Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles




This page is dedicated to making sense of the terms we use (or words we use) and offer an explanation for some on the terms used here and help understand these words if you have not “grown up in church” or “speak fluent Christianese”. I have called it “Christanese” as I was once accused of knowing just the exact words to say for a situation, perhaps they were intimating that what I had to say was more rehearsed than from the heart.

Which is a problem, it can almost be too easy to get into a “liturgical speak” when we wax lyrical about our messiah Jesus Christ, to want to drop in some “holy words” or “church like phrases” and if I do that in these articles then I must apologize from the bottom of my heart. I say this because the purpose of this website is to make the truths of the bible accessible to more people, not to limit access to a “chosen few”.

So with that in mind I want to offer a glossary of sorts below. The list is non-exhaustive and subject to be added to at any time, if there is an article that has terminology that is difficult to understand then I would urge you to comment at the bottom, leave a link of the article and I would be happy to re-comment and add any problematic words to allow fluidity of movement.

There is no such thing as a silly question and I am here to help and my desire is to allow a greater understanding of the scriptures. If I can remove simplistic hurdles to help that happen then I would be happy to.

TTE Terms

SDG – Soli Deo Gloria – To God alone be the glory – All that I do, all that I write, all the time I put into praying, seeking Gods will into what goes into this website and writing what God has put on my heart to write is all for the glory of God. I do it not for personal glory or fame but simply a desire to put out good Christian teaching that is line upon line and precept upon precept.

PTL – Praise the LORD – The reason this site exists is to praise our Savior.

TGBTG – To God be the glory – Much the same as SDG, I wish to exalt his name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

TTE – Taking the Epistle – the name for the website

WWJD – What would Jesus Do? – Is a phrase to self-examine in a time where you have come to a decision, it is a great question to ask as a disciple of Jesus.

Glossary of other Christian terms

Bible versions

AMP – Amplified Version
ESV – English Standard Version
GEN – Geneva Bible
KJV – King James Version
NASB – New American Standard Bible
NIV – New International Version
NKJV – New King James Version
NLT – New Living Translation

General Christian terms

Absolution – Absolution or being “absolved of your sins” is a total forgiveness from God that Christ when he died on the cross at Calvary it was enough for your sins. Absolution is available to all who turn from their sins and start a day to day walk with Jesus Christ. The dictionary definition is as follows “formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment.”

Advent – is celebrated by the church on the four preceding Sundays to Christmas. The word advent means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” And of course the notable person is Jesus Christ and the celebration of his birth at Christmas.

Apostle – from the Greek “Apostolos” which means “messenger” Apostles were people who were messengers from God declaring the true identity of the Messiah.

Bible – The infallible Word of God that is written in 66 books or partitions with 40 different authors over a span of time of 1500 years over three continents and three different languages but it is the basis for archeological expeditions, a source of joy and peace and Gods instructions to his people. One of the main reasons for this website is to explore the riches of this phenomenal book. I could literally fill this page with adulation and still not do the bible justice.

Bishop – derived from the Greek word “episkopos” the bishop (or overseer) was in the leadership of the church, the qualities required for a bishop can be found in 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus.

Bondservant – from the Greek “doulos” which means one who has volunteered a life of servant hood with no prior obligation (such as debt or being sold into slavery) the bondservant of Jesus Christ is one who has forfeited his own will to become a servant of Jesus and do what he is commanded to serve the LORD.

Christian – literally means “follower of Christ” one who studies the way of Christ and is in a day to day relationship with his/her Messiah.

Christmas – A seasonal holiday celebrated in December (on the calendar date December 25th) every year to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians tend to celebrate reflecting on what is called the “Nativity” the account of Jesus birth in Bethlehem, itself a fulfillment of prophecy. (See Advent series)

Communion – is the practice of taking bread and wine to commemorate the “Last supper” the last meal that Christ had prior to being crucified, the person who takes communion is a believer who wishes to participate in a remembrance in a reverent state. There is also a scripture in 1st Corinthians 11:20-34 in the proper way to take communion.

Covenant – means an agreement on this website it usually means an agreement between God and man, in biblical circles there have been several covenants, there have had to be because God will always hold up his end of the bargain but man will always fail. Here are a few of the most common covenants.

