Bible Diction

A daily study of God's Word from Easton's Bible Dictionary.

Note: Links to Bible verses open in a new window.


Friday, July 28, 2006

The End

Thank you for reading this blog. Unfortunately, after a brief one month run, this blog will no longer be updated regularly. You can access these entries from Easton's Bible Dictionary online for free. If you would like this blog to return, please leave a comment on this post. The end.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Word of God

(Heb. 4:12, etc.). The Bible so called because the writers of its several books were God's organs in communicating his will to men. It is his "word," because he speaks to us in its sacred pages. Whatever the inspired writers here declare to be true and binding upon us, God declares to be true and binding. This word is infallible, because written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore free from all error of fact or doctrine or precept. All saving knowledge is obtained from the word of God. In the case of adults it is an indispensable means of salvation, and is efficacious thereunto by the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16; 1 Pet. 1:23).

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Bible, the English form of the Greek name Biblia, meaning "books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists of sixty-six different books, composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet, after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's redemption.

It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14, R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New.

The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law (Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. 2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial letters of these books, emeth, meaning truth. (2) Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to the revelation God had already given. The period of New Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the appearance of John the Baptist.

The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz., the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and (3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.

The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it is very useful.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis, a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are instances in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of lutron in man's relation to man (Lev. 19:20; 25:51; Ex. 21:30; Num. 35:31, 32; Isa. 45:13; Prov. 6:35), and in the same sense of man's relation to God (Num. 3:49; 18:15).

There are many passages in the New Testament which represent Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (comp. Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical, but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law, thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic Theology).

Friday, July 21, 2006


Only found in Matt. 19:28 and Titus 3:5. This word literally means a "new birth." The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Matt. 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). In Titus 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life (1 John 3:14); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17); being born again (John 3:5); a renewal of the mind (Rom. 12:2); a resurrection from the dead (Eph. 2:6); a being quickened (2:1, 5).

This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God (John 1:12, 13; 1 John 2:29; 5:1, 4).

As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins."

The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture (John 3:3; Rom. 7:18; 8:7-9; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1; 4:21-24).

Thursday, July 20, 2006


There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Rom. 6:13; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10; 1 John 4:7; 1 Cor. 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it (1) secures union to Christ (Gal. 2:20), and (2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience "to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come."

Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life (1 Kings 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). See Paul's account of himself in Rom. 7:14-25; Phil. 3:12-14; and 1 Tim. 1:15; also the confessions of David (Ps. 19:12, 13; 51), of Moses (90:8), of Job (42:5, 6), and of Daniel (9:3-20). "The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father's loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.", Hodge's Outlines.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


A forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1-10).

It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:3-9). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ's righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6-8).

The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a "condition," not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness (Rom. 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Phil. 3:8-11; Gal. 2:16).

The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification (q.v.); and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness (Rom. 6:2-7). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification (6:14; 7:6).

Monday, July 17, 2006


Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.

Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God.

Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.

Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men (e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled the common operation of the Holy Spirit.

Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."

The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God. Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in all his offices.

This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart, together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner, conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.

Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18) before it can discern the things of the Spirit.

Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what God is doing.

The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God must be owned and appreciated, together with his unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross. God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his name's sake.

Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom. 6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John 6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).

The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:9; Jude 1:3).

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Resurrection of Christ

One of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19-22).

The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament. They may be arranged as follows:

(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by Mark (16:9-11).

(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10) alone gives an account of this. (Comp. Mark 16:1-8, and Luke 24:1-11.)

(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)

(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Comp. Mark 16:12, 13).

(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others "with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance, John (20:19-24).

(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also 1 Cor. 15:5).

(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.

(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; comp. Matt. 28:16-20).

(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not informed (1 Cor. 15:7).

(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight" (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).

It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42, 43; John 21:12, 13).

(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9, 17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).

It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.

The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3) of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death and the grave for all his followers.

The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.

It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.' Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured." Hodge.

With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John 20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.' Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark 15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"

Saturday, July 15, 2006


A common mode of punishment among heathen nations in early times. It is not certain whether it was known among the ancient Jews; probably it was not. The modes of capital punishment according to the Mosaic law were, by the sword (Ex. 21), strangling, fire (Lev. 20), and stoning (Deut. 21).

