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Theology: The study of God and Christian teaching.
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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.
Abyss: The prison for all who stubbornly refuse to obey God.
Abiogenesis: The creation of living matter from inanimate matter.
Abrahamic covenant: God’s contractual promise to bless Abraham and all people through Him; a blessing fulfilled in and through Jesus.
Absolved/absolution: To be released from the guilt, blame and ultimate consequences of sin through Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross.
(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.
Adoption: Speaks of the rights and privileges of sonship given to those who receive Jesus as their Lord through God's grace.
Advent: The celebratory lead up to Christmas incorporating the four Sundays prior to 25th December.
Agnosticism: A belief that if God exists, He is unknowable.
Alembic: a) That which refines or makes pure.
b) Nature of the Holy Spirit’s work in a Christian’s life.
Allegory: A story infused with a spiritual meaning.
Alpha and Omega: God is first and last in time, eminence, source and consummation; He is all in all.
Ambassador: As ambassadors for Christ we have been appointed to interpret
the mind of our master to those who live contrary to His good judgement.
Animism: A belief life is in nature; that trees, animals etc have souls.
(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
Antediluvian: Occurring before the flood of Noah.
Antinomianism: A belief that Christian faith supersedes moral law and therefore you can do as you please.
Antitype: The fulfilment of a type. Many Old Testament practices, events and people are types fulfilled in the New Testament. For example, Jesus is the antitype of the Levitical sacrifices.
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.
Apocalyptic: Relating to the end of sin’s reign in this world and the coming of Christ’s messianic kingdom.
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.
Apostolic decrees: Collective decisions made by the apostles regarding the interpretation of Scripture and church governance.
Apostolic teaching: A teaching based on the necessity of experiencing Christ risen from the dead and a way of living defined by Jesus' example and the Holy Spirit’s instruction.
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.
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.
Athanasian Creed: Fourth century statement of the Christian faith which articulates the trinity and incarnation.
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
Awe: A mixed emotion of wonder, respect and fear often stemming from a revelation or epiphany.
Backslide: To lapse into the life lived before salvation.
Balm: a) An aromatic resin used medicinally.
b) A figurative reference for healing of the soul and spirit.
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.
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
Begotten: Jesus was born in Bethlehem but the more accurate word for
understanding His birth is 'begotten'. Jesus was, 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
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
Spirit and eternity with Him.
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.
Blessed/blessing: a) To have a deep-rooted joy which comes from joining with Christ to live the life God planned for us.
b) To receive a God-given gift at a particular
time, such as protection.
Boasting: Seeking to impress others. An evil flowing out of pride that great separator of man from God.
For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
of Life: God's list of believers who will abide with
Booths: Rough shelters made of woven boughs that were constructed on roof tops or in fields as part of the Feast of Tabernacles.
again: This is synonymous with being a Christian.
It's about receiving the life Jesus offers.
Brethren/brothers: A term indicating the connection and love that is to exist between Christians.
Bridegroom: At the end of this age Jesus will be a bridegroom to His bride, the church. He will come feasting and celebrating His marriage (see the Titles of Christ).
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.
Calvinism: John Calvin’s theology which emphasises God’s sovereignty and includes the doctrines of predestination, depravity and irresistible grace.
Canon: The 66 books which are the authoritative Word Of God, the Bible.
Captive: Theology declares we are a prisoner of sin and error, or a captive of Christ and His love.
Carnal: To seek to fulfil all physical desires or to be content with
pursuing only what this world can offer.
Catechised: To be systematically instructed in the Christian faith.
Cerinthianism: Heretical view that the Christ spirit came upon Jesus at His baptism and left just before His death on the cross. Tries to maintain there is a Christ spirit separate from Jesus.
Charismatic: Of or relating to spiritual gifts given to the church by the Holy Spirit.
Cherubim: Mighty angelic beings whose chief duty is to guard the throne of God. Their field of expertise is justice.
