Zondervan Dictionary of Bible and Theology Words

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Overview

Reach for almost any commentary or other Bible study text and sooner or later (probably sooner!) you’re bound to stumble over a word you don’t know. Unfortunately, the dictionary doesn’t shed much light on terms such as agraphon, deutero-Isaiah, pretribulationism, synonymous parallelism, Transjordan, or zugoth. Even words you are able to look up can have specific nuances and applications in biblical and theological study.

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Overview

Reach for almost any commentary or other Bible study text and sooner or later (probably sooner!) you’re bound to stumble over a word you don’t know. Unfortunately, the dictionary doesn’t shed much light on terms such as agraphon, deutero-Isaiah, pretribulationism, synonymous parallelism, Transjordan, or zugoth. Even words you are able to look up can have specific nuances and applications in biblical and theological study.

What you need is a study book to help you understand the study books. You need the Zondervan Dictionary of Bible and Theology Words.

This hugely practical volume puts the definitions you need most right at your fingertips. Over 1,700 words and phrases from Old and New Testament studies, biblical languages, and systematic theology have been compiled, alphabetized, and defined as succinctly as possible. You’ll never be left scratching your head again.

The Zondervan Dictionary of Bible and Theology Words is destined to become a staple reference tool for pastors, Sunday school teachers, and everyone with an interest in learning more about the Bible and theology. The more you study the Bible, the more you’ll appreciate having this unique resource in your library.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310240341
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/6/2002
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew S. DeMoss (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is production manager and book review editor for Bibliotheca Sacra, a journal published from Dallas Theological Seminary.

J. Edward Miller (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is the teaching pastor at Trinity Bible Church in Richardson, Texas.

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ZONDERVAN DICTIONARY of BIBLE and THEOLOGY WORDS


By Matthew S. DeMoss and J. Edward Miller

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2002 Matthew S. DeMoss and J. Edward Miller
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0310240344


Chapter One

A

A.D. Abbreviation of the Latin anno Domini, "in the year of the Lord." When used, this abbreviation precedes the year (e.g., A.D. 70). The designation C.E., "common era," conveys the same time description in nonreligious language.

a fortiori A logical argument in which a conclusion is shown to be even more certain than a previous one; a "how much more" statement (Lat., "from the stronger"). For example, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:13). See also QAL WAHOMER.

a posteriori In logic, denoting reasoning that is based on observation or experience instead of theory (Lat., "from the latter"). See also A PRIORI.

a priori In logic, denoting reasoning that is based on theory instead of observation or experience (Lat., "from the former"). See also A POSTERIORI.

Aaronic priesthood The line of Israelite priests traced through Aaron's two younger sons, Eleazar and Ithamar (Ex. 28:1; Lev. 3:2-4). In Hebrews 7 the Aaronic priesthood is contrasted with the priestly role of Jesus, who comes from "the order of Melchizedek." Leviticus8-10 records the inauguration of Aaron's priestly dynasty, also referred to as the "sons of Aaron."

Abaddon In the Old Testament, the place of destruction (Heb., abaddon, "destruction"), the place of the dead, or the grave (see Job 28:22; Ps. 88:11; Prov. 27:20). In its one New Testament appearance, the word serves as a title for the angel of the ABYSS (Rev. 9:11). See also Hades and Sheol.

abba Aramaic for "father." Jesus may have been the first to address God with this word, for in Jewish literature prior to the New Testament period the term was used of fathers and rabbis, but never of God. In its three New Testament occurrences (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) the term is immediately followed by the word "father."

abide To stay, rest, or remain. In Christian vernacular the word usually refers to one's responsibility to Christ based on John 15:1-11 (see also 1 John 2:24-28; 4:13). Some, however, understand the passages that speak of "abiding" as referring to SALVATION rather than to the believer's commitment.

ablative In Greek, a use of the GENITIVE case that denotes separation, usually requiring the preposition "from" when translated into English. While some consider the ablative a separate case from the genitive (i.e., EIGHT-CASE SYSTEM), most subsume the ablative under the broad heading of "genitive" (i.e., FIVE-CASE SYSTEM).

ablution Ceremonial washing of one's body, clothing, or other objects for spiritual purification (see Ex. 19:10; Lev. 17:15-16; Mark 7:4; Heb. 9:10). See also CEREMONIALLY UNCLEAN.

abomination of desolation A term that appears in Daniel (11:31; 12:11; see also 9:27) and describes an abominable, devastating act. Some translations unpack the expression as "the abomination that causes desolation." Likely it is a reference to Antiochus IV's defilement of the temple in 167 B.C.E., which led to the Maccabean revolt (1 Macc. 1:54). The New Testament quotations of this expression (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14) are commonly understood as referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. or to a yet future act that has been foreshadowed in these incidents (2 Thess. 2:3-4).

