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August 8, 2011

Religious Vocabulary – Revised 10.14.23

Filed under: Bible Studies — Tags: — Adam Osborne @ 6:29 pm

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Ad Hominem – Latin, lit. “to the man”; appealing to personal feelings or prejudices rather than to one’s intellect; in debate, attacking an opponent’s character rather than critiquing his or her argument.

Adoptionism – A heresy in the second and third centuries AD (and again in the eighth century) holding that Jesus had no divine nature until his baptism, at which point God adopted him.

Advent – The arrival of something momentous. The first advent refers to the birth of Jesus Christ, the second advent to his eventual return (the second coming). When capitalized, the word refers to the season just prior to Christmas.

Advocate – Translation of the Greek work parakletos [paravklhto”],

  • which is used five times in the New Testament.
  • Parakletos [paravklhto”] is found in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7 in the words of Jesus with reference to the Holy Spirit.
  • In 1 John 2:1 it refers to Christ.
  • Most English translations have “advocate” in 1 John 2:1, although the New International Version renders it as “one who speaks in our defense.”
  • By derivation the word means “one called alongside, ” but the Gospel emphasizes that the Holy Spirit, as Parakletos [paravklhto”], is “sent” from the Father.
  • In earlier Greek the word signified one called in to a person’s defense, a helper in court.
  • 1 John 2:1 speaks of Jesus as our continuing advocate with the Father, because we who are sinful find in him the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and thus have our acceptance with the Father.

Age of Accountability – Sometimes referred to as “age of reason”; the point at which a child is believed (by some Christians) to be responsible for knowing right from wrong, or capable of understanding and appropriating God’s gift of salvation. Some hold this age to be seven, some thirteen (after Jewish custom), while others believe it differs for each child.

Agnosticism – The belief that nobody can really know if there is a God.

Alexandrian School – The school of early Christian theological thought centered in Alexandria, Egypt, and featuring the writings and teachings of such early church leaders as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Athananasius. While staunchly defending the concept of Christ as the God-man, this school was also influenced by Greek philosophy (Plato) and tended toward an allegorical interpretation of many biblical texts.

Allegorize – To interpret (particularly Scripture) allegorically. A widely used interpretive method (often in conjunction with other methods) until its rejection by the sixteenth-century Protestant reformers.

Amen – Hebrew “truly,” or “verily.” Used as an affirmation or expression of assent – “so may it be” or “so be it” – as at the end of a prayer.

Amillennialism – The teaching that there is no literal 1000 year reign of Christ as referenced in Revelation 20.  It sees the 1000 year period spoken of in Revelation 20 as figurative.  Instead, it teaches that we are in the millennium now, and that at the return of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16 – 5:2) there will be the final judgment and the heavens and the earth will then be destroyed and remade (2 Pet. 3:10).  The Amillennial view is as old as the Premillennial view which says there is a future 1000 years reign of Christ and Postmillennialism which states that in the future, the world will be converted and we will usher in the kingdom of God.

Anabaptists – The group, hunted and persecuted, was mockingly called ‘Anabaptist’ for rejecting infant baptism and practicing believers’ baptism.

Ananias [an uh NIGH uhs] – Greek for of Hebrew name meaning “the Lord has acted graciously”, with Sapphira hi wife, a deceitful couple in the early church.

Anathema – “Accursed,” in New Testament use. Also meant excommunication in the Middle Ages.

Angelogy – The study of the nature and works of demons and angels. The study or doctrine of angels.

Anglicanism – The doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church (Church of England) as expressed in the Bible, the “Book of Common Prayer”, and the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds.

Animism – The belief that everything in the universe (including natural phenomena) possess its own spirit.

Annihilationism – The belief that not every soul is immortal, and that the unrepentant are ultimately annihilated, or cease to exist.

Anno Domini – Latin for “the year of our Lord,” usually abbreviated AD, a designation linking the modern calendar with the birth of Jesus Christ (now thought to have occurred in 4 BC or slightly before).

Annunciation – The angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary (recorded in Luke 1:26-38) that she would become the mother of Jesus.

Anoint – To consecrate; to bestow favor; a rite of consecration (many Old Testament reference) particularly for prophets, priests, and kings; a rite of healing (James 5:14). The use of oil (for anointing) is associated with the Holy Spirit.

Anthropomorphism – A figure of speech in which human characteristics are ascribed to God (or to any other thing or being that is not human). “The face of God,” “God’s right arm,” and “the heart of God” are examples on anthropomorphism.

Anthropopathism – A figure of speech in which human emotions or passions are ascribed to God (or to any other nonhuman entity).

Antinomianism – From Greek words meaning “against law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that those who are justified by grace are under no obligation to obey the Old Testament moral laws. Philosophically, antinomianism can refer to those who are against all laws (anti-law, lawless) in general.

Antipathy – A strong feeling of opposition

Antipope – One usurping the place of the pope; a pope not duly elected or whose election has been invalidated; a false claimant not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a pope. There were roughly thirty of these between the third and fifteenth centuries.

Anthropological worldview – Are human actions free or determined? What is man? Are human actions free or determined? Is man essentially good, evil, or neutral? What happens after death? [The Theology Program, Credo House]

Anthropology – The study of the purpose and nature of humanity, both in its pre-fall and post-fall state.

Apocalypse – Greek meaning “unveiling.” The book of Revelation (the Apocalypse); or any one of several other (apocryphal/pseudepigraphical) writings that claim to reveal secrets regarding the end of the world).

Apocrypha – Also called the Deuterocanonical Books means “hidden”; a collection of writings not included in the Hebrew Scripture, considered noncanonical by Protestants but accepted by Roman Catholics. Also sometimes includes unauthenticated additions to the New Testament. See also Pseudepigrapha.  Removed from the Geneva Bible in 1640. By AD 1827, the Apocrypha is omitted from most Protestant versions of the Bible.

Apocryphal – Specifically, pertaining to the writings known as the Apocrypha; generally, often used to imply a lack of authenticity (e.g., an apocryphal story).

A Posteriori – Theological or philosophical reasoning rooted in facts or experience; an argument that begins with an effect (or fact) and proceeds to a cause (or principle); opposite of a priori.

Apostolic – The life of the apostles. The teaching of the apostles.

Apologetic Theology – Theology that is done to defend the faith against those who oppose outside the church.

