
Judaiser: Someone who seeks to win others to Judaism. The term was used negatively by the beginning church to describe those who adhere to a strict legalism which erects a barrier between people and God.
Judaism: The monotheistic, ethical, tribal/national religion of the Jewish people centred on God’s self revelation.
Judeo-Christian tradition: Beliefs stemming from the Hebrew and Christian faiths.
Judge: a) To decide on the basis of the knowledge we have.
b) A powerful title for our omniscient God.
c) The Hebrew word ‘shophet’ for a judge in the Old Testament meant to bring into a right relationship. This is the purpose and nature of the work of a judge and as such Christians are to be ‘shophet’ judges and not judgemental.For a fuller explanation, visit The Word.
Judgemental: The tendency to point a critical finger at others while not doing anything to change things for the better.For a fuller explanation, visit The Word.
Judgement Day: The final judgement made by God at this world’s end.
Judgement seat (of Christ): a) The throne from which Jesus judges what Christians built with their lives when they pass through death into His presence.
b) The throne from which Christ rules in the Millennium.
For a fuller explanation, visit The Word...
Justification: Despite the pain we have caused God, the wrongs we have committed against Him, our case has been thrown out of heaven’s court because there is no accuser for those who seek to live for Jesus.
Kantianism: A belief that God is outside the scope of human experience and knowledge.
Kingdom of Heaven: God's rule now, and its complete future fulfilment.
Lamb: Applied to Jesus, it refers to His purity, patient suffering and substitutional death for humanity.
Lament: To mourn the loss of someone through finding the words and expression that can give voice to that pain.
Lamentations: An Old Testament book which mourns the loss of all God gave Israel when they were carted into exile as Babylonian slaves.
Law: The demand and expectation of God; a demand and expectation that necessitated Jesus' substitutional death for us.
Lay witness: Archaic term referring to non-clergy who seek to introduce Jesus to people.
Legalism: a) The tendency to reduce relating to God to a set of impersonal rules.
b) An obsessive adherence to the letter of the law.
Libertine: a) A person who lacks moral restraint, especially in sexual relations.
b) A person with unorthodox or unconventional religious views.
Libertinism: Deviation from moral restraints; a promiscuous and unscrupulous approach to life.
Life: a) existence; being; the time between birth and death.
b) God is life and in Him is life. This life incorporates power, love and righteousness, all of which are imparted to those who believe in Jesus.
Litany: Prayer consisting of a series of similar responses from a congregation to a leader.
Liturgy: A prescribed form of church service.
(To) Look back: To turn your heart away from your God-given course in life.
Lord: A title that applies equally to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, signifying their status as the highest and final authority.
Magi: A Median and Persian hereditary priestly class from which came the Wise Men who honoured the infant Jesus.
(The) Magnificat: Mary’s jubilant song announcing God’s hand in her pregnancy and what her Son will achieve.
Magnify: To extol or glorify as great. For a fuller explanation of magnify, visit The Word.
Mana: Belief held by some tribes that magical powers, good fortune, etc, come from an impersonal supernatural force.
Manifest: To show openly or to display (eg. Jesus made manifest the will, love and deeds of the Father).
Manna: A food source divinely supplied for the Israelites during their 40 year sojourn. It is often used in the sense of God’s provision in difficult times.
Mea culpa: (Latin) I acknowledge my fault, my guilt.
Meek: People who are in awe of God and know they are totally dependent on Him.
Mercy: God’s goodness to people in misery.
Messiah: God's appointed One whose purpose is to deliver His people.
Metaphysics: A division of philosophy focused on the origin and nature of being and the connection between being and the universe.
Mind (nous): What you set your mind to, what you think on, how you perceive things, how you feel about things, how you reason things out, how you shape things, how you purpose things to be. For a fuller definition, see The Word piece on 'mind' here.
Minister: Someone who serves God, who is committed to His cause and purposes.
Ministry: God’s commissioning work for each person to do.
Miracle: An extraordinary event that reveals God’s power and presence.
