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This section contains a glossary of words found in the "Why Follow Jesus" pages of this website.

Use the letters above to jump around or scroll to browse.


Abraham: who lived about 4,000 years ago, the ancestor of both the Arabs and the Jews. God made a covenant (special agreement) with Abraham that, if he remained faithful to God, he would have many descendants and the land of Canaan would be theirs for ever (Genesis 13:15-6). Furthermore, God promised Abraham that all people on earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3). Abraham's biography is related in Genesis 11-25.

Acts: the fifth book of the New Testament. It gives a record of the early Christian Church after Jesus' resurrection. It was written by Luke.

Adam & Eve: the first man and woman created by God. Adam was created first and then Eve was created as a companion for him. They lived in the Garden of Eden, but after disobeying God, they were cast out of His presence. Their biography is related in Genesis chapters 2 and 3.

Ahmadiyya: a sect of Islam, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), who declared himself to be a renewer of the Islamic faith.

Alexander the Great: a king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history. He conquered much of the then civilised world and brought Greek culture to those places. He lived from 356 to 323 BC.

Apostles: (Envoys) usually the twelve men whom Jesus chose to be with Him during His ministry on earth. They were: Andrew, Bartholomew, James, son of Zebedee, John, James, son of Alphaeus, Judas Iscariot, Thaddaeus, Matthew, Simon Peter, Philip, Simon the Zealot and Thomas. After Judas' death, Matthias took his place as an apostle.

Apostle: means "one who is sent". In Matthew chapter 10:5 Jesus calls the twelve that He personally sent out on a mission, "apostles". An apostle of Jesus had to have seen Jesus to be a witness of His resurrection Acts 1:22. The apostle Paul was personally commissioned by the Lord Jesus after His ascension. Acts 22:14,15, 1 Corinthians 9:1 and 15:8.

In Acts 14,4 and 14 Paul and Barnabas are also called apostles in a different sense. They had been "sent" by the church at Antioch on a missionary journey. Acts 13:2,3 and 14:26,27. So they were in that sense, apostles of the church at Antioch. These two uses of the word apostle must not be confused.

Ascension: the dramatic departure of the risen Christ from earth to heaven, which took place forty days after the resurrection. The accounts of the ascension can be found in Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51

Autograph: an original manuscript in the author's handwriting.


Bethlehem: a small town in Jordan, 5 miles south of Jerusalem. It was the birth place of Jesus as prophesied in Micah 5:2.


Circumcise: circumcision was the physical sign of God's original covenant with His people (Genesis. 17:10-11).

Codex: a forerunner of the modern book. It was made by folding several sheets of papyrus in the middle and sewing them together along the fold. A codex was written on both sides.

Covenant: a binding contract made by one party and accepted by another.

Crucifixion: the most severe method of torture and execution used by the Romans and many other nations of the ancient world. It was used for slaves and criminals. The victim was nailed to a wooden stake or gibbott and left to die.


Daniel: a prophet who lived around 600 BC The Old Testament book named after him deals with historical events in Babylon and shows Daniel's faith in God. It also includes visions of future events.

Dead Sea Scrolls: the oldest known manuscripts of any books of the Bible. They contain all the books of the Old Testament, except Esther. A few of these books are almost complete. They were found in the 1940s and 1950s in caves near the north-west shores of the Dead Sea. Now they are kept in the "Shrine of the Book", part of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


Ezekiel: a priest and prophet who lived around 600 BC and stressed the importance of following God's law. There is an Old Testament book named after him which contains the following prophecies:

chapters 1-24: prophecies of how God would punish the people of Judah for their sins.

chapters 25-32: prophecies against neighbouring countries for defying God's will and rejoicing over the misfortunes of the Israelites.

chapters 33-48: prophecies of Israel's restoration and salvation.


Forgiveness: means the removing of our sin due to God's graciousness. This is all made possible through Christ (Ephesians 1:7). Read also Exodus 34:6-7 and Psalm 103:10-12. The New Testament makes it clear that the forgiven sinner must forgive others.

Furqan: a standard or reference against which everything must be judged.


Gospel: literally means "good information".


Immanuel: means "God with us". One of the names given to Jesus.

Isaiah: a prophet who lived about 700 BC. In the Old Testament book which bears his name, there are prophecies foretelling Jesus' coming.


Jeremiah: a prophet who lived around 600 BC There is a book in the Old Testament named after him in which Jeremiah tried to reform the life of the Jews and spoke of the individual's relationship with God. He also warned of the Babylonian invasion.

Job: is the central figure of the Old Testament book which bears his name. This book is the story of Job's suffering, the lessons God taught him from it and his ultimate salvation.

John the Baptist (Hazrat Yahya): a great prophet who lived from about 7 BC to 28 AD. He was a forerunner of Jesus and prepared the way for Him. He urged people to repent of their sins and baptised them in the River Jordan.

John: one of the twelve apostles and brother of James son of Zebedee. He was inspired by God to write the fourth Gospel, the 3 letters bearing his name.

Jonah: the book in the Old Testament named after him tells how God called Jonah to prophesy to the people of Nineveh. It was written about 400 BC.

Josephus: a Jewish historian who wrote a 20 volume history of the Jews from their beginning to the end of Nero's reign. He was the governor of Galilee when war broke out between the Jews and the Romans in 66 AD.