Apostasy, apostate – The desertion of one’s faith; one who deserts or abandons the faith.

Apostles’ Creed – A brief statement or affirmation of the Christian faith. While no direct link to apostolic authorship has ever been established, the creed effectively summarizes apostolic teaching:

I believe in God the Father Almighty;
Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell,
The third day he rose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven;
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

Apostolic Age – The first century AD; the New Testament Era.

A Priori – knowledge or conclusion independent of (prior to) experience; an argument beginning with cause (or principle) and proceeding to effort (for fact); opposite of a posteriori.

Arianism – Posits Jesus as a lesser begotten or created son of God, and which discards His eternal divine nature. Arianism has persisted to this day in the teachings of the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Aristotle – Greek Philosophy. The real is from down below in the material world. The Socratic “form” is a material substance, something that you can see or feel or has substance.

Arminianism – (from Answer: Arminianism is a system of belief that attempts to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will, especially in relation to salvation. Arminianism is named after Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), a Dutch theologian. While Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God, Arminianism emphasizes the responsibility of man. If Arminianism is broken down into five points, similar to the five points of Calvinism, these would be the five points:

  • Partial Depravity – humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that we cannot chose to come to God on our own. We are capable of choosing to accept salvation or reject it without any influence from God. Note – classical Arminianism rejects “partial depravity” and holds a view very close to Calvinistic “total depravity.”
  • Conditional Election – God chose who would be saved based on knowing beforehand who would believe. God chooses those who He knows will believe.
  • Unlimited Atonement – Jesus died for everyone, even those who are not chosen and will not believe. Jesus’ death was for all of humanity, and anyone can be saved by belief in Him.
  • Resistible Grace – God’s call to be saved can be resisted and/or rejected. We can resist God’s pull toward salvation if we choose to.
  • Conditional Salvation – Christians can lose their salvation if they continue in a life of sin and/or fall away from God. The maintenance of salvation is required for a Christian to retain it. Note – many Arminians deny “conditional salvation” and instead hold to “eternal security.”

Ascetic – One who leads a life of self-discipline especially as an act of religious devotion or penance.

Asceticism – The practice of self-discipline or self-denial, particularly of pleasures – food, drink, sex, etc. – and comforts, with the aim toward spiritual perfection. Since adherents view the material world as essentially evil, purging oneself of all material attachments is the focus of life. In the New Testament, self-denial, self-discipline, purity, and simplicity are clearly taught as components of Christian discipleship, not as a means of self-perfection.

Athesism – The belief that there is no God or supreme being of any kind; a conduct of life that does not take God into consideration.

Atonement – Man’s reconciliation with God after having transgressed the covenant (promise).

  • Recapitulation Theory of the Atonement: Belief that Christ lived a perfect life that Adam could not live. Christ recapitulated all stages of the human life – birth, infancy, childhood, teenage, manhood – and obeyed the Law perfectly. Salvation is made possible by virtue of his perfect life.
  • Ransom to Satan Theory of the Atonement: Belief that by virtue of Adam’s sin, all humanity was sold into bondage to Satan who had “legal” rights to them. Christ, by his death, made a payment to Satan, buying them back and making salvation possible.
  • Moral Example Theory of the Atonement: Belief that Christ came to show people how to live so that they would turn to him in love. His death was not required and has no atoning value, but only serves as a moral example for people to follow.
  • Governmental Theory of the Atonement: Christ’s death was a “nominal” substitute for the penalty of sin of man, which God gracioulsy chose to accept, thereby upholding his moral government.
  • Vicarious Substitutionary View of the Atonement: The atonment is made on the cross when Christ vicariously bore the exact penalty of his people, thereby placating the wrath of God and satisfying his reighteousness.

Autopistic – Self-validating.

Axiopistic – Validated by external or empirical evidence.


Baptism – The Christian rite of initiation, which symbolized commitment to Christ, spiritual rebirth, purification; in some Christian churches baptism is reserved for those having professed faith in Christ. In others it is offered to children of believing parents as well as adult converts; considered a sacrament by some, and ordinance by others. Modes of baptism include immersion, effusion (pouring), and aspersion (sprinkling).

Baptism of the Holy Spirit – the personal empowering presence of the Spirit conferred upon the individual believer. While many Christians believe this baptism to be concurrent with regeneration, others, particularly among Pentecostals and charismatics, hold it to be a subsequent and separate wok of grace, accompanied by miraculous gifts and signs, such as speaking in tongues (glossolalia).

Behaviorism – A model of psychology that focuses exclusively on observable behavior; behaviorism holds that rather than involving conscious mental activity, learning is simply response to stimuli, resulting in new behavior. Key to the theory’s development are the studies of Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner.

Believers’ Baptism – The practice of baptism in which the rite is reserved for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Implied is that the recipient is either an adult or has reached the “age of accountability”.

Benediction – A blessed state. An invocation of diving blessing usually at the end of a church service.

Biblia Hebraica – Latin for “Hebrew Bible.” Contains many variances from the Masoretic Text based upon earlier translations and manuscript discoveries. (Rose Book of Biblical Charts)

Biblical Theology – The study of God based on the teaching of Scripture; seeks to integrate the teachings of the biblical writers into a comprehensive view of the teaching of the entire Bible.

Bibliology – The study of the nature, transmission, canonization, and purpose of Scripture.

Blasphemy – The act of maligning, insulting, offending, profaning, or devaluing God or sacred things; irreverence toward God.

Brahma, Brahman – In Hinduism, the supreme creator, the universal soul, the source and the goal of all things.


Calvanism – A theological system based on the teachings of John Calvin, a sixteenth-century French reformer; Calvin stressed the supremacy of Scripture (Sola Scriptura) in theology and practice. Five key doctrines of Calvanism outlined by the Synod of Dort (1618 – 19) form the acronym TULIP:

Total depravity of mankind (sin renders us incapable of righteousness)
Unconditional election (God’s election is not conditioned on your belief)
Limited atonement (Christ’s redemptive work applies only to the elect)
Irresistible grace (God’s grace cannot be rejected or thwarted)
Perseverance of the saints (the elect are eternally secure).

Canon (of Scripture) – The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, considered by Christians (and Jews, in the case of the Old Testament) to be divinely inspired and therefore authoritative for faith and practice. Roman Catholics also accept the authority of additional writings known commonly as the Apocrypha.

