Glossary of Christian Terms

Unlike some glossaries, most of the words below are in English. The historic languages of Christianity are Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The Old (Jewish) Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. Latin increasingly became the language of the bible in the Western half of the Roman Empire from the 5th century. In the last few hundred years the bible has been translated into most major language groupings. The bible remains the most printed and most popular book in the world. (This glossary relates to Bible words and sometimes come with a biblical reference to explain more.)

Glossary of Christian Terms


* Abraham: The father of the Jewish nation. He and his group left Ur and started a new life in Canaan. He is also called the Father of all those who have faith

* Adam and Eve: The first people according to the book of Genesis. They lived in the Garden of Eden

* Agnostic: Someone who says we cannot know whether God exists

* Amen: The final word of a prayer; means “so be it” in Hebrew

* Apostles: The twelve followers of Jesus; means “a person who is sent to preach the gospel”

* Armageddon: the ultimate conflict between good and evil

* Ascension: When Jesus went back to heaven, 40 days after the resurrection

* Atheist: Someone who does not believe there is a God

* Atonement: Making amends for your sins or wrong deeds. Trying to put things right

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* Blasphemy: Blasphemy is the act of swearing using God’s name, saying bad things about God, or doing disrespectful things against God

* Blood of Christ: Jesus Christ died on the cross taking the penalty of death for sins. His blood being poured out (shed) on that cross is what covers sins. We are “cleansed” of our sin by His blood. [Romans 5:9]

* Born again: (also reborn) To be spiritually born after one has already been physically born. When one enters into a relationship with Christ, a new life has begun. The old life is past. [John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17]

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* Catholic: 1) the universal Church with confesses Jesus Christ as Lord. 2) Churches with episcopal order. 3) Roman Catholic Church recognizing the primacy of the Pope

* Christ: Jesus Christ, son of God and Savior of mankind

* Christian: One who believes and worships Jesus Christ

* Church: The people who gather together to worship God. Not necessarily a physical building. [Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 11:18]

* Communion: (also The Lord’s Supper; Last Supper) The sharing of bread and wine to remember the death and sacrifice of Jesus. The bread represents His body and the wine His blood. [1 Corinthians 11:23-26]

* Commandments: Laws of conduct written on stone and given to Moses by God at Mt. Sinai

* Confess: Confess is used in two major ways in the Bible. The first type of confession is the confession or admission of sin. The second kind of confession is the confession of faith. This is where the Christian declares his or her faith, usually publicly, or declares his or her faith as a part of witnessing

* Covenant: A legal promise between two people or groups. Some kinds of covenants apply equally to both sides like a marriage, or only one side like God’s promises.

* Covenant: An agreement or pact. In the Bible, it refers to an agreement between God and man. The Old Testament Covenants included the rules that Jews lived by to stay in grace with God. In the New Testament, there is a new covenant; our salvation is now the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins

* Cross: Representation of Christian faith, Jesus died on the cross to take away all sins

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* Disciple: A disciple is a student and follower – Christians are disciples or students of Christ

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* Epistle: A letter. Most of the New Testament is a series of letters from apostles to churches and from apostle to apostle. The letters of Paul are called the Pauline Epistles.

* Eternal life: To have a relationship with God that never ends. It cannot be earned or bought. It is a free gift through faith in Christ. [Romans 6:23]

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* Faith: To trust or believe in something or someone. Often mistakenly portrayed as being blind or that you need to give up rational thought. The only way a person can be forgiven of their sins is through faith. [Acts 10:43, Ephesians 2:8]

* Fast: Process of denying self body of food for certain period of time; usually done as repentance of one’s sins or for the love of Christ

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* God: Creator of time and space. Christians believe there is one God, but three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All are God equally, they are not separate or smaller parts of God. [John 1:1-5, Matthew 28:20]

* Gospel: Word of the Lord

* Grace: Receiving something we don’t deserve. By His grace, God forgives sins and gives us His love even though we don’t deserve it. We cannot earn His grace; it’s His gift to us when we accept the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross.

* Guardian Angel: Angel that guards over you

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* Heaven: The ultimate paradise, God’s kingdom

* Hell: The place reserved for the devil (Satan) and his followers – all who do not accept Jesus

* Holy Spirit: God; Sent to help believers live more like Christ by giving guidance, strength, and love. He is inside of every Believer in Christ. [John 16:5-15]

* Holy Trinity- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This makes up the Godhead – there is only one God

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* Incarnate: (to take on bodily form) Jesus Christ became fully human by being born in the flesh. He did not stop being fully God. He is both fully God and fully human. [John 1:14]

* Intercede: (intercession, intercessor) To go between two groups or people who are against each other, and preventing one from harming the other. To plead on behalf of another before a judge or king. An advocate, or defense lawyer. [Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25]

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* Jesus Christ: God; Became fully human to save us from everlasting death. Both completely God and completely man. We know He was fully man because He died on the cross. We know He was fully God because He rose from the grave. He conquered sin and death for us

* Justification: The process of being made good or perfect. To be justified is to be right. Jesus makes us right with God. And this cannot be accomplished by works (good deeds). [Romans 5:1, Galatians 2:16]

