A question that seeks a precise and accurate wording of a theological concept or practice.

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60
votes
12answers
9k views

When the Bible talks about wine does it mean alcoholic wine?

In discussions I have had in the past over the acceptability of a Christian drinking alcohol I have heard that some 'dry' believers say that the wine in the Bible was not wine as we know it commonly ...
18
votes
14answers
9k views

What exactly does it mean that Jesus Christ is the son of God?

What does it mean to a Christian that Christ is the son of God? On the one hand, obviously, the normal biological meaning of son does not apply. On the other hand, "we are all children of God", but ...
17
votes
4answers
454 views

What is “faith?”

The Bible and Christians talk about faith a lot. Matthew 12:32 talks about "faith as a mustard seed" for instance. I've heard many Christians say things like "I don't have enough faith," or "I want ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the difference between Evangelical and Protestant?

Just the other day, I heard somebody talking politics and contrasted the Roman Catholic church's political influence with "the Evangelical vote". In this sense, as is often done in US media, the word ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

What does it mean to “be saved”

It seems common in Christian communities (and in questions on this site) for people to say they have been saved. What does someone mean by this when they say it? How would I know that I have been ...
14
votes
5answers
78k views

What is the difference between a pastor, a priest, and a minister?

No, this is not the start of a joke about a bunch of people walking into a bar. Rather, I thought it would be helpful to clarify various titles that people give to leadership roles in churches.
14
votes
2answers
32k views

When did “tithing” come to mean “giving 10% of your gross income to the Church”?

I know the word "tithe" has "tenth" built into it, and so some Christians assume that every usage of the word "tithe" in Scripture is referring to "giving 10% of your gross income to the church." But ...
14
votes
2answers
187 views

Can Christianity be objectively defined?

Orthodox Christianity is considered to be what comes from the Old and New Testament but many denominations/religions call themselves Christians without adhering strictly to the Bible as we know it ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the reasons for calling oneself a “follower of Jesus” rather than a Christian?

In the last several years, I've noticed a trend of people who reject the label "Christian," and instead prefer to use terms like "Christ follower" or "follower of Jesus." (Not to be confused with ...
13
votes
3answers
6k views

What were the Nephilim, and what role did they play in the Bible beyond just being mentioned?

Did the Nephilim that are mentioned in Genesis 6:4 do anything beyond just existing?
13
votes
3answers
480 views

What is an apostle?

Often the apostles are referred to as "the twelve apostles" - the twelve disciples called by name by Jesus. But Paul called himself and Barnabus apostles. Were Paul and Barnabus really apostles?
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What does it mean to be “weak in faith”?

There have been some questions and answers which discuss the strength of one's faith such as Why do OEC discount the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis? There is also a question which asks ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

When talking about the Trinity, what does “persons” mean?

The triune God is defined as three persons equal in nature. What does "persons" mean in this statement? Can the word "persons" be replaced with "personalities" or "roles"?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the Protestant belief known as “faith alone”?

"Faith Alone"? If you have heard the term "Protestant" before, chances are you have also heard the saying "faith alone." The way Protestants speak of "faith alone" might almost give one the ...
11
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between a covenant and a contract?

Specifically as used by the Reformed theological tradition, what is meant by the term "covenant"? How is this different than other forms of agreements under assorted names in English like contract, ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

What do Christians mean by “holy”?

What is the meaning of the word holy from a Christian viewpoint? I observed that the term is used for the gods, especially the Holy God (Father) and Holy Ghost; persons, such as the holy apostles, ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between a dogma, a doctrine, an infallible statement, an ex cathedra statement, etc.?

There are a variety of terms used in the Catholic Church to refer to particular statements or beliefs. Here are a number of some such terms: Dogma Doctrine Infallible statement Infallible papal ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it fair to say that Baptists have a liturgy?

One distinctive of Baptists and many other congregational churches is that they have no prescribed method of worship. Unlike, say, an Episcopalian or a Roman Catholic, there is no prayer book and no ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What is meant by “God is Omnipotent”?

I'm questioning my own understanding of the term "Omnipotence" in response so a comment on one of my answers. In the comment, the poster included a definition of Omnipotence taken from the Wikipeda ...
8
votes
2answers
542 views

What is the “eschatological tension”

I was listening to a recorded sermon on my way to work today and the preacher mentioned the eschatological tension. Is there a good definition of what the eschatological tension is? If it makes a ...
7
votes
2answers
457 views

What does “amen” mean?

One of the most common responses that Christians make is to say the word "amen". Here's an example from a Mass: Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. ...
7
votes
4answers
250 views

What is “heresy”?

I have seen the word "heresy" used on this site a lot recently (and have used it myself a couple of times in jest) but I was wondering if someone could explain the meaning of this term as it is used ...
7
votes
1answer
79 views

What exactly is hermeneutics and exegesis?

Two terms that get thrown around on this site a lot are 'hermeneutics' and 'exegesis.' To the layman, what exactly do these terms mean?
7
votes
5answers
893 views

How does the New Testament define a Christian and a non-Christian, a brother in Christ and not a brother in Christ?

How does the New Testament define a brother in Christ? According to the New Testament, what makes a human a brother in Christ? And also, according to the New Testament, which people are definitely not ...
7
votes
6answers
558 views

Is lust sometimes not sinful? [closed]

In Webster's dictionary lust is defined as: a strong feeling of sexual desire OR a strong desire for something. Is this is the same as the Greek and Hebrew definitions? If so, is lust always sin ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the significance of the Bible to Christianity?

