Bible Definitions

NOTE: You will find many other definitions scattered throughout all my 107 teachings on this website.

I have made the definitions in this listing as simple as possible and as non-religious and non-theological sounding as possible—in plain English.

These definitions are not for every word, subject or topic in the Bible. They are simply a few definitions I have picked up that make sense to me after teaching the Bible and related subjects for many years.

I certainly do not expect you to agree with some of these definitions, but if they help you a little and clarify some things for you, I’ll be satisfied.Because I am finite, My awareness and understanding is always changing and growing, so some of these definitions might change with time.

All these definitions have their roots in the Bible’s original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I recommend you use a good Bible concordance to research these words and definitions for their supporting biblical references.

If someone brings to my attention that any of my definitions are incorrect, incomplete, or untrue, I will either update them or delete them.

Some of these definitions have been furnished to me by friends and other teachers of the Bible.

Abide: As in the phrase “abiding in Jesus, or Jesus and his Word abiding in me.” The awareness that one is completely settled in permanently, and living eternally “at home,” in Father God’s heart of all-embracing, limitless love.

Adoption: Throughout the Roman Empire, when a child in the family reached the ages of 18 – 20, it was a custom for the parents to hold a public “adoption ceremony” announcing and proclaiming that the child was now mature enough to be involved in (or take over) the family business or profession. That’s the word picture of adoption in the Bible. It is not someone being adopted into the family of God; people are born again into the family of God, not adopted. My own view is that Jesus’ adoption ceremony occurred when He was baptized by John, God exclaimed He was pleased with Jesus, his Son, anointed Jesus with Holy Spirit, and then Jesus began working at the “family business” according to Acts 10: 38.

All: Everything. Complete. Entire. Total. Nothing Excluded. The whole quantity.

Belief: A response to revelation from God about the Bible and about Himself. It is not a self-motivated act of my will or mind to believe something, but simply a response to something Holy Spirit reveals to me.

Bible: God’s complete, final, written revelation of Himself to all humanity. Modern scientific research by epistomologists, linguists, phonologists, dialectologists, philologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, and similar areas of science inform us that most modern translations are very close to the meanings of the original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—approaching almost 99% accuracy. The Bible has stood the test of time! God gave us the Bible not merely to inform us, but to transform us. (Jesus is God’s final, complete living revelation of Himself to all humanity.) Jesus is the Living Word; the Bible is the written Word. The 2 words blend together as one.

Bless (or blessed): To be enriched. Joy-full. Fortunate. Delighted. Blissful. Content. To have genuine prosperity. Abundant goodness. The capacity to have permanent, eternal union and communion with God.

Born Again (also “born anew” or “born from above”): Upon a person’s invitation, Jesus enters a person’s spirit in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit, to remain inside that person for all time and eternity. When a person is born again, that person begins to become a completely new creation in their “inner being,” and God begins the lifelong process of restoring that person into his clear image as best seen in Jesus.

Breakthrough: A strikingly important advance. A sudden, unexpected, good event orchestrated by God on my behalf.

Communion: Coming-into-union…with God and with one another.

Day of the LORD: Events involved in what is commonly called the “end-times.” The actual end-times occurred from 66 to 72 A. D. when Jerusalem was destroyed, and over 1 million inhabitants of Jerusalem and the land of Israel were slaughtered by the Roman General Titus and his Legions.There are no horrible, devastating end-times yet to occur as believed and taught by many evangelical believers in Jesus. The only end-time event next to occur on God’s timetable is for Jesus to return to earth to consummate his Kingdom.

Death: When the human spirit exits the body to return to God.

Destiny: From behind the scenes, God is continually working out his ultimate purposes for a person.

Destruction (or Deconstruction): Reduce to rubble, always with the goal of reconstructing better and stronger. Religiously, it is to work at unlearning false and untrue dogma, to be replaced by that which is true in one’s relationship with God. It is to unlearn religion, to be replaced with a relationship with God.

Dogma (dogmatic): Any body of teaching or understanding that is authoritatively asserted by someone as being the only correct teaching or understanding. No human can have correct or complete knowledge, teaching, or understanding because every human is finite and limited. God alone can be dogmatic because He is infinite in knowledge and understanding. Rigid human dogma of any kind, especially religious dogma, is invariably wrong or lacking, because human knowledge is always in a state of growth, change, and transition.

Elect, Election (Also see Predestination): The Bible teaches that all people will eventually be redeemed, reconciled, and restored by God. However, God elects (chooses, selects) certain people to be born again in this life ahead of others. They are not the only ones to be born again, but only to be born again before others are, in order for God’s specific purposes to be worked out for those whom He pre-selects. Some people teach that only the “elect” will be saved eternally, while all others are pre-selected to suffer eternal conscious torment in hell. That is false teaching. Both election and predestination have nothing to do with whether or not people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Eternal LIFE: God’s eternal, self-existent, uncreated, incorruptible, imperishable, undiminishable, inexhaustible, limitless, boundless, abundant, measureless LIFE He places within humans now…not in some distant future in eternity. God takes away our sin and death and replaces them with his own eternal LIFE.