Candace [KAN duh see] – word of uncertain meaning; probably a royal titled rather than a family name; the queen of Ethiopia whose servant was baptized as a believer in Christ by Philip.

Cappadcia [KAP uh DOH shih uh] province in Asia Minor (modern Turkey)

Catholic – When capitalized, Catholic pertains to the Roman Catholic Church; when lowercased, catholic means “universal.” For example, in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in…the holy catholic church” refers not to the Roman church but to the universal church.

Charisma, Charismata – Greek for “gift(s)”; in the New Testament, a divine enablement for service or ministry in the church, given to each believer by the Holy Spirit.

Charismatic – Refers to a movement that began within organized churches of various denominations. Among its key beliefs is that the spiritual gifts (charismata) described in the New Testament (particularly the “sign” gifts – e.g. tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles) are still used by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today, and that these gifts are usually granted to believers in an experience subsequent to salvation. The charismatic movement bears similarities to Pentecostalism but is not linked exclusively to specific denominations, and it does to hold speaking in tongues as a necessary sign of authentic Christianity.

Christocentric – Making Christ the center, about whom all things are grouped, as in religion or history; tending toward Christ, as the central object of thought or emotion.

Christology The study of the person and work of Christ.

Church History:

  • ban is when you mount a crusade against an individual, family, or kingdom
  • edict is excommunication of a person
  • interdict is putting a whole nation under excom¬munication

Common Grace – The grace God extends to everyone everywhere, without distinction (“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and send rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” Matthew 5:45). God’s providence for his creation, his restraint of general chaos, and the human consciousness of right and wrong are aspects of common grace. not to be confused with special (redemptive) grace.

Compatibilism – Belief that a person’s life and choices are totally and unalterably the result of an endless series of cause and effects. The belief that God’s unconditional sovereign election and human ressponsibility are both realities taught in Scripture that finite minds cannot comprehend and must be held in tension.

Complementarianism – Position that the Bible teaches that men and women are of equal worth, dignity, and responsibility before God (ontological equality). The Bible also teaches that men and women have different roles to play in society, the family, and the church. These roles do not compete but complement each other.

Conditional Election – The belief that God’s election is conditional, being based on his foreknowledge. God looks ahead into the future, sees who will make a free-will decision to place their faith in him, and then elects to save them. Or as contemporary Arminians would put it, God elects Christ and all who are found in him.

Congregationalism – A form of church government having as its chief feature the autonomy of the local church.

Consecration – Dedicated to a sacred purpose. To make Holy.

Consubstantiation – The Lutheran view of Communion, that the body and blood of Christ are substantially present with the consecrated bread and wine, even though these latter do not physically change (as opposed to transubstantiation).

Council of Chalcedon – A gathering of more than five hundred bishops in AD 451; they affirmed that Christ was simultaneously fully human and fully divine, and they rejected both Nestorianism and Eutychianism. The council also gave jurisdiction over the Eastern Church to the bishop of Constantinople; Roman Catholics, loyal to the bishop of Rome (the pope), rejected this decision.

Countenance – Support. Approval.

Counterreformation – A movement within sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism intended to stem the advance of Protestantism. Among its emphases were internal reforms, the Inquisition, and renewed mission efforts.

Covenant – A solemn promise, agreement, or contract between parties; God’s pledge of blessing for those who obey him.

Covenantalism – Also called covenant theology; a theological system emphasizing God’s covenants as the chief lens through which we may understand the Bible. According to this view, three covenants are key: the covenant of redemption (before creation, between the Father and the Son); the covenant of works (from Creation tot he fall, between God and mankind); and the covenant of grace (from the fall to the second advent, between God and mankind). Reformed Protestants, Presbyterians, Anglicans/Episcopalians, and some Lutherans hold this view. See also dispensationalism.

Cypriot [SIP rih aht] – citizen of Cyprus, a large island in the he eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Deism – The belief that God created the world but is not now involved in it.

Cyrene [sigh REE nee] city of the North African coast south of the island of Crete.


Dead Sea Scrolls – Some of the oldest known copies of portions of Old Testament manuscripts, unearthed in the late 1940s near the Dead Sea, some dating as early as 125 B.C. 

Deism – Belief in God as Creator, but as distant from and disinterested in his creation; characterized by reliance upon reason and skepticism of the supernatural; sometimes referred to as “natural religion” or “the religion of nature.”

Demonology – The study of doctrine of demons.

Determinism – The belief that all events (including human choices) are the inevitable result of previous events (or previously determined factors) and that, hence, true freedom is illusory.

Deuterocanonical – Of a “second canon”; pertaining to literature considered apocryphal by Protestants but some of which is accepted by Roman Catholics.

Diaspora “dispersion” – refers to Jews dispersed among Gentile nations after the Babylonian exile; also used to refer to early Christians scattered (particularly by persecution) beyond the border of Palestine.

Diet – A legislative or deliberative assembly.

Dispensationalism – A theological system featuring the belief that time-past, present, fire- is divided into “dispensations,” eras during which God deals with humanity in specific ways (e.g., much of the Old Testament era was the “dispensation of law,” while the current era is the “dispensation of grace,” etc.)

Docetism – A heretical belief that Christ only “seemed” to have a human body and to suffer on the cross. The first heresy that the church had to deal with. It was presented by the gnostics.

Doctrine= biblical truth.

Dualism – The religious belief that there are ultimately two competing and equal principles in the universe: good and evil. Zoroastrianism (from ancient Iran/Persia) is a prime example of dualism.


Ecclesiology – Theology. the doctrine of the church. The policy and operations of the church.

Eclectic text – Scholars examined every ancient Greek manuscript available, and then selected the variant that seemed best. Eclecticism practices textual criticism in order to determine which variant is the most accurate to the original writing. In theory, eclecticism shows no favoritism for one text-type over the other. However, the oldest manuscripts (Alexandrian text-type) are typically favored. 

Ecumenism – World wide unit and cooperation among all Christian churches.

Edom  – A nation southeast of the Dead Sea whose inhabitants were descendants of Esau. Also: Aram; Aram-zobah; Aramean; Edom; Edomite; Edomites; Idumea; Seir; Syria; Syrian.  A kingdom depicted as a constant enemy of Israel.

Effectual call – The call of the holy Spirit goes out to the elect, effectually calling them to repent and believe the Gospel (internal call).

