Glossary of Christianity


This glossary of Christianity provides definitions of terms related to Christianity, with links to full articles where available.

(Greek, "follower"). A lay person, usually a child or young adult, who assists ministers in worship services.
Abbreviation for Latin anno domini, "in the year of our Lord."
Christian doctrine that Jesus of Nazareth became the son of God by exaltation that was not his at birth.
Christian religious season lasting from the fourth Sunday before Christmas until Christmas, observed by some as a period of prayer and fasting.
Alexandrian School
School of thought associated with Alexandria, Egypt. It was influenced by Platonic philosophy and tended to emphasize the divinity of Christ over his humanity and interpret scripture allegorically. Compare with the Antiochene School. Notable Alexandrians include Clement and Origen.
The belief that the 1,000-year period described in Revelation should not be taken as a literal 1,000-year period of time.
Conservative Anabaptist sect led by Jakob Amman that separated from the Mennonites in Switzerland around 1693. The development of more liberal sects occurred after many Amish migrated to the United States, particularly in the 1870s. Only the Old Order Amish (founded 1720-40) still maintain Amman's strict dress codes, customs, and policy of non-cooperation with the state. Today, the Amish exist mainly in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Metal ties or plates used to fasten together timbers or masonry.
Predating the Council of Nicea (325 CE).
Antiochene school
(also Antiochene theology) Modern designation for the school of thought associated with the city of Antioch in Syria, as contrasted with the Alexandrian School. Antiochene theology was influenced by Aristotelian philosophy, emphasized the humanity of Christ, and interpreted scripture in light of its historical context. Its most famous teachers are Diodore of Tarsus, John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius, and Theodoret of Cyrrhus.
(lit. Greek: "out of the writings"). Books not included in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, but included in the Greek Septuagint. Catholic and Orthodox Christans include the Apocrypha in the canon of scripture; Protestant Christians do not. Apocryphal books are Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Song of the Three Children, Susanna, Bel and the Drago, The Prayer of Manasseh, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and additions to Esther.
(Latin apologia, "defense"). Branch of Christian theology focused on defending the faith against its critics and demonstrating its reasonableness. Examples of apologetic works include Justin Martyr's Apology, Augustine's City of God, Calvin's Institutes, and, in modern times, C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
apostolic fathers
Group of Christian leaders and writers from the late first and early second centuries A.D. These authors were not apostles themselves, but had close proximity to the apostles, either by personal relationship or close connection with apostolic teaching. Examples include Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, Pseudo-Barnabas, the Didache, the Second Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and The Apostle's Creed.
apostolic succession
Doctrine that the authority of ordained clergy (to perform valid sacraments and teach right doctrine) derives from an unbroken succession of valid ordinations beginning with the apostles.
In Catholicism and Anglicanism, a bishop who oversees the other bishops in the province. In the Episcopal Church, the archbishop is called the Presiding Bishop.

Article Info

Title Glossary of Christianity
Last UpdatedFebruary 3, 2021
MLA Citation “Glossary of Christianity.” 3 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022. <>