Abrahamic covenant The unconditional promise of God to give Abraham physical descendants and the land stretching from the River of Egypt (the Nile River, or perhaps Wadi el-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula) to the Euphrates River. The COVENANT is first mentioned in Genesis 12:1-3; it is reaffirmed and described in greater detail in subsequent passages (13:14-17; 15:4-7, 18-21; 17:1-27; 22:17-18), including the rite of CIRCUMCISION (17:9-14).

Abram Original name of Abraham, meaning "exalted father" (Gen. 17:5).

absolute state In Hebrew, the condition of a NOUN that is so closely linked to the preceding word or words that they are counted together, and whose TRANSLATION usually requires the English PREPOSITION "of" (e.g., "sorrows" in "man of sorrows," Isa. 53:3). See also CONSTRUCT STATE.

abyss A bottomless pit, the underworld, or simply the place of the dead, especially when occupied by demons (see Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; see also Rom. 10:7, where it is translated "the deep").

accusative In Greek, the CASE that normally marks a word as the DIRECT OBJECT of the VERB.

acrostic A literary device in which lines, verses, or sections begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. Acrostic poetry occurs a number of times in the Old Testament (e.g., Pss. 111; 112; 119; Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1-4), but it is lost in translation.

active voice In Greek, the VOICE that conveys that the subject is the doer or the cause of the verbal action, as opposed to the PASSIVE VOICE, in which the subject is the receiver of the verbal action. Using various verbal patterns, Hebrew can convey the same thing.

adiaphora Ethical or practical matters that are neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible and are therefore morally neutral (Gk., "things indifferent"). Many classify styles of church music as adiaphora.

adjective A word that modifies a NOUN or a state of being. For example, "good" modifies "shepherd" in "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11).

Adonai A particular form of a common Hebrew word meaning "lord" that is used as one of the OLD TESTAMENT names for God, translated "Lord" (e.g., Ps. 109:21). Although the common word 'adon often refers to human masters (e.g., Num. 32:25), nearly every use of the specific form 'adonay refers to God. Out of reverence for the name of God, those reading the biblical text often substituted the title "Adonai" for the divine name "Yahweh."

adoption To take another's child and legally make him/her one's own. In the New Testament, adoption is described as one of the benefits of salvation (John 1:12; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:5). It speaks of the new standing that Christians enjoy, including access to God the Father (Rom. 8:15), a share in the divine inheritance (Rom. 8:17, 23), and the responsibility that comes from being God's children (Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:15; Heb. 12:5-9). The word appears only in Paul's letters.

adoptionism The view that the man Jesus at his baptism was adopted by God and thus became divine. Adoptionist Christology was promoted in Spain in the eighth century but condemned at church councils. It has precedents in Ebionitism, Gnosticism, and dynamic monarchianism.

Advent An arrival or coming, especially the coming of Jesus Christ. First Advent refers to the INCARNATION; Second Advent refers to the SECOND COMING. In some traditions the expression designates the period of time from four Sundays before Christmas until Christmas.

adverb A word that modifies a VERB, an ADJECTIVE, or another adverb, indicating such things as manner, time, duration, intensity, and so on. For example, when Jesus invited Simon and Andrew to follow him, Mark 1:18 emphasizes their abrupt response with an adverb: "At once they left their nets and followed him."

adverbial Of, related to, or functioning like an ADVERB.

adversary An enemy or opponent (Matt. 5:25). In 1 Peter 5:8 the term is used of the DEVIL. See also Satan.

advocate A helper, defender, comforter, or counselor. The title is normally associated with Jesus (1 John 2:1) or the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). See PARACLETE.

agape The most common New Testament word for love, used of God's love for people (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 3:19; 1 John 3:1) as well as of believers' love for God and for one another (John 13:35; 15:13; 1 Cor. 13:1-3; 1 John 4:11). Also a common meal shared among early Christians (Jude 12).

age of accountability According to some theologians, the age when children become accountable to God for their moral choices (see Deut. 1:39; 2 Sam. 12:22-23; Mark 10:13-16). Also called the AGE OF REASON.

age of reason A designation for the eighteenth century in the Western world, when rationalism-the philosophy that truth can be known through the power of human reason-became widespread; i.e., the Enlightenment. The term is also equivalent to the AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY.

age-day theory See DAY-AGE THEORY.

agnosticism The system or worldview that says it is not possible to know with certainty about God's existence, things unseen, or the afterlife (Gk., agnosis, "no knowledge").

agrapha Plural of AGRAPHON.

agraphon A saying of Jesus that is not found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (Gk., agrapha, "unwritten"). "It is more blessed to give than to receive" is a well-known example (Acts 20:35).