Egalitarianism – Position that the Bible does not teach tht women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold ministry positions according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to eeach other equally.

Eisogesis – reading “into” the text something that is not there. [eis is Greek, meaning “in to”]. Interpreting a text according to supposition, preference, or bias rather than original meaning. See “exegesis” below.

Elamites [EE Kuhn ights] – citizens of Elam, a Elgin on the western edge of ancient Persia (modern Iran).

Election – Divine choice; predestination, particularly for salvation.

Epicureanism was founded by Epicurus (341-270 BC). Epicurus believed that the goal of life is to achieve happiness, which he defined as the absence of pain and suffering. He believed that the best way to achieve happiness is to live a simple and frugal life, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Epicurus also believed that death is not to be feared, as it is simply the end of consciousness.

Episcopalism – A form of church government wherein supreme authority is vested in a board of bishops (the episcopacy).

Epistemology – The study or theory of the nature of knowledge, its validity, its limits, our methods of obtaining it.

Eschatology = The study of the end times.

Essenes – An ancient order of Jewish ascetics.

Ethical worldview: Moral laws do exist and apply to all people of all times, having their basis in God. [The Theology Program, Credo House]

Ethos – The distinguishing spirit or character of a group, culture, religion, organization, etc.

Eucharist – The sacrament of Holy Communion.

Europe – In the first-century Roman world, what is currently Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, parts of Serbia, Croatia, Austria, and Germany, as well as Western Turkey and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. By the end of the century, much of Britain had been added.

Eutychianism – The theological view (named for Eutyches, a fifth-century proponent) that Christ’s nature was solely divine and merely clothed in humanity. This single-nature doctrine, also called Monophysitism, was declared heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

Exegesis – A critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible.

Epicurean – (Greek Philosophy) The senses become the sole
criterion for truth. Hedonism is an offshoot of Epicureanism.

Epistemological worldview – Truth is absolute, has its ground in God, and is acquired primarily through general and special revelation. [The Theology Program, Credo House Publishing]


  • “The theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge.” —Webster’s Dictionary
  • “The branch of philosophy that is concerned with the theory of knowledge. It is an inquiry into the nature and source of knowledge, the bounds of knowledge, and the justification of claims to knowledge.” —Paul Feinberg

Evangelicalism – Protestant Christian. Its key commitments are:

  • The need for personal conversion (or being “born again”);
  • A high regard for biblical authority;
  • An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ;
  • Actively expressing and sharing the gospel.

Exclusivism – The belief that Christ is the only way to God.

Excommunication – Exclusion of a member from the fellowship and rites of a church, usually for heretical teaching, gross immorality, or another offense for which the member is unrepentant. Rather than punishment, the goals are repentance of the offender and the spiritual health of the church community.

Exegesis – From Greek for “explanation”; interpreting the intended meaning of a text, usually through understanding word meanings, grammar, and context.

Existentialism – A theological or philosophical model that stresses subjective experience over abstract reason. Some existentialists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, are (or were) atheists. Soren Kierkegaard was among themes famous Christian existentialists.

ex nihilo – Out of “nothing”. Example: God created the universe ex nihilo.

ex opere operato – Belief accepted by Roman Catholics and rejected by Protestants that the sacraments administer grace to the recipient by virtue of the act itself through the power given to the Church, regardless of the faith of the individual.

Expiation – Making amends; atonement; the means of atonement.

extra ecclesiam nulla salus – Belief that since the Church held the “keys to heaven” through the administration of the sacraments, there was no possibility of salvation outside the institution of the Church. This was the belief of many in the medieval church, but was rejected by the Reformers and later rejected by Roman Catholics at Vatican II (1962 – 1965).


Fatalism – Belief that a person’s life and choices are totally and unalterably the result of an endless series of cause and effects.

Finite Godism – A worldview that envisions God in many respects as orthodox Christians do, yet with limitations to his power and his nature. For instance, finite godism maintains that miracles, while possible, do not actually occur, and that evil exists in this age not because God allows it but because he isn’t perfect and isn’t able to prevent it.

Flesh – The principle force of human nature that is bent towards sin.

Free Grace Salvation – The belief that salvation is by faith alone. Repentance and submitting to Christ’s Lordship is something that only a born again believer can do.

Free Will – The belief that every person has the ability to choose among alternatives (including whether or not to accept God’s offer of grace), that all outcomes are not externally predetermined. Emphasized in Arminianism.


Gamaliel [guh MAY lie uhl] – Grandson of a great Jewish rabi (Hillel); highly regarded Pharisee and teacher of the law who advised the Sanhedrin not to condemn to death Christ’s apostles; teacher of Saul of Tarsus (Paul).

General Call – The call of God’s message that goes out to many people, elect and non-elect, ultimately calling them to repent and believe in the Gospel (external call).

Glossolalia – Ecstatic utterance or speech in an unknown language. Also known as “speaking in tongues.”

Gnosis – Special, exclusive, or superior spiritual knowledge, a claim to which is the basis for Gnosticism.

Gnostic – Pertaining to Gnosticism; one who adheres to the beliefs of Gnosticism.

Gnosticism – A belief system of the early Christian era that mingled various Greek and Eastern philosophies with some aspects of Christianity. Among its characteristic beliefs are forms of dualism and adoptions. To the Gnostic, “salvation” is achieved through “awakening” to a higher knowledge, or gnosis; Jesus came not to impart salvation from sin, but to give us spiritual knowledge. While many Gnostics were ascetics, not all practiced a restrained lifestyle. Some even held that spiritual awareness should be transferred via extramarital sex acts. Some of the early Christian councils and creeds came about in an effort to combat Gnostic teaching.

Grace – God’s unmerited favor and love toward humankind.


Hallelujah – exclamation of praise meaning “Praise Yahweh!”

Hamartiology – The study of the nature, origin, and effects of sin on all creation.

Hellenism – Greek culture.

Henotheism – Belief in one deity without denying the existence of other deities.

Hermeneutics – From “Greek for “interpretation”; the study of the principles for sound, systematic interpretation of Scripture.

Hermon – place name meaning “devoted mountain” and located in the extreme north of Israel.

Heterodox – Not orthodox; contrary to established doctrine; heretical.

Holiness Movement – Traces its roots to eighteenth century Methodist John Wesley, who believed true holiness to be an attitude. Holiness churches stress purity and believe in entire sanctification (i.e. sinlessness in this life is attainable) following a second blessing, which is a work of grace separate from, and subsequent to, salvation.