Chief Cornerstone: Jesus is the foundation strength of the church. That which is built on Him cannot be washed away (see the Titles of Christ).
Chosen: To be chosen by God means you are known to Him and there is a vital relationship. God chooses us to follow Christ and He can also choose us for a particular task.
Christ: A title given to Jesus which emphasises He is the anointed
of God; the one with the power and the authority to restore
the relationship between fallen man and God.
The Titles of Christ - 1. Last Adam: Jesus is the DNA of all who are born again.
2. Head of The Body: Jesus is the director of and sustainer of the church.
3. Great Shepherd: Jesus is the leader, protector and sustainer of His people.
4. True Vine: Jesus infuses His disciples with His life so they can bear fruit.
5. Chief Cornerstone: Jesus is the foundation strength of the church. That which is built on Him cannot be washed away.
6. High Priest: Jesus represents humanity to God interceding on their behalf through His completed salvation work.
7. Bridegroom: At the end of this age Jesus will be a bridegroom to His bride, the church. He will come feasting and celebrating His marriage.
Christendom: The part of the world where the Christian faith has a prominent role in society.
Christian: Followers of Jesus. People who recognise they are under a
Christocentric: Theology centred in Jesus.
Christology: The study of Christ and theories or doctrines related to Him.
Church: a) The collective body of all Christians or a local group of that body.
b) The building Christians worship in.
(Free) Church: A church which does not have a set from of worship.
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.
(Common) Grace: God’s kindness to all, despite our sin, exemplified by material and social blessings - for example food, shelter, decency reflective of the Creator.
Communion: a) Remembering Jesus' sacrifice for us by eating bread and
b) To be ‘in communion’
with God is to have an intimacy with Him that is based on
Condemnation: God's verdict on sin. Bearing the guilt of our sin is not
where God finished the story though.
Confess: a) To admit openly to a sin.
b) To declare your agreement with God's Word.
Consecrate: The act of giving to God so He can use what is offered (for example, the writing of a book or the commitment 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.
Convert: A person who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, turning their back on all other ways of living.
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).
3.Theistic evolution: Genesis is figurative and God used evolution to develop
life. At an appointed time the animal became man with a soul.
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 the Bible does not always refer to 24 hours.
(God the) Creator: The source and sustainer of everything outside Himself. The Lord over all creation. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
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.
Damnation: To face the judgement of God having rejected Christ as The Way to come to Him.
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.
Demon: An evil spirit.
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: A deceiver and tempter who uses these tactics against God, Christians and anything good or pure
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
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.
Docetism: Heretical view that Jesus wasn’t really human but more like a spirit who appeared for awhile and then disappeared.
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.
Earthly: Things which are weak, perishable and lacking the glory of heaven.
Ecclesiological: Related to the study of the doctrine of the church.
Ecclesiology: The study of the doctrine of the church.
Edify: To build up or to strengthen someone's spiritual
Elect: (Noun) God chose to be for mankind long before anyone gave
their life to Him. Hence He elected us. We simply have to
choose to be a disciple of Jesus to be in God's elect.
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.
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 see Jesus for who He truly is".
Epistle: Any of the New Testament letters written by an apostle.
(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.
Eternal: Without beginning or end - such as God's power, Jesus' redemption, the life given to a believer in Christ.
Eucharist: The Lord’s Supper, wine and bread, celebrated in acknowledgement of Jesus' sacrifice for humanity and our union with Him.
Evangelism: Introducing Jesus to people through whatever medium or method the Holy Spirit anoints.
Evangelist: Someone who regularly introduces Jesus to others.
Evil: Any act that is morally bankrupt and whose source is the flesh or Satan - can apply to thoughts and words.
One: A spirit, a force that seeks to seduce us away
abundantly: Surpassing far beyond and above what
we think is possible.
Excommunicate: To exclude a person from the fellowship of a church or the church.
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
Expiation: Jesus’ crucifixion atoned for mankind’s sin.
