Glossary of Christianity
This is a glossary of terms used in Christianity.
- Advent - a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas
- Almah a girl who has reached puberty but is still under the shielding protection of her family. For theological reasons, the meaning and definition of this word (especially the definition of "virgin") can be controversial, particularly when applied to Isaiah 7:14.
- Amen - the word Amen (Hebrew: אָמֵן, Modern Amen, Tiberian 'Āmēn ; Arabic: آمين, ’Āmīn ; "So be it; truly") is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. It has always been in use within Judaism, and would find its way into Islam. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding formula for prayers and hymns. Common English translations of the word amen include: "Verily", "Truly", "So be it", and "Let it be". It can also be used colloquially to express strong agreement, as in, for instance, amen to that..
- Ancient of Days - a name for God in Aramaic: Atik Yomin; in the Greek Septuagint: Palaios Hemeron; and in the Vulgate: Antiquus Dierum.
- Anno Domini (A.D.) - Latin term for Year of the Lord, the Lord in this case being Jesus, by Christian reckoning, the Messiah. Due to western dominance of the world, this has become the common world calendar system, though many cultures separately maintain their own calendars based on various events. Recently, the terms "Common Era" (C.E.) and "Anno Mundi" (A.M.) have come into use.
- Anointing - to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or god.
- Antichrist - in Christian eschatology, the Antichrist or anti-Christ, has come to mean a person, another entity, or an image of a person, that is an embodiment of evil. The word 'Antichrist' is translated from the combination of two ancient Greek words αντί + χριστος ('anti + khristos), which can mean anti "opposite" (of) khristos "anointed" therefore "opposite of Christ" (the meaning of christ as the 'anointed one', having become secondary to its meaning as the honorific of Jesus of Nazareth) or anti "as" (if) khristos "messiah" thus "in place of Christ" or a substitute for Christ.
- Antilegomena - was an epithet used by the Church Fathers to denote those books of the New Testament which, although sometimes publicly read in the churches, were not — for a considerable amount of time — considered to be genuine, or received into the canon of Scripture. They were thus contrasted with the "Homologoumena" (from Greek ομολογουμένα), or universally acknowledged writings
- Antinomianism - in theology, is the idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality, and that salvation is by predestination only
- Apocalypse - any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general
- Apostasy - (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, "away, apart", στασις, stasis, "standing") is a term generally employed to describe the formal abandonment or renunciation of one's religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. In a technical sense, as used sometimes by sociologists without the pejorative connotations of the word, the term refers to renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, one's former religion
- Apostle - (Ἀπόστολος, apostolos, "someone sent out", e.g. with a message or as a delegate) were, according to the Synoptic Gospels and Christian tradition, disciples (followers) whom Jesus of Nazareth had chosen, named, and trained in order to send them on a specific mission.
- Apostolic Age - traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus (c. 26–36) and the Great Commission until the death of John the Apostle
- Apostolic Decree - Acts 15:19-21 See Council of Jerusalem
- Aramaic - believed to be the primary language of Jesus.
- Ascension of Jesus - a Christian doctrine that says Jesus ascended to heaven in the presence of his Eleven Apostles following his resurrection, and that in heaven he sits at the right hand of God the Father
- crucifixion of Jesus Christ which made possible the reconciliation between God and man. Within Christianity there are numerous technical theories for how such atonement might work, including the ransom theory, the Abelardian theory, the substitutionary atonement theory with its variations, and the Anselmian satisfaction theory.
- Baptism - baptism (Greek βάπτισμα and βαπτισμός, from βαπτίζω, baptizô, immerse, perform ablutions) is a religious act of purification by water usually associated with admission to membership or fullness of membership of Christianity.
- Bauer lexicon - the standard English lexicon of Biblical Greek.
- Blood of Christ
- Body of Christ
- Born again (Christianity)
- Born-again virgin
- Cafeteria Christianity
- Calling - The God-appointed vocation of a Christian.