This was regarded as the most horrible form of death, and to a Jew it would acquire greater horror from the curse in Deut. 21:23.

This punishment began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging. In the case of our Lord, however, his scourging was rather before the sentence was passed upon him, and was inflicted by Pilate for the purpose, probably, of exciting pity and procuring his escape from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1).

The condemned one carried his own cross to the place of execution, which was outside the city, in some conspicuous place set apart for the purpose. Before the nailing to the cross took place, a medicated cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh (the sopor) was given, for the purpose of deadening the pangs of the sufferer. Our Lord refused this cup, that his senses might be clear (Matt. 27:34). The spongeful of vinegar, sour wine, posca, the common drink of the Roman soldiers, which was put on a hyssop stalk and offered to our Lord in contemptuous pity (Matt. 27:48; Luke 23:36), he tasted to allay the agonies of his thirst (John 19:29). The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases. He was crucified between two "malefactors" (Isa. 53:12; Luke 23:32), and was watched by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23; Matt. 27:36, 54), with their centurion. The "breaking of the legs" of the malefactors was intended to hasten death, and put them out of misery (John 19:31); but the unusual rapidity of our Lord's death (19:33) was due to his previous sufferings and his great mental anguish. The omission of the breaking of his legs was the fulfilment of a type (Ex. 12:46). He literally died of a broken heart, a ruptured heart, and hence the flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier's spear (John 19:34). Our Lord uttered seven memorable words from the cross, namely, (1) Luke 23:34; (2) 23:43; (3) John 19:26; (4) Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34; (5) John 19:28; (6) 19:30; (7) Luke 23:46.

Crown of Thorns

Our Lord was crowned with a, in mockery by the Romans (Matt. 27:29). The object of Pilate's guard in doing this was probably to insult, and not specially to inflict pain. There is nothing to show that the shrub thus used was, as has been supposed, the spina Christi, which could have been easily woven into a wreath. It was probably the thorny nabk, which grew abundantly round about Jerusalem, and whose flexible, pliant, and round branches could easily be platted into the form of a crown.

Friday, July 14, 2006


May be simply defined as the termination of life. It is represented under a variety of aspects in Scripture: (1.) "The dust shall return to the earth as it was" (Eccl. 12:7).

(2.) "Thou takest away their breath, they die" (Ps. 104:29).

(3.) It is the dissolution of "our earthly house of this tabernacle" (2 Cor. 5:1); the "putting off this tabernacle" (2 Pet. 1:13, 14).

(4.) Being "unclothed" (2 Cor. 5:3, 4).

(5.) "Falling on sleep" (Ps. 76:5; Jer. 51:39; Acts 13:36; 2 Pet. 3:9.

(6.) "I go whence I shall not return" (Job 10:21); "Make me to know mine end" (Ps. 39:4); "to depart" (Phil. 1:23).

The grave is represented as "the gates of death" (Job 38:17; Ps. 9:13; 107:18). The gloomy silence of the grave is spoken of under the figure of the "shadow of death" (Jer. 2:6).
Death is the effect of sin (Heb. 2:14), and not a "debt of nature." It is but once (9:27), universal (Gen. 3:19), necessary (Luke 2:28-30). Jesus has by his own death taken away its sting for all his followers (1 Cor. 15:55-57).

There is a spiritual death in trespasses and sins, i.e., the death of the soul under the power of sin (Rom. 8:6; Eph. 2:1, 3; Col. 2:13).

The "second death" (Rev. 2:11) is the everlasting perdition of the wicked (Rev. 21:8), and "second" in respect to natural or temporal death.

THE DEATH OF CHRIST is the procuring cause incidentally of all the blessings men enjoy on earth. But specially it is the procuring cause of the actual salvation of all his people, together with all the means that lead thereto. It does not make their salvation merely possible, but certain (Matt. 18:11; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 2:16; Rom. 8:32-35).

