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FOUNDATIONS  OF  THE   BIBLE

GLOSSARY


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

The terms and definitions in this glossary do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of Lakeside Ministries,
but are given to explain terms used or referred to throughout the various studies on this website.


Abridgement

A condensed translation.
Example:
The Reader's Digest Bible: Condensed from the Revised Standard Version (1982)

Accommodation Theory

The view of  the German rationalists and others that Christ and the apostles accommodated their teaching to the current (but false) Jewish traditions about authorship,  inspiration,  and so forth,  of  the Old Testament without thereby either asserting or approving those beliefs.

Amanuensis

A scribal secretary or one employed to take dictation.

Amplified Translation

Expanded translation, giving a wider translation of each word and thought.
Example:
The Amplified Bible (originally translated in 1958 A.D.)

Antilegomena

Literally, the books "spoken against," that is, the books of the New Testament canon whose inspiration has been disputed by some, usually meaning Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation.

Antinomianism

Literally "without (or against) law."
It designates the ethical position that there are no binding moral laws;  "all is relative or situational."

Apocalypse


The English transliteration of  the Greek word apocalypsis (revelation).
This term used as the title for the last book of the Bible in the English Roman Catholic versions.

Apocalyptic Literature

A designation sometimes applied to the pseudepigraphal books because their contents are largely "revelations"  and "visions".
It is also used to describe the canonical books of Ezekiel,  Daniel,  Zechariah,  and Revelation.

Apocrypha

The Protestant designation for the fourteen or  fifteen books of doubtful authenticity and authority that are not found in the Hebrew Old Testament but are in manuscripts of the LXX.
Most of  these books were declared canonical by the Roman Catholic church at the Council of  Trent in 1546A.D.,  and they call these books deuterocanonical (second canon).
Martin Luther said, "Apocrypha--that is, books which are not regarded as equal to the holy Scriptures, and yet are profitable and good to read." (King James Version Defended page 98.)
These books are:
1 Esdras Wisdom of Solomon Susanna
2 Esdras Ecclesiasticus Bel and the Dragon
Tobit Baruch Prayer of Manasseh
Judith Letter of Jeremiah 1 Maccabees
Additions to Esther Prayer of Azariah 2 Maccabees
Although not included in the Holy Scriptures, this does not mean these books are historically inaccurate or contain false information.

Apostolicity

In the narrow sense,  apostolicity refers to that which comes directly from an apostle;
but in a broader sense,  it may refer to teaching produced under apostolic authority,
whether by apostolic authorship or by apostolic teaching through a prophetic ministry.

Asceticism

Practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline.
Austere in appearance, manner, or attitude

Authenticity

Authenticity is a word describing the truthfulness of  the contents of a given text or composition;
it is sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably with genuineness.

Autographs - or - Autographa

The Autographs are sometimes inaccurately defined as the original writings from the hand of  an apostle or prophet,  these are,  more precisely,  writings produced under the authority of  an apostle or prophet,  whether or not through a scribe or in several editions.

Bible

The word Bible can rightfully claim to be the great-grandson of the Greek word Biblos,  which was the name given to the outer coat of a papyrus reed in Egypt during the eleventh century B.C.
The plural form of  Biblos is biblia,  and by the second century A.D. Christians were using this latter word to describe their writings.
Biblia gave birth to the Latin word of  the same spelling, biblia,  which was in turn transliterated into the Old French biblia by the same process.
The modem English word Bible is derived from the Old French,  with the Anglicized ending.
The word is thus the product of  four stages of  transliteration and transmission.
The term Bible is often used synonymously with "Scripture" or "Word of  God"
Modern English Bible  
Old French Bible  
Latin Biblia  
Greek Biblia (Plural)
Greek Biblion (Diminutive)
Greek Biblos (meaning book)
Original Word Byblos (after the Phoenician city Byblos that exported papyrus)

Canonicity

The character of a biblical book that marks it as a part of  the canon of  Scripture,  namely,  the divine inspiration and authority that designate a book as part of the canon, the rule or standard of  faith and practice.

Codex

A manuscript in book form,  that is,  with sheets bound together rather than in the form of a roll or scroll.

