Christianese Dictionary


Terms found mostly only in the Bible or Christian conversation

To quickly find your word, click the first letter of the word, below:

If you are looking for a word that I do not have listed, please post a comment!

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Note: These are not necessarily terms straight out of the dictionary, so to speak. These definitions are according to the accepted meanings in Christian circles. If you disagree, send me an email and I will make corrections or publish your comments as appropriate.

  • Admonish/ Admonition: To warn or notify of a fault; to reprove gently or kindly, but seriously; to exhort; To counsel against wrong practices; to caution or advise; to warn against danger or an offense.
  • Anointing: An anointing means someone has been appointed by God, and has God’s favor. Usually for a certain task or vocation. (See 1 John 2:27) According to Joyce Meyer, it is the presence and the power of God in your life that enables you to do with ease what God has called you to do. Joyce Meyer is anointed to teach. What is your anointing? You most likely have a knack for doing some task that you can take to “like a duck to water”. You can do something very easily that most other people cannot, or do with some degree of difficulty. You may also have an anointing in a spiritual gift. In the Old Testament and in the Church, people are physically anointed with oil. A small amount of specially made oil is placed on the forehead or poured over the top of their head. (Aaron and his sons were anointed for priesthood. See Exodus 30:23-30)
  • Antichrist: Actually, anyone who is against Christ. But “The” antichrist of Revelation that everyone is talking about is actually a study in itself. See the The End Times and Rapture for more.
  • Antinomianism: The (erroneous) belief that by faith and God’s grace a Christian is freed from all laws. The belief that people are under no obligation to obey even the basic laws of ethics or common morality. See Romans 6 (Entire Chapter)
  • Atone (Atonement): Literally, “to cover”. To make up for or pay the price for bad deeds. To make amends. Jesus atoned for mankind’s sins on the cross.
  • Apostasy/ Apostate: A falling away from or abandonment of a godly lifestyle.
  • Backsliding/ Backslider: Someone who was once living a godly lifestyle, but has returned to worldliness – or worse.
  • Baptism in the Holy Spirit: This is usually done in Charismatic churches. More traditional churches do not perform the separate spirit baptism. Biblically, the Holy Spirit is not constrained by our actions. Though Peter told the people to be baptized and then they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Shortly afterward, in the same book of Acts, people received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized in water (Acts 10:47-48).
  • Belial: Depravity or ruin. Also the name of a demon – and in some contexts, another name for Satan.
  • Calvary: Latin for the Hebrew, Golgotha: “The Skull”. The name of the hill upon which Jesus was crucified.
  • Carnal: Of the flesh, physical, not spiritual. A carnal Christian or carnal person spends most or all of their time or thoughts in the physical realm more than the spiritual. Carnal desires are fleshly desires such as food, drink, lusts, and merriment (“partying”).
  • Charismatic: From the Greek word charisma (in the Bible, usually translated: “gift”) Denominations, churches, or individuals that particularly emphasize the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Chasten/ Chastise: To admonish, instruct, discipline, correct, chastise.
  • Consecrate, Consecrated, Consecration: from the Hebrew “hands filled”. To be set apart for God’s purposes. Synonymous with sanctified and holy. One sermon I heard said, “completely occupied with the tasks of the Lord”. You cannot consecrate yourself. This is something we must ask the Lord to do.
  • Conviction: To be pronounced guilty. The Holy Spirit convicts people of their sins in hopes that they will repent.
  • Corporate Anointing: An anointing or blessing given to an assembly such as in a church or prayer meeting or other group of people usually considered to be a stronger more powerful anointing than one single individual would expect. Or an anointing that an individual would never get if alone.
  • Countenance: Facial expression. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:5 KJV)
  • Decalog: The Ten Commandments.
  • Doctrine: A belief, but usually a collection of beliefs. Doctrines in normal usage are often a collection of beliefs that separate one denomination from another.
  • Dogma: Usually a synonym of Doctrine (above)
  • Edict: A decree or proclamation by an authority – usually by a religious leader or royalty.
  • Eschatology: The study of the end times, end of the world, or end-times prophecy.
  • Exalt (Exalted): To lift up. Also to glorify, praise, or honor.
  • Exegesis (Exegetic): Explanation. Usually used when somebody is explaining a something from the Bible.
  • Exort (Exhortation): To urge; to advise earnestly, force or impel in an indicated direction; “I exhorted him to get ready for school.”
  • Foreordained: Planned for in advance — Predestined. In its strongest sense, prearranged unalterably.
  • Gehenna: A trash pile outside the city walls of Jerusalem that was on fire. People kept adding trash to it, and the fire burned 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Eternal fire. It became a metaphor for the gate to the underworld.
  • Graven Image: A statue of any god. An Idol. People make statues of their gods and worship them. This practice is expressly forbidden in the Bible and is specifically mentioned in Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
  • Hades: The abode of the dead in Greek mythology. Approximately equivalant of the Hebrew “Sheol” Neither Hades, nor Sheol were considered place of torment by the ancients.
  • Hedonism/ Hedonistic: Living for pleasure. Taken to extremes, in hedonsim, pleasure is considered the highest good.
  • Holy: Sacred. Set apart for God’s purposes. The same Hebrew word is also translated Consecrate and sanctified.
  • Iniquity: Usually another word for sinful practices. The way I understand iniquity, it is behavior that is not expressly forbidden, but still evil.