Judas Iscariot: the apostle who betrayed Jesus. He was the treasurer of the apostles.


Kingdom of God: the spiritual reign of God. The term "Kingdom of God", or "Kingdom of Heaven", refers to God's rule of grace where evil is overcome. Those who live in this kingdom know righteousness, happiness, peace and joy (c.f. Romans 14:17).


Letters: the 21 books of the New Testament from Romans to Jude, also known as "Epistles". They were formal and instructive, many being written by the apostle Paul to the Christian congregations he founded.


Manuscript: a hand-written record, from before the invention of printing, which can often be identified with a certain period of history by the material on which it is written and the style of writing.

Masoretic text: the basic text of the Old Testament, used for centuries in schools and synagogues. It was produced by the Masoretes, a school of rabbis in Palestine and Babylonia in the eighth and ninth centuries AD who were the preservers of the Old Testament writings.

Micah: a prophet who lived in the late 700s BC and whose name means "who is like the Lord". There is a book in the Old Testament which bears his name. Through him God spoke about people being more concerned with ceremonies than with true godliness; about oppression of the poor; about true and false prophets and about the Messiah coming from Bethlehem.

Miracles: mighty acts of God that cannot be explained through the known laws of nature.


Nazareth: a quite insignificant town in northern Israel, in the Roman province of Galilee. It was the home of Jesus during his early years.

Nebuchadnezzar: the King of Babylon from 605-562 BC. Nebuchadnezzar set up many building projects and, under his rule, Babylon became one of the world's most magnificent cities. He also captured and destroyed Jerusalem.

Nineveh: the last capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire, situated on the east bank of the River Tigris. In 612 BC it was captured and destroyed and was not discovered by archaeologists until the 1800s.


Passover: the Jewish festival which celebrates the Israelites' flight from slavery in Egypt in about 1200 BC (Exodus 12). The Passover celebrations are held in March or April each year.

Peter: a leading apostle of Jesus. His original name was Simon but Jesus gave him the name Peter, meaning "rock". He was a leader of the early Christian community.

Philo: a leader of the Jewish community in the early part of the first century AD. He wrote on philosophical and theological subjects.

Pilate: the Roman governor at the time of Jesus' crucifixion. He governed Judea from 26-36 AD. Jesus was put on trial before Pilate who wanted to release Him, but was afraid of losing his office.


Revelation: the last book of the New Testament, revealed to the apostle John. It contains messages to the churches and visions of the future, depicting the end of the present age. Its Greek title means "unveiling" or "disclosure" of the hidden things known only to God.

Ruth: the name of an Old Testament book which tells the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman who married an Israelite. After the death of her husband, Ruth devoted herself to her mother-in-law and became a follower of Israel's God. She was an ancestor of the Lord Jesus.


Sabbath: (Hebrew, rest) The seventh day of the week from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.. God completed the creation of the universe in six days. He required the Israelites to set the seventh day of every week apart for worship and rest, Deuteronomy 5:12 to 15. This "rest" was also figurative of the eternal rest awaiting the faithful after death, Hebrews 4:8-11.

Christians are not required to observe the Jewish Sabbaths Colossians 2:16. They are required to meet together and remember the Lord's death burial and resurrection. This is done by sharing a cup of grape juice representing His shed blood and an unleavened loaf representing His body, Matthew 26:26 to 30, Mark 14:22 to 25 and 1 Corinthians 11:20 to 26. The first day of the week (which approximates our Sunday) was set apart for this, Acts 20:7. It is the day upon which Jesus rose from the dead. This weekly observance was known as "the breaking of the bread" and "the Lord's Supper" Acts 2:42, 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 11:20.

Sacrifice: the offering of the blood or flesh of an animal to God in gratitude or payment for sin. By offering an animal to God, the Hebrew people were giving another life in place of their own. God demanded that they offer Him the best, a young unblemished male animal.

Septuagint: the oldest Greek translation of the Old Testament. It is believed that an Egyptian king had seventy Jewish scholars translate the Torah for the benefit of Greek-speaking Jews. This translation began around 250 BC. The most famous manuscripts of the Septuagint are the Vaticanus, the Alexandrinus and the Sinaiticus.

Simon of Cyrene: the man from the area called Cyrene who was forced to carry Jesus' cross. (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21: Luke 23:26).

Sin: deviation from the law or will of God, "missing the mark". Sin is rebellion against God and because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin. However, God himself has provided in Jesus the solution to this problem of sin. Read Romans 3:23 6:23 and 1 John 3:4..

Surah: Written also as Sura, means a row of series; chapter of the Qur'an.


Tacitus: a historian who lived from 55-120 AD. He described Roman history from Augustus to Nero.

Tahrif: means "corruption", alteration. It refers to the charge made by Muslim theologians against Christians of having modified and falsified the Gospel.

Testament: similar meaning to covenant.In Arabic it is Misaq or Ahd.


Wine: In the Bible wine is not necessarily fermented/alcoholic. It can refer to grape juice still in the grapes and to freshly pressed grape juice.


Zechariah: a prophet who lived about 520 BC and wrote the book in the Old Testament bearing his name. He urged the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and prophesied about God's victory over evil and the coming Messiah.