The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

Some Definitions of Words in the Bible

Compiled by Hadley Robinson from various sources

Concubine:  In ancient and modern times a woman who is essentially a mistress or companion.  She is more than a permanent household maid or servant because the man has intimate relations with her.  However, she is not a true wife as he does not become one flesh with her in the Biblical sense (c.f. Gen. 2:24) because the man's desire is for companionship and sexual intimacy and not also for children by her.  Nonetheless, she may still bear him children but they will not have any inheritance from the father.  Modern concubines are unlikely to bear children because of the widespread practice of contraception and/or abortion.  In modern times, the man may call her a wife but she is functionally a concubine.  The man may or may not make a covenant before God to be faithful to her.  On the other hand, a Biblical husband is duty bound to provide children to his wife (Genesis 30:1; Deut. 21:16).  The advent of widespread contraception and abortion has made modern concubinage particularly attractive and easy.  The modern western church accepts concubinage and, in this respect, has abandoned the historic Christian position.  Sexual intimacy is now a right rather than a sacred privilege granted by God under strict conditions e.g. for life irrespective of the acts of one or the other.  Like polygamy, concubinage is not something planned by God.  It is a distortion and denial of His original purposes for the woman which are to:

  1. Bring godly offspring into the world (Gen. 9:7; Mal. 2:15)
  2. Provide critical help to her man (Gen. 2:20)
  3. Be a life-long companion (Gen. 2:24)
  4. Obey her husband (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22)
  5. Be the recipient of the devoted love and undeviating loyalty of her husband (Eph. 5:25).

The humanists and, particularly, the feminists  have waged war on the foundations of orderly human society with a passion unequaled in Western history.  We are not likely to survive this cultural holocaust.

Covetousness, lust:  An attitude characterized by passionate craving or ardent desire. David coveted (lusted after) the wife of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba. Covetousness is evil because those who are possessed by it will do anything to get what they want, as David did. Achan coveted the treasures of Jericho. Covetousness, by its very nature, blinds us to the terrible consequences that result from it. When she saw that her son was dead, Athaliah “proceeded to destroy the whole royal family” (2 Kings 11:1) because she coveted the throne.  Covetousness is the precursor to all sorts of sin including murder and adultery (Matt. 5:28).  “By directing a man’s attention, [desires] can bring him completely under their domination. The recognition expressed in Rom. 6:12 that anyone who allows himself to be driven by his desires is already under the reign of sin recurs frequently in the Pauline writings (Eph. 2:3; 2 Tim. 3:6; Tit. 3:3).”  The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 1. 457. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, © 1967, 1969, 1971.)

Debauchery:  The unrestrained indulgence of greed or of animal lust in whatever one's passions desire.  It is also translated as “licentiousness.” In the NT it has the special emphasis of sexual excess.
 
Dissenters, Dissension:  Those who particularly like splitting away from others and forming their own group.  The Reformation spawned this evil in ways that would have been unimaginable to Paul and the Church Fathers.  Of paramount importance to Paul was that the Church be one body (Eph. 4:2).  Those who form groups within the body are demonstrating that they are functionally deists – that God is quite incapable of guiding the Church by removing, for example, bad leadership.  If the Bible is any guide, more often than not, bad leadership is appointed by God as a vehicle of discipline upon those ruled (Jer. 25:9; 27:8).  Peter would never have urged Christians to patiently suffer injustice for Christ’s sake if they were, on the other hand, to resist it with force (1 Pet. 2:19 ff.).  Imagine if the Reformers had generally suffered at the hands of evil men in the Church rather than press on with rebellion?  Many did patiently suffer but most did not.  Athanasius, for example, patiently waited in the desert for the Spirit to overthrow wicked men in the Church – and that is just what happened.  Sad to say, too many of the Reformers did not understand the meaning of the word “patience”.  With their example, is it any surprise that the Church today is split into a million pieces?

Discord:  Strife, contention, quarreling, selfish rivalry.  Those who sow discord in the Church are named among God's top enemies (Prov. 6:16-19). Related to enmity/hatred.
 
Enmity, Hatred:  Love of quarreling or contention, love of strife.  There was a man (who later became an elder) at one church in which I served whose character was marred by this evil.  He had a perverse love for upsetting people and it was obvious in his children that he was pugnacious and a fighter.  He should have been thrown out but the church did nothing – and that body paid the consequences:  A mass exodus from which they still have not recovered.  What is worse, this man (though not now an elder) is still there.  It was one of the greatest sins there is to sow discord among the brothers (see “Discord” above.)
 
