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Glossary of Christianity

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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"[1]) is a declaration of affirmation[2][3] found in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.[1] 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.[3] Common English translations of the word amen include: "Verily", "Truly", "So be it", and "Let it be".[1] It can also be used colloquially to express strong agreement,[3] as in, for instance, amen to that..[4]
  • 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.







  • Gnosticism
  • 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.[10]
  • Godfearers
  • Godhead
  • 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.[11] Summarized by Jesus as "do to others what you would have them do to you".[12]
  • 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.
  • Grace
  • Great Apostasy
  • Great Commission



  • Idolatry
  • 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.[13] Rabbinic Judaism rejects this doctrine.[14]
  • INRI
  • Intercession of the Spirit







  • Oblate
  • 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.




  • Rabbinic
  • Rapture - used in some sects to denote the Second coming of Christ
  • Red-Letter Christian
  • Redemption
  • Reformed
  • 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







See also


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Microsoft Encarta Dictionary Tools. Retrieved 20 August 2007
  5. ^
  6. ^ See : dictionary, "Christendom"
  7. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, Monotheism; William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr, ;, 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
  8. ^ BBC, BBC - Religion & Ethics - Christianity
  9. ^ Book of Isaiah Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53.
  10. ^ Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995.
  11. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a
  12. ^ Matthew 7:12
  13. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Incarnation
  14. ^ L. Jacobs 1973 A Jewish Theology p. 24. N.Y.: Berman House
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Ernest Klein - Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language
  17. ^ 1 Chronicles 22:2
  18. ^ Exodus 12:48; 20:10; 22:21
  19. ^ 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)"
  20. ^ Sharp, I., 1977. " Petaluma 'Sheriff of God'" . San Francisco Examiner , 6 October p.1
  21. ^ The Oxford Study Bible, Suggs et al., editors. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. p. 1365 note to John 1:1.
  22. ^ 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"
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