Eternity: (Also see “time”): A timeless state of being in which there is no time that goes on and on and on infinitely. Eternity has no beginning, no time, and no end. It is a state of being “in” God as part of his very Person, nature, and character. God “inhabits” eternity where everything is absolutely simultaneous to Him. It is a state of timeliness, not unending time.

Faith: God has given to every human faith fashioned and suited to their unique being. It is trusting God’s promises and his ability to bring to pass what He promises. It is not conjuring up some sort of inner force to cause God to act. It’s not faith itself that’s important; it’s whether or not I use it and how I use it. Exercising my faith should not make me sweat!

Favor: Behind the scenes, God is continually and consistently proactive in my life, working out all things in my life for my ultimate good. (Also see “Grace”)

Fear of the Lord: Proverbs 1: 7, for example. It is not being afraid of God. It is recognizing God’s sovereignty, majesty, power, and holiness, resulting in a desire to do good and a repugnance of evil.

Finished (as in Jesus’ bold statement, “It is finished!”) From the Greek word, teleo, meaning that something is not only terminated, but carried out to the fullest extent. To end, to complete, to execute, to discharge (a debt). When Jesus exclaimed “It is finished!” there was nothing more that could be done for all humankind, yet we humans keep attempting to finish what Jesus already finished.

Flesh: Living primarily by my own understanding, sense, reason, and logic without input from Holy Spirit.

Forgive (forgiveness): The supernatural inner power God gives a person to pardon, spare, or relieve someone from the burden of an offense, including oneself as well as others.

Friend: A person (or God) whom I know intimately and love.

Giving: (money) to God and receiving from Him: Rather than giving my own definition, I’m simply going to furnish a few of the most important biblical references about the matter. Genesis 22: 14. Malachi 3: 8 – 11. Luke 6: 38. Acts 10: 20: 35. 2 Corinthians 9: 7. Philippians 4: 19. 3 John 2. I cannot give a clearer definition than those references. I will add only this one thought in regard to giving and receiving: Receiving follows giving, not vice versa!

Glory of God: God’s tangible, feelable, knowable, experience-able, overwhelming presence; his magnificence, his light in darkness, his manifest presence and power.

God: The sole, self-existent, uncreated, eternal Spirit-being, having no beginning and no end. Creator of all. Lover of all. Sustainer of all. Redeemer of all. Reconciler of all. Restorer of all. Eternally present with all and in all. He is omni-present, omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, and omniparient (the Source of all things). He eternally exists as three distinct persons, yet one God: the Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. God is a verb!

Gospel: Good News that God is in the process of redeeming, reconciling, and restoring all creation—including all humanity—to Himself. It is not good news if God only redeems a small portion of humanity, while a large segment of humanity burns forever in hell.

Grace: God freely gives me what I don’t deserve.(Also see “Mercy”and “Favor”) God loves all humanity so much that He lavishes upon us his extravagant, unearned, and undeserved favor as a free gift, including complete forgiveness and authentic spiritual freedom in and through Jesus.

Hell (Also see Lake of Fire): An English word translated from 1 Hebrew and 4 Greek words: sheol, hades, Gehenna, and tartarus. In all 4 cases, the Hebrew and Greek words mean only “the place of the dead, where the dead go, the grave.” In no case do the original words means a place of eternal conscious torment in never-ending fires. Yes, the Bible teaches about a “lake of fire” in the Book of Revelation, but that lake of fire is not hell. The popularization of the concept of an ever-burning hell came from a widely accepted classic poem, The Divine Comedy,” written by by an Italian, Dante Alighieri, who lived from 1265 to 1321 A.D. His poem was widely accepted by the masses and by the powerful church of the time, and became deeply imbedded in Christian theology without much question or contradiction ever since.

Holy: To be whole(sounds like hol-y) It means to be whole, complete, and mature, not sinless, perfect, or “holier-than-thou.”

Holy Spirit: Jesus’ unbodied other Self. The Breath of God. God in action throughout all creation. Jesus described Holy Spirit as a flowing river of living water, not a lake or a pond. He is the Divine Encourager, Comforter, Transformer, and Influencer.

Hope: Confident, optimistic trust and expectation in God with the foundation of such hope being the good that God has already done for me through Jesus. Confident, optimistic expectation for God to do something good based on the good He has done in the past.

Human: A spirit-being sent here to have a temporary, mortal human experience; not a human sent here to have a spiritual experience.