- Christ - the English term for the Greek word Χριστός (Christós), which literally means "The Anointed One." The Hebrew word for Christ is מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, usually transliterated Messiah). The word may be misunderstood by some as being the surname of Jesus due to the frequent juxtaposition of Jesus and Christ in the Christian Bible and other Christian writings. Often used as a more formal-sounding synonym for Jesus, the word is in fact a title, hence its common reciprocal use Christ Jesus, meaning The Anointed One, Jesus.
- Christendom - In a cultural sense, it refers to the religion itself, or to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity. or refer collectively to Christian majority countries or countries in which Christian civilization dominates or nations in which Christianity is the established religion.
- Christian - a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament and prophesied in the Old Testament.
- Christian Bible
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre - traditionally believed to be the site of Golgatha and the Empty tomb.
- Circumcision in the Bible - Jesus and Paul and presumably the Jewish Christians were circumcised according to biblical tradition, the Council of Jerusalem made the practice optional for converts as is the case today among most Christians, despite the Circumcision controversy in early Christianity.
- Covenant (biblical)
- Crucifixion eclipse
- Crucifixion of Jesus
- Daily devotional
- Divine law - see Biblical law in Christianity
- Dual-covenant theology
- Early Christianity
- East–West Schism
- Easter - Easter, Pascha, or Resurrection Day, is an important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. See also Easter controversy.
- End time
- Eternal life
- Eternal sin
- Eucharist - also known as Communion, and the Lord's Supper.
- Evangelical counsels
- The Fig Tree - the tree and its fruit is mentioned several times in the New Testament, and in the Old Testament as well; but as more than just the common Mediterranean fruit tree, the Common Fig, it is also a symbol or type, subject to various interpretations. The Parable of the barren fig tree is a parable of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Luke 13:6–9. The parable has no parallels in other gospels. A vinekeeper holds out hope that a barren fig tree will bear fruit next year.
- Fivefold ministry
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
- God - most commonly refers to the deity worshipped by followers of monotheistic and monolatrist religions, whom they believe to be the creator and overseer of the universe.
- God the Father
- God the Son
- Golden Gate
- Golden Rule - based on Leviticus 19:18 and summarized by Hillel the Elder as "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow" and considered the central teaching of the Torah. Summarized by Jesus as "do to others what you would have them do to you".
- Gospel - from the Old English for 'good news,' this refers to the good news concerning Jesus Christ. It can also refer to any one of the four canonical gospels, named for their traditional authors: the "Gospel according to Saint Matthew," the "Gospel according to Saint Mark," the "Gospel according to Saint Luke," and the "Gospel according to Saint John." The word "gospel" can also refer to the literal book which contains any one or all of these texts, which in "high church" traditions may be decorated ornately and given special liturgical prominence.
- Great Apostasy
- Great Commission
- Incarnation (Christian term) - according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, incarntion is a mystory and dogma of "the word made flesh:" the belief that God took the nature and likeness (except for sinfullness) of man in the form of Jesus. Rabbinic Judaism rejects this doctrine.
- Intercession of the Spirit
- Jewish Bible - specifically the Masoretic Text, in contrast to other Hebrew texts found at Qumran.
- Jewish Christians - acknowledgement that the first Christians were largely if not entirely Jewish.
- Judaizers - those who teach that Christians must observe Jewish laws and customs.
- Judeo-Christian - a Christian term, primarily in the U.S., for shared Christian and Jewish beliefs, such as the Ten Commandments. See also Christianity and Judaism.
- Last judgment
- Last Supper
- Latter rain
- Law and Gospel
- Law of Christ
- Laying on of hands
- Letter and spirit of the law
- Leviticus 18 - the section of scripture usually cited during debates about homosexuality.
- Lord's Day
- Lord's Prayer
- Love for enemies
- Mark of the Beast
- Messiah, False or Failed
- Messianic Age
- Messianic Jews
- Mosaic Covenant - in Christian theology, the Mosaic Covenant or Sinaitic Covenant refers to the original relationship between God and the Jews that was superseded by the Christian New Covenant.