•       Noahic Covenant – God and Noah – God made a promise to Noah in the book of Genesis that was sealed by a rainbow, the covenant was that God would never destroy the earth again by means of flood.
•       Abrahamic Covenant – God and Abram/Abraham – God promised a man called Abram who was well advanced in years that his seed would be a great nation and that through him the world would be blessed. The Messiah Jesus Christ came from this Abrahamic line.
advanced in years that his seed would be a great nation and that through him the world would be blessed. The Messiah Jesus Christ came from this Abrahamic line.
•       Mosaic Covenant – God and Moses – Sometimes referred to as the Mosaic Law or the 613 commandments set out God’s standards for his chosen people. At this time Moses was given the Ten Commandments.
•       Davidic Covenant – God and King David – Established David and his descendants as the kings of Israel. Through that line came Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.
•       New Covenant – God/Jesus Christ and Mankind – When Jesus instituted his last meal on earth before crucifixion he instituted what we now practice as Eucharist or Communion and when he died at Calvary he became the spotless Lamb of God for the sins of the world and died in our place as a pardon for our sins to reconcile you and God.

Creation – When we speak of Creation on this website we are speaking of the six literal days of Creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis. When I speak of Creation I speak of the literal God who literally created the universe in six literal days as recorded in the infallible word of God.

Deacon – is someone who leads in the church, the qualifications for deacons are found in 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus.

Disciple – The word disciple simply means “learner, pupil or one who studies” we still use this term today when we are being tutored from an elder believer; you would call yourself being discipled. In a Christian setting the original disciples were the twelve that Jesus hand-picked to further his ministry after he ascended to heaven.

Easter – Is the Christian memorial for the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion on the hill called Calvary and the celebration that three days later he rose from the dead and paid the price for our sins to reconcile man to God.

Elder – is someone who leads in the church, the qualifications for elders are found in 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus.

Epistle – A book of the bible in the form of a letter from an Apostle usually offering instruction, correction or exhortation. The Epistles are found between Romans and Jude in the Bible. The primary reason for this blog was the beginning of a personal journey through the epistles but part way through I wanted to write about what I had learned.

Exegesis – by dictionary definition we read that exegesis is the following “critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture” however it is also the understanding based on that same critical interpretation, usually looking at original texts or languages to basis a correct interpretation of what the scripture said.

Faith – usually translated as the Greek word “pistis” faith is described as the following in Strongs…

1) In relation to God – the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ.
2) In relation to Christ – a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God

Forgiveness – God sent Jesus as a sacrifice to allow us to be forgiven for our sins. Prior to Jesus, the Jews offered many sacrifices to atone for their wrongdoings. Jesus was a permanent sacrifice to allow man and God to be reconciled through faith in his son Jesus.

God – The one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, before Abraham was “I AM” and  the head of a triune God, who created the world in six literal days as it states in the book of Genesis and holds our breath in his hands. God is the only one who is worthy of worship.

Gospel – is simply the teaching and revelations of the good news of Jesus Christ, the books of the bible that are called “the Gospels” are known as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gospel message is one of redemption, one of a loving God who would go so far as to send his son to die for our sins in order that we might have eternal life. Gospel by definition means “good news”.

Grace – is in all reality getting what you do not deserve. We have the opportunity to be saved out of our sinful state by a benevolent God who desires that none should perish (John 3:17) It is unmerited favor and a free gift from God, it is a gift that comes with no strings attached.

Hallelujah – is an exclamation of praise to God, derived from two Jewish words hallal which mean the following  an exhortation to praise and Yah, the name of God. The word hallelujah is used 24 times in the Hebrew Bible. It was used traditionally by Jewish believers in the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 113-150) Christians tend to use it as an exclamation of praise.

Heaven – One of two places that you could go to when you die, in order to be assured of heaven you have to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and repent from your sins and be born again as a new believer in Jesus Christ.

Hell – The other of the two places you would go if you die, if you choose to not accept Jesus Christ as your messiah and choose to go against God, then you would be condemned to a place that Revelation calls “the lake of fire”.