Envy:  Pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of excellence or happiness in others.  The Pharisees were possessed by a spirit of envy (Matt. 27:18).  “The envious are those who are annoyed only at their friends’ successes” (Xenophon).
 
Fits of Rage, wrath:  The Greek sense of the word is a welling up, a boiling, or a smoldering.  Outbursts of anger which are uncontrolled.  King Saul suffered from this murderous evil (1 Sam 18:10-11).  "For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." Jas. 1:20  Anger is a serious sin and it is paramount that the Christian should have nothing to do with it.  The destruction that man's anger causes, especially in families, is incalculable.  Have you renounced anger in your life?  As men, it lives down deep within the flesh ready to appear in a moment if, like the tongue, we do not keep a tight rein on it with Spirit's assistance.
 
Factions:  Destructive and heretical factions in particular.  This was a problem in the church of Corinth (1Cor. 11:19; 2 Pet 2:1).  It is not factious to part ways with schools of thought that compromise essential elements of the Gospel.  It includes groups that deny, for example, that Jesus was fully God or that exclude other orthodox Christians who may disagree with them on non-essentials of the Christian faith.  A good example are the Dispensationalists.  If someone does not hold to their peculiar millennial views, they are denounced.
 
Gossip:  One who habitually reveals harmful, personal or sensational facts, rumors or reports of others. Rom. 1:29, 2Cor. 12:20 command as not to gossip.  In the Bible, gossip is always harmful.  Jesus and Paul did not gossip!
 
Greed:  Inordinate or reprehensible acquisitiveness. Covetous grasping of the property of others. Grasping beyond what is ordained for man. Can be for power as well as for money or other objects. Greed leads to SWINDLING.   Eph. 5:5 commands us not to do it. 1Cor. 5:11 commands us to have nothing to do with this kind of person if a Christian. Greed = Idolatry.  Our nation is full of greedy men.
 
Grumbling:  To express or utter with complaining.  An attitude wherein we claim that “justice” (with reference to ourselves) has not been done or is not being done – a subjective attitude.  Grumbling against God:  He is reduced to human standards and is robbed of His sovereignty. Job was reproached for attempting to justify himself rather than God.  We are God’s judges. We allow our own cravings and desires to shape our expectations and are not content with what God promises and gives. Against Christ (John 6:41). Against God (1Cor. 10:10).  Penalty was death (see Num. 14:26).  Php. 2:14 commands us not to do it.
 
Idleness:  Two different words and definitions in the Bible

a.)  Idle = not working, e.g. Matt. 20:6 – the men were idle because they had no job.  No inference of being lazy or morally deficient.  The same word can also mean “careless” and/or “unproductive” Matt. 12:36 – careless words. 1Tim. 5:13 – Young, idle widows who should be busy. Jas. 2:20 – Idle faith = intellectual faith.  Demons have the same kind (Jas. 2:19).

b.)  Idle = disorderly behavior. Used only of morally deficient persons. Someone who sets himself outside the necessary and given order – not with mere inaction but with unproductive action.  In ancient society, this kind of idleness was severely frowned on.  For example, armies that retreated in this manner were disgraced.

Today’s godless western civilization generally believes that disorderly people are simply victims of society, their parents, the white man, or some other thing.  1Tim. 5:3-16 commands that no Christian ought to take welfare or other kinds of unearned tax money, regardless of what the government calls it.  Not only does it harm character but it brings reproach upon the name of Christ.  The Church has the responsibility to ease the pain of disaster and cover needs of this type.  Lack of personal responsibility is the elusive ghost of this age.  This kind of attitude permits entire peoples to fall into the hands of tyrants, sooner or later.  It is also the Second Sin in history (Gen. 3:12).  Some Thessalonians were aloof from working for their keep = undisciplined life (1 Thess. 5:14, 2 Thess. 3:6-16).  Have nothing to do with this kind of person, if a Christian.
 
Idolatry:  The worship properly due God but, instead directed towards some picture or copy which is what an idol is.  It can be used for images of gods, but is not the usual term for cultic images (or human statues). When used for images, the idea is that of a reflection of the deity.  (From Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995, c1985). Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (202). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.)
 
Impurity, Uncleanness: Means literally not clean, rubbish, trash, etc.  It is an all-encompassing term mostly used in the context of sexual impurity.  Its use in Rom. 1:24 in describing the unnatural acts of the homosexuals with each other helps us understand the word's meaning. 
 
Jealousy, Zeal:  This is a tough word to translate into English as its contextual use largely determines its meaning.  Here negatively estimated as passionate ill will, jealousy and envy. From The Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (2:882). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
 
Justification:  a.)  The forgiveness of sins (Rom. 4:5-8  b.) Declared righteous (Rom. 3:21-30; 4:2-9)  It is the imputation/reckoning of righteousness, not an infusing/making righteous.  It is STATUS rather than CHARACTER.  When God sees us, He is not looking at us as righteous but to the atonement.