Missiologist: A person who has experience and understanding in missions.
Modalism: Unorthodox teaching claiming Father, Son and Holy Spirit are expressions of God, not ‘persons’ or actual entities.
Monastery: Residence for a Christian group, especially monks, bound by vows and living in semi or total seclusion.
Monastic: Contemplative, self-disciplined and semi-secluded or secluded lifestyle particularly evidenced by monks and nuns.
Monism: Belief in a single, ultimate organic whole with no independent parts.
Monk: A Christian man who commits to a religious order that lives by a set of vows.
Monotheism: A belief that God is one and there are no other gods.
Mortal: To be merely human (not God).
Mysticism: A belief that insight, intuition and other subjective experiences are a key method for knowing God and spiritual truth.
Narthex: A lobby or entrance hall in early churches.
Nave: The central space in a church.
Nazarite vow: A vow taken as a consecration to God. The original Nazarite vow involved not touching a dead body, growing your hair and abstinence from alcohol. These acts were living memorials of a life to be lived faithfully unto God.
Nicene Creed: A statement formulated in 325AD summing up orthodox beliefs, held from the apostles onwards, concerning the character and personage of God. (A belief in the Trinity is one key tenet of the creed.)
Nihilism: A belief that life is meaningless and useless.
Noble: a) A person of high social standing
b) Doing the right and good thing; generous actions
(Ideally a is achieved by b, and b epitomises a.)
Nominal: Barely existent or non-existent. (When actions do not match a professed faith then that faith is nominal.)
Nun: A Christian woman who commits to a religious order that lives by a set of vows.
Occult: Magic, incantation, astrology, divination or other forms of supernatural practice.
Oil (on head): Used for celebrations and joyous events.
Old Covenant: An agreement struck by God with man that reveals His holiness through the Law. As mankind could not keep the Law, a sacrificial system involving the blood of animals for blotting out failure was instituted.
Omnipotence: God's unlimited power and authority.
Omnipresent: God, unlimited by space, is present everywhere.
Omniscience: The limitless knowledge, awareness and wisdom of God.
Ordain: A public declaration and acknowledgement of the authority God has given to someone to minister in His name.
Ordination: A minister's induction service.
Over-spiritualising: Looking to draw a spiritual application from every event, person, place and verse in the Bible.
For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The Word...
Pantheism: A belief that God only exists within the natural laws of the universe and therefore the creation we see around us is to be worshipped as God.
Papacy: The jurisdiction and office of the Pope.
Parable: A story from everyday life used to tell a truth.
Paraclete: a) Someone who supports helps or assists.
b) The work of the Holy Spirit in supporting, helping and assisting.
Paradox: When one statement or situation seems to contradict another.
Parousia: Christ’s second coming.
Passover: A Jewish festival commemorating their first-born sons being spared while Egypt's sons died because the pharoah refused to free the Jews.
Pastoral: Pertaining to the role a pastor/priest performs in a church.
Patriarch: The father and overseer of a race. (Applied especially to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.)
Patristic: Relating to the leaders and teachers of the church, especially in its early days.
Penitent: Rueful for sin committed and wishing to make amends.
Pentecost: The day the church was born; the day God began to gather a harvest of people who would love Him and carry His Gospel to the world. We are still living in the "day" of Pentecost. For a fuller explanation of Pentecost, visit The Word.
Perfect: refers to the restoring, adjusting, maturing work of God in a believer which ultimately leads to being one with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The Word...
Perfection: When we become clay in God, the potter's hands, and are fashioned into a completed vessel. (A life-long work completed when we are with Jesus in eternity.)
Perish: To be cut off from God.
Perverse: To wilfully twist something out of moral shape.
Pew: Church bench seat.
Pietism: Seventeenth century movement stressing a personal experience with God and Bible study.
Piety: Reverence for, and devotion to, God.
Pilgrim: a) A Christian who takes a trip, the sole purpose of which is to draw near to God.
b) Christians who wander this earth far from their country (heaven) and people (Christians from all ages who live with God).