Hellenists – were a sept of Judaism (and later Christianity) who spoke Greek rather than Aramaic and is described in Strong’s as…

1) one who imitates the manners and customs or the worship of the Greeks, and use the Greek tongue
2) used in the NT of Jews born in foreign lands and speaking Greek

a main contention arose in Acts 6 between them and the Jews who spoke Hebrew/Aramaic they tended to not be as “Pharisaical” about the customs of the Hebrews and the literal interpretations of the Law.

Hermeneutics – is the theory and application or both written and non-written texts, it has in some occasions been used interchangeably with the term “exegesis” however hermeneutics is a much wider discipline, whilst exegesis focusses primarily on texts. Hermeneutics also refers to a particular method of interpretation. It is usually split into four methods of interpretation…

•       Literal – the plain meaning or that the bible is a literal text.
•       Moral – searches for moral lessons that can be understood from the accounts.
•       Allegorical – looks at the interpretation that there could be other “types” such as key figures or historical context could be typographical, in the New Testament it looks at things such as foreshadowing people, objects or events.
•       Anagogical – looks at things that are not technically in the text such as numerology, or looks at possible prophetic interpretations.

Israel – Israel has two meanings in the bible, they are as follows…
•       Israel the person – God renamed Jacob in the book of Genesis and thenceforth the people of God were called the “children of Israel”
•       Israel the people – by the time of King David when the children of Israel they wanted to have a king like the other nations, that nation, much like the one that was reformed in 1948 was called Israel

Jesus Christ – The messiah of the Christian faith, born as a baby in Bethlehem, fulfilled many prophecies, he was the Son of God, equal to God he was born as a man, lived on the earth came down to be God’s perfect sacrifice that through his death and resurrection all people have the opportunity to be reconciled with God. Jesus came as the Jewish messiah first but as we read in John 3:16 that “God so loved THE WORLD” and anyone regardless of social standing, religion or culture you were born into or ethnicity can enter a relationship with your messiah and the only way to eternal life.

Justification – Justification happens when we accept Jesus into our hearts and begin a new journey that starts at conversion. The dictionary definition has it as “the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God.” In Sunday school we learned that Justification was Just – as – if – I had never sinned which is a good memory aid.

Koinonia – is the word used for good Christian communion with one another, the literal Greek talks of the meaning being that of a joint participation, spending quality time together and is what our worship should look like in the Christian church. The literal context of koinonia began in Acts 2:42-47 when the New Testament church set up their first assemblies. For me it has three meanings and they are as follows

1) Sharing – Being honors with your spiritual brothers and sisters and literally bearing one another’s burdens (as we read in Galatians 6)

2) Relationships – Doing all we can to foster good relationships by loving one another and being a live testimony of Jesus love, so much so that unbelievers question “what’s different about these guys?”

3) Community – building a community that is solid, and that will love, help and hold up one another, that is not divisive or self-seeking. That’s the kind of church I want to go to that everyone is welcome and if they choose to, will be “equipped for the work of the ministry.”

Leper/Leprosy – Leprosy was a skin infection that was highly contagious and it’s victims were shunned by the rest of society. It is not always meant as what we now call “Hansen’s disease” and could cover more skin conditions than what we know today as leprosy. Leprosy is also used to show how sin can spread and many commentators have equated leprosy with an allegory for sin.

Liturgy – Dictionary definition of “Liturgy” is – “a form or formulary according to which public religious worship, especially Christian worship, is conducted.” and that is true, liturgy has a bad reputation in today’s modern theological world as “cold”, ‘repetitive” and in some cases “man-made” or “synthetic” but some liturgy can contain some beautiful truths about God.

Maranatha – Means “Our Lord is coming” or “Our Lord comes” it is a timely reminder that although we do not know the time that Jesus will return we do know that today we are closer to that day than yesterday. We as believers are ready for his second coming if we have secured our place in heaven. It is a reminder that what we go through is temporary as “The Lord is coming”.

Missionary – One who simply does the work of the mission. Missionaries are often thought of as those who go to a foreign country to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ, but in all reality we are all called by the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28 to be missionaries and often times the most effective worker for Jesus are the ones who is working in his home area.