Akedah Hebrew word meaning "binding," usually associated with the binding of Isaac by Abraham in preparation for his sacrifice (see Gen. 22:9). Through this story, this word became associated with God's provision of a substitute-the principle of one person or animal being sacrificed for another. Also spelled Aqedah.

Akkadian An ancient Semitic language that was spoken in Babylonia and Assyria. Akkadian literature provides background information for Old Testament studies and insight on its sister languages, Hebrew and Aramic, the languages of the Old Testament.

Aktionsart In Greek, the nature of the action of a VERB (i.e., duration, repetition, or completion), as opposed to the time of the action (past, present, or future). New Testament scholars usually distinguish Aktionsart from verbal ASPECT, in that Aktionsart represents the nature of a verb's action in a specific syntactical context while aspect pertains to verbal action inherent in a given tense (Germ., Aktionsart, "aspect").

aleph The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Alexandrian text-type A term from TEXTUAL CRITICISM that designates a highly regarded form of the New Testament text traceable to Alexandria, Egypt. As the New Testament was copied and recopied, three distinct forms of the text, named for their supposed place of origin, developed: Byzantine, Western, and Alexandrian. The Alexandrian text-type is generally regarded as the closest to the ORIGINAL. See also Byzantine text-type and Western text-type.

Alexandrian school A center of Christian scholarship in Alexandria, Egypt, that flourished from the second to the fourth century, emphasizing ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION of the Bible. Clement, Origen, and Athanasius all taught at Alexandria. See also Antiochene school.

Alexandrinus See Codex Alexandrinus.

alien In the Old Testament, someone who was not a member of a particular community (usually Israel) and thus did not enjoy the privileges of membership (see Gen. 19:9; Lev. 16:29). A number of passages address the rights of aliens and how they were to be treated fairly (Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33-34; Deut. 10:18-19; 24:14, 17-18; Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Ezek. 22:7, 29; Mai. 3:5). In the New Testament believers are called aliens (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11) and referred to as heavenly, not earthly, citizens (see Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:8-16).

allegorical interpretation An approach to biblical interpretation in which the literal meaning is secondary to some symbolic meaning. Allegorical interpretation is associated with Origen (c. 185-c. 254) and the Alexandrian school.

allegory A literary device in which an event, object, or character is employed to represent symbolically a person or idea (see Gal. 4:24).

alleluia See HALLELUJAH.

alms Money given to the poor as an expression of religious devotion (Matt. 6:1-4; Acts 3:2-3; 10:2-4, 31; 24:17). In the Old Testament alms came in the form of goods and produce generously given to or designated for the less fortunate (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 14:28-29).

alpha The first letter of the Greek alphabet.

Alpha and Omega Title for God signifying his eternality, represented by the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; the first and the last (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).

already-not yet An approach to biblical interpretation of eschatological passages that states that while certain prophecies are initiated or partially fulfilled, their ultimate fulfillments are yet future.

altar A structure upon which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in the worship of some deity. The earliest Old Testament altars were apparently erected for commemoration and/or sacrifice (see Gen. 8:20; 33:20; Ex. 17:15). The TABERNACLE specifications called for one altar for burnt offerings (Ex. 38:1-7) and another for incense (Ex. 30:1-10), and these instructions were largely followed while furnishing the temple.

amanuensis A person who takes dictation or writes on behalf of another. For example, Tertius served as Paul's amanuensis for the writing of Romans (Rom. 16:22).

ambassador An authoritative political representative who speaks or acts on behalf of a nation or its ruler; an envoy. In the Bible, ambassadors were dispatched to carry messages, including protests (Judg. 11:12-23), to request favors (Num. 20:14-17; Judg. 11:17, 19), to form alliances and make treaties (Josh. 9:4-6), to solicit help (1 Kings 5:3-6), and to offer congratulations (2 Sam. 8:10; 1 Kings 5:1), among other things. In the New Testament, Paul says that believers are "Christ's ambassadors" (2 Cor. 5:20).