  • Intercession, Intercede, IntercessoryTo pray on someone else’s behalf. To pray for somebody else.
  • Jeshurun: An affectionate poetic name for the people of Israel. “the dear upright people”.
  • Manifestation/ Manifested: Revealed, become apparent/ visible, to bring to reality, became real
  • Masoretic: Masoretic text comes from a collection of documents that scholars (called Masoretes) compiled, which sought to properly establish the text of the Old Testament. They had a very difficult time. Especially placing vowels in the Aramaic text. (Written Hebrew does not have vowels.)
  • Omnipotent: All-Powerful. Nothing is impossible for God.
  • Omnipresent: Everywhere.  God spans space and time. There is nowhere or no time that God is not present.
  • Omniscient: All-Knowing – knows all things. (For real, not just someone who thinks they know it all – God actually does.)
  • Parable: A short story containing illustrations of one or more important life truths
  • Parousia: Greek for Jesus’ Second Coming – the Second Coming of Christ.
  • Predestination/ Predestined: The belief that everything that will ever happen is determined in advance by a God. This is true in a sense, but can be taken too far. God did not make a race of marionette puppets. We have free will. Though God knows what we are going to do, and He allows what we are going to do, He is not up in heaven pulling strings. He invites us but does not compel us.
    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
  • Propitiation To appease. To make someone who is angry with you happy again.
  • Quicken/ quickening: To bring to life.
  • Rapture: Being caught up or snatched away. Many believe that believers will be raptured – taken out of the world before any tribulation comes. I do not personally believe this. I believe, however, that we will be raptured before God’s judgement of the world begins.
  • Rebuke: To scold, chastise, criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand.
  • Redeem/ Redemption: Biblically, to buy someone out of slavery.
  • Remission: of sins: (Greek: aphesis) as used in Acts 2:28. Like in the field of medicine when a disease goes into remission – the disease is losing – the body is winning. When dealing with sin: The believer is winning and sin is losing!!! Aphesis, like many Greek words has other uses. See this Lexicon
  • Repent/ Repentance: To be deeply sorry for your sins and to turn away from them.
  • Reprobate mind: A mind that has become so ingrained in evil that it is not able to stop  —  even in its own best interest.
  • Reproof: Rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement, conviction
  • Rhema: God talking directly to a person. The spoken word of God. God’s personally revealed will.
  • Sacred: Hallowed – worthy of worship or respect or veneration.
  • Sacrosanct: Above criticism. Must be kept sacred.
  • Saint: Biblically, all believers are saints. In Catholicism, a saint is an especially anointed leader or person who must meet certain requirements, such as having “performed” a verifiable miracle.
  • Samaritan (Good Samaritan): Samaritans were like “half-breeds” who broke off from the traditional Jewish interpretation the law and there was great tension and dislike for the Samaritans among Jews. The “Good Samaritan” is a Parable told by Jesus in Luke 10:30-37. A story where the religious leaders just walked around a seriously injured man without helping; but a Samaritan, whom the Jews looked down upon, helped him — at great expense and trouble to himself.
  • Sanctify, Sanctified: Same word in Hebrew as Holy and and Consecrated. Hallowed, prepared, dedicated for God’s use. Set apart.
  • Sanctimony (Sanctimonious): Faked righteousness, hypocritical devoutness, “better-than-thou” attitude. Usually a result of self-righteousness (See below).
  • Second Coming: Greek (parousia) Approx. 36 hours after Jesus died, He was raised from the dead, spent about 42 days on earth. He did not die again, but was taken into Heaven in a cloud. He had promised many times that he would return in glory.
  • Secular: Not religious. Secular people live and make decisions with little or no thought of God or religion of any kind.
  • Self Righteous (Self-Righteous): Trying to be “good enough” to please God by your own power – without the Holy Spirit. This usually results in tragicomic behavior and actually amplifies the self-righteous person’s character flaws. (See sanctimony, above) The stereotypical self-righteous person will think of themselves as being sinless. But this is not the only result. Self-righteousness can take on many faces and may not be obvious to others.
  • Shekinah Glory: God’s glorious presence in a visible or tangible way.
  • Sheol: The Hebrew place of the dead. A shadowy place (Not a place of torment).
  • Sovereign – Sovereignty: Royal authority. The exclusive right to rule, and answerable to no higher authority.
  • Tongues (Speaking in Tongues): Commonly called a prayer language. Sometimes there just aren’t words in our language for what needs to be said. The Holy Spirit gives us words beyond the limitations of our language. (Romans 8:26) A spiritual language. Charismatic churches such as Assembly of God and Pentecostal will be the most common place to find people who speak in tongues. Some people err in thinking that if you do not speak in tongues, you do not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But the Apostle Paul clearly states that everyone does not have the same gifts (1 Cor. 12:30) and cautions strongly about thinking too highly of the practice. (1 Cor. 14:1-28)
  • Transfiguration: To change. Jesus was transfigured (changed) and his face shone like the sun (See Matthew 17:1-8)
  • Trinity: The three persons of God. The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)
  • Type: A person, place, or event that foreshadows or demonstrates a portion of a larger event. Usually foreshadowing a portion of Christ’s redeeming work. For example, Noah’s Ark is a “type” or picture of Christ saving a portion of mankind. Solomon’s temple was a “type” of our body, soul, and spirit.
  • Universalism/ Universalist:  The (erroneous) belief that all people will eventually be saved. (See John 3:18-21)
  • Verily: Truly, Truthfully, Honestly
  • By Duncan Otremba, July 7, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

    Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my bookmark list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this!

  • By Alex, August 3, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

    Good day,

    On your website amoung your names for God, you say that “Yehovah (or Jehovah, or Yaweh)- the existing one.” is “The proper name of the one true God (exodus 6:3)”
    Are you supporting Jehovah’s Witnesses who say that God’ s name is Jehovah?
    Isn’t God’s name Jesus or God or LORD? Aren’t we CHRISTIANS not JEHOVAHS

    Alex, Netherland Antilles

  • By A.L. Howard, August 3, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

    Thanks, Alex.
    “Jehovah” was transliterated in the 13th century – long before the Jehovah’s witnesses. They just adopted that particular transliteration.
    I included it in the dictionary because of its familiarity.
    The most accepted transliteration is more like Yahweh. But some scholars still think it should have three syllables.

    I do not believe the Jehovah’s witnesses are Christian.

  • By Alex, August 9, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    Good day modern Christian Issues

    Thank you for your answer, I see a need for me to check out my bible more.

    I read the website you included in your email, wikipedia.
    I noted that it said that ” the name that, according to the Bible, God revealed to his people. Yahweh appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, ”

    I checked (very quickly)since last week and in the New King James Version I dont see this name and in my mother’s old King James Version it is in there like one or two times.

    Why is it that if the old text had it in over 6000 times, the bibles I have seen does not have that name in it like the old text?

    Looking forwad to your assitance

    Netherland Antilles

  • By A.L. Howard, August 9, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    Yahweh (or Jehovah or Yehovah) is translated The LORD (All uppercase) in all but nine places in the KJV

    Out of reverence, I am sure.

  • By Alex, August 10, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

    10 Aug 2010

    Hi again Modern Christian Issues,

    I found this reference to The LORD in wikipedia

    “People have often used the term ‘lord’ in religious contexts, where, The Lord refers to God in Judaism or Islam, or to Lord Buddha in Buddhism, or to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit in Christianity. In the Anglican Church there are also Lord Bishops. In many Christian Bibles (such as the King James Version), the Hebrew name YHWH (the Tetragrammaton) is rendered LORD (all caps) or LORD (small caps). This usage follows the Jewish practice of substituting the spoken Hebrew word ‘Adonai’ (translated as ‘Lord’) for YHWH when read aloud.[2] Following practice in Hebrew, the Septuagint mainly used the Greek word Kyrios (Greek: ??????, meaning ‘lord’) to translate YHWH. As this was the Old Testament of the Early Church, the Christian practice of translating the divine name as ‘Lord’ derives directly from it.”

    Am I correct it understanding that:
    The LORD is like a title for God of the Bible, like it is for Allah and Buddha
    But God’s proper name in the Old Testament is Jehovah/Yahweh/JHWH etc
    And God’s name in the New testament is Jesus Christ and he is also the LORD
    And the reason why God’s name is not in my bible tons of times is because we as Christians follow
    the Jewish practice of substituting God’s name for something else(Addoni/LORD)

    All of this does not seem right, or is it?
    I didn’t want to load all of this on you, if you can help me find the answers I would appreciate it.
    If you are not able assist me, can you suggest where I can look



  • By A.L. Howard, August 10, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    The answer is right here in the text you sent.
    This usage follows the Jewish practice of substituting the spoken Hebrew word ‘Adonai’ (translated as ‘Lord’) for YHWH when read aloud.[2]

    The Jewish people are very reverent and cautious about the Lord’s name. They do not even write the word, “God” They spell it “G-d” for fear of mistyping it.

    “Lord” has many meanings like any word in the English language. When it is spelled out in ALL CAPS in the Bible, you can be sure it means Yahweh.

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