When Christians have been believers for a while, they start adopting more of the Christian lingo. For new believers, these new terms and language can get confusing. This is new to you and you’re not yet at the point where you understand everything.
This blog post seeks to break down some of the Christianese language for you.
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What is Christianese?
“Christianese” is a term that’s been made to describe Christian jargon and phrases. In short, it’s Christian lingo that people outside the Christian community wouldn’t understand.
It’s important we’re aware of when we’re speaking Christianese, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the lingo. I’ve found this to be an issue when it comes to evangelism.
Christian Terms and Definitions
In an effort to simplify terms, here are Christian terms and definitions for you. Each word is also linked to another website to give you a better understanding of the word and its meaning.
- Baptize: When someone says baptize or baptism, they’re often referring to water immersion. This is a practice Christians do to publicly declare their faith in Jesus.
- Born again: Being born again means God has saved you and you’ve become a new person as a result. Jesus talks about being born again with a man named Nicodemus (John 3:1-15).
- Christ: Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name. It’s actually a title that means Messiah or anointed one. The Old Testament speaks of someone who would be a savior and deliver (e.g., Isaiah 42:1, 61:1-3). Jesus fulfills this Messiah role. That’s why he’s called Christ.
- Church: Most people know what church means if you’re referring to the building. However, we learn in the New Testament that church actually refers to the people, rather than the building. As Christians, we are the church.
- Depravity: Depravity isn’t a word we find in the Bible. It’s a theological word used to describe our human nature.
- Disciple: Disciple means student. In that time period, this conveyed a student who would follow their teacher and
- Doctrine: Doctrine is another word that isn’t found in the Bible. It’s a theological word that refers to the teachings or beliefs taught by a church.
- Evangelism: Evangelism means sharing the gospel, which is the good news of salvation.
- Faith: Faith isn’t wishful thinking or blind belief as unbelievers may think. We’re told what faith is in the Bible. It states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
- Fornication: Fornication is premarital sex. This isn’t limited to sexual intercourse – any sort of sexual interaction between people before marriage. Fornication is a sin.
- Grace: Grace means unmerited favor. It’s a favor the person doesn’t deserve.
- Hedge of protection: Funny enough, this phrase isn’t found in the Bible. You can argue the concept is found in the Bible though. When people say this phrase, they typically are praying God will protect them/others.
- Idolatry: Idolatry is anything you love and put above God. Anything can become an idol.
- Messiah: see Christ for definition.
- Repentance: Repentance means turning away from sin and turning toward Christ. It’s a complete 180.
- Righteousness: Righteousness is doing what’s right in the sight of God. We’re called righteous when we put our faith in Jesus.
- Salvation: Salvation means you’ve been saved and delivered from sin and it’s ultimate destiny – hell.
- Saved: Being saved means God has saved you. You have been made right in God’s eyes and are in good standing with him because of Jesus. (see also born again for definition).
- Sin: Most would profess to be a good person, but when it comes down to it, we’re all bad people. Sin means missing the mark. We all sin – no one is perfect except God.
- Son of God: To be the Son of God simply means to be of God. Jesus is the Son of God in that he is of God. He has the same nature as God because he is God.
- Sovereignty: Sovereignty is a word used to often describe God. God is sovereign in that he’s in control of everything. He has the power to do whatever he wills.
- Theology: Theology simply means the study of God.
- Washed in the blood: This phrase isn’t found in the Bible but is used by Christians to refer to God’s sacrifice for us on the cross.
- Worship: Worship doesn’t simply refer to music but to reverence to God. We worship him through the way we live our lives.
These are the terms I’ve found to be confusing to new believers. I hope this has clarified some of the “Christianese” out there for you. Let me know if you have any other words you need clarification on!
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