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God" (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15), in the inward state and habit of the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether by omission or commission (Rom. 6:12-17; 7:5-24). It is "not a mere violation of the law of our constitution, nor of the system of things, but an offence against a personal lawgiver and moral governor who vindicates his law with penalties. The soul that sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and calls down the righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it two inalienable characters, (1) ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and (2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.

The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the moral state of his heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit of the soul that leads to the sinful act, is itself also sin (Rom. 6:12-17; Gal. 5:17; James 1:14, 15).

The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever remain such to us. It is plain that for some reason God has permitted sin to enter this world, and that is all we know. His permitting it, however, in no way makes God the author of sin.

Adam's sin (Gen. 3:1-6) consisted in his yielding to the assaults of temptation and eating the forbidden fruit. It involved in it, (1) the sin of unbelief, virtually making God a liar; and (2) the guilt of disobedience to a positive command. By this sin he became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms against his Creator. He lost the favour of God and communion with him; his whole nature became depraved, and he incurred the penalty involved in the covenant of works.

Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam was constituted by God the federal head and representative of all his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and therefore when he fell they fell with him (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22-45). His probation was their probation, and his fall their fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state of moral corruption, and (2) of guilt, as having judicially imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first sin.

"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only the moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men from Adam. This inherited moral corruption consists in, (1) the loss of original righteousness; and (2) the presence of a constant proneness to evil, which is the root and origin of all actual sin. It is called "sin" (Rom. 6:12, 14, 17; 7:5-17), the "flesh" (Gal. 5:17, 24), "lust" (James 1:14, 15), the "body of sin" (Rom. 6:6), "ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18, 19). It influences and depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still downward to deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no recuperative element in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it is also universally inherited by all the natural descendants of Adam (Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12-21; 8:7). Pelagians deny original sin, and regard man as by nature morally and spiritually well; semi-Pelagians regard him as morally sick; Augustinians, or, as they are also called, Calvinists, regard man as described above, spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; 1 John 3:14).

The doctrine of original sin is proved, (1.) From the fact of the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no man that sinneth not" (1 Kings 8:46; Isa. 53:6; Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:19, 22, 23; Gal. 3:22). (2.) From the total depravity of man. All men are declared to be destitute of any principle of spiritual life; man's apostasy from God is total and complete (Job 15:14-16; Gen. 6:5,6). (3.) From its early manifestation (Ps. 58:3; Prov. 22:15). (4.) It is proved also from the necessity, absolutely and universally, of regeneration (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). (5.) From the universality of death (Rom. 5:12-20).

Various kinds of sin are mentioned, (1.) "Presumptuous sins," or as literally rendered, "sins with an uplifted hand", i.e., defiant acts of sin, in contrast with "errors" or "inadvertencies" (Ps. 19:13). (2.) "Secret", i.e., hidden sins (19:12); sins which escape the notice of the soul. (3.) "Sin against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death" (Matt. 12:31, 32; 1 John 5:16), which amounts to a wilful rejection of grace.

Sin, a city in Egypt, called by the Greeks Pelusium, which means, as does also the Hebrew name, "clayey" or "muddy," so called from the abundance of clay found there. It is called by Ezekel (Ezek. 30:15) "the strength of Egypt, "thus denoting its importance as a fortified city. It has been identified with the modern Tineh, "a miry place," where its ruins are to be found. Of its boasted magnificence only four red granite columns remain, and some few fragments of others.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fall of Man

An expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and all their posterity were involved.

The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account, if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of God's purpose of mercy.

The effects of this first sin upon our first parents themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence. These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's Theology).

But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION.)

(2.) Hence, also, all his descendants inherit a corrupt nature. In all by nature there is an inherent and prevailing tendency to sin. This universal depravity is taught by universal experience. All men sin as soon as they are capable of moral actions. The testimony of the Scriptures to the same effect is most abundant (Rom. 1; 2; 3:1-19, etc.).

(3.) This innate depravity is total: we are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins," and must be "born again" before we can enter into the kingdom (John 3:7, etc.).

(4.) Resulting from this "corruption of our whole nature" is our absolute moral inability to change our nature or to obey the law of God.