Holy Roman Empire – From Charlemagne in the ninth century until Francis 1 of Austria, nearly one thousand years later, the Central European “empire” existed under dual authority. Whether in figure or in fact, the emperor was accorded political power while the pope retained spiritual power.

Humanism - deification of man

  • any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
  • Philosophy; a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.

Hypostatic Union – Union refers to the joining of two natures. Hypostatic to the one person of the Son of God. Belief in a perfect union of two distinct but never separate natures – one human and one divine, in one integral, external divine person.

Hypostatization – An act or expression that ascribes distinct existence or reality to something or someone.

Hyssop – a small, bushy plant well suited for use as a brush to dab the doorpost of Israelite homes with the blood of the passover lambs (Exodus 12:22); also associated with purification rights, such as cleansing of lepers (Leviticus 14:4).


Iconoclastic – Destruction of icons.

Illumination – The act whereby God enlightens people to understand his revelation and its relevance to their lives.

Imago Dei – Latin for “in the image of God.”

Immanentistic – Emphasizing or focused on God’s immanence rather than his transcendence.

Imputation – Refers to the transferal of the sin of man to Christ while he was on the cross.

Immanence – God is actively involved in the affairs of creation.

Immutability – Refers to that which is beyond change.

Imputed Sin – Specifically refers to the transferal of the sinful nature. (Also: original corruption, original pollution, sinful nature.)

Inclusivism – The belief that Christ’s atonment is the only way that anyone can be saved, but that one does not necessarily need to have knowledge of Christ to have the atonement applied to them. The belief that salvation is only through Christ, but Christ may be revealed in other religions.

Indeterminism – The belief that humans have some measure of freedom to choose or to act; while some indeterminists hold that no choices or actions are self-caused, most believe that external conditions or events – past, present, or future – exert influence but not absolute control over human choices. See also determinism, self-determinism.

Indulgence (Catholic term) An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven.

Ineffable – Indescribable.

Ineffable – Unutterable; inexpressible.

Inerrancy – The doctrinal teaching that the Scriptures in the autographa (original manuscripts) are true in all that they teach, and thus without error. See Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy

  • Premise 1: God is truthful and therefore beyond error (2 Sam 7:28; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18)
  • Premise 2: God is the ultimate author of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21
  • Conclusion: Scripture is truthful and therefore beyond error.

Infallibility: The doctrinal teaching sometimes used synonymously with inerrancy, that the Scriptures cannot fail in matters of faith and practice.

Inherited Sin – Secifically refers to the guilt or condemnation of th efirst sin which was imputed to humanity. (Also: original guilt.)

Iniquity – one of several Old Testament terms for sin (Hebrew, awon); denotes a deliberate overstepping of the limits of God’s law.

Inspiration – The act whereby God guided the writers of Scripture, giving them His words while fully utilizing the human element within man to produce the scripture.

Irenic Theology: Theology that is done peaceably, accurately representing all view, even when you oppose them.  


  • Northern Kingdom. Capital was Samaria
  • Southern  Kingdom. Capital was Jerusalem

Imputation  The understanding that God justifies sinners by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to their account through a legal declaration.

Insidious – Awaiting a chance to trap. Treacherous, seductive.

Interdict – Exclusion from rites and benefits of the church, including the sacraments.

Intertestamental Period – Approximately four hundred years of Jewish history immediately prior to the birth of Christ, so-called because no canonical book of the Old or New Testament was written during the period.

Irresistible Grace – The belief that God’s call to the elect will always be effectual in bringing about their salvation.


Jesuits: the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests founded by St. Ignatius Loyola. The order was zealous in opposing the Reformation. Despite periodic persecution it has retained an important influence in Catholic thought and education.

Justification – A forensic declaration in which a sinner is declared righteous while still in a sinning state.


Kerygma – Greek for preaching or proclamation; the content of the gospel message


Legalism – Stressing the letter rather than the spirit of the law; the belief that salvation is attained by adherence to the law rather than received by grace through faith.

Liberation Theology – A school of thought, historically linked to Catholicism, that sees Jesus as liberator, particularly of the poor, from social, economic, and political oppression. Political activism is a hallmark; some have interpreted this theology as a literal call to arms against oppressors, and others have added Marxist principles. While its popularity has waned, particularly among Catholics, liberation theology’s most noted expressions have been widespread in parts of Latin America.

Lilt – A lively or cheerful manner of speaking.

Liturgy – The prescribed rites or forms of public worship.

Lordship Salvation – The belief that salvation includes both fath and repentance, which are two sides of the same coin. In repentance, thje believer is committing to give up all known sin, thereby making Christ Lord of his or her life.

LXX which is the identifier for the Septuagint – The ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures. An old testament source for early Christians. Credible proof for Messianic prophecy. Often shown as LXX in books. LXX stands for the 70 scribes who were sent to Judea to produce the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law.


Manichaeanism – Founded by Manichaeus (c. 216-276); a dualistic melange of pagan and Christian beliefs. Among its tenets are the inherent evil of matter (the material) and the ongoing battle between the opposing kingdoms of light and darkness.

Massah – from the root word meaning “test,” a place near Mount Sinai where the Israelites put God to the test by demanding water (Exodus 17:7).

Medes – citizens of a region located north of Eam that was once part of the ancient Persian Empire.

Mendicant Order – A religious view or society whose members are bound by vows of poverty, relying for financial support on begging. Examples include the Franciscans and the Dominicans.

Mesopotamia – region including what today is Iraq.

Metaphysical worldview – There is something, and an infinite Creator is responsible for creating all that there is. He is completely separate from creation and created it out of His own good pleasure, not out of necessity. [The Theology Program, Credo House]

Metapologetics – A branch of apologetics that focuses on the nature, foundations, and methods and systems of apologetics. A metapologetic (singular) is a particular theory of metapologetics.

Millennium – Literally 1,000 years; the thousand-year reign of Christ referred to in Revelation 20. According to premillennialists, 1,000 years of peace and harmony follow Christ’s return to earth; amillennialists view the millennium as a symbol of the church age rather than a literal era; postmillennialists anticipate Christ’s return following a “golden age” of Christianized society.