(God’s) Pleasure: Everything touching on salvation; as seen in the heart of the prodigal son’s father.
For a fuller explanation of behold, visit The Word...
Polytheism: A belief in and worship of more than one god.
Postdiluvian: Events occurring after the flood in Noah’s time.
Post-exilic: Occurring after Israel's exile to, and return from, Babylon.
Power-encounter: A dramatic and personal experience of the Holy Spirit (for example, healing).
Prayer: Communicating your heart to God and listening to His.
Praise: Voiced admiration; extolling that which is at the centre of our lives.
Pre-eminence: To be first in order, or to have no other equal. (An essential understanding of Jesus.)
Presbyter: An overseer or leader in a local congregation in the early church.
Preterist: A belief that Revelation’s symbolism relates only to the times it was written in.
Preternatural: That which cannot be explained by natural causes.
Priest: Mainly used by the Catholic and Orthodox churches in reference to an ordained minister.
Principalities: Those who are in power and exercise rule, especially a spiritual dominion.
Prodigal: Wastefully extravagant; to squander money, resources or whatever one has.
Profane: Disrespectful towards God or something sacred.
Prophet: A person who is regularly inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak on behalf of God.
Prophetic: Announcing to people things that could only have been learnt by a direct communication from God.
Proselyte: A convert from one religion to another.
Protestant Reformation: An era in church history, beginning in the 1500’s, when attempts to reform the existing Roman Catholic Church were largely rebutted. The result has been breakaway Protestant (protesting) churches.
Providence: God's guidance, care and protection for His people.
Psalm: A prayer put to song to extol God.
Pure: A moral guiltlessness and innocence before a righteous God.
Purify: To have our disobedience, and its shame, washed away by Jesus' love and to then choose (again) attitudes which honour him.
Puritan: Person who follows a strict ethical and religious code of behaviour based on an understanding of the Bible.
Quakers: Members of a movement started by George Fox who stress simplicity in worship and lifestyle.
Quietism: A form of mysticism involving quashing your will, separating yourself from the world and a passive meditation on God.
Rabbi: Jewish word for 'teacher', often used to refer to Jesus.
Rainbow: The sign of God’s promise, given after Noah’s flood, to never destroy the earth with water again.
Reborn: To be spiritually rejuvenated, as if born again.
Recapitulation theory: This theory states the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls in the book of Revelation are three perspectives on the same events.
Reconciliation: To re-establish harmony between individuals or parties which have been fractured and in disarray. To bring order, symmetry and health to a relationship. In a poetic sense, reconciliation is bringing beauty from ashes and this involves apologies, forgiveness and a treasured, newly rediscovered relationship.
Relativism: A theory that every person can find their own truth as there are no absolute values.
Remorse: Genuine regret for your actions.
Revelation: Having an insight into God's heart and mind.
• (General) Revelation: Spiritual truth derived from logic, conscience and an awareness of the world around us.
• (Special) Revelation: God, and Biblical truth, revealed directly to a person.
(The) Revelation: The climatic book of the Bible revealing God’s salvation plan completed in a new humanity, new earth and new heaven. (There are four schools of thought on reading Revelation: Futurist, Historicist, Idealist andPreterist.)
Reverence: A deep respect for God that flows from a strong willingness to be subject to Him.
Rite: A solemn religious ceremony. For example - baptism.
Ritual: The established format for a ceremony.
Sabbatarian: Person with strict views on what can be done on Sunday, the focus of which is worship and rest.
Sabellianism: An unorthodox teaching of the third century declaring Father and Son to be one person.
Sacerdotalism: Relating to the office of a priest system.
Sacrilegious: Insulting or harmful to beliefs or things held to be sacred.
Sacristy: Room attached to a church for storing sacred objects.
Sacristan: Person who looks after a church’s contents.
Sacrosanct: Something to be kept sacred and untainted.
Saint: Someone who believes in Jesus; not just someone of exceptional character or works.
