Bible Study Glossary

I've always been curious about theology and religions. I was raised in a christian home, and have studied related terminology in church and Sunday school. Aside from a personal interest, I think the structure of this terminology might make an interesting test of a javascript hangman game engine from a long ago programming project. Please report any issues here. Enjoy!

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Terms Continued

parousia
A Greek term, which literally means "coming" or "arrival," used to refer to the second coming of Christ. The notion of the parousia is an important aspect of Christian understandings of the "last things."
patristic
An adjective used to refer to the first centuries in the history of the church, following the writing of the New Testament (the "patristic period"), or scholars writing during this period (the "patristic writers"). For many writers, the period thus designated seems to be c.100-451 (in other words, the period between the completion of the last of the New Testament writings and the Council of Chalcedon).
Pelagianism
An understanding of how humans are able to merit their salvation which is diametrically opposed to that of Augustine of Hippo, placing considerable emphasis upon the role of human works and playing down the idea of divine grace.
perichoresis
A term relating to the doctrine of the Trinity, often also referred to by the Latin term circumincession. The basic notion is that all three persons of the Trinity mutually share in the life of the others, so that none is isolated or detached from the actions of the others.
Pietism
An approach to Christianity, especially associated with German writers in the seventeenth century, which places an emphasis upon the personal appropriation of faith, and the need for holiness in Christian living. The movement is perhaps best known within the English-language world in the form of Methodism.
postliberalism
A theological movement, especially associated with Duke University and Yale Divinity School in the 1980s, which criticized the liberal reliance upon human experience, and reclaimed the notion of community tradition as a controlling influence in theology.
postmodernism
A general cultural development, especially in North America, which resulted from the general collapse in confidence of the universal rational principles of the Enlightenment.
Protestantism
A term used in the aftermath of the Diet of Speyer (1529) to designate those who "protested" against the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. Prior to 1529, such individuals and groups had referred to themselves as "evangelicals."
radical Reformation
A term used with increasing frequency to refer to the Anabaptist movement - in other words, the wing of the Reformation which went beyond what Luther and Zwingli envisaged.
Reformed
A term used to refer to a tradition of theology which draws inspiration from the writings of John Calvin (1510-64) and his successors. The term is generally used in preference to "Calvinist."
Sabellianism
An early trinitarian heresy, which treated the three persons of the Trinity as different historical manifestations of the one God.
sacrament
In purely historical terms, a church service or rite which was held to have been instituted by Jesus Christ himself. Although Roman Catholic theology and church practice recognize seven such sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, marriage, ordination, penance, and unction), Protestant theologians generally argue that only two (baptism and eucharist) were to be found in the New Testament itself.
schism
A deliberate break with the unity of the church, condemned vigorously by influential writers of the early church, such as Cyprian and Augustine.
scholasticism
A particular approach to Christian theology, associated especially with the Middle Ages, which lays emphasis upon the rational justification and systematic presentation of Christian theology.
Scotism
The scholastic philosophy associated with Duns Scotus.
Scripture principle
The theory, especially associated with Reformed theologians, that the practices and beliefs of the church should be grounded in Scripture. Nothing that could not be demonstrated to be grounded in Scripture could be regarded as binding upon the believer. The phrase sola scriptura, "by Scripture alone," summarizes this principle.
Septuagint
The Greek translation of the Old Testament, dating from the third century BC. The abbreviation LXX is generally used to refer to this text.
Sermon on the Mount
The standard way of referring to Christ's moral and pastoral teaching in the specific form which it takes in chapters 5-7 of Matthew's gospel.
soteriology
The section of Christian theology dealing with the doctrine of salvation (Greek: soteria).
synoptic gospels
A term used to refer to the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The term (derived from the Greek word synopsis, "summary") refers to the way in which the three gospels can be seen as providing similar "summaries" of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
synoptic problem
The scholarly question of how the three synoptic gospels relate to each other. Perhaps the most common approach to the issue is the "two source" theory, which claims that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, while also drawing upon a second source (usually known as "Q"). Other possibilities exist: For example, the Grisebach hypothesis treats Matthew as having been written first, followed by Luke and then Mark.
theodicy
A term coined by Leibnitz to refer to a theoretical justification of the goodness of God in the face of the presence of evil in the world.
Thomism via Thomae
The scholastic philosophy associated with Thomas Aquinas.
transubstantiation
The medieval doctrine according to which the bread and the wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ in the eucharist, while retaining their outward appearance.
Trinity
The distinctively Christian doctrine of God, which reflects the complexity of the Christian experience of God. The doctrine is usually summarized in maxims such as "three persons, one God."
two natures
A term generally used to refer to the doctrine of the two natures, human and divine, of Jesus Christ. Related terms include "Chalcedonian definition" and "hypostatic union."
Vulgate
The Latin translation of the Bible, largely deriving from Jerome, upon which medieval theology was largely based. Strictly speaking, "Vulgate" designates Jerome's translation of the Old Testament (except the Psalms, which was taken from the Gallican Psalter); the apocryphal works (except Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, I and II Maccabees, and Baruch, which were taken from the Old Latin Version); and all the New Testament. The recognition of its many inaccuracies was of fundamental importance to the Reformation.
Zwinglianism
The term is used generally to refer to the thought of Huldrych Zwingli, but is often used to refer specifically to his views on the sacraments, especially on the "real presence" (which for Zwingli was more of a "real absence").

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