Orgies:  Feastings and drunkenness with impurity and obscenity of the grossest kind.  Typically found in the drunken revelries characteristic of college life in our culture.  Unfortunately, high school life is increasingly taking on this character.
 
Pyrrhic victory:  A too costly victory. The phrase is in reference to the victory of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, over the Romans at Asculum in 279 B.C. in which the losses on all sides were extremely heavy. Many of the battles we face as believers may appear as Pyrrhic to us at first glance. When Paul successfully preached the Gospel to the Romans, it cost him his life. Humanely speaking, this appears Pyrrhic as the loss of one’s own life seems extreme in order to win anything. But in the eyes of God this is not so if we are always obedient to Him, whatever it might be. The Lord continues to stun the universe with mystery beyond comprehension. Somehow, we Christians are a part of it – an incomparable honor.  Christians do not win battles, we are to be obedient, our proper job.
 
Repentance:   A complete change of one’s life; a complete turning from sin and to the ways and laws of God – a complete change of thought and purpose.  "I'm sorry but ..." is not repentance but making excuses that sound like repentance.  An example in Scripture is the tax collector Zacchaeus in Luke 19.  Jesus commanded that anyone who follows Him must demonstrate the “fruits of repentance” (Luke 3:8).    The godly doctrine of repentance is missing from nearly all evangelical appeals to faith in Christ.  Those who lack repentance do not belong to Christ.  They are the ones mentioned here:  “[My father] cuts off every branch that bears no fruit.” – John 15:2.  See also Heb. 6:1; Job 36:10; Luke 5:32, 13:3, 24:46-47; 1Cor. 14:25b; Ezek. 18:32; Isa. 30:15; 2Cor. 7:10; Acts 2:38; Zech. 1:6; Matt. 3:8, 11:20; James 1:22.
 
Rubicon:  A small river in northern Italy that formed the southern boundary of Cisalpine Gaul. When Caesar crossed it at the head of his army to march on Rome in 49 B.C., he began the civil war with Pompey. To “cross (or pass) the Rubicon” means to start on a course of action from which there is no turning back; to take a final, irrevocable step. When we became Christians (followers of the Way), we crossed a Rubicon. The same applies to those who marry. These are final, irrevocable steps – despite what any court, church, or council may say.  Mere words can place us across a Rubicon.  They are like arrows released from a bow.
 
Rumor:  Talk or opinion widely disseminated with no discernible source. In the Bible it is either news (Matt. 4:24) or myths/tales (2 Pet. 1:16). Not used in a negative sense. English definition connotes moral error and/or inaccuracy. Christians are not to spread tales, especially about others = gossip.

Selfish Ambition:  The original Greek word means “to work as a day-laborer.  It then came to denote the attitude of self-seekers.  They have ambition for no higher cause than the promotion of self.  Most public officials these days and are largely clueless with respect to this widespread evil.  King Herod of Jesus' time was driven by selfish ambition.
 
Sexual Immorality:   Any sexual activity outside of one man/one woman in a life-long marriage.  Sexual misconduct of any kind.  It includes homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pornography.
 
Slanderer:  One who makes false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation. The Bible has one word which is translated "blasphemy" (when uttered against God) and "slander" or "insult" (when uttered against man). Don’t do it (Matt. 15:19). Against God (Mt 12:31). Against man (1 Pet 4:4). Have nothing to do with this kind of person if a Christian (1 Co 5:11).
 
Swindler:  One who takes money by fraud or deceit or misrepresentation or is aware that there is fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.  It does not matter if he deceives others or allows them to be deceived – there is no difference.  1Cor. 5:11 commands us to have nothing to do with this kind of a person if he claims to be a Christian.
 
Unite (Genesis 2:24):  To hold fast in undeviating loyalty.  To create a bond that is stronger and requires more loyalty than the bond to a man’s father or mother.  Christ unites himself to the Israel of God, the Church, in the same way – it is unbreakable by either party.  However, adultery by the Church or a spouse has consequences.  Separation is among them but not what we know as divorce.

Witchcraft:  A form of idolatry.  Any appeal to achieve a purpose or goal that is not based firmly in prayer to the LORD.  Witchcraft is not a mythic practice but is firmly rooted in the Evil Powers as was demonstrated by the magicians in Pharaoh's court (Exod. 7:11).  Have nothing to do with this kind of a person if he claims to be a Christian.

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