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* Lamb of God: Jesus refers to Himself as the Lamb of God several times in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, lambs were used as sacrifices and their blood washed away sins. Jesus came as the final sacrifice, taking the place of the lamb

* Lord’s Supper (Communion): The night of His arrest, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples. This is known as the Last Supper. He offered them bread as a symbol of His flesh that would be sacrificed for us and wine as a symbol of the blood He would shed for us. When we take the sacrament of communion, we do it in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us

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* Martin Luther: Major revolutionary who brought about a great change ushering in the Protestant Church

* Mediator: Someone who works out disagreements between people or organizations.[1 Timothy 2:5]

* Mercy: Not receiving what we deserve. We don’t receive punishment for our sins because of Jesus

* Messiah: The Anointed one from God. Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah [John 1:41]

* Missionary: Person who preaches the Christian faith

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* Omnipotence: Having all power; a characteristic of God. There is nothing as powerful as God. All the forces of the universe combined do not even come close to His power

* Omnipresence: Having all presence; a characteristic of God. He is able to be everywhere at the same time. There is no place that God cannot go

* Omniscience: Having all knowledge; a characteristic of God. He knows everything that was, is or ever will be

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* Passover: Festival celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from the Egyptians

* Patriarch: A father. Biblical patriarchs refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are considered the fathers of the Hebrew nation

* Pentecost: Pentecost is a Jewish feast day celebrated 50 days after Passover. It has significance to Christians because that first Pentecost after the crucifixion was when the Holy Spirit was sent to the Christians as the Comforter

* Pharisee: The Pharisees were a group of extremely devout Jews who were intent on obeying the Laws of Moses to the letter. Their error was in missing the spirit of the laws. Today when Christians talk about someone being like a Pharisee, they are talking about a person who is rigidly applying the Scripture to their lives and missing the spirit of love that Jesus wants us to have

* Pope: Religious head of Roman Catholic church

* Prayer: Plea/talking to God

* Prophet: A messenger from God. A person is only considered a prophet if their prophecy is true and consistent with God and His word

* Propitiation: To turn away wrath or punishment. Jesus turned away the wrath of God. [Romans 3:25]

* Protestant: Christians who do not accept the Pope as the head of the Church; have a few different beliefs than Catholics. Originally started by people who protested against the wrongdoing of the Catholic Church

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* Reconcile: To reconcile is to restore a relationship. We are separated from God by our sin. When we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins on the cross, we are reconciled with God. Reconciliation is an important part of Christian doctrine. [Colossians 1:20-22]

* Redeem: (Redemption) To receive something in exchange for something else. Our sin was exchanged for eternal life. [Ephesians 1:7] To redeem is to purchase for a price. The price paid for our redemption was Jesus’ life. We didn’t have to pay the price of our sin Jesus did it for us. He is called the Redeemer for this reason

* Remnant: Remnant refers to a small, leftover portion. It generally refers to the small group of Jews who remained faithful to God through the Old Testament times. In the Book of Revelation, it refers to those who become or remain faithful to God during the tribulation

* Repent: Repent means to turn away or to turn around 180 degrees. When Christians talk about the need to repent from sin, they’re saying that we need to turn away from those things that we know offend God. Repentance- Feel sorry/to make up for wrong doings – without this step people do not become Christians

* Resurrection: The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christianity. When Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross, He shed His blood for our sins. When He came back to life, He proved that He had conquered the penalty of sin, which is death. It means To come back to life and never die again. [Romans 6:9]

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* Sabbath: Seventh day of the week, a Saturday or Sunday for most countries

* Sacrifice: Giving up something that is valued a lot by a person or offering of animal to God for special favor or sign. To make an offering in payment for a debt. [Hebrews 11:11-16]

* Salvation: Salvation is the gift of eternal life that God offers us. In order to claim the gift, we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. We ask Jesus to wash away our sins so that we can come before God blameless. The price of sin is eternal death but the gift of salvation is eternal life. By taking the penalty for all our sins, Jesus can offer us the gift of salvation. [John

* Savior: A person who saves or rescues others from danger or death. [2 Timothy 1:10]

* Scripture: The inspired word of God. The Bible. [2 Timothy 3:16]

* Sin: Missing the mark. Sin is what separates us from God; it’s those things we do that we know are wrong but do them anyway. Our goal as Christians is to strive to eliminate sin from our lives; to hit the mark every time and do those things that please and honor God. Sin is a turning away from God’s love. Doing something wrong and disobeying the command of God

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* Testament: A witness or evidence given for belief. The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is about events that took place before Christ and the New Testament is about the advent of Christ, during Christ’s presence and after Christ

* Ten Commandments: Laws of conduct written on stone and given to Moses by God at Mt. Sinai

* Theology: A way of believing about life as it relates to God.

* Trinity: There are three persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, but one God

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* Worship: To pray to, to give honor and acceptance to God in Jesus name


With contributions from the Bible Gateway, of Gospel Communications Network, Teen Reachout and several others. Thank you

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