Faith: A conviction, a confidence to act on the beliefs Christ has
stored up in your heart.
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.
of God: Being in awe before God, the One to whom
you owe everything to and are responsible to. Embedded in
this wonder is a heightened sense of God's just judgement directed by His pure love.
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.
Fellowship: To enjoy
the company of others who have the same foundation of faith in Jesus.
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.
whose death and resurrection is the beginning of a harvest
of souls into heaven.
For a fuller explanation, visit The
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 Lord of life and companion of followers. For a fuller explanation of 'follow (Jesus)', visit The
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".
Foretaste: The Holy Spirit ‘in’ believers is a foretaste and a pledge of life in the presence of God in heaven.
For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Glorification: The point at which a believer is brought, morally perfect and in a Christ-like ascended body, into God's presence. It will then be impossible to sin again.
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
Gospel: Good news! Jesus has ascended to the Father so that we can
follow in His footsteps!
(Synoptic) Gospels: The books of Matthew, Mark and Luke which present the same overview of Jesus’ life.
Gnosticism: A philosophy which arose in the early church era that states all matter is evil and freedom from this evil comes through a special knowledge of spiritual truth.
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).
Great Shepherd: Jesus is the leader, protector and sustainer of His people (see the Titles of Christ).
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
Hallel: Songs of praise; principally Psalms 146 to 150.
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.
Head of The Body: Jesus is the director of and sustainer of the church (see the Titles of Christ).
Heart: The real self; the inner man with
all his affections, motivations and spirit.
Heathen: An archaic term for someone who isn’t a Christian.
Heaven: God's home, filled with his servants (angels) and invited
guests (Christians who have stepped beyond the grave). It's
a house of unbelievable joy and celebration.
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 of heaven.)
Henotheism: A belief you can worship one god while not denying other gods.
Heresy: Opinions or beliefs contrary to the established doctrines of the Bible.
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 of apostasy for Israel.
b) Used figuratively of the place God calls humanity to step up into, a place of worship, glory and intimacy.
High Priest: Jesus represents humanity to God interceding on their behalf through His completed salvation work. (see the Titles of Christ)
Historicist: A belief that the whole of Revelation addresses church history from Pentecost to Jesus’ return.
Holiness: Christians are called to be holy because God is holy. Our character should reflect something of His unblemished virtue.
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
Spirit (Holy Ghost): The second person in the Trinity who was sent by God, the Father and Son, on Pentecost,
to dwell with those who believe in Jesus.
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
Hosanna: A worshipful exclamation to God meaning 'We ask you to save now, Lord'.
Humanism: A belief that man is a moral being capable of self-fulfilment.
Humility: An awareness of our shortcomings, a lowliness of spirit, because of Christ’s provision for us, but not a downcast spirit. For a fuller
explanation of humility, visit The
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
wedding at the end of this age. For a fuller explanation
of husband, visit The
Idealist: A belief that Revelation is a symbolic picture of the ongoing struggle between Christianity and paganism, good and evil.
Ignorance: A lack of information. In the New Testament it also carries the idea of a need for forgiveness because of the failure to understand.
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.
Impute: To credit one person with something that belongs to another.
(When we put our faith in Jesus,
He gives us His righteousness.)
Incarnation: The divine Christ revealed as the human Jesus.
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'
speak the name of God in Old Testament times.
Iniquity: Anything, word or deed, that does not meet God's standard
of holiness, hence the fallen condition
man: The spirit or innermost self of a person that
lives on after the body is dead.
Inspiration: God's act of imparting something to one's mind or heart. It's
where you know this thought, image, feeling or whatever construct
it takes is a spirit-to-spirit communication from God.
Intercession: A prayer where you stand before God
on behalf of someone else and plead their case. For a
fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
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.)
Jesus: The Saviour who came to rescue sinners
(humanity) from our misguided ways and restore us to an open
relationship with God.