- New Commandment
- New Covenant - (Hebrew: ברית חדשה, berit hadashah ; Greek: διαθήκη καινή, diatheke kaine) is used in the Bible (both in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament) to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment. As are all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, it is "a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God." 
- New Jerusalem
- New Testament (sometimes called the "new covenant") - translation of the Greek καινή διαθήκη. Western Christianity so names its Greek scriptures to distinguish them from the Hebrew scriptures ("Old Testament"). It consists of "Gospels," Epistles, and the Apocalypse (Revelation). The term (new covenant) comes from 1 Cor. 11:25 and its parallel (Luke 22:20) in which Jesus institutes the Christian eucharist.
- New Wine into Old Wineskins
- Nicene Creed
- Number of the Beast
- Old Testament - name used by Western Christians for the Hebrew scriptures to distinguish them from the Greek scriptures, which they call the "New Testament." In the "New Testament," the Hebrew scriptures are simply denoted "the scriptures" or "the holy scriptures" (Matt. 21:42, John 5:39, 2 Tim. 3:15-16). In other instances they are referred to by their two divisions ("Law": Gk, νόμος=Heb, תּוֹרָה and "Prophets": Gk, προφήται=Heb, נביאים ) (Matt. 5:17, 7:12) or three divisions ("Law," "Prophets," and "Psalms") (Luke 24:44). "Psalms" as the largest book in the "Writings", Heb, כתובים designates them in this reference. For the Greek Orthodox, all scripture is Greek scripture, namely the Septuagint and the Kainē Diathēkē. For the Syrian Orthodox, all scripture is Aramaic, namely the Peshitta. Some Western Christians suggest a more neutral term, such as Hebrew Bible.
- Papal supremacy
- Papal infallibility -
- Parousia - advent or appearance of the Messiah and the Messianic Age.
- The Passion
- Passover (Christian holiday)
- Paul the Apostle
- Pauline privilege
- Pentateuch/Torah/Chumash - the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, traditionally attributed to Moses, hence also the Mosaic Law. See also Samaritan Pentateuch.
- Peshitta - the Bible of the Syrian Orthodox, one of the earliest Bibles.
- Pharisees - the word Pharisees comes from the Hebrew פרושים prushim from פרוש parush, meaning "separated", that is, one who is separated for a life of purity. The Pharisees were, depending on the time, a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews that flourished during the Second Temple Era (536 BCE–70 CE). After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Pharisaic sect was re-established as Rabbinic Judaism — which ultimately produced normative, traditional Judaism, the basis for all contemporary forms of Judaism and even the Karaites use the Rabbinic canon of the Bible.
- Premillennialism - the belief that Christ will literally reign on the Earth for 1,000 years at his second coming.
- Primacy of Simon Peter
- Proselyte - from the Koine Greek προσήλυτος/proselytos, is used in the Septuagint for "stranger", i.e. a newcomer to Israel; a sojourner in the land, and in the New Testament (Strong's G4339) for a convert to Judaism from Paganism. It is a translation of the Hebrew word גר/ger (Strong's H1616).
- Rapture - used in some sects to denote the Second coming of Christ
- Red-Letter Christian
- Remez/Allegory - (from Greek αλλος, allos, "other", and αγορευειν, agoreuein, "to speak in public") is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal. Generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: it may be addressed to the eye, and is often found in realistic painting, sculpture or some other form of mimetic, or representative art. In allegorical representations, relationships between elements of a text or composition are understood to stand for different relationships between elements not found in the text or composition; meaning is thus constituted through the difference between the superficial (or literal) meaning of the text or composition, and a "deeper" meaning. In Jewish thought this method is best known through the works of Philo. The extreme form of remez, sod, understands the Tanakh as an allegory for a mystical understanding of the universe and as a means for mystical communion with God; this approach is best known through Kabbalistic texts such as the Zohar. Traditionally, only Jews who have mastered the midrashic method and the corpus of halakha are encouraged to pursue this form of interpretation. In Christianity this method was first promoted by Saint Paul.