Commenting on John 9:3, Ryle well remarks: "A deep and instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems, God's works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming of the church of elect sinners is the means of 'showing to principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God' (Eph. 3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the Cross and the Gospel."

On the monuments of Egypt are found representations of a deity in human form, piercing with a spear the head of a serpent. This is regarded as an illustration of the wide dissemination of the tradition of the Fall. The story of the "golden age," which gives place to the "iron age", the age of purity and innocence, which is followed by a time when man becomes a prey to sin and misery, as represented in the mythology of Greece and Rome, has also been regarded as a tradition of the Fall.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Holy Ghost

The third Person of the adorable Trinity.

His personality is proved (1) from the fact that the attributes of personality, as intelligence and volition, are ascribed to him (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; 12:11). He reproves, helps, glorifies, intercedes (John 16:7-13; Rom. 8:26). (2) He executes the offices peculiar only to a person. The very nature of these offices involves personal distinction (Luke 12:12; Acts 5:32; 15:28; 16:6; 28:25; 1 Cor. 2:13; Heb. 2:4; 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:21).

His divinity is established (1) from the fact that the names of God are ascribed to him (Ex. 17:7; Ps. 95:7; comp. Heb. 3:7-11); and (2) that divine attributes are also ascribed to him, omnipresence (Ps. 139:7; Eph. 2:17, 18; 1 Cor. 12:13); omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10, 11); omnipotence (Luke 1:35; Rom. 8:11); eternity (Heb. 9:4). (3) Creation is ascribed to him (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps. 104:30), and the working of miracles (Matt. 12:28; 1 Cor. 12:9-11). (4) Worship is required and ascribed to him (Isa. 6:3; Acts 28:25; Rom. 9:1; Rev. 1:4; Matt. 28:19).


Anointed, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered "Messiah" (q.v.), the official title of our Lord, occurring five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament. It denotes that he was anointed or consecrated to his great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. He is Jesus the Christ (Acts 17:3; 18:5; Matt. 22:42), the Anointed One. He is thus spoken of by Isaiah (61:1), and by Daniel (9:24-26), who styles him "Messiah the Prince."

The Messiah is the same person as "the seed of the woman" (Gen. 3:15), "the seed of Abraham" (Gen. 22:18), the "Prophet like unto Moses" (Deut. 18:15), "the priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:4), "the rod out of the stem of Jesse" (Isa. 11:1, 10), the "Immanuel," the virgin's son (Isa. 7:14), "the branch of Jehovah" (Isa. 4:2), and "the messenger of the covenant" (Mal. 3:1). This is he "of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write." The Old Testament Scripture is full of prophetic declarations regarding the Great Deliverer and the work he was to accomplish. Jesus the Christ is Jesus the Great Deliverer, the Anointed One, the Saviour of men. This name denotes that Jesus was divinely appointed, commissioned, and accredited as the Saviour of men (Heb. 5:4; Isa. 11:2-4; 49:6; John 5:37; Acts 2:22).

To believe that "Jesus is the Christ" is to believe that he is the Anointed, the Messiah of the prophets, the Saviour sent of God, that he was, in a word, what he claimed to be. This is to believe the gospel, by the faith of which alone men can be brought unto God. That Jesus is the Christ is the testimony of God, and the faith of this constitutes a Christian (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 5:1).

Monday, July 10, 2006


(A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew 'El, from a word meaning to be strong; (2) of 'Eloah_, plural _'Elohim. The singular form, Eloah, is used only in poetry. The plural form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the Authorized Version by "LORD," printed in small capitals. The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps. 14:1).

The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are:

(1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason.

(2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are,

(a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause.

(b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature.

(c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that "verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth."

The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex. 34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11; 33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12.

God's attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e., those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness, goodness, etc.


Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, as Omega is the last. These letters occur in the text of Rev. 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13, and are represented by "Alpha" and "Omega" respectively (omitted in R.V., 1:11). They mean "the first and last." (Comp. Heb. 12:2; Isa. 41:4; 44:6; Rev. 1:11,17; 2:8.) In the symbols of the early Christian Church these two letters are frequently combined with the cross or with Christ's monogram to denote his divinity.