Pulled from the draft file…

I began compiling this list last spring. The following are the redefinitions I use of certain terms in order to not see familiar scriptures through the grid in which they were taught to me. I find it helpful to remind myself of the definitions listed here when I encounter these terms in order to challenge assumed interpretations of certain passages. In other words, when I see these words in scripture, these are the definitions that I substitute.  Since I compiled this list, I have encountered others who use similar definitions of the terms on the list.

  • sin – alienation, the blindness we were born into, acting out of blindness rather than light and truth
  • repentance – turning toward truth, new understanding
  • righteousness – God’s faithfulness to who He is
  • holiness – wholeness, completion
  • judgment – restoring things to the way they were intended to be
  • sabbath – the rest and peace of God, shalom
  • revelation – God revealing Himself (not facts)
  • faith – the obedience of belief, to live (act) as though a thing is true
  • grace – empowerment to live by the Spirit and life of Christ within
  • church – the people of God
  • religion – things we do to try to earn what is already ours
  • gospel – the good news of restored relationship – God, man, and creation
  • salvation – rescue
  • new birth, conversion – awakening to the reality of our reconciliation
  • evangelism – sharing the message of reconciliation
  • heaven – the realm of God’s presence
  • hell – the darkness of living alienated from God and His love

As I said, this is my personal mental list, subject to revision.  We each have an underlying picture and definition about these words that shapes our understanding of God and His story.

Your thoughts?


17 thoughts on “Glossary

  1. I like the concept. It tends to bring new life to familiar passages, much as ‘The Message’ does for me.

    Even if the new definitions aren’t complete, they still help focus the attention on a different facet of these words, and on the larger picture of our faith.

    1. Exactly Al. I hope I was clear that these aren’t the “one true definition,” but simply mental notes to help me see and hear scripture as I read it.

  2. On grace

    I wouldn’t ever want remove “unmerited favour” from the concept of grace. God loves you because He chose to love you and nothing you can do can separate you from that love.

    1. Very true Leighton. For me personally, “unmerited favour” is a given. In order to kick myself out of automatic when I’m reading, I try to remind myself that grace includes so much more than the grace which saves. That isn’t to deny or make light of that aspect, but to make myself look deeper into the meaning of grace.

  3. i like the new layout.
    i would say be careful that those with whom you are speaking know of these definitions lest the conversation become muddled.

    Layman’s Terms is changing addresses from blog.timordei to http://www.timordei – can you update your blogroll when you get the chance? thanks and merry Christmas!

    1. James,
      Too late for the warning. I think most conversations are muddied by varying definitions of terms.

      I’ve been lax in my blog housekeeping. I will get your new address on the blogroll.

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  4. Yes, this is excellent. I do this too by making a mental bumper sticker for different words, not complete definitions but phrases to trigger thought.

    Here’s a couple of my own:

    -Love: grace + truth
    -Glorify: to show off
    -Thankfulness: my motivator for loving and glorifying God

    Thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll try to post a similar list on my blog soon.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  5. Toby,
    Off the top of my head . . .

    sanctification – the transformation that is a result of sharing in the love of the father, son, and spirit, being washed in love.

  6. My last months of the year were very full so I never responded to your request for my definition of sin in an earlier post. Even though this is late as well I will provide it here: failing to be fully human. By this I mean that being created in the image of God we have “missed the mark” (sin) of bearing that image as God intended at creation. This is what it means to be fully human: Bear the image of God as he intended. So, for me, sin is not the violation of law or having an evil thought. These are merely manifestations of the basic problem of failing to be fully human. Our focus on the manifestations misses the mark as well. Merely correcting the manifestations does not correct the underlying problem. This is why we must be transformed into the image of Christ…Jesus is the only human to bear the image of God perfectly. The point is not that Jesus perfectly complied with the law, although he did, but that he was perfectly human as God intended as well as being perfectly God.

    On your definition of hell, N. T. Wright has an interesting thought. He speculates that for those who fail to follow Jesus hell will mean being stripped completely of all vestiges of being an image bearer of God and becoming as the other animals of creation.

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