amen A Hebrew derivative denoting firmness or certainty, which came to be used in a variety of contexts, including confirmation of an oath (Deut. 27:15-26; Jer. 11:5) and as a response in worship or after prayer (Pss. 41:13; 106:48; Rom. 11:36; 1 Tim. 6:16). Jesus frequently used it to introduce a saying (Matt. 16:28; Luke 4:24; John 5:25; sometimes translated "truly" or "verily"). Jesus himself is called "the Amen" in Revelation 3:14.

amillennialism The view that the mention of one thousand years in Revelation 20 does not refer to an actual period of time but rather to the reign of Christ figuratively. In this view the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) immediately follows the Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-16). See also Millennium, postmillennialism, and premillennialism.

Amoraim Jewish scribes who produced the Talmud during the third, fourth, and fifth centuries C.E.

amulet An object worn as jewelry for superstitious reasons.

anabaptism Baptism a second time, usually underwent by adults who received baptism as infants (Gk., "rebaptism").

anachronism A word, person, or event wrongly placed in time (Gk., "back[ward] time").

anacoluthon The interruption of a sentence by another grammatical construction (Gk., "inconsistent"). For example, in Ephesians 3:1-2 Paul interrupts his sentence with an abrupt grammatical shift.

anagogy An allusion or statement pertaining to HEAVEN or the afterlife. While the Old Testament has few (Pss. 16:10; 49:15; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2), the New Testament is replete with them (Matt. 5:12; 6:20; Luke 15:18; 1 Cor. 15:20-24; Eph. 3:15; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:18; Rev. 21:1). In medieval EXEGESIS, the anagogical sense of Scripture pertained to its mystical, moral, or spiritual meaning or application. Also anagoge.

Anakim The race of giants that the twelve Israelite emissaries encountered while spying out Canaan (Num. 13:28, 33; Deut. 1:28). The Anakim were later conquered by Joshua (Josh. 11:21-22) and Caleb (Josh. 14:12, 15; 15:13-14; Judg. 1:20) and expelled from Hebron and the surrounding hill country. Goliath probably descended from this people, who trace their lineage to Anak and, ultimately, the NEPHILIM (Num. 13:33; cf. Gen. 6:4). Also called the Anakites.

anarthrous Not having an article. The opposite of ARTHROUS.

anathema A Greek word denoting strong denunciation or a CURSE, or signifying the object of a curse (see Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 1:8-9). Paul uses this word in 1 Corinthians 16:22 as a curse on those who do not love Jesus Christ.

ancient Near East Designation for both a time period, extending from the earliest periods until approximately the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.E., as well as a large geographical region roughly equivalent to the contemporary term "Middle East." It includes such countries as modern-day Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and countries on the Arabian Peninsula.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from ZONDERVAN DICTIONARY of BIBLE and THEOLOGY WORDS by Matthew S. DeMoss and J. Edward Miller Copyright © 2002 by Matthew S. DeMoss and J. Edward Miller
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

http://zondervan.com/media/samples/pdf/0310240344_samptoc.pdf
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First Chapter