Monotheism – The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD” is the cry of monotheism⎯God is one. Our God is one God. That characteristic of monotheism comes from the context of the Jews, who worshiped the same Father God as do the Christians today. God Who is over us here today is the same God that was over the Jews in the days of the Exodus.

Missiology – The study or theology of missions.

Modalism – A denial of orthodox Trinitarianism in which the distinctive persons of Father, Son, and Spirit are seen as three mere manifestations or “modes” of God’s person; also known as Sabellianism, after Sabellius, a third-century North African priest who ws excommunicated for his views.

Modernism – Also known as theological liberalism; a movement with origins in late-nineteenth century Germany that elevates “the essence of Christianity” over the authority of Scripture and church doctrine; stresses adaptation of the Christian message to keep in step with cultural and scientific developments. Modernism takes a decidedly humanistic view of such things an sin, salvation, prayer, and the kingdom of God.

Monophysitism – The belief that Christ’s nature was solely divine and merely clothed in humanity. This single-nature doctrine, also called Eutychianism, was declared heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in AD451.

Monotheism – Belief in a single deity. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are monotheistic religions.

Montanism – A second-century Christian sect (named for its founder, Montanus) that emphasized an ascetic lifestyle, the imminence of Christ’s return, and the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit especially speaking in tongues (glossolalia). The Montanist movement faded in fourth century.

Mortal Sin – Sins against God’s Law that destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner thereby cutting of his or her relationship with God.

Mutability – Refers to that which undergoes change.


Naturalism – A system of belief that denies validity to all but material (natural) explanations of reality. The possibility of the supernatural (including revelation) is categorically excluded.

Neoorthodoxy – A twentieth-century theological movement that criticized modernist theological positions regarding sin, revelation, science vs. religion, etc., but relied heavily on esoteric reasoning, paradox, and the abstract in coming to its own conclusions. Largely considered a product of its time (World Wars I and II), the movement seems to have faded. Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr were two leading proponents.

Nestorianism – The doctrine that Jesus’ human and divine natures existed independently, rather than unified in one personality; named for Nestorius, fifth-century patriarch of Constantinople, who was denounced as a heretic in AD 431.

New Man – The new way of life that is energized by the power of the Spirit.

Nicene Creed – The Council of Nicea (325) convened to combat Arianism, the denial of Christ’s equality with God the Father. Out of that council came the following theological confession:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Nominalism – Philosophically, the belief that abstract ideas or universal concepts are names only and have no basis in reality; the opposite of realism. Theologically, stated belief in a doctrine or worldview that is not upheld or lived out in practice.


Objectivism = The belief that truth is an objective reality that exist whether someone believes it or not.

Old Man – The former way of life that is energized by the power of the flesh.

Omnibenevolence – All-lovingness (all + goodness); total or unlimited goodness.

Omnipotence – Having all power (all + power); total or unlimited power.

Omniscience – All-knowingness (all + knowledge); total or unlimited knowledge.

Ontologically – Refers to God’s actual being.

Ontological Argument – The philosophical premise that the very idea of the perfect Being necessitates the objective existence of such a Being (God), for without existence perfection would be impossible.

Ontology – The study or science of being/existence.

Ordinance – A religious ceremony or rite, such as baptism or Communion.

Ordo Salutis – (From Wikepedia) Ordo salutis, (Latin: “order of salvation”) refers to a series of conceptual steps within the Christian doctrine of salvation. It has been defined as “a technical term of Protestant dogmatics to designate the consecutive steps in the work of the Holy Spirit in the appropriation of salvation.”[1] Although there is within Christian theology a certain sense in which the phases of salvation are sequential,[2] some elements, are understood to occur progressively and others instantaneously.[3] Furthermore, some steps within the “order of salvation” are regarded as objective (or monergistic), performed solely by God, while others are considered subjective (or synergistic), involving humanity. Christians prior to the Protestant Reformation, while not using the exact phrase, sought to order the elements of salvation.[4] The term “Ordo salutis” was first used by Lutheran theologians in the mid-1720s.[5]

Original Sin: A broad term that refers to the effects that the first sin had on humanityt; the “origin” of sin.

Orthodox – Conventional, conservative.

Orthodoxy – Adherence to proper or accepted belief, approved doctrine; when capitalized, refers to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Orthopraxy – Adherence to proper or accepted religious conduct.


Pagan – Irreligous or non believing; an irreligious or non-monotheistic person

Palestine – the holy land. Jerusalem. Israel. Canaan. Southern Syria.

Parochial – Narrowly restricted.

Panentheism – A theological system (a kind of combination of theism and pantheism) in which all things exist within God; “pan” (all), “en” (in), “these” (God).

Pantheism – The belief that all there is is God. I am God, you are God, we are all Gods.

Patristic – Related to the fathers of the early Christian church and/or their writings.

Parthians – citizen of Parthia, a region in the northwest part of ancient Persia (modern Iran).

Patristic – Pertaining to the writings of the fathers of the Christian church.

Pax Romana – “The Roman Piece” ; the period of internal stability and relative tranquility enjoyed by the Roman empire from 27 BC until near the end of the second century AD.

Pelagianism – The belief that man is inherently good. The Fall did not bring condemnation upon any but Adam. As well, the disposition of will is unaffected. Man sins as a result of bad examples that began with Adam.

Pentateuch. See Torah below. From the Greek words for “five” and “book”; denotes the first five books of the Old Testament; sometimes called a “fivefold book” since it’s components (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) are closely interrelated.

Perseverance of the Saints (Eternal Security) – The belief that true believers will persevere in their faith and cannot ever be lost.

Personal Sin – Specifically refers to the sins that are committed by individuals.

Perspectivism = The belief that truth is found in the combined perspectives of many. “We all carry our own baggage.”

Pharisee – Jewish Sect origin during the two centuries before Christ. Orthodox. Pharisee means “separated ones.” Name probably meant they had separated themselves from the corrupting influence of Hellenism.

Phrygia – region that lay east of Asia Minor (modern Turkey)

Piety – Religious devotion and reverence to God

Pious – Having or displaying reverence & earnest compliance in the observance of religion. Devout.

Platonism – Greek Philosophy. The real is up in the realm of the ideal. It is of the non-material realm. The material realm is the shadow world.

Pluralism: The belief that all belief systems ultimately point in the same direction and to the same God, even if the belief systems themselves are contradictory. The belief that there are many ways to God that are equally valid.