- Resurrection of the dead
- Sabbath in Christianity
- Sabbath in seventh-day churches - Sabbath is generally a weekly religious day of rest as ordained by the Ten Commandments. Originally denoting a rest day on the seventh day of the week, the term "Sabbath" has acquired the connotation of a time of communal worship and now has several meanings in Christian contexts.
- Saint Peter
- Second Coming
- Sermon on the Mount
- Seven Laws of Noah - according to Judaism, these are the laws applicable to non-Jews, some see a connection to the Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem.
- Shema - in Mark 12:28–34 Jesus refers to the Shema as the first commandment (in importance.)
- Sheriff of God - Howard Garfield Sampson,(May 24, 1924 - March 27, 1990) minister and General Overseer of the Fields of the Wood Church.
- Sign of the times
- Sin, Original
- Sin, Unforgivable
- Son of God
- Son of Man
- Son of Mary
- Son of perdition
- Sons of God
- Spirit of God
- Star of Bethlehem
- Suffering Servant
- Sunday school answer
- Ten Commandments
- Testament, Old and New
- Trinity - used as a synonym for God, in order to call attention to the three distinct persons which share the single divine nature or essence. They are traditionally referred to as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though some modern sects prefer more gender-neutral terms such as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
- Tzitzit - scholars think Jesus wore the tzitzit, see Christianity and fringed garments for details.
- Walk with God
- Western Schism
- Whore of Babylon
- Word, The Christ the Logos - in Christology, the conception that the Christ is the Logos (the Greek for "word", "wisdom", or "reason") has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed. The conception derives from the opening of the Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In the original Greek, Logos is used, and in theological discourse, this is often left untranslated. Word and related terms in earlier Jewish tradition prepared the way for its use here to denote Jesus as revealer of the unseen God (see Wisdom 9:1-4, 9, 17-18; Ecclesiasticus 24:1-12).
- Works of the Law - aterm used by Paul the Apostle (for example Romans 3:28) the meaning of which is still heavily debated today. Contrasted with James 2:24. The related Jewish term is Mitzvah.
- Yeshua - spelled יֵשׁוּעַ in Hebrew, a common name among Jews of the Second Temple Period, and known to be the name used for Jesus by Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians.
- Microsoft Encarta Dictionary Tools. Retrieved 20 August 2007
- See Merriam-Webster.com : dictionary, "Christendom"
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, Monotheism; William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr, ; About.com, Monotheistic Religion resources; Jonathan Kirsch, God Against the Gods; Linda Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Monotheism; The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, monotheism; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul pp. 496-99; David Vincent Meconi, "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity" in Journal of Early Christian Studies pp. 111–12
- BBC, BBC - Religion & Ethics - Christianity
- Book of Isaiah Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53.
- Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995.
- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a
- Matthew 7:12
- CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Incarnation
- L. Jacobs 1973 A Jewish Theology p. 24. N.Y.: Berman House
- This definition of covenant is from O. Palmer Robertson's book The Christ of the Covenants. It has become an accepted definition among modern scholars. See this summary of his book by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon.
- Ernest Klein - Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language
- 1 Chronicles 22:2
- Exodus 12:48; 20:10; 22:21
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Chronology of the Life of Jesus Christ: "At an early age He must have learned the so called Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), and the Hallel, or Psalms 113-118 (Hebrew)"
- Sharp, I., 1977. " Petaluma 'Sheriff of God'" . San Francisco Examiner , 6 October p.1
- The Oxford Study Bible, Suggs et al., editors. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. p. 1365 note to John 1:1.
- Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, book 7, chapter 4: "The most important example ..." James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990, chapter 8: "Works of the Law and the Curse of the Law"