The following words used in the World English Bible (WEB) are not very common, either because they refer to ancient weights, measures, or money, or because they are in some way unique to the Bible.
Abaddon is Hebrew for destruction.
Abba is a Chaldee word for father, used in a respectful, affectionate, and familiar way, like papa, dad, or daddy. Often used in prayer to refer to our Father in Heaven.
Adultery is having sexual intercourse with someone besides your own husband or wife. In the Bible, the only legitimate sexual intercourse is between a man and a woman who are married to each other.
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. It is sometimes used to mean the beginning or the first.
Amen means “So be it” or “I believe it is certainly so.”
“Angel” literally means “messenger” or “envoy,” and is usually used to refer to spiritual beings who normally are invisible to us, but can also appear as exceedingly strong creatures or as humans.
Apollyon is Greek for destroyer.
“Apostle” means a delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders. This term is applied in the New Testament in both a general sense connected with a ministry of establishing and strengthening church fellowships, as well as in a specific sense to “The 12 Apostles of the Lamb” (Genesis 1:2
). The Bible distinguishes between a person’s spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12
). Some beings may exist as spirits without necessarily having a visible body, such as angels and demons (Luke 9:39, 1 John 4:1-3
Stadia is plural for “stadion,” a linear measure of about 184.9 meters or 606.6 feet (the length of the race course at Olympia).
A stater is a Greek silver coin equivalent to four Attic or two Alexandrian drachmas, or a Jewish shekel: just exactly enough to cover the half-shekel Temple Tax for two people.
a dwelling place or place of worship, usually a tent.
A measure of weight or mass of 3000 shekels.
Tartarus is the Greek name for an underworld for the wicked dead; another name for Gehenna or Hell.
Teraphim are household idols that may have been associated with inheritance rights to the household property.
“Yah” is a shortened form of “Yahweh,” which is God’s proper name. This form is used occasionally in the Old Testament, mostly in the Psalms. See “Yahweh.”
“Yahweh” is God’s proper name. In Hebrew, the four consonants roughly equivalent to YHWH were considered too holy to pronounce, so the Hebrew word for “Lord” (Adonai) was substituted when reading it aloud. When vowel points were added to the Hebrew Old Testament, the vowel points for “Adonai” were mixed with the consonants for “Yahweh,” which if you pronounced it literally as written, would be pronounced “Yehovah” or “Jehovah.” When the Old Testament was translated to Greek, the tradition of substituting “Lord” for God’s proper name continued in the translation of God’s name to “Lord” (Kurios). Some English Bibles translate God’s proper name to “LORD” or “GOD” (usually with small capital letters), based on that same tradition. This can get really confusing, since two other words (“Adonai” and “Elohim”) translate to “Lord” and “God,” and they are sometimes used together. The ASV of 1901 (and some other translations) render YHWH as “Jehovah.” The most probable pronunciation of God’s proper name is “Yahweh.” In Hebrew, the name “Yahweh” is related to the active declaration “I AM.” See Exodus 3:13-14
. Since Hebrew has no tenses, the declaration “I AM” can also be interpreted as “I WAS” and “I WILL BE.” Compare Revelation 1:8
Zion is a name which originally referred one of the mountains of Jerusalem. It became a term synonymous with Jerusalem itself. The term “Heavenly Zion” is also used to refer the future dwelling place of God’s people.
This companion glossary to the World English Bible is in the Public Domain. You may not copyright it or claim authorship over it, but you are free to use, sell, distribute, or copy it.