Joint: Found in Hebrews 4:12, "joints and marrow". A figurative
expression for the totality of a person's spiritual and moral
Joint-heirs: Christians are to receive the same
estate from God as did Jesus.
Joy: Delight, gladness. A Christian's
joy is to be a sustaining strength even in the face of trials.
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.
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
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
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
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
Kantianism: A belief that God is outside the scope of human experience and knowledge.
Kingdom of God: Christ’s rule and salvation for those who receive. It is unshakeable, eternal and heavenly. We are to seek it earnestly – ‘thy kingdom come’.
Koinonia: A Greek word defining the church as a sharing partnership and fellowship.
Laity: The mass of people in the Christian faith, excluding clergy.
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.
Last Adam: Jesus is the DNA of all who are born again (see the Titles of Christ)
Law: The demand and expectation of God; a demand and expectation
that necessitated Jesus' substitutional
death for us.
Legalism: The tendency to reduce relating to God to a set of impersonal rules.
Liberator: As applied to Jesus, it speaks of the freedom He gives his followers; a freedom from sin, Satan and the illusions of our current world.
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.
Liturgy: A prescribed form of church service.
Logos: God the Son, incarnate, who is The Word.
(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
Jesus Christ: This phrase identifies the three dimensions
of His character as man (Jesus); as God
(Christ); and as sovereign (Lord).
Love of God: a) The essence of who God is, as revealed in Jesus the fulfilment of His salvation plan.
b) To be so enraptured with God you can’t imagine living without Him.
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
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.
Maranatha!: Our Lord (Jesus) has come and will come again.
Materialistic: To be overly concerned with the things of this world and giving little thought to the spiritual.
Mediator: Jesus is mankind’s mediator. We walked away from God but He came to bring us back. Through His life, crucifixion and ascension He mediated our return.
Meek: People who are in awe of God and know they are totally dependent
Melchizedek: A priest of God who blessed Abraham. He is a forerunner to or type of Jesus being both priest and king with the titles of King of Righteousness and King of Peace.
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.
Millennium: The 1000 year reign of Jesus, at His second coming, marked by peace, prosperity and holiness.
Minister: Someone who serves God, who is committed to His cause and
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.
Mission: The Christian mission is to spread the good news of the Biblical Jesus.
Missionary: A person who is sent to spread the good news of the Biblical Jesus.
Modalism: Unorthodox teaching claiming Father, Son and Holy Spirit are expressions of God, not ‘persons’ or actual entities.
Monotheism: A belief that God is one and there are no other gods.
Mysticism: A belief that insight, intuition and other subjective experiences are a key method for knowing God and spiritual truth.
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.
New Testament: Twenty-six books which record the outworking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the fulfilment of God’s first covenant.
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.)
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.
Old Testament: Thirty-nine books comprising the canon of God’s first covenant with mankind and its history.
Omnipotence: God's unlimited power and authority.
Omnipresent: God, unlimited by space, is present everywhere.
Omniscience: The limitless knowledge, awareness and wisdom of God.
(God is) One: A description and title of God recognising His pre-eminence, wholeness, and His being first in all things. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
Ordain: A public declaration and acknowledgement of the authority
God has given to someone to minister in His name.
Orthodox: The traditional, established, Bible-based doctrine of faith.
Over-spiritualising: Looking to draw a spiritual application from every event, person, place and verse in the Bible.
Outreach: Any structured approach by a group of Christians to spread
the good news of Jesus to people.
Overcomer: A Christian who faithfully follows Jesus, come what may.
For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
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.
Paraclete: a) Someone who supports helps or assists.
b) The work of the Holy Spirit in supporting, helping and assisting.
Pastor: A minister who feeds his people with God's Word and tends to their needs, like a shepherd would his flock.
Pastoral epistles: Paul’s two letters to Timothy and letter to Titus to help them pastor effectively.
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.
Penance: An act of self-abasement or devotion which demonstrates remorse
and repentance for sin.
