Trying to work through your Bible study but getting hung up on words like consecration and sanctification? Let me simplify things in this Bible vocabulary definitions cheat sheet!

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There are enough tricky words in the Bible to fill a whole dictionary, but for this post, I want to break down some of the most common words you’ll come across that you may need help defining.

Keep in mind, I mostly refer to the New International Version (NIV), so if you use a different one, you may have alternate words show up in these texts. In addition to using a Bible dictionary, comparing different Bible translations is also another way to figure out what a word