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Glossary of Christianity

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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 young woman of childbearing age.
  • Amen – used in Jewish, Christian and Muslim worship as a concluding word or response to prayers.
  • Ancient of Days – name for God in the Book of Daniel: Atik Yomin; in the Greek Septuagint: Palaios Hemeron; and in the Vulgate: Antiquus Dierum.
  • Anchorite – a person who withdraws from secular society to be able to lead an intensely prayer-orientated life.
  • Anno Domini (AD) – 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 (CE) and Anno Mundi (AM) have come into use.
  • Anointing – ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, dousing, or smearing a person or object with any perfumed oil, milk, butter, or other fat.
  • Antichrist – in Christian eschatology, the Antichrist or anti-Christ is someone recognized as fulfilling the Biblical prophecies about one who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ's place.
  • Antilegomena – 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. See also: Apostle (word).
  • 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 DecreeActs 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
  • Atonement – a doctrine found within both Christianity and Judaism. It describes how sin can be forgiven by God. In Judaism, Atonement is said to be the process of forgiving or pardoning a transgression. This was originally accomplished through rituals performed by a High Priest on the holiest day of the Jewish year: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the 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 – rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity.
  • Bauer lexicon – the standard English lexicon of Biblical Greek.
  • Bible – a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be mostly Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon, primarily about the Apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect.
  • Beelzebub – a name derived from a Philistine god, formerly worshipped in Ekron, and later adopted by some Abrahamic religions as a major demon.
  • Blood of Christ – A reference to (a) the actual blood of Jesus when he was sacrificed on the cross (cf. Luke 22:19, 20); and/or (b) the spiritual covering that that sacrifice of Jesus on the cross provides for sin and our sanctification, i.e., "That's covered by the blood of Christ.".
  • Body of Christ – A reference to (a) the Christian church as a whole, worldwide (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12–14 and Ephesians 4:1–16), and/or (b) a name for the bread used in Communion/Eucharist to represent the physical body of Jesus sacrificed on the cross (cf. Luke 22:19, 20).
  • Born-Again Christianity – A "spiritual rebirth" or a regeneration of the human spirit particularly in Evangelical Christianity. In contrast to one's physical birth, being "born again" is distinctly and separately caused by baptism in the Holy Spirit as it is not caused by baptism in water.
  • Born-again virgin – A person who, after having engaged in copulation, makes some type of commitment not to be sexually active again until marriage (or some other defined point in the future, or indefinitely)






  • 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.[6]
  • God-fearer
  • 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.[7] Summarized by Jesus as "do to others what you would have them do to you".[8]
  • 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 – in traditional Christianity is the belief that the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos (Word), "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of Mary, also known as the Theotokos (Birth-giver to God) or "Mater Dei" (mother of God).
  • INRI
  • Intercession of the Spirit


  • Jah
  • Jehovah
  • Jerusalem
  • Jesus
  • Jewish Christians – were the original members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity.
  • Jews
  • Judaizers – those who teach that Christians must observe Jewish laws and customs.
  • Judeo-Christian – a term used by many Christians since the 1950s to encompass perceived common ethical values based on Christianity and Judaism.
  • Justitia civilis or "things external" is defined by Christian theologians as the class of acts in which fallen man retains his ability to perform both good and evil moral acts.






  • 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). Some Western Christians suggest a more neutral term, such as Hebrew Bible.




  • Rabbinic
  • Rapture – the belief that either before, or simultaneously with, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth, believers who have died will be raised and believers who are still alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected dead believers) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.[15][16]
  • 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
  • Righteousness







See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marty, Martin (2008). The Christian World: A Global History. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-58836-684-9.
  2. ^ See Merriam-Webster.com : dictionary, "Christendom"
  3. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, Monotheism Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine; William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr; About.com, Monotheistic Religion resources Archived 2006-05-21 at the Wayback Machine; Jonathan Kirsch, God Against the Gods; Linda Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Monotheism; The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, monotheism Archived December 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul Archived 2018-07-04 at the Wayback Machine pp. 496–99; David Vincent Meconi, "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity" in Journal of Early Christian Studies pp. 111–12
  4. ^ BBC, BBC - Religion & Ethics – Christianity
  5. ^ Book of Isaiah Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53.
  6. ^ Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995.
  7. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a
  8. ^ Matthew 7:12
  9. ^ Daniel G. Reid et al., Dictionary of Christianity in America (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990)
  10. ^ 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 Archived 2007-11-13 at the Wayback Machine by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon.
  11. ^ 1 Chronicles 22:2
  12. ^ Exodus 12:48; 20:10; 22:21
  13. ^ "Strong's G4339". Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  14. ^ "Strong's H1616". Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  15. ^ McKim, Donald K (2014-04-09). The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. pp. 261–. ISBN 9781611643862. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  16. ^ Chopra, editor, Ramesh (2005). Encyclopaedic dictionary of religion: Q-Z. Delhi: Isha Books. p. 638. ISBN 81-8205-203-3. Retrieved 6 April 2015. {{cite book}}: |first1= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ 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)"