Colophon

Literally  "finishing touch."
A literary device used at the end of a book sometimes connecting it with a following book.

Conservative

The theological position that affirms the basic doctrines of  Christianity such as the virgin birth, the deity of Christ,  the substitutionary atonement,  the resurrection of  Christ,  and the divine inspiration of the Bible.
In this sense,  conservative is used interchangeably with fundamental, evangelical and orthodox,  and it is to be contrasted with liberal, or modernist.

Covenant

An agreement or compact between two living parties, such as the Mosaic Covenant.

Credible

As applied to the Scriptures,  it is their right to be believed and received as the truth of God.

Critical Text

An edited text of  the Bible that attempts,  by critical comparison and evaluation of all of the manuscript evidence,  to approximate most closely what was in the autographs.
The Westcott and Hort text of  the Greek New Testament is an example of a critical text.

Cursive Manuscripts

Usually the equivalent of  minuscule or small-lettered manuscripts written in a  "running hand,"
hence "cursive".
It is akin to handwriting rather than printing.

Decalogue

Literally,  "ten words,"  that is,  the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20 or  Deuteronomy 5.

Deism

The belief that there is a Creator who operates in His creation only through natural law that He has ordained from the beginning and who never intervenes in the world by miracles;  hence,  it is anti super naturalistic in outlook.

Demythology

A modern critical method of  biblical interpretation espoused by Rudolph Bultmann and others that attempts to divest biblical stories of  the religious myth of  their day in order to arrive at their "real message,"  and to see through the historical to their supra-historical truth;  hence,  this view does not accept the historicity and inerrancy of the Bible.

Destructive Criticism

A term used by conservative theologians to describe the harmful result of  certain liberal or negative forms of  higher criticism of  the Bible.

Diaspora

Dispersion, from diaspeirein to scatter.
The settling of  Jewish scattered colonies outside Palestine after the Babylonian exile.

Dispensation

The Greek is: oikonomia (oikos, "a house," and nomos, "a law") = the management of a household or of household affairs. In this case it would be the stewardship of man over God's earthly creation.
Seven dispensations are commonly identified by most Bible scolars:
Innocence From Creation to the Fall of man and God's sending them out of the Garden of Eden
Conscience From the expulsion from the Garden of Eden to Flood
Human government From the covenant with Noah after the flood to the time of Abraham
Promise From Abraham's call to Moses
Law From the giving of the Law to Moses to the death of Jesus Christ
Grace From the death and resurrection of Christ to the rapture of the church
Kingdom From the establishment of God's kingdom on earth to the end of the thousand year reign of Christ over the nations

Docetism

An early Christian heresy which affirmed the deity but denied the humanity of Christ.

Eclectic

A view composed of various teachings drawn from different sources.
Selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles.

Ellipsis

The omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete.
A sudden leap from one topic to another.

Existentialism

Religious existentialism holds,  among other things,  that revelation is not propositional but that it is personal.
That is,  it is not found in objective statements but only in a subjective and personal encounter with God.

Fathers of the Church

The writing theologians and teachers of  the first seven or eight centuries of  the Christian church,  usually the great bishops and leaders noted for sound judgment and holy living,  whose writings preserve the doctrines,  history,  and traditions of  the early church.

Fideism

From the Latin  fides  ("faith")
It designates the view that faith alone,  without evidence or reason,  is a sufficient ground or support for holding a view.

Folio

A book made of  full-sized leaves or sheets.
Each sheet folded once to form four pages (12 by 19 inches, scale of American Library Association),  or a book of  the largest size.

Former Prophets

Designation for the first subdivision of  the second section of  the present Hebrew Scriptures known as the Prophets, including Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings.

Genuineness

The character of a composition that guarantees its alleged authorship.
Genuineness is sometimes popularly used interchangeably with authenticity,  which concerns the truthfulness of  the contents of  a composition or text.

German Rationalism

A movement among eighteenth and nineteenth century German biblical scholars that,  while attempting to defend Christianity on rational grounds,  actually undercut the authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures,  and subsequently the other fundamental doctrines arising there from.
Destructive (negative) higher criticism and the  "accommodation theory"  are two examples of the teachings of this movement.

