Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

- A -

Abrahamic Covenant - God made specific promises to Abraham. He promised that He would make a great Nation from Abraham, and that they would inherit a specific piece of land. He promised that the Messiah would come through his lineage, and finally He promised blessing and protection. (see Gen 12:1-3, Deut. 30:1-10, 2 Sam. 7:12-16, Jer. 31:31-34)

Antichrist - The false Christ led and controlled by Satan that will be the great world leader during the tribulation, before the second coming of Christ. His objective is to deceive people into following him. He imitates Christ, trying to take the position of God. Also called "The man of sin". He is not Satan himself, but is controlled by Satan. At one point it seems that Satan actually enters him, so it is hard to separate the human man and Satan who controls him. At the beginning of the tribulation he will sign a peace agreement with Israel, and possibly with the whole world, setting himself up as the head.

Antithesis - Exact opposite, a contrast or opposition of thoughts

Arianism (Arius) - Movement in the early church that believed God the father alone was God, and that Jesus was created. Declared heretical at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and again at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381.

Allegorical - A method of Bible interpretation (hermeneutic) that assumes the text has a meaning other than what the literal wording says.

Alexandrian school - School of Bible education in the early church age. Started by Philo who wanted to mix Greek philosophy and Judaism. The Alexandrian school influenced the early church through teachers like Clement and Origen.

Antiochene school - School of Bible education in the early church, founded by Lucian in opposition to the excesses of the allegorical hermeneutics of the Alexandrian school of Philo, Origen.

- B -

Born again - From John chapter 3:3 "...Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" - refers to a spiritual rebirth that a sinful man must go through to inherit the kingdom of God. John 3:16 goes on to explain that belief in Jesus as the Son of God is how one becomes born again.


- C -

Clement - Early Bishop of Rome, died about A.D. 100. Letters written by Clement to the church at Corinth give us some idea of church life in the first century.

Chrysostom, John - (AD 354-407) Student of Lucian and Diodore of the Antiochene school.

Christocentric - Referring to the O.T. the belief that the O.T. is centered on Christ, and that there is hidden meaning about Christ there.

Covenant theology - A system of theology that sees only one people of God, the true Israel, which is now the Church, since national Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah.

- D -

Daniel - Jewish prophet of the Babylonian captivity, wrote the book of Daniel. Taken into captivity around 586 B.C. (after Ezekiel) by Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon took the southern kingdom of Israel in three moves, first in 605 B.C., then 597 B.C., and finally destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Deity - Divinity, or the state of being God.

Dispensationalism - A system of theology that recognizes different stewardships of man under God. Sees God working with man differently during different periods, such as Law vs. Grace, or the garden vs. the postnoahic age, etc. Dispensationalism's key teachings are 1.) a consistent literal interpretation of the Bible; 2.) a clear distinction between Israel and the Church, and 3.) the glory of God as the ultimate purpose in the plan of God. (not necessarily the salvation of man)

- E -

Empiricism - The view that experience, especially of the senses, is the only source of knowledge

Eschatology - From Gk. eschatos, ‘last‘, the term refers to the ‘doctrine of the last things’

Evangelical - A movement in church history started at the Protestant reformation. Most believe in an inerrant scripture, and a born again experience required for salvation based on John 3:3, Ephesians 2:8-9.

Exegetical - (Exegesis) - Critical analysis or interpretation of a word, literary passage.

Ezekiel - Jewish prophet during the Babylonian captivity, wrote the book of Ezekiel. Taken into captivity around 597 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon took the southern kingdom of Israel in three moves, first in 605 B.C., then 597 B.C., and finally destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

- F -



- G -

Gnosticism - Views the material creation as being evil, including flesh. Belief in secret knowledge. Tries to separate the man Jesus with the Christ, since the man Jesus was flesh.

Gospel - The good news, or message,   of how Jesus Christ redeemed, or paid for, the sins of man by dying on the cross. The substitutionary death of Christ. (Isaiah 53)

- H -

Hellenism - The thought and culture of ancient Greece.
Hermeneutics - the art or science of the interpretation of literature


- I -

Ignatius - Bishop of the church at Antioch early in the second century. He wrote seven letters to different churches.

Infallibility - perfect, incapable of error. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, they claim that the pope is infallible on points of doctrine and faith when acting in official capacity. Protestants don't believe this, but trust only in the Word of God, the Bible. This debate stems from the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:17-19, believing that Jesus created the papacy when He told Peter that he had the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

Inspiration of scripture -

Irenaeus - (130-200)


- J -

Justin Martyr - Converted from paganism, he became the most noted of second century apologists. Taught in Ephesus and Rome. Martyred in Rome in A.D. 165

Jonah - The prophet in the O.T. sent by God to preach to the Assyrians in Ninevah. Known for his trip in the belly of the sea monster.

John Darby - (1800-1882) One of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren movement. Born in London, graduated at 18 with a Law degree from Trinity college in Dublin. He soon left law to work in the Church of Ireland. This didn't last long as he disagreed with the ecclesiology (Doctrine of the Church) of the Church of England. This led him to Plymouth England, where he found some like minded believers, and helped to start what became the Brethren movement.Darby was one of the early teachers of Dispensationalism. He believed that each dispensation placed man under some condition, having a specific resonsibility before God, and that man failed during each dispensation.


