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Christianese

Urban Dictionary defines Christianese as “the language spoken by Christians. It makes no sense to anyone unfamiliar with biblical texts, but earns you major points in the eyes of other Christians, because it means your words are hella holy.”

OK, so the definition above, definitely NOT what Christianity is about! Christianese does not make us “hella holy” nor does it “earn you major points.” Using Christianese by no means makes you any more or less of a Christian.

Maybe you’re like me: you didn’t become a Christian at five, and you didn’t read your bible every day growing up. You get confused in bible study and church, and it freaks you out when you get asked a question you don’t understand. I hear you! I think sometimes, the reason we run from bible study is precisely this: scary and confusing language. I want you to know, first, the message of the gospel does not have to get lost in “Christianese,” in Christian Slang. The message of Christianity is this:

God so loved the world that the gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

Here’s a little dictionary I created to help you better understand “Christianese.” My list does not have all the answers, but I hope it will help answer some of your questions. Remember, you don’t have to know what all of the words mean to be a follower of Jesus, it’s a resource if you desire to understand more in-depth into the words overheard between Christians.

Christianese Dictionary for the New Believer:

  • Agape= Unconditional love
  • The body of Christ= Christian people, the people of the Christian Church. Jesus Christ is the “head” of the body.
  • Born Again= Our lives change when we become Christians. We love differently because of the way Christ loves us and we act differently, kinder, toward others. It is a change of heart.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
    • John 3:1-21
  • Bread of Life= “Jesus is not only the Provider, but He is also the Bread of life who never runs out and gives you exceedingly, abundantly more than you can imagine” – Lysa Terkeurst in Finding I Am
    • “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”” – John 6:35
  • Communion= We take communion to remember Jesus is all we need. Communion is drinking wine and eating bread in remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, shedding His blood for us, and the fact that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the bread of life.
    • Luke 22:19-20 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
    • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
    • What is Communion and why do we do it?
  • Conversion= turning toward God, deciding to follow His word.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
  • Discipleship=  an intentional friendship with another believer who is one step ahead of you in your faith. It could be in a group or one-on-one. Intentional friendship, or discipleship. means meeting together often, usually weekly, to do life together and get into God’s Word. Discipleship doesn’t always look like going to a coffee shop and reading scripture, it could be going grocery shopping with a family, observing interactions and discussing scripture in the car. See my post “What is Discipleship?” for more information on this topic.
  • Fast= Abstaining from something, usually food or social media, to focus on God and realize our dependence on Him.
    • Acts 14:23 “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”
  • “Fear God”= To fear God doesn’t mean to fear God as a prisoner fears his or her guards. Fearing God is essentially respecting Him and that He knows what is best for your life. Think of the respect a child has for his or her parents: it is respect to follow their leadership, it is because the child knows his or her parents love and want the best for him or her. God loves you and wants the best for you too, and He desires your respect.
  • Fellowship= Spending time with other Christians to grow, share in the pain and share in the joy.
  • Fruit= Results of someone’s faith, often the works they do (good, or bad).
    • Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
      inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
      Matthew 12:33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known for its fruit.
      John 15:16“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
  • Good News= the true life given in Jesus.
  • Gospel= The message of Christ coming to Earth to save the world. Also used when referring to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (the first four books of the new testament in the bible).
  • Grace= An undeserving gift from God. Pride says “I can do it myself.” Other religions say, “work to get to God.” Jesus says: “It is finished” (John 19:30). As a Christian, we get to God because of what He did on the cross, not by works.
    • Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by work so that no one can boast.”
  • “Guard your heart”= Protect your heart (thoughts+ feelings) by making your choices + desires align with the word of God.
    • “When Solomon refers to guarding the heart, he really means the inner core of a person, the thoughts, feelings, desires, will, and choices that make that person who he/she is. The Bible tells us that our thoughts often dictate who we become (Proverbs 23:7; 27:19). The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not simply his actions or words. That is why God examines the heart of a man, not simply his outward appearance and what he appears to be (1 Samuel 16:7)” (gotquestions.org)
    • Proverbs 4:23
    • Philippians 4:7
  • Quiet Time= Time when a person is “quiet” with God. Quiet time is anything from prayer, to worship, to reading your bible. Many Christians try to do this daily, as it helps them feel connected to God and gain understanding.
    • Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” <- Meaning, spend time reading Gods word and praying to understand His kingdom. Seek first God, and you will gain understanding.
    • Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
  • Repentence= Sincerely apologizing to God with intent to not repeat the sin and turning back to Him.
  • Salvation= Deliverance from the consequence of sin: Hell.
    • “A definition of the Christian doctrine of salvation would be “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.” Salvation is available in Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security” (gotquestions.org).
    • “The theological definition of “salvation” is spiritual rescue from sin and death”(bibletoday.com).
    • John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
    • Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
    • Acts 28:28
  • Sanctification= To continually make holy and sacred, to set apart for a grand purpose
    • We are set apart in Christ Jesus. As we journey in our Christian life, we become more and more like Jesus Christ, sinning less and loving more.
    • 2 Timothy 2:21 “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
    • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
    • 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    • Romans 6:1-23
  • Saved= Deliverance from sin (similar to salvation, which is deliverance from the consequences of sin).
    • “A dictionary definition of “save” in a theological sense is, to deliver from sin” (bibletoday.com).
    • John 3:17-21
    • Romans 10:9  “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
    • Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
    • Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
    • Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
  • Sheep= We, people, are like sheep who are lost without our Shepherd; we wander and are easily led astray.
    • Psalm 100:3 “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
    • Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
  • Shepherd= Jesus is our Shepherd. He laid his life down for us, the sheep. He guides us, runs after us when we are led astray, and cares deeply about us.
    • John 10:11-15 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
    • Luke 15:4-7  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
  • Sheep Gate= Jesus gives us access to God, and therefore to Heaven, by becoming the “access pass” we need to pass through the gate. Let’s think about this: God is holy, we are not. How can we get to the Holy God? Through Jesus.
    • John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
    • Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Sin= Rejecting God; anything that goes against what God desires.
    • James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
  • Unspoken Prayer Request= Someone wants you to pray for them, but would rather not say what the prayer is.
    • An example of how you could pray for someones unspoken prayer request: “Lord you know what is on ____’s heart. You know _____’s prayer. I pray that you will move mountains and show _____ your peace and mighty power. I pray ____’s prayer will be answered. Thank you. Amen.”
  • Washed by the Blood= The death of Jesus Christ on the cross washed us clean from sin + saved us from the consequences we should receive. He died the death we should have received for us to be washed white as snow, justified in front of God.
    • 1 John 1:7 ESV “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
    • Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.”
    • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

*This dictionary is a work in progress, I know there are more phrases and words I need to add. If you would like to contribute, please text or email me!

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