Gnostic

From the Greek gnosis  ("knowledge"),  it denotes the religious movement prominent in the second century. A.D. that believed it had special knowledge.
Beliefs included the denial of  Christ's deity and the affirmation that matter is evil,  which encouraged asceticism.

Graphe

The Greek word for "writings" (Scriptures),  which are inspired of God,  according to 2 Timothy 3:16.

Hagiographa

The English equivalent of  the Greek word for  "holy writings,"  which designates the same section of  the Old Testament canon as does the Hebrew Kethuvi'im.
In the Middle Ages this term was applied to writings about the saints and saints' lives.  This latter sense is not in view throughout the present work.

Hellenism

A style of Greek civilization associated with the spread of Greek language and culture to the Mediterranean world after the conquests of Alexander the Great.
On the advice of Aristotle, his teacher, Alexander sought to instill a love for the Greek way of life within those whom he conquered. His generals adopted the same pattern of operation. Conflict soon arose between the Jews and his successors in Israel, the SELEUCIDS. The history of this conflict is detailed in the books of the MACCABEES.
In the Hellenistic period, Greek became the common language throughout the ancient world. So many Jews spoke Greek that an authorized Greek translation of the Old Testament, the SEPTUAGINT was made at ALEXANDRIA, Egypt. In the Bible, the word "Hellenists" (NKJV) or "Grecians" (KJV) in Acts 6:1 and 9:29 refers to Greek-speaking Jews.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Hexapla

A manuscript with six parallel columns arranged for comparative and critical study,  such as Origen's Hexapla that contained various Hebrew and Greek translations of  the Old Testament.

Hexateuch

The first six books of the Old Testament,  namely,  the Pentateuch plus Joshua.

Higher Criticism

The scholarly discipline dealing with the genuineness of  the text including questions of authorship,  date of composition,  destination,  and so forth.
It is often called  "historical criticism,"  but in its more radical expressions it has been labeled  "destructive criticism"  or  "negative criticism."

Homologoumena

Literally,  "to speak the same,"  that is,  those books of  the New Testament that have been universally acclaimed as canonical,  or all of  the twenty-seven books of  the New Testament except the Antilegomena.

Illumination

The process by which God enlightens a person's mind so that he understands the significance of  the objective disclosure of  God  (revelation)  for his life subjectively.

Inerrancy

Meaning  "without error"  and referring to the complete accuracy of  Scripture,  including the historical and scientific parts.

Infallible

Literally,  "not fallible or breakable."
It refers to the divine character of  Scripture that necessitates its truthfulness  (cf. John 10:35).

Inspiration

Meaning literally  "God-breathed"  (from 2 Tim. 3:16).
Referring to the divinely authoritative writings of  Holy Scripture,  which God produced without destroying the individual styles of the writers.

Kethuvi'im

The English equivalent for this Hebrew word is  "Writings".
The title of  the third division of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Koine

The common trade Greek language, the  "language of  the market place"  of the first century Western world.
The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek.

Latter Prophets

The second subdivision of the Hebrew Prophets,  including all of  the prophets after 2 Kings,  which is the second division of the present Hebrew Bible.

Lectionaries

Early church service books containing selected Scripture readings usually from the gospels and sometimes from Acts or the epistles.

Liberal

The theological position that denies many of  the fundamental doctrines of historic Christianity,  such as the deity of Christ,  the inspiration of the Bible.
It denies that the Bible is the Word of God but believes that it merely contains the Word of God.

Literal Translation

A word-for-word translation from one language to another as opposed to an idiomatic, thought-for-thought translation or paraphrase.
Example:
The Interlinear Hebrew/Greek English Bible (1979)
The Literal Translation Of  The Hebrew Old Testament (1959)
Concordant Greek (1955)
The Interlinear Greek New Testament by George Ricker Berry (1961)

Lower Criticism

The scholarly discipline dealing with the authenticity of  the biblical text and that seeks to discover the original words of  the autographs.
It is also called "textual criticism."

LXX

Symbol for the Septuagint,  meaning "The Seventy,"  which is the Greek translation of  the Old Testament alleged to have been translated by some seventy scribes at Alexandria, Egypt, at about 250-150 B.C.

Majuscule

Also called "Uncial."
Literally,  "inch high,"  referring to a manuscript written in formally printed large letters similar in size to capital letters.