Pagan – The dictionary definition for pagan is “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions” in the Bible it is an adjective meaning the same vein as “heathen”, “ungodly”, “irreligious”, “idolatrous”. They may be areligious or perhaps some are polytheistic. (Worship many deities)

Passover – is the celebration of the event in the book of Exodus where the Jewish people were “passed over” in the tenth plague. Known as Pesach in Jewish circles the feast of Passover was instituted in the book of Leviticus chapter 23:5-8. As Christians we recognize that Jesus has saved us from more than a mortal death but he came to fulfil the Passover lamb.  (1st Corinthians 5:7)

Pentecost – Was the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in Acts 2. It is the 50th day ending the Feast of Weeks and 49 days after the Exodus of Israel. Pentecost was the disciples first stepping out in faith in a very hostile environment and declaring they were disciples of Jesus. (Very dangerous thing to do in those days)

Pharisee – Strong’s has possibly the best definition of this group, I really cannot add much to it…

“A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognised in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward observance of external rites and by outward forms of piety, and such as ceremonial washings, fastings, prayers, and alms giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a Messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herod’s and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country’s cause, and possessed great influence with the common people. According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affection of piety in order to gain popularity.”

Praise – (see worship)

Prophet – A prophet was the most hazardous occupation in the Old Testament as many of them did not survive very long if they gave a prophecy that was not liked by the people and did not provoke repentance in the hearts of the rulers and people. True prophets followed the will of God delivering messages from God regardless of what the personal cost may have been.

Psalms – are a collection of sacred songs found in the middle of the bible split into 150 divisions. They are used in Christian and Jewish worship, they have been called in the past “Heaven’s songbook” Many have been credited to King David and have a collection of songs for many occasions and trials that you would go through in life.

Repentance – is the state of heart that happens prior to conversion and conviction that you are still in your sins and you need salvation through Christ Jesus. It is a genuine remorse for your actions and a desire to turn and flee from your sinful past and start a new life in Christ.

Righteousness – is the process of being right with God. Strong’s has it defined as the following…

1) In a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God
A) The doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God
B) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

I am grateful that my righteousness is not based on what I am o what I have done but simply my faith and the graciousness of a loving Father God.

Sadducee – A sect of Judaism that were active during the time of Christ, they were usually the upper class and more affluent of the people in that area. Often times they were at odds with the Pharisees and had differing viewpoints on matters of the Torah.

Salvation – The act of being saved, in Christian terms it is the deliverance from our sins to the penalty that we were due. (If we remained in our sins we were destined to go to the lake of fire) We have replaced our damnation with jubilation at the redeeming of ourselves through the gift of God that was made possible in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Sanhedrin – Means literally “sitting together” and was the council of Jewish leaders who answered theological and finer points of the Law, these guys were the “best of the best” as far as theologians at that time went. The head of the Sanhedrin at that point was the “High Priest”

Saint – Literally it means “most holy thing” and is a descriptive word used to one who is holy, as you probably know we cannot attain our own holiness and it is done by our repentance and conversion in Christ Jesus confessing our sins and having a repentant heart and turning from our sinful ways to enter a day to day relationship where we become a bondservant to Jesus Christ. True Christians are saints.

Sin – What separates us from God? The original sin was committed in the Garden of Eden and since then we have been in a rebellion-like state set apart from our creator. If we are to remain in our sin we are choosing to be separated from God.

Tabernacle – Was a tented construction used to worship God while the Israelites were in the wilderness. It was portable in construction so it could be affixed and taken down but it was to provide shelter on all sides as a sanctuary whilst they were travelling to the Promised Land. This was also where the Ark of the Covenant was stored when they had pitched their tents.

The Way – What people in the days of Jesus called the followers of Christ, they would have got this from John 14:6 when Jesus told the people that he was “The Way, The Truth and The Life, no-one came unto the father except through him”

Theology – Is simply the “study of God” (“Theo” meaning God) In Christian circles it means the study of the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Worship – in a dictionary definition is the “feeling of expression of reverence and adoration to a deity” to the Christian it is a heart change, a lifelong expression through the way that you live your life, even down to the music that you sing to God can also be called “worship or praise music”.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

2 responses to “Christianese

  1. Pingback: Psalm Saturday #1 – Psalm 117 – a hymn of praise to our LORD  | Taking the Epistle

  2. Pingback: Paul’s change of travel plans – 2nd Corinthians 1:12-22 | Taking the Epistle

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