Simplifying basic concepts for Christian living
I’m an American learning Korean. “Learning the Korean language is like studying a foreign language or something. It’s like they have a different word for everything,” is what my husband often says. There’s an entire language associated with Christianity too. I’m sure there are more than 30 church words you wish you understood but I’m sticking with a small list. I can tell you that I didn’t comprehend several of these regularly used church words until later in life. I recall learning most of these over the course of decades.
Here are 30 church words, in alphabetical order, explained in clear ways to help you better understand the pastor next Sunday morning.
Church Word #1: Atonement
Atonement: A covering for our sins. Jesus’ blood was the atonement for our sin so we can join him in heaven upon our death. Click here to learn the 2 ways the unconditional gift of atonement works a miracle in your life.
“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17
Church Word #2: Canon
Canon: The Old and New Testaments.
Church Word #3: Covenant
Covenant: A binding promise from God to man.
“‘I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’” Genesis 9:11
Church Word #4: Edification
Edification/Edify: to praise, build up, or lift up and strengthen, usually with words or song.
“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11
Church Word #5: Epistle
Epistle: Holy Spirit inspired letters. i.e., the Romans, the Epistle of Paul.
“For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.” 2 Corinthians 7:8
Church Word #6: Eucharist
Eucharist: Another name for the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Communion is the blood and body of Christ which you partake as a remembrance of what Christ did for you on the cross.
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” Luke 22:19-20
Church Word #7: Fornication
Fornication: Engaging in sex when not married to each other.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…”
Church Word #8: Intercession
Intercession: To intervene on behalf of another person or situation through prayer.
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Romans 8:34
Church Word #9: Justification
Justification/Justified/Justify: Through our faith in Christ, we are made right with God. Some say “Just-as-if-I-never-sinned.” To find out more about justification, check out my blog How to Know You are Radically Justified to God.
“…and by Him, everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39
Church Word #10: Laity
Laity: Non-clergy members of the church.
Church Word #11: Liturgy
Liturgy: A prescribed method or form of public worship.
Church Word #12: Manifestation
Manifestation: Something that becomes readily apparent by the eye or understood in the mind or heart.
“But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:13
Church Word #13: Omnipotent
Omnipotent: All-powerful God.
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3
Church Word #14: Omnipresent
Omnipresent: All-present God – everywhere, all the time.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Psalm 139:7
Church Word #15: Omniscient
Omniscient: All-knowing God.
“…in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” I John 3:20
Church Word #16: Ordained
Ordained: Chosen, authorized or endorsed with God’s approval for a specific spiritual calling.
“…He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” Acts 17:31
Church Word #17: Pentateuch
Pentateuch: The First five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Church Word #18: Reconciled
Reconciled/Reconciliation: To change the status of, restore, or to make right, a relationship with God or man. For an in depth understanding of reconciliation check out “You Need to Know the Remarkable Power of Reconciliation.”
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” 2 Corinthians 5:18
Church Word #19: Redeemed
Redeemed: To be bought or purchased to be reconciled and receive freedom.
‘And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation…’” Revelation 5:9
Church Word #20: Regenerated
Regenerated/Regeneration: Spiritually speaking, regeneration means new life.
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” Matthew 19:28
Church Word #21: Repent
Repent: To recognize your sin, confess, turn your life around, and go in the opposite direction toward God.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Acts 3:19
Church Word #22: Sanctification
Sanctification/Sanctified/Sanctify: To be set aside, or separated, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for use in God’s service.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:3
Church Word #23: Secular
Secular: This word refers to things that are worldly and not godly.
Church Word #24: Supplication
Supplication: To seek and ask humbly in prayer.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6
Church Word #25: Tithe
Tithe: Modern definitions state the tithe is 1/10th of your income given back to God through offerings to your church or other religious organizations.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi. 3:10
Church Word #26: Transgression
Transgression: A term used to describe the breaking of God’s law; to sin.
“So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” Leviticus 16:16
Church Word #27: Trespass
Trespass/Sin: Acting in a way that goes against the teachings of the Bible. Simply put, breaking God’s rules.
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” I John 3:4
Church Word #28: Tribulation
Tribulation: This term simply means “trouble.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Church Word #29: Trinity
Trinity: The Trinity is three persons in one, God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus. They are called “The Trinity.” There is no biblical reference to the actual word trinity, but throughout scripture, you can find them together. In Genesis God used the spoken Word, who is Jesus Christ, to create life.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.And God said, Genesis 1:1-3a
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3
Church Word #30: Unregenerate
Unregenerate: The natural state of man before salvation and sanctification.
All the church words you wish you understood may never be exhaustive. However, I pray that it will give a simple understanding of some of the words you’ll hear coming from the mouth of your pastor and lay leaders. If you are a mature Christian, you’ll be wise to explain in better detail words that new Christians see as a foreign language.
While learning Korean, if my teacher had started at the end of the book I would never have come for my 2nd lesson. May it be a reminder that mature Christians need to be sensitive to those around them who are just beginning to learn and understand their new language.