Manuscript

A handwritten literary composition rather than a printed copy.

Masoretes

Jewish textual scribes of the fifth through ninth centuries A.D. who standardized the Hebrew text of  the Old Testament,  which is therefore called the Masoretic Text.

Megilloth

The transliteration into English of the Hebrew word meaning  "rolls."
It is used to designate the Five Rolls,  the group of  books from the third division of the Hebrew canon
(the Writings)  that were read at the festal ceremonies.

Minuscule Manuscript

A manuscript written in rather small letters,  commonly in a cursive or free-flowing hand.

Nevi'im

The transliteration into English of the Hebrew word for "prophets."
It designates the second division of the Hebrew Old Testament  (the Prophets).

Neo-Orthodoxy

A modern theological view that,  while reacting against liberalism,  never quite returned to the orthodox position on the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures.
It asserts that the Bible becomes the Word of God when it speaks to an individual personally.
It asserts that in itself the Bible is only a witness to the Word of God (Who is Christ).

Neo-Platonic

The pantheistic philosophy stemming from the third-century mystic Plotinus who studied with Origen under Ammonius Saccas.

Ostraca

Broken pieces of  pottery used as writing material by poorer classes who could not afford parchment or papyrus.

Palimpsest

A manuscript that has been  "rubbed again,"  erased for reuse as a rescriptus.

Pandect

From Greek,  pandektos  ("all receiving").
A manuscript containing the entire Bible,  both Old and New Testaments.

Papyrus

(papyri)  A kind of ancient paper or writing material made from the pith of a plant by that name,  which grew in the marshes of  Egypt. 

Paraphrase

Thought-for-thought translation. Results in a much looser rendition.
Example:

Paratactic

Literally  "placing side by side"  or the device of  placing clauses of  phrases one after another without subordinating connectives.

Parchment

An ancient writing material usually prepared from goat or sheep skin.

Pentateuch

Literally, a fivefold book.
Used specifically with reference to the first five books of  the Old Testament.

Pietism

A religious movement in late seventeenth-century Germany stressing the subjective and experimental personal aspects of  Christianity.
This movement often tended to neglect the theological and technical side of  Christian truth,  and consequently opened the door for skepticism,  rationalism,  and other such movements.

Plenary Inspiration

The doctrine that the inspiration and divine authority of  the Bible are full and complete,  meaning that they extend (equally) to every part of the Scriptures.

Polyglot

Literally,  "many tongues."
A multiple-columned edition of  a particular writing or composition,  usually containing the original and various other versions or translations in the several columns for means of comparison.

Progressive Revelation

The view that the divine disclosure of  doctrine did not come in a single deposit,  but that at divers times in its historical development later revelation added to former disclosures.

Pseudepigrapha

A word meaning  "false writings"  and used to designate those spurious and unauthentic books of the late centuries B.C. and early centuries A.D.
These books contain religious folklore and have never been considered canonical by the Christian church.

Quarto

Literally,  "one quarter,"  referring to manuscripts or books having four leaves (eight pages) to the sheet,  that is 9 1/2 by 12 inches (scale of American Library Association).

Recension

The systematic and critical revision of a text or composition.

Rescriptus

A manuscript that has been rewritten over lettering that had been erased;  it is a palimpsest that has been rescripted.

Revelation

An objective disclosure of  truth by God,  and used in contrast to interpretation,  which is the subjective understanding of a revelation.

Revision

A text or composition that has been reviewed and has under-gone some necessary changes or corrections.

Sanctus

"Holy, holy, holy,"  opening of a hymn sung by the angels in Isaiah 6:3
In the 15th century: an ancient Christian hymn of adoration sung or said immediately before the prayer of consecration in traditional liturgies.

Septuagint

Literally,  "The Seventy."
The Greek translation of the Old Testament allegedly done by some seventy scribes in Alexandria,  Egypt,  at about 250-150 B.C.  and symbolized by LXX.

Sopherim

Literally  "scribes."
They were Jewish scholars who worked between the fifth and third centuries B.C. to standardize and preserve the Hebrew text.