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
Pentateuch: The first five books of the Bible which is also referred to as “The Law” in the Hebrew canon.
Perdition: Hell; a place of eternal misery and loss.
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
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.
Perseverance: Apart from the standard dictionary meanings, perseverance also refers to the Holy Spirit's ongoing work in a believer's life in taking a person from salvation to completion in Christ.
Perverse: To wilfully twist something out of moral shape.
Pharisees: A prominent Jewish sect at the time of Christ who believed in the Old Testament, oral law, angels, spirits, resurrection and immortality.
Pietism: Seventeenth century movement stressing a personal experience with God and Bible study.
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).
Pious: To be
God-like in that you show love and kindness to all.
Pneumatarian: Person who believes in the Holy Spirit’s work, including the expression of spiritual gifts; sometimes to the detriment of not giving equal focus to Father and Son.
Polytheism: A belief in and worship of more than one god.
Postdiluvian: Events occurring after the flood in Noah’s time.
Prayer: Communicating your heart to God and listening to His.
Praise: Voiced admiration;
extolling that which is at the centre of our lives.
Preach: To exhort, through sermons, the Gospel of Jesus.
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.
(Prevenient) Grace: This understanding of grace states God took the initiative to save sinners. He makes it possible for everyone to respond to Him and be saved.
Principalities: Those who are in power and exercise rule, especially
a spiritual dominion.
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.
Propitiation: The act of satisfying the terms for both parties so that enemies
can be reunited. Jesus' life and ministry achieved this for God and man.
Proselyte: A convert from one religion to another.
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.
Quicken: Where once there was sin and death, Jesus comes into our lives to quicken us. It's the process of being born again and renewed daily in our inner
Quietism: A form of mysticism involving quashing your will, separating yourself from the world and a passive meditation on God.
Rainbow: The sign of God’s promise, given after Noah’s flood, to never destroy the earth with water again.
Ransom: The price Jesus paid (crucifixion) to
satisfy God's holy requirements for dealing
Rapture: A belief that Christians alive at Jesus' return will move straight from earth to heaven.
Reconcile: Our wilful defiance of God put us at odds with Him but Jesus came as the mediator to bring us together as friends.
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.
Redemption: Jesus' death was God’s ransom price to buy our freedom
from the grip of sin in our lives.
Regenerate: To have our lives made new again by God's Word and the Holy Spirit.
Relativism: A theory that every person can find their own truth as there are no absolute values.
Repent: To seek forgiveness for a sin and commit yourself to doing an about face in how you think
Resurrection: Life beyond death. Jesus rose from his
tomb opening the way for all His disciples
to follow Him to his Father's house. For a fuller explanation
of resurrection, visit The
Remission: Removal of the 'cancer' of sin through forgiveness. It also carries the
idea of forgiveness being able to cancel the 'debt' of sin.
Reproof: A conviction for sin or an exposing of
that sin or error. Part of God's process
for correcting us.
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 and Preterist.)
Reverence: A deep respect for God that flows from a strong willingness
to be subject to Him.
Revival: When God awakens people to connect (non-Christians) and reconnect (Christians) with Him.
Righteousness: The quality of being right or just or truthful or faithful
according to God's standard of holiness. To be in right
standing with God.
Risen: The elevated status given to Jesus and his followers before the eternal throne of God.
Rite: A solemn religious ceremony. For example - baptism.
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.
Sacrament: A rite, such as baptism or communion, which is symbolic of a spiritual reality.
Sadducees: A prominent Jewish sect at the time of Christ who believed in the Torah and a literal interpretation of written law. They denied angels, spirits, a resurrection and immortality.
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.
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.
Saviour: Jesus, the only person who can rescue us from our fallen state or sin, and its consequences. For a fuller explanation of atonement, visit The
Schismatic: To set up a rival to the true worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Scripture: The writings
of God recorded in the Bible.
Secular: Relating to this world without consideration of the spiritual or sacred.