Salvation: To be saved from the greatest danger in this life – a godless life.
Salvific: Has the intent or the power to redeem.
Sanctification: God working with us to sort through the business of our lives so that we can fulfill His purposes.
Sanhedrin: The Jews' supreme council in post-exilic times which was responsible for religious and criminal matters.
Satan: A fallen angelic being who strives against God and man.
Scapegoat: A person who is expediently blamed rather than the guilty person. The word stems from an Old Testamentpractice of symbolically placing the people's sin on a goat and releasing it into the wilderness. This practice was more about forgiveness, with the removal of guilt from a person's life, than its current meaning.
Scholastics: Christian philosophers in the medieval era.
Scripture: The writings of God recorded in the Bible.
Semitic: Relating to Noah’s son Shem. (Jews and Arabs are Semites.)
Seraphim: Six-winged angels whose primary task is to cleanse.
Sermon: An address or speech given as part of a church service.
Sermon on the Mount: One of Jesus’ great discourses containing the beatitudes and ethical teaching.
Service: Christians meeting together for worship.
Sheol: A Hebrew term for the abode of the dead.
Shrove Tuesday: Day before Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent; traditionally a day for confessing sin. Also known as Pancake Day (Mardi Gras) due to the celebratory tradition of eating pancakes on this day.
Simony: To buy or sell a position in the church for money.
Sin: Choosing to live for yourself rather than for God.
Sinner: a) In Jesus' time, sinners were people who refused to follow the interpretation of those who taught Mosaic Law. It also referred to people such as murderers, thieves, adulterers and tax collectors.
b) A person who fails to fulfil all of God's moral law in thought and deed; a category every human being falls into.
Sojourners: Those living temporarily in a place. Applied to this life in contrast to eternity with or without Jesus.
Son of David: One of the Messiah's titles. The Messiah had the heart of David and a king's authority.
Son of the Most High: Jesus, God the Son, who comes from God the Father.
Sorcery: Using power (knowledge) gained from evil spirits.
Soteriology: The study of what God has done through Jesus to save mankind.
Soul: The "real you" within your fallen humanity, including desires, feelings and perceptions (see Spirit).
Spiritual: Related to matters dealing with the core of our humanity.
Spiritualism: A belief that spirits of the dead speak through mediums to the living.
Stigmata: Marks resembling Christ's crucifixion wounds said to appear on some people.
Stoicism: A belief that everything is controlled by fate and therefore we should live calmly and with resolve. (similar todeterminism)
Stumbling block: A snare or obstacle preventing further progress.
For a fuller explanation of stumbling block, visit The Word...
Superstitious: Acting on magic, ignorance, fear of the unknown or a false concept.
Supplication: Asking earnestly and passionately. Often applied to a form of prayer.
Swaddling cloth: Strips of cloth used for wrapping babies in Jesus’ time.
Synoptic: Used in reference to Matthew’s, Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels as they have many incidents in common.
Tabernacle: Ancient Israel's portable dwelling for God.
Taboo: What tradition, social expectations or other authority deems forbidden.
Talmud: An annotated collection of Jewish traditions.
Tarot: A misdirected notion that a pack of tarot cards can tell a person's future.
Tax collectors (aka publicans): Rome's agents. Largely seen as swindlers and traitors.
Teacher (Rabbi): Title given to Jesus which can be translated as "My Great One"; the teacher who has authority.
For a fuller explanation, visit The Word...
Temperance: a) abstaining from alcohol.
b) A Christian movement which responded to general excessive drinking.
Temple: A general term for a place of worship used by a number of religions.
Temple tax: At the time of Christ it was the equivalent of two days' wages and every male over the age of 20 had to pay.
Tempt: To entice someone to do something they should not do.
Temptation: Being enticed.
Tempter: A name for Satan describing his attempts to lead all astray.
Tenet: A belief or doctrine that is seen to be true.
Testimonium: A standard point made from an Old Testament passage.
Theism: Belief in a personal God who is creator, sustainer and ruler over His creation.