Tanakh

An acronym for  "TorahNevi'im,  and Kethuvi'im,"   used as the title for the Jewish Publication Society translation of  the Old Testament,  also called the New Jewish Version (NJV).

Tannaim

Literally  "repeaters"  or  "teachers."
These Jewish scribes succeeded the Zugoth and labored between the first century A.D. to around A.D. 200.
Their work can be found in the Midrash ("textual interpretation"),  which was later divided into Mishnah ("repetitions")  and  Gemara  ("the matter to be learned").

Testament

Next to the fact that the Bible is a  Biblos,  or one book,  the most obvious fact is that it is divided into two parts called Testaments.  The Hebrew word for testament is  berith,  meaning "covenant,  or compact,  or arrangement between two parties."  The Greek word diatheke is often translated  "testament"  in the King James Version.
This is a poor translation and is one of the corrections made in newer versions of the Bible that regularly translate it as  "covenant."  The Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX),  translates the Hebrew word berith as diatheke,  thus showing the derivation of the Greek term.  The Old Testament was first called the Covenant in Moses' day (Exodus. 24:8).  Later,  Jeremiah announced that God would make a "new covenant"  with His people  (Jeremiah. 31:31-34),  which Jesus claimed to do at the Last Supper  (Matthew 26:28,  cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25;  Hebrews. 8:6-8).
Hence,  it is for Christians that the former part of the Bible is called the Old Covenant (Testament),  and the latter is called the New Covenant.  The relationship between the two covenants is well summarized by the famous statement of  St. Augustine:
"the Old Testament revealed in the New, the New veiled in the Old."

Or,  as another has put it,

"The New is in the Old contained, and the Old is in the New explained."

For the Believer, Christ is the theme of  both covenants (cf. Hebrews. 10:7;  Luke 24:27, 44;  John 5:39).

Thirteen of  the thirty-three times diatheke occurs in the New Testament it is translated  "testament"  in the King James Version (Englishman's Greek Concordance, p. 144).  Technically' however,  the English term "testament"  requires action on the part of  one person only (the one making the testament or will).
The heir's agreement is not necessary to the disposition of the testament.  That is not true of a covenant.

Tetragrammation

The Personal Name of God in the Old Testament consisting of four letters: YHWH.

Textual Criticism

Synonymous with "lower criticism."

Textus Receptus

The Greek text presumed to underlie the Authorized Version of 1611 (King James Version).
This text is basically that of  Erasmus and Stephen's third edition (1550).
It was named the Received Text in the introduction of the Elzevir Brothers' second edition (1633).
It is based on few early manuscripts and is opposed by Westcott,  Hort,  and all those who accept a "Critical Text."

Theopneustos

The English equivalent of  this Greek word is  "inspiration,"  which literally means  "God-breathed"
(see 2 Tim. 3:16).

Torah

The English transliteration of the Hebrew word for "law."
It refers to the first five books of the Old Testament.

Translation

The rendering of a composition or piece of  literature from any one language to another,  as contrasted with a version.

Transliteration

A letter-for-letter transposition of a word from one language to another.
Examples:
From Hebrew
From Greek
In English
- Messiah
- Christos (Christ)
- the translation of  both would be  "anointing",  "anointed"
From Greek
In English
- angelos (angel)
- the translation is  "messenger"

Transmission

The process by which the biblical manuscripts have been copied and recopied down through the ages.
It deals with the history of  the text from the autographs to the present printed Hebrew and Greek Testaments.

Uncial Manuscript

(or majuscule) - Literally, "inch high,"  referring to a manuscript written in formally printed large letters similar in size to capital letters.

Vellum

A fine quality writing material in ancient times,  usually pre-pared from calf or antelope skin.

Verbal Inspiration

The doctrine holding that the very words of  the Bible are vested with divine authority and not merely the thoughts or ideas.

Version

A literary composition that has been translated from its original language into another tongue.
Example:
New International Version (1973, 1978)
New American Bible (1970, 1983)

Vulgate

Literally,  "common"  or  "usual."
Generally the designation for the Latin translation of  the Bible made by Jerome in the fourth century A.D.

Zugoth

Literally,  "pairs"  of  textual scholars who worked during the second and first centuries B.C.
They were succeeded by the Tannaim.




Bibliography

 


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