Define key terms used about the Bible

Words About the Bible

What do they really mean?


Christian Spirituality > Word Meanings >
Words About the Bible

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There's also a PDF booklet of the pages on scripture, including most of these definitions.

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ver.: 02 October 2012


How To Say What The Bible Means To Christian Faith

There are lots of words that Christians use for describing what the Bible means to them, their teachings, their faith, and the Christian way(s) of life. They're often found in statements of faith and debates about the Bible. Some of these terms are badly abused, others aren't used anywhere near enough, and a few words are being offered here as alternatives to the usual terms. They're all used in such a way that anyone who didn't have a drill sergeant for a Sunday School teacher would find it hopeless to understand. So, here I go, trying to succeed where others have failed for 2000 years, to slay the Fire-Breathing Jargon.

Christians read the Bible to learn what God says through it about God, ourselves, and our world. This is done through the story of the Israelites, of the earliest Christians, and most importantly of all, through what was told about Jesus of Nazareth's life, death, and return to the living, by those who were there, or those they directly told it to. We look to the Bible so the Spirit can show us what it is to follow Jesus the Christ. We look to the Scriptures to sort out our own lives and deeds, as individual persons, as families, and as a gathered fellowship of followers of Jesus.

The purpose of each definition is that you come to understand a deeper meaning for the word when you hear it or see it used, and when you use them yourself. The better-known terms have much nuance to them, but people find it so easy to use them carelessly. The lesser-known terms may point to a way past the usual arguments about the Bible, to a more helpful point of view. Try this: look at the terms below. Maybe you see one and say, "why would they say that about the Bible?" Or, "what is ...?" Or, maybe "yeah, right..." or "whatever...". Click on it and see; the word may not mean quite what you think. You might even already think this about the Bible but didn't have a word for it. Please give it a try.


Describing the Role of the Bible