Abraham: The forefather of the Israel [Genesis 12 to 25]. The man through whose descendant, Jesus Christ, the blessing of imputed righteousness comes to people from all nations; the ‘father’ of all who truly believe [Romans 4; Galatians 3:6-14].

Adultery: Specifically: sexual intercourse where at least one participating person is married to another person. The term is also used generally for any forbidden sexual relationship. Jesus pointed to lust as the origin from which adultery springs. Used as a symbol for idolatry.

Age to come: The time beyond the return of Christ and the final judgement.

Ages [the ages]: Commonly used to refer to an extended period reaching from the present into eternity.

Agnostic: A person who claims to neither believe nor not believe, because it is considered impossible to know who or what ‘god’ is, or if there is any such thing as ‘god’.

Anathema: cursed, put aside for destruction, cut off from God.

Angels: created spiritual beings who appear to humans in physical [usually human] form, usually with a message from God. [angelos – messenger].

Animism: the belief that spirits inhabit natural objects; the worship/fear of these spirits. Not a biblical belief.

Anthropocentric: man-centred.

Anthropology: the study of man.

Anthropomorphism: Using human terms to describe God or his actions.

Apocalypse [apocalyptic]: Commonly referred to the Book of Revelation, but generally to symbolic writing in which the real meaning/message is hidden in the verbal symbols used. [apokalupsis – uncovering]

Apocrypha: a collection of writings included in the Roman Catholic Bible, but not in the Protestant Bible.

Apollyon: the destroyer – Satan.

Apostasy: From apo – away, plus histemi – I stand. The act of standing away from, distancing oneself from, abandoning one’s former belief. The Bible predicts a widespread apostasy before the return of Christ [2 Thessalonians 2:3].

Apostle: From apostello – I send. Commonly used to refer to the twelve apostles [the original eleven faithful disciples of Christ, plus Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas] and also to Paul. The church is said to be founded on the ‘prophets’ [Old Testament] and the ‘apostles’ [New Testament].

Arminianism: A line of teaching within the church, grounded on the teaching of Arminius, who emphasized human responsibility in gaining and maintaining salvation. Interprets election and predestination in terms of God’s foreknowledge of how each individual would respond to the Gospel.

Assurance of salvation: The certain confidence of permanent and complete salvation based on the total and permanent effectiveness of the death of Christ and generated by the operating principle of grace. Usually dependent on understanding both justification by faith, and grace.

Atheism [atheist]: belief that there is no such thing as God or a god.

Atonement [atone]: Old Testament: kaphar – cover: to cover or pardon sin. New Testament: katallgge – restore to favour, reconcile.

Atonement cover: the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Mercy Seat, where blood was sprinkled once a year on the Day of Atonement, to obtain pardon for sin [Leviticus 16].