Monday, February 18, 2008

Ephesus: Dictionaries, Part 2

Some weeks ago I posted an article on dictionaries, especially Bible dictionaries.

In that article, I mentioned some things I require of a Bible dictionary, like it must have pictures, and around 5000 or more entries. In addition, before I recommend a Bible dictionary, I check some of the words in it to insure it isn't way out in left field theologically. (The good news is that all of the dictionaries I have found so far meet this test, except the one that didn't have all of the words)

Currently, I look up the following seven words and read their definitions. They are essential to the central theme of the Biblical, and must be right to preclude some of the distortions of Biblical teachings that were common until the 70's.

Here are the seven words I currently look up:
- baptism - sin - Jesus - principalities
- wine - profane - elect(ion)

In addition to the above two tests for dictionaries, I have noticed there are several words that most dictionaries do not do justice. Many times the dictionary (even a Christian dictionary) will list the correct definition along with several popular but less correct definitions without distinction, just because those lesser definitions are used frequently in modern times. Words in the Bible have very specific meanings, and their dilution in today's language is an unfortunate side effect of our culture.

Here is a list of words and definitions I believe a beginning Bible student should know without having to rely on modern dictionaries. In the future, I plan to have a list of vocabulary words at the end of most articles, with definitions that will reduce confusion for the student.

Epistle - This is an old english term for a letter of serious matter. If you did indeed look up all of the words in Ephesians, you may have already found this one.

Church - Many people think this is a building. In the Bible, this word ALWAYS refers to a group of believers, or to all believers.

Fold - In old times, this was a protective corral, used to keep sheep safe from wolves and such, especially at night. To be in the "fold" means to have the safety of the group, under the watchful eye of the Shepard.

Love - NOT an emotion. This may be one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. In virtually every instance, this word refers to decisions, work, and actions. It means "to do that which benefits the person who is loved." For instance, when a man is told to Love his wife - it is a command to do that which will benefit his wife.

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