Theistic evolutionism: The belief God used evolution as a means of creation.
Theodicy: Acknowledging God’s wisdom and justice in allowing the existence of evil.
Theology: The study of God and Christian teaching.
Theophany: God appearing to a person and manifesting His powers.
Theosophical: Related to theosophy.
Theosophist: Follower of theosophy.
Thirty silver coins: Judas' payment was equal to four months wages for a labourer.
Travail: To painfully labor at, as in childbirth; hence a description of one form of prayer.
Tithe: One tenth of income given to God as an act of gratitude, submission and recognition of God as the giver of all things.
Torah: The Pentateuch and the whole body of Jewish law, including oral traditions.
Transcendent: To surpass the normal limits. God surpasses every limitation we can think of.
Transformation: The fundamental change in the nature and direction of a person’s life, beginning with being born again and culminating in everything being made new on passing through death to be with Christ. For a fuller explanation of transformation, visit The Word...
(Dynamic Equivalent) Translation: A free translation of the Bible which seeks to use equivalent grammatical and style elements in the receptor language to aid accessibility.
(Free) Translation: A Bible translation seeking to be as accessible as possible in the receptor language with less concern about the exact words applicable to the original language. For example, using torch instead of lamp.
(Literal) Translation: A Bible translation seeking to remain as close to the original language as possible while still making sense in the receptor language.
(The) Transfiguration: Jesus’ exalted glorifying change in appearance when God the Father spoke with Him on the mountaintop.
Trial: A problem, a hard situation you go through, that God is working out His purposes in.
Tribulation: a) A trial (see below) involving extreme hardship. God hasn't stopped loving us in these situations.
b) A coming time when Satan is given the opportunity to make a last ditch effort to drag as many people down into hell as possible. Yet, God will still have His way at this time.
Truth: That which is solid and binding and thus demonstrates integrity and reality. Jesus is ‘The Truth’.
Unction: To apply oil in a religious ceremony.
Unitarianism: A doctrine which denies the triune nature of God.
Unity: The New Testament definition is: Christians, bound in a common purpose and faith by the Holy Spirit, who make every effort to keep peace and maintain focus. For a fuller explanation, visit The Word...
Universalism: Belief that all faiths are legitimate and able to bring you to God.
Unregenerate: A person not yet born again who is still at enmity with God.
Venerable: Of a person who is revered because of their age, faith or character.
Venerate: Holding great respect for a person or God.
Veneration: Expressing, or feeling, awe for a person or God.
Verily: Honestly, truly, surely, indeed. It tends to precede a solemn and important statement.
Vesper: A prayer said at night.
Vestal: Pure or chaste.
Viaticum: Communion given to the dying or someone in danger of death.
(The) Vine: Applied to Jesus, it indicates His followers’ total dependence on Him for sustenance, for life and the capacity to bear fruit.
Vision: A fresh revelation from God received in image and word.
Wanton: Unrestrained and immoral sexual behaviour.
For a fuller explanation of wanton, visit The Word...
Wind (of the Spirit): a) A symbolic representation of God breathing life into a person.
b) God’s expanding surging presence in a person, place or activity.
Wimple: A piece of cloth, worn by some nuns, which frames the face.
World: The world system or the values and ethos of a society that shunts God aside so it can pursue its own goals, ambitions and ego.
Worldly: A person who fashions their life around temporal and material things.
For a fuller explanation of worldly, visit The Word...
Worshipper: A person whose focus is to honor God in thought, word and deed.
Wrath of God: God bringing justice to an intolerable situation. Compare with wrath - a strong anger stirred by indignation.
Xmas: The first Greek letter in Khristos is 'x'. Hence 'Khristos mass' = 'Christmas'.
(The) Year of the Lord’s favour: The Messianic era when salvation is proclaimed through Jesus for all people.
Zealots: Jewish group who violently opposed Rome.
Do you have a word you'd like some clarification on? Or a meaning that really spoke to you? Why not email us at [email protected]...