Pneumatology The study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The “wind”.

Polemic Theology: Theology that is done in a warlike manner inside the Church, prophetically speaking against those with whom there is disagreement.

Pontus – region south of the Black Sea in what today is Turkey.

Polytheism – A belief in and/or worship of many Gods.

Positivism – A philosophy that limits explanations of reality to observable physical phenomena and excludes any consideration of the metaphysical or spiritual; all authentic knowledge is supposed to be scientific.

Postmodernism – A worldview that is skeptical of absolute truths or universal principles in favor of relativity and individual experience. In this view, no single answer or paradigm suffices for all cultures or individuals; reality is subject to individual interpretation.

Pragmatism – The belief that truth is ultimately defined by that which works to accomplish the best outcome. “The end justifies the means.”

Precipitancy – Impulsive. Rash. Abrupt. Unexpected.


  • Single Predestination – God predestines the elect to eternal life, and passivly destines the non-elect by “passing over” them, choosing not to elect them, leaving them in their sins, destined to eternal punishment.
  • Double Predestination – The belief that God predestines the elect to eternal life, and the rest are predestined to hell. God does this by actively hardening their hearts and preparing them for unbelief.

Premillennialism, in Christian eschatology, is the belief that Jesus will physically return to the earth to gather His saints before the Millennium, a literal thousand-year golden age of peace. This return is referred to as the Second Coming. The doctrine is called “premillennialism” because it holds that Jesus’ physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the Millennium. It is distinct from the other forms of Christian eschatology such as postmillennialism or amillennialism, which view the millennial rule as occurring either before the second coming, or as being figurative and non-temporal.

Presbyterianism – A form of church government in which elders (presbyters) are elected by the congregation and collectively (as the presbytery) govern the church.

Process Theology – A school of thought, developed in the nineteenth century, that emphasizes experience, universal free will, and self-determination while deemphasizing or denying God’s sovereignty, immutability and omnipotence. In this thinking, God cannot regulate events directly but rather influences change by offering possibilities to the agents of free will. Process Theology has influenced some streams of Jewish theology and some variants of Christianity.

Propitiation – An offering or sacrifice. Sufficient to win forgiveness. To appease. The act whereby God’s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ.

Prolegomena – Literally means “things which are spoken beforehand.” Deals with the foundational issues of theology such as theological methodology, sources, and reasons for the study of theology.

Providence – Divine guidance or care.

Pseudepigraphic – Spuriously religious writings falsely ascribed to scriptural characters or times.

Ptolemies – name of the last dynasty of independent Egypt. … marked the beginning of Egypt’s independence under a new dynasty, the Ptolemies (or Lagids).



Rapture – A future event in which it is believed that all Christians (including deceased believers, who will resurrect) will be supernaturally gathered to “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Reconcilliation – Restoring a broken relationship to fellowship or friendship.

Redemption – Salvation from sin through Jesus Christ. “To be purchased.”

Reconcile – To settle, resolve.

Reformation, Protestant – A sixteenth-century movement for renewal within the Catholic Church that resulted in the formation of various Protestant churches. Prominent reformers included Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and Ulrich Zwingli.

Regeneration – The act whereby God awakens or regenerates the dead spirit of a person, restoring the ability to respond to and have a relationship with Him.

  • Monogistic Regeneration – The belief that regeration is an act of God alone.
  • The belief that regeneration is a cooperative act between God and Man.

Relativism – The belief that all truth is relative, being determined by some group.

Religio Licita – “Legal Religion”; religion recognized or approved by the governing authorities.

Repentance – To change on’s thinking and way of life as a result of a change of attitude with regard to sin and righteousness.

Reprobate – Refers to those who are destined for hell.

Restrictivism – The belief that knowledge of and trust in the Gospel is necessary for anyone to be saved.

Revelation – The act whereby God reveals truth to mankind through both special revelation (scriptures, prophets, etc) and natural revelation (nature, conscience, etc).

Righteousness – All that is right, good, upright, morally pure, just, reverent; unswerving obedience to God and his commands.


Sacrament – A rite or ceremony of the church: an “outward, visible sign of an inward, spiritual grace”; viewed by some as a means of grace, that is, grace is conveyed to the participant. Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and some other churches recognize seven: baptism, Communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, penance, and extreme unction. Most protestants recognize only baptism and Communion, holding that these two alone were instituted by Christ; some churches refer to these as ordinances rather than sacraments.

Sacralism – The confluence of church and state wherein one is called upon to change the other. (Like Catholic infant baptism. Infant baptism is something that unites the world and the Church together in such a way that the world can be comfortable because it gains its holiness from the Church through infant baptism. The Church has satisfied the world. As a reward, the world blesses the Church by recognizing it as a legitimate institution.).

Sadducees – name meaning “righteous ones”; influential Jewish religious group in NT times; controlled the temple.

Sanhedrin – most powerful Jewish council/court in NT times; claimed it’s authority from the 70 elders appointed by Moses (Num 11:16)

Sapphira – name meaning “beautiful” or “sapphire”; with her husband, Ananas, a deceitful couple in the early church.

Salvation – An event and a process in which people are brought into a right relationship with God.

Sanctification – A lifelong process in which believers become conformed to the image of Christ, relying on the power of God to mortify sin in their lives.

Sanctified – To make free from sin. Purify.

Seleucids – the Syrian rulers are termed Seleucids because their kingdom was founded by Seleucids 1

Self-determinism – Free will; the view that a person causes his or her own actions; that, faced with a choice, humans may choose other than they actually do.

Septuagint – The ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures. An old testament source for early Christians. Credible proof for Messianic prophecy. Often shown as LXX in books. LXX stands for the 70 scribes who were sent to Judea to produce the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law.

Simul iustus et peccator – Luther’s paradoxical dictum explaining that a Christian has a legal or forensic righteous standing before God according to the work of Christ, while at the same time lives as a sinner according to his own merits.

Skepticism – The belief that truth cannot be known with certainty.

Socrates – Greek Philosophy. The Socratic philosophy is one in which everybody came from the basic construct of being—i.e. forms; the soul comes from the world of forms. As a result of men’s common source of origin, knowledge is nothing more than soul memory; knowledge is from the inside, not acquired from without. Intuition becomes valid for guiding your life than an actual outside gathering of data. The Socratic soul memory is where you discover truth on the inside rather than from the outside. Knowledge is the self-enlightenment of thought. We have this in the church— i.e. “I have a vision.”