- K -



- L -

Lucian - (AD 240-312) Founded the Antiochene school in opposition to the excesses of the allegorical hermeneutics of the Alexandrian school of Philo, Origen.


- M -

Marcionism - (Marcion) Gnostic born in Sinope, Pontus. Believed that the God of the O.T. was different from the God of the N.T. Taught that Jesus wasn't born of a woman. Excommunicated in A.D. 144, and refuted theologically by Justin Martyr and Tertullian. This was the first great threat to the early church.

Messiah - The hebrew term for one called the Anointed one, or Christ in Greek. The Jews were waiting for their Messiah, although they expected a leader that would solve the political crisis they were in with Rome. His coming and death was foretold in Daniel 9. His suffering was foretold in Isaiah 53. Unfortunately the Jews didn't evidently read the prophets much, or they just didn't understand the passages that depicted a suffering Messiah. When Jesus died they didn't see the lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. They didn't see how Jesus fulfilled the pictures or symbolism in Jewish relighious customs, like the lambs blood in the passover, like the timing of the feasts and how they pictured the exact timing of the death of Christ and what He would accomplish on the cross. The sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham was a picture of how God would offer His Son as a sacrtifice for the sins of the world.. Isiah 53 tells us "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities"... "But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us to fall on Him."

Millennium - Literally means one thousand years.

Millennial kingdom - Literal one thousand year reign of Christ initiated after the 7 year tribulation.

Moses - Great prophet of God called to lead the Jews out of Egypt to the land that God promised his forefather Abraham. Moses was from the tribe of Levi. Moses was also called the lawgiver, since he was the one that received the ten commandments from God directly while in Mount Sinai. Moses led the Jews through the desert for 40 years while God purged out the unbelievers. God performed many great miracles through Moses.


- N -



- O -

Origen - Great scholar, most prolific author of the early church. Born in a Christian family about AD 185. He became a well known teacher/speaker. Moved to Cesarea. Died in AD 254. From the Alexandrian school, believed in a very allegorical method of interpretation.


- P -

Philo - Started the Alexandrian school in Alexandria Egypt. Clement and Origen came from this school.

Posttribulation rapture - The view that the rapture (snatching or taking away) of the church will happen at the end of the tribulation

Premillennial - happening in the period before the millennium

Pretribulation rapture - The view that the rapture (snatching or taking away) of the church will happen before the tribulation

Prophecy - Prediction of the future under divine guidance.

- Q -



- R -

Rapture - refers to the snatching away of believers at some point before, during, or at the second coming of Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 4:16-17) (1 Cor 15:51) (John 14) (Rev 3:10)

Rationalism - The doctrine or system of those who deduce their religious opinions from reason or the understanding, as distinct from, or opposed to, revelation. (See Empiricism)

Reformation - The Protestant reformation officially broke out in AD 1517. The printing press was an integral part of the reformation, since it allowed the writings of the reformers to travel quickly. The first printed book using metal type was the Bible in AD 1483. Other writers paved the way, including John of Wesel from Rhineland, Germany who wrote that the Bible alone is the authority in matters of faith. Wrote against indulgences. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther (AD 1483-1546), professor of biblical studies at the Univ. of Wittenburg, Germany, announced a disputation on indulgences. He stated his argument in his 95 theses, which he nailed to the church door. The news spread quickly. Luther was excommunicated in AD 1520 by the pope. Luther wrote in German, and translated the Bible into German. In AD 1529, Emperor Charles V tried to stop Luther, but people stood up in protest, getting the name 'Protestant'.

Revelation - The disclosure of something not previously known. In the case of Biblical revelation, the prophets of the Bible spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, sometimes not even understanding what they were writing. (see 1 Peter 1:10-11, and 2 Peter 1:20-21)

Revelation, book of - The last book of the Christian Bible, written by the Apostle John while exiled on the Isle of Patmos around 96-98 A.D.

- S -

Salvation - The act of being saved, which in Biblical terms means the promise that God will bring a person into His presence for eternity, as opposed to those that will be banned from His presence due to sin and unbelief. The Bible is not political. God is very clear about how to be saved. (John 3:16, Rom 10:9, John 5:24, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 3:21-23, 1 john 5:11-13, Rom 8:1, 2 Cor 5:17, Acts 4:12, Phil 2:9-10)


- T -

Tertullian - First major Christian author to write in Latin. Lived in Carthage, capital of Roman province of Africa. His work "Against Marcion" defended the use of the O.T. by the Christian church. He also helped develop the doctrine of the trinity. In his work "On Baptism" he criticized the baptism of children.

Tribulation -  A period of seven years of judgment before the second coming of Christ, foretold by Daniel the prophet, and Jesus Matthew 24. Also known as "The time of Jacobs trouble", "The last day", and "The day of the Lord".

Typology - The study of types, symbols, or symbolism. In the Bible, an example of a type would be Moses. He was a type of Christ, as he was used to save his people. Jonah was a type in that he was three days in the belly of the sea monster, just as Christ's body was in the grave three days.

- U -



- V -



- W -



- X -



- Y -



- Z -



- # -



Revised: October 29, 2004.
Copyright 1997 by
All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.