New Testament Glossary
AGAPE LOVE: New Testament writers present us with three Greek words that convey the human emotion of love:
The following Greek words do not appear in the New Testament, as a verb or noun.
ANABAPTISM: A Christian movement tracing its origins to the Reformation, predicated on finding no clear scriptural basis for infant baptism. Adherents believed that only adults were capable of repenting. Rebaptism actually describes those who were originally baptized as infants and then accepted the second baptism.
ANNO DOMINI (A.D.): Latin term for Year of the Lord, in this case being Jesus. Recently, modernists have replaced this term with "Common Era" (C.E.)
APOCRYPHAL: Biblical literature so designated because of their unknown authorship, doubtful authenticity, or spurious origins. They are not included in most Protestant Bibles. New Testament scholars prefer the term pseudepigrapha (falsely inscribed).
APOSTASY: (Greek apo, "away from" + stasis "standing") refers to the formal abandonment of one's religious beliefs.
APOSTLE: (Greek Ἀπόστολος, apostolos, "someone sent out") were twelve men hand chosen by Jesus who were trained to deliver the gospel to the ends of the earth. According to Matthew 10:2-4 they were: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon, and Judas.
ARAMAIC: The language spoken by Jesus and most Galileans. It was a family of languages and dialects belonging to the Northwest Semitic group, which also included the Canaanite, Phoenician, and Hebrew languages.
ARIANISM: A nontrinitarian belief asserting that Jesus was created by God, thus distinct from the Father, and therefore subordinate to the Father. It denies the equality of Jesus and God, something which Jesus declared of Himself in John 5:17.
ATONEMENT: originally meant "at-one-ment" or being "at one agreement" with someone. In Christianity it refers to the saving grace of God through which a person may be in harmony with God.
ATONEMENT, DAY OF: was established in Leviticus 16 as that one day of the year when the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering goat upon the Ark of the Covenant, and send a second goat, the scapegoat, into the wilderness bearing the sins of the nation of Israel.
BAPTISM: is the transliteration of a Greek word meaning to immerse. The Greek Old Testament uses the word in describing a priest "dipping" his finger in the blood of a sacrificed animal, Leviticus 4:6. From his place in Torments, the rich man asked for Lazarus to "dip" his finger in water, Luke 16:24. In consecrating themselves for a battle, ancient soldiers would dip their sword in a bowl of blood. Also see Transliteration.
BYZANTINE: Referring to the Eastern Roman empire after 330 AD when the Emperor Constantine moved his capital to Constantinople, which was formerly called Byzantium. Most biblical Greek manuscripts belong to the Byzantine Text.
CHRIST: the English transliteration of the Greek word Χριστός (Christós), which literally means "The Anointed One."
COVENANT: An agreement that creates and defines a relationship. The scope and enactment of a covenant might be very different. God's covenant with Noah applied to all humanity, whereas most other Old Testaments covenants applied only to the nation of Israel.
EDIT OF MILAN: (313 A.D.) A statement from the Roman emperors Constantine and Licinius issued from the Italian city of Milan, providing that all religions should have equal status and that worshipers are free of persecution. It did not establish Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. Also see Edict of Thessalonica.
EDICT OF THESSALONICA: (380 A.D.) A statement issued by the Roman emperors Theodosius, Gratian, and Valentinian from the city of Thessalonica which authorized Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Also see Edict of Milan.
GOSPEL: Old-English, "goode spell" or good story. In the case of the Bible it refers to the good news of God’s forgiveness to sinners through the atoning work of Jesus. To a lesser degree the word refers to the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
HIGH CHURCH: Usually refers to Anglican, Catholic, Episcopal, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Presbyterian denominations. Worship services are characterized by liturgical readings, rituals, many clergy wear special vestments, and follow a calendar of annual religious observances. Also see Low Church.
ICHTHUS : Greek word for fish. Under fear of persecution, early Christians identified themselves by drawing a fish on the ground. In some cases to avoid capture, one person would draw the top curve and the second person would finish by drawing the lower curve.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: A Roman Catholic belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother. It was later elevated to a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his statement Ineffabilis Deus in 1854. Protestants occasionally misunderstand this belief to refer to the conception of Jesus through His mother Mary and the Holy Spirit.