What exactly is the significance of the Bible to Christianity? Is Christianity defined by the Bible? If so, is belief in the Bible the most important (or foundational) belief in Christianity? Is ...
6
votes
4answers
332 views

You might be a “fundamentalist” if ___

What sources could one appeal to if trying to argue if a doctrine was or was not consistent with fundamentalism? The question What is fundamentalism? identifies the historical source and some of the ...
6
votes
1answer
74 views

Do Catholics have an “Apocrypha” or just a “Bible”?

Pardon my ignorance here, but I am just wondering if the Apocrypha is labeled as such by Catholics? To clarify, a Protestant would refer to the 66 books of Protestant Scripture as "the Bible", and to ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the difference between Natural Law and Divine Law?

In Catholic understanding, there is a divine law and a natural law. Based on my reading, it seems like Divine Law = Revelation (as a Protestant would call it) and Natural Law = what you could deduce ...
5
votes
7answers
13k views

What is God's definition of forgiveness?

I have wrestled with this topic for years and have come to all sorts of conclusions along the way. Please, I'm searching for what others perceive is God's definition of forgiveness. If we are ...
5
votes
4answers
278 views

Catholic view of Biblical saints

Saints are present throughout the Bible. In my understanding, Protestant use of this word applies to all believers, which I understand is the New Testament (and OT?) meaning of the word. In my ...
5
votes
6answers
45k views

What is the Biblical definition of “prophecy”?

In common parlance, prophecy is often considered to be "predicting the future." For some, it conjures up images of telephone psychics and the like. Others might envision a crystal ball, or a Jamaican ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

What is Lordship Salvation?

I have heard the term "Lordship Salvation" several times now, including in an answer I read recently. Can anyone explain to me what this is? Is this the official position of any major churches? Is ...
5
votes
1answer
250 views

Who is Ba'al from the Old Testament?

Judges 6:31 NIV But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

How to define an independent interference by God?

The most clear evidence when people state their belief is experience. The reasons vary: logical expressions of belief is somewhat inverted (read this paragraph) experience is connected to intimate ...
4
votes
5answers
192 views

What is the Biblical definition of what makes one a Christian? [closed]

Many religious leaders/organizations place the "cult" label on groups of people or churches who interpret the Bible differently than them. If we claim the Bible as our only authoritative source for ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the “gospel” supposed to mean?

What is the gospel supposed to mean? In what ways can it be used? What do Christians generally mean when they use the term "gospel"?
4
votes
3answers
186 views

What are the main differences between the Catholic and Protestant definitions of Biblical inerrancy?

Given the Protestant definition in this selected answer to From a Fundamentalist standpoint, what does the phrase “Inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God” mean? | @DavidStratton, What are the ...
3
votes
5answers
156 views

Is Christianity the sum of the actions and beliefs of its adherents or a set of actions and beliefs defined by the Bible? [closed]

This question is closely related to those regarding the definition of a Christian that was also discussed on the meta site here and here. While I consider that question answered and outside the scope ...
3
votes
3answers
771 views

What is the definition of 'free will' as explained in the Bible?

Reading a question on this site I suddenly realized that I do not know what 'free will' means. I cannot find a definition in other questions asked and my philosophy books clouded the whole issue. ...
3
votes
1answer
299 views

What is the background of the words “notitia,” “fiducia,” and “assensus” and how do they relate to the biblical notion of “faith”?

The book, "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview" (page 18) describes notitia, fiducia, and assensus as being one of three essential elements that make up the biblical notion of "faith." ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the “evangelical counsels”?

The question Was "love your enemies" ever included among the evangelical counsels? mentions evangelical counsels. In the question James T mentions that they are something to be kept by ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the Christian definition of “The Messiah”?

Christianity is the religion of people who consider Jesus to be "The Messiah". But what is the Christian definition of "The Messiah"? Since Christian theology is based on the notion of "The ...
2
votes
5answers
431 views

What is the opposite of sin?

We have: Good - Evil Love - Hate Virtue - Vice Bless - Curse Righteous - Wicked Obedience - Disobedience _____? - Sin I don't mean sin as a general disposition, or original sin. I mean a deed ...
2
votes
3answers
803 views

Is there any specific difference between a “Christian” and a 'true' disciple of Christ? [closed]

What is the Biblical definition of "disciple"? Can you be "merely" a 'follower of Christ' or a 'Christian' and not be a 'disciple'?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How do you define a Christian or a brother in Christ? [closed]

How do you define a Christian? How do you define what kind of person is your brother in Christ and what kind of person is not?
1
vote
1answer
128 views

Definition of “Prince” in Bible?

Quite often "prince" and "princes" are mentioned in the scriptures. Of particular interest are expressions such as these: "Prince of Persia" "Prince of Peace" And similar expressions - ...
1
vote
1answer
208 views

What significance did the “heart” possess in the ancient cultures contemporary with the biblical era?

I've had as hard a time with the concept of the heart as I've had with the concept of the soul. Currently I am thinking the heart is a reference to what your goals are and what you direct your ...
1
vote
1answer
194 views

What does light mean to a Catholic? and how does it expose the deeds of darkness? [closed]

What is light? and how does it expose the deeds of darkness? John 3:20-21 NKJV For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

What is a “child of God” from a scholarly perspective? [closed]

What is a "child of God" from a scholarly perspective? According to Dr. Donald Fairbairn's book Grace and Christology in the Early Church, it describes "To be a child of God is to remain a finite, ...