Soteriology – The study of salvation.

Special Grace – The grace by which God bestows redemption and sanctification; unlike common grace, special grace is available only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Springs – Actuating forces.

StoicismStoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium (c. 334-262 BC). Stoics believed that the goal of life is to live in accordance with nature. They believed that the best way to do this is to accept what cannot be changed and to focus on what can be controlled. Stoics also believed in the importance of virtue and living a life of reason.

Subjectivism – The belief that all truth is subjective, being defined by the perspective of the individual.

Subordinationism – The unorthodox doctrine that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to, not coequal with, God the Father.

Suzerain – Sovereign, supreme. Having authority over.

Syncretism – The assimilation of differing beliefs and practices.

Synoptic Gospels – Gospels with a similar point of view: Matthew, Mark and Luke. (Synoptic is from the Greek for “seeing together.”)


Theism – God is infinite, sovereign, yet personal creator of the universe and is active in the world today.

Theistic worldview that believes an eternal God freely created all of existence (time, space, matter, celestial realms and bodies) out of nothing (ex nihilo) and that He continues to act within the creation in varying degrees. God is the Creator of the universe and He exists beyond it and He acts within it. [ The Theology Program, Credo House Publishing]

Theodicy – A formal effort to reconcile evil in the world with God’s goodness and sovereignty.

Theological worldview – Is there a God? Who or what is God? What is His relationship to the universe? [The Theology Program, Credo House]

Theophilus – name meaning “lover of God”; individual to whom Luke addressed both his Gospel and Acts, and who may have supports Luke financially in writing the two works.

Theophany – A manifestation or appearance of God to human beings.

Theopneusty – “God breathed”; divine inspiration, particularly pertaining to the role of the Holy Spirit in the creation of the Scriptures.


  • Tabloid Theology = Naïve hearsay; no basis in fact; can be “cutting edge” in some peoples minds.
  • Folk Theology = uncritically and unreflectively constructs their theology based off of traditions or religious folklore. Usually dogmatic and militant about their theology because they have no other way to defend it. Their passion has to guide them because there is no truth to base their religion on.
  • Lay Theology = More reflective, more critical, studies, uses “tools” to study.
  • Ministerial Theology = educated, uses study tools; intent on spending more time on reflection so that theological integration can take place. Does NOT mean you are a minister.
  • Professional Theology = constructs theology and makes a living do so. They are said to “quench the spirit” because they do not usually tolerate tabloid theology or folk theology.
  • Academic Theology = Professional theologian who constructs his theology with an overly speculative and critical spirit. Closed minded. Will not believe anything that he/she “knows” is correct. Not a good thing. Often called “Ivory Tower” theology.

Theology Proper – The study of God’s existence, nature, and attributes. Sometimes called “Trinitarianism.”

Tonsorial – When the monk has a circular spot in the middle of his hair shaved. The monk ends up with a ring of hair circling his head with a bald spot in the top and middle of his head.

Torah – The first five books of the written Jewish bible. There are also some who would include the “spoken” Torah in this definition. Christian scholars sometime refer to these books as The Pentateuch, meaning five books.

Transcendence – God is above and beyond all creation, including time.

Transubstantiation – The Catholic doctrine of Communion, in which they “substance” of the bread and wine is said to actually change into the body and blood of Christ, even though the appearance remains unchanged.

Tribulation, Great Tribulation – In eschatology, a seven-year period of divine judgment upon the earth, including global food shortages, plagues, natural disasters, and widespread death and destruction.

Trinitarian – Relating to the doctrine of the Trinity; one who holds to this doctrine.


Unconditional Election – The belief that God predestined people for salvation before the beginning of time. God’s election is not conditioned by anything in man, good or evil, forseen or present, but upon God’s sovereign choice.

Universalism – The belief that all people, good or bad, will eventually make it to Heaven.


Venial sin – Sins against God’s Law that do not destroy the grace of God.

Vernacular – is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language

VIVIFICATION. Dying to sin, living to righteousness.

Verbal Plenary – A type of Inspiration of the biblical scriptures. All scripture is inspired by God who utilized the human element within man to accomplish this without error. 100% man, 100% God. (The term “plenary” means = full; complete; entire, absolute)

Voluntarism – The theory that the universe (all that exists) emanates from the will; that the will (as opposed to the intellect) is the ultimate principle of reality and of human experience.

Vulgate – Jerome’s 4th century Latin translation of the bible.


Worldview – The sum total of a person’s answers to the most important questions in life. There are SEVEN basic worldviews [The Theology Program, Credo House]:

  • Theism
  • Deism
  • Pantheism
  • Polytheism
  • Pluralism
  • Naturalism



Yahweh – Proper name of God, derived from the Hebrew letters transliterated as YHWH, used extensively in the Old Testament.


Zealot – A member of the first-century-AD Jewish political party that advocated violent overthrow of the regional Roman government.


Hic et nunc – latin for “here and now”

Litera – meaning “letter”. To interpret something means to pay attention to the letters and words that are written.

Quadriga – In hermeneutics, the Quadriga was a method of interpretation that developed in the early church and survived up to medieval times. The “Quadriga” was based on Greek philosophy such as Plato’s allegories and Origen used this method of interpretation on the Scripture. Origen taught that each passage simultaneously has a four-fold method of interpretation (hence the name Quadriga).

In this view the text had four layers of meaning: the literal, the moral, the allegorical and the anagogical. The literal is the plain obvious meaning. The moral was what it meant for human behavior. The allegorical meaning is what it means for our faith, beliefs or doctrines. The anagogical meaning is what it tells us about the future (heaven).

For example take a reference to the city of Jerusalem. In the literal sense this meant the physical city of Jerusalem. Morally it could represent the human soul. Allegorically it could be used to represent the Church of Christ. Finally, anagogically, it could be referring the new heavenly Jerusalem. Unfortunately, this method led to many wild speculations about the meaning of certain passages. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation changed that. Now we focus on the literal interpretation – the Historical-Grammatical Method.

Scriptura sacra sui ipsius interpres – sacred scripture interprets itself (or basically, “scripture interprets scripture”)


Metanoia – to think differently afterwards, and signifies a change of thinking that leads to a change of heart that leads ultimately to a change of behavior.  To repent.


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