KOINE GREEK: (Greek κοινὴ, "common") refers to a dialect that arose within the armies of Alexander the Great. It was the everyday spoken language of common people that was more easily understood, than the higher dialects of Greek known during the Classical Period. Koine still remains as the liturgical language of services in the Greek Orthodox Church.
LOW CHURCH: Usually refers to Amish, Baptist, Brethren, Holiness, Mennonite, Pentecostal, and Quaker denominations. Worship services are characterized by lay participation, a relatively flexible service, and heightened focus on evangelism. Also see High Church.
MSS: An abbreviation for manuscripts.
ORDINANCE: A ritual observance that demonstrates a believer’s faith, such as Holy Communion. It is typically something that a believer does in response to the grace of God. Also see Sacrament.
ORIGINAL SIN: The Christian doctrine of humanity's continuing state of sin resulting from the original fall of Adam and Eve’s rebellion of willful disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden.
PARACLETE: comes from the Greek word παράκλητος (paráklētos), meaning one who consoles or comforts (John 14:16), encourages or uplifts (Luke 2:25), and one who intercedes on behalf of someone as an advocate (1 John 2:1) in court.
PIETISM: A movement emanating from 17th Century Lutheranism emphasizing the need for a "religion of the heart" instead of the head, yet combined with a strong commitment to express this inner experience through one’s daily life. It was characterized by ethical purity, inward devotion, charity, separation from worldly interests, and even mysticism.
PROPITIATION: is the act of appeasing or the well-disposing of a deity, which invites divine favor and avoids retribution.
REDEMPTION: The forgiveness or absolution for past sins, the possible protection from eternal damnation, and generally obtained through a sacrifice. In the realm of Christian theology, it refers to the deliverance of believers from sin through the sacrifice of Jesus, plus an eternal inheritance.
REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY: A belief that the Church has replaced Israel as the true people of God, and that the New Covenant has replaced the Mosaic Covenant, therefore, the Old Testament promises to Jews are now fulfilled in the Church. For many centuries this was the dominant teaching of Christianity.
Compare the teachings of Apostle Paul: "I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid ... God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew," Romans 11:1-2. "and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree," Romans 11:17.
SACRAMENT: A rite of very special importance recognized as an impartation of God's grace to an individual as administered through the Church, such as Anointing of the Sick. Roman Catholics define Sacraments as "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church." Also see Ordinance.
SYNOPTIC: (synopsis, "seeing together"). Mark, Matthew, and Luke are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels because they share a common historical relationship.
TEMPORAL SIN: Relating to a specific period of time as opposed to eternity. Temporal sins are those which we willfully commit by ourselves through temptation and our human weakness.
TEXTUAL CRITICISM: is a literary science using well established rules that attempts to reconstruct an original document by comparing textual variants that appear in numerous copies of the original text. Ancient scribes unfortunately made errors when copying manuscripts by hand.
TRANSLITERATION: is the borrowing of a word from a source language into a target language by means of changing letters into the similar-sounding characters of the second language. Translation conveys the meaning of a word, but transliteration only gives you the reciprocal spelling of the word. Also see Baptism.
TRINITARIANISM: Denominations vary in their basic understanding of the Godhead. Trinitarians believe in one God who has manifested the divine nature in three different persons. This does not mean three Gods, but rather one entity that is presented in three manifestations: as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
UNITARIANISM: Unitarians maintain that Jesus was the "son" of God only as all humans are sons and daughters of God, but not that Jesus was God. This is a radical departure from orthodox Christianity. Unitarians generally believe that Jesus was inspired by God and thus can be considered a savior in a human sense, but they do not believe that Jesus was Deity in any sense.
VIRGIN BIRTH: An essential doctrine of Christianity that Mary, the human mother of Jesus, conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit without the agency of a human father, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-37. It is essential because only a sinless person could die a substitutionary death for the sake of humanity. If Jesus was the product of two human beings, then atonement would be impossible.
WORSHIP: Old English, "weorthscipe" (worth + ship). The act of recognizing and attributing worth to God through adoration, as eloquently stated by John in Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Worship is our grateful acknowledgement of how we esteem God, or more simply how much God is worth to us.