Human Makeup: Humans are created having body, soul (mind), and spirit: an indivisible tri-une being just as God is an indivisible tri-une Being.

Human Will: The Bible does not teach that humans have “free will.” Instead, human will is finite, limited, stubborn, rebellious toward God, and self-centered instead of God-centered. God’s will always prevails, and always trumps human will. It is incorrect to think finite human will is stronger than God’s all-powerful will.

Image of God: Humans are visible representations of the invisible God.

Intercede, Intercession (Also see Prayer): To requisition God’s unlimited, inexhaustible, abundant resources to meet the overwhelming needs of people for whom I intercede. It is not praying hard to get God’s attention, but to release his intentions. Praying harder does not work. God does all the work in response to our prayer and intercession.

Judgment (Justice): On most occasions throughout human history, much human judgment has been vindictive and retributive, not restorative and rehabilitative. We humans—being finite—tend to anthropomorphize and ascribe human judgment and justice to God. God is infinite. His justice and judgment—completely unlike human judgment and justice—is always to completely rehabilitate and fully restore. In brief, God’s judgment and justice is always to make all wrong things right!

Kingdom of God: Jesus is presently reigning as King of the Kingdom of Heaven. He will return to consummate that Kingdom on earth, with Jerusalem as his headquarters and seat of government. I am learning to see myself, my environment, my circumstances, my milieu, people with whom I interact—everything!—around me as Jesus sees them…because He and I are one in my spirit. Some of what I “see” is not visible to my physical eyes, nor with my 5 senses. In brief, I want a “God’s-eye” view of all life. I am learning to perceive everything with my “spirit senses” from within me where Jesus abides eternally. This is becoming my default view, my normal view, my new perspective, my new perception of everything: my Kingdomview, because I am a citizen of Jesus’ Kingdom, not of any of this world’s kingdoms. “The higher I am, the more clearly I can see.”

Lake of Fire (Also see Hell): Found only in Revelation 19 and 20 in the Bible. It is not an ever-burning fire of eternal conscious torment as the contexts clearly indicate. It must be pointed out that it is a lake of fire and brimstone. Brimstone is an old word for sulphur from which we get the word “sulfur,” a cleansing, healing agent, not an agent of punishment. The lake of fire cleanses and heals, as well as punish rehabilitatively; it does not punish eternally.

Lord: Master. One who is in complete charge.

Mercy: God doesn’t give me what I deserve. (See “Grace.”)

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders: They are simply the “works” of God as Jesus performed and demonstrated them. They are God-caused events beyond all bounds of human reason and logic, defying comprehension, expectation, explanation, and experience—for the sole purpose of God lovingly drawing all people to Himself through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will inexorably draw all people to Himself.

Money: A medium of exchange. The lust or greedy grasping for money is the root of all evil—not money itself.

Neighbor: Defined as someone who is a “close-to-me” person. Spatial distance or geographical nearness have nothing to do with who is one’s neighbor. It is someone who is close-to-me relationally, whether that person lives next door or thousands of miles away. For example, I have a close-to-me neighbor who lives in Armenia, whereas I live in the USA.

Panentheism: Belief that God permeates everything in all creation.

Patience: Patience does not necessarily have anything to do with waiting. It is all about how I speak and act when something or someone (including God!) takes longer than I expected. Patience is one of his fruits of character Holy Spirit is growing within me.

Peace (Shalom): The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. It is far more than simple peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. It means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied, and natural and supernatural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joy-full wonder as it’s Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes all creation in which He delights. In brief, Shalom is the way things ought to be throughout all creation.

Perfect: Mature. Complete. Not flawless or sinless. The tri-une nature of humans (body, soul, spirit) functioning in complete harmony with one another.

Prayer (Also see Intercede):Ongoing, daily dialogue (not monologue) with God. The intimate dialogue between a loving Father and a well-loved child. It is not something I must work at, but is simply my daily, ongoing intimate relationship with my Father through Holy Spirit. Prayer doesn’t “work,” God works in response to prayer. I don’t need to pray hard; I need to pray easy, because God does the work, not my prayers.

Predestination: (Also see Elect): After God sovereignly elects (pre-selects) certain people to be saved ahead of others in this life, He then predestinates those elected people to work out his grand purposes for their lives, fulfilling their destinies. Both election and predestination have nothing to do with whether or not people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Prophecy (in the New Testament): To build up (edify), encourage, comfort, and console oneself or others. It is one of the supernatural gifts of Holy Spirit. It does not foretell, prognosticate, or predict the future for either individuals or groups.

Prosperity: (See Joshua 1) To have enough for one’s life journey. (See “Success)

Rapture: An imaginative, human-contrived teaching about the manner in which Jesus will return to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom. Jesus will return, but the Rapture-event is not found in the Bible.