Septuagint: A translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek between 280BC – 180BC. It was the Bible of the beginning church used by Jesus and the apostles.
Seraphim: Six-winged angels whose primary task is to cleanse.
Sheol: A Hebrew term for the abode of the dead.
Simony: To buy or sell a position in the church for money.
Sin: Choosing to live for yourself rather than for God.
Sojourners: Those living temporarily in a place. Applied to this life
in contrast to eternity with or without Jesus.
Song(s): Inspired community worship sung for the purpose of edification.
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).
Strive: Christians are to exert themselves and be disciplined in the work of the Gospel.
Spirit: The 'real you', which can only be free from sin when God awakens your spirit with His love and hence changes
your desires, feelings and perceptions. (see Soul).
gifts: Gifts from the Holy Spirit, freely given to
and exercised through Christians, to serve God's gracious
Spiritualism: A belief that spirits of the dead speak through mediums to the living.
Stoicism: A belief that everything is controlled by fate and therefore we should live calmly and with resolve. (similar to determinism)
Straight: Direct, right, narrow. The straight path is repentance and walking with Jesus.
Stumbling block: A snare or obstacle preventing further progress.
For a fuller explanation of stumbling block, visit The
Substitution: Christ's vicarious death on behalf of sinful humanity.
Suffer: a) To allow or permit: as in suffer the little children to
come to Jesus.
b) Pain and injustice, generally, but more specifically,
from an identification with Jesus and
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.
Synagogue: Judaic places of worship which focused on opening up the Scriptures; a focus the church adopted.
Synergism: A doctrine stating salvation comes through human effort co-operating with God’s grace.
Synoptic: Used in reference to Matthew’s, Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels as they have many incidents in common.
Talmud: An annotated collection of Jewish traditions.
Temperate: A Holy
Spirit strengthened and directed self control. For
a fuller explanation of temperate, visit The
Tempter: A name for Satan describing his attempts to lead all astray.
Tenet: A belief or doctrine that is seen to be true.
Testament: A covenant which binds two parties. (The Old and New Testaments are binding agreements between God and mankind.)
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.
Theophany: God appearing to a person and manifesting His powers.
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.
(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.
Transubstantiation: A largely Catholic belief that the wine and bread literally
become the blood and flesh of Jesus as
you receive communion.
(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.
Trinity: The three ways God has revealed his personage to humanity;
God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.
(Three-in-one and one-in-three.)
True Vine: Jesus infuses His disciples with His life so they can bear fruit (see the Titles of Christ).
Truth: That which is solid and binding and thus demonstrates integrity and reality. Jesus is ‘The Truth’.
Typology: Symbols, images and events in the Old Testament which are types prefiguring New Testament times.
Unbelievers: Those who do not acknowledge Jesus as
Unitarianism: A doctrine which denies the triune nature of God.
(The) Unrighteous: Those who proudly take a faithless stance against God and His righteousness, graciously given in Jesus.
Verily: Honestly, truly, surely, indeed. It tends to precede a solemn
and important statement.
(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.
(The): a) Christ's way for life now and beyond the grave.
b) A term used to describe early Christians.
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.
Witness: One who tells what he has seen or experienced. God's simple calling for everyone who has experienced Jesus in their life.
(The): a) The Bible - God's voice for all who will
b) Jesus is the Word because
He is the living testimony of who God is.
World: The world system or the values and ethos of a society
that shunts God aside so it can pursue its own goals, ambitions
Worldly: A person who fashions their life around temporal and material things.
For a fuller explanation of worldly, visit The
Worship: Any thought, word or deed whose focus is to honour God the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For a fuller explanation
of worship, visit The Word
of God: God bringing justice to an intolerable situation.
Compare with wrath - a strong anger stirred by indignation.
Yahweh: Hebrew for the English name Jehovah. The name means "God
is". God is "I am" - the eternal, self-existent,
omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent One.
Definitions by LLOYD HARKNESS