A.D. Abbreviation of the Latin anno Domini, 'in the year of the Lord.' When used, this abbreviation precedes the year (e.g., A.D. 70). The designation C.E., 'common era,' conveys the same time description in nonreligious language.
a fortiori A logical argument in which a conclusion is shown to be even more certain than a previous one; a 'how much more' statement (Lat., 'from the stronger'). For example, 'If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him' (Luke 11:13). See also QAL WAHOMER.
a posteriori In logic, denoting reasoning that is based on observation or experience instead of theory (Lat., 'from the latter'). See also A PRIORI.
a priori In logic, denoting reasoning that is based on theory instead of observation or experience (Lat., 'from the former'). See also A POSTERIORI.
Aaronic priesthood The line of Israelite priests traced through Aaron's two younger sons, Eleazar and Ithamar (Ex. 28:1; Lev. 3:2--4). In Hebrews 7 the Aaronic priesthood is contrasted with the priestly role of Jesus, who comes from 'the order of Melchizedek.' Leviticus 8--10 records the inauguration of Aaron's priestly dynasty, also referred to as the 'sons of Aaron.'
Abaddon In the Old Testament, the place of destruction (Heb., abaddon, 'destruction'), the place of the dead, or the grave (see Job 28:22; Ps. 88:11; Prov. 27:20). In its one New Testament appearance, the word serves as a title for the angel of the ABYSS (Rev. 9:11). See also HADES and SHEOL.
abba Aramaic for 'father.' Jesus may have been the first to address God with this word, for in Jewish literature prior to the New Testament period the term was used of fathers and rabbis, but never of God. In its three New Testament occurrences (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) the term is immediately followed by the word 'father.'
abide To stay, rest, or remain. In Christian vernacular the word usually refers to one's responsibility to Christ based on John 15:1-- 11 (see also 1 John 2:24--28; 4:13). Some, however, understand the passages that speak of 'abiding' as referring to SALVATION rather than to the believer's commitment.
ablative In Greek, a use of the GENITIVE case that denotes separation, usually requiring the preposition 'from' when translated into English. While some consider the ablative a separate case from the genitive (i.e., EIGHT-CASE SYSTEM), most subsume the ablative under the broad heading of 'genitive' (i.e., FIVE-CASE SYSTEM).
ablution Ceremonial washing of one's body, clothing, or other objects for spiritual purification (see Ex. 19:10; Lev. 17:15--16; Mark 7:4; Heb. 9:10). See also CEREMONIALLY UNCLEAN.
abomination of desolation A term that appears in Daniel (11:31; 12:11; see also 9:27) and describes an abominable, devastating act. Some translations unpack the expression as 'the abomination that causes desolation.' Likely it is a reference to Antiochus IV's defilement of the temple in 167 B.C.E., which led to the MACCABEAN REVOLT (1 Macc. 1:54). The New Testament quotations of this expression (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14) are commonly understood as referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. or to a yet future act that has been foreshadowed in these incidents (2 Thess. 2:3--4).
Abrahamic covenant The unconditional promise of God to give Abraham physical descendants and the land stretching from the River of Egypt (the Nile River, or perhaps Wadi el-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula) to the Euphrates River. The COVENANT is first mentioned in Genesis 12:1--3; it is reaffirmed and described in greater detail in subsequent passages (13:14--17; 15:4--7, 18-- 21; 17:1--27; 22:17--18), including the rite of CIRCUMCISION (17:9--14).
Abram Original name of Abraham, meaning 'exalted father' (Gen. 17:5).
absolute state In Hebrew, the condition of a NOUN that is so closely linked to the preceding word or words that they are counted together, and whose TRANSLATION usually requires the English PREPOSITION 'of' (e.g., 'sorrows' in 'man of sorrows,' Isa. 53:3). See also CONSTRUCT STATE.
abyss A bottomless pit, the underworld, or simply the place of the dead, especially when occupied by demons (see Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; see also Rom. 10:7, where it is translated 'the deep').
accusative In Greek, the CASE that normally marks a word as the DIRECT OBJECT of the VERB.
acrostic A literary device in which lines, verses, or sections begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. Acrostic poetry occurs a number of times in the OLD TESTAMENT (e.g., Pss. 111; 112; 119; Prov. 31:10--31; Lam. 1--4), but it is lost in translation. A active voice In Greek, the VOICE that conveys that the subject is the doer or the cause of the verbal action, as opposed to the PASSIVE VOICE, in which the subject is the receiver of the verbal action. Using various verbal patterns, Hebrew can convey the same thing.
adiaphora Ethical or practical matters that are neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible and are therefore morally neutral (Gk., 'things indifferent'). Many classify styles of church music as adiaphora.
adjective A word that modifies a NOUN or a state of being. For example, 'good' modifies 'shepherd' in 'I am the good shepherd' (John 10:11).
Adonai A particular form of a common Hebrew word meaning 'lord' that is used as one of the OLD TESTAMENT names for God, translated 'Lord' (e.g., Ps. 109:21). Although the common word ,adon often refers to human masters (e.g., Num. 32:25), nearly every use of the specific form ,adonay refers to God. Out of reverence for the name of God, those reading the biblical text often substituted the title 'Adonai' for the divine name 'YAHWEH.'
adoption To take another's child and legally make him/her one's own. In the New Testament, adoption is described as one of the benefits of salvation (John 1:12; Gal. 4:4--5; Eph. 1:5). It speaks of the new standing that Christians enjoy, including access to God the Father (Rom. 8:15), a share in the divine inheritance (Rom. 8:17, 23), and the responsibility that comes from being God's children (Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:15; Heb. 12:5--9). The word appears only in Paul's letters.
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