Religion: A body of teaching and understanding—a system of living—by which people attempt to make themselves acceptable to God by performing certain actions or activities. A set of behavioral standards derived from a person’s religious beliefs. Instead of religion, God offers a relationship with Him through the completed work of Jesus.

Repent: To change my mind, my will, my emotions, my attitudes, my worldview. As I change those inner aspects of who I am, then Holy Spirit empowers me and helps me change my outward behavior based upon those inner matters for which I have repented.

Restoration: From the Greek word, apokatastasis. The best biblical illustration of God’s restoration of all things is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 24 – 24, the true end of the Bible.

Rewards: The Bible teaches that rewards are relationships, not trophies, certificates, and the like. Rewards are given for successfully carrying out the work God has assigned a person. Awards, although not mentioned in the Bible, are similar to rewards. Prizes are given based upon one’s prevailing attitudes while serving Jesus. Another word for reward is “recompense.”

Saint: Anyone in whom Jesus lives in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit. Not someone who is holy, particularly religious, or “holier than thou.”

Satan (also known as Devil, Adversary, Destroyer, Enemy, Tempter, Accuser, etc.): A spirit-being created by God for the specific purpose to test, tempt, and falsely accuse humans in terms of their relationship with God. He is not a powerful angel that sinned and was cast out of Heaven. He is a foe specifically created by God, was utterly defeated by Jesus on the cross, and no longer has power or authority in one’s life except authority specifically granted by God for God’s eternal purposes for that person. Jesus is complete Victor over Satan, and “in” Jesus we have complete victory over him, too. Satan is not our greatest enemy; we are our own greatest enemy! God does not save a relatively few people to spend eternity in Heaven, while Satan takes the majority of humanity to spend eternal conscious torment in hell.

Sin: Daily making conscious choices and decision to live a self-centered life instead of a God-centered life. Having a delusion of independence and a false confidence in my ability to control my own life without God. We do not sin because we are born sinners. We are born sinless and become sinners when we sin.

Sophiology: Study about the infinite wisdom of God.

Speak (words, speech): Words can cause either life or death in oneself (self-talk) or in another person.

Storehouse: (See Malachi 3: 10) A place where goods of value are stored awaiting distribution.

Success: (Joshua 1) To steadily and consistently journey toward accomplishing God’s purposes for one’s life, according to one’s potential. Success is a journey, not a destination. Potential consists of three characteristics: 1. One’s desires. 2. One’s God-given talents and gifts. 3. One’s education and training. (See “Prosperity”)

Suicide: When a person decides to prematurely give one’s life back to God.

Theology: The Bible is God’s complete, final, written revelation of Himself to all humanity. By means of both the Bible and creation, I study and learn about God’s person, character, and nature and the way He works throughout all creation, including his altogether good purposes for earth, and especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity.

(My Personal Theology): I am a Bible-believing follower of Jesus who has saved me from sin and death and replaced those with his own eternal LIFE. I hold to the generally accepted beliefs of orthodox biblical faith including belief that God is three persons, yet one God: the trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. I also believe—based solidly on the Bible—that God will ultimately redeem, restore, and reconcile all creation—including all humanity!–to Himself through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will inexorably draw all humanity to Himself.

Time (Also see “Eternity”): Time was created by God and has a beginning and an end; it is a measurable, fixed, limited, created phenomena. Time does not go on and on and on infinitely. Time will end at some point at the end of the finite ages and be “swallowed” up into eternity.

Truth: Jesus. All truth is embodied and personified in Jesus. Truth alone doesn’t set people free; it is knowing the truth (Jesus) that sets people free.

Victory: We don’t obtain victory by fighting against something or someone (Satan? Demons?). Jesus has already obtained victory for us—in this life and in death. We simply place our faith in his victory on our behalf. We are more than victorious conquerors through Jesus.

Wisdom: Jesus is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1: 30) Wisdom is personified as Jesus’ feminine qualities in Proverbs. Wisdom is twofold. First, it is comprehensive insight into what God is doing throughout all creation, including his altogether good purposes for earth, and especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity. Second, it is to make good choices and decisions based on that comprehensive insight. The two aspects of wisdom go hand in hand; one is no good without the other.

Witness: Always a noun in the Bible; not something we are to do; believers in Jesus are witnesses simply by the lifestyle they live.

Worship: Having love, reverence, admiration, and gratitude throughout one’s day—24/7–for God’s eternal, abiding Presence in one’s life. It is daily and eternally experiencing Emmanuel (God always fully with and in a person). It is simply being conscious that one is serving God by going about one’s daily routine with an awareness of God’s presence at all times and in all situations and circumstances. All of life is sacred; there is no difference between sacred and secular.

Wrath: What is considered to be God’s wrath is simply when God turns people over to their own destructive ways. See Romans 1, for example.


Bill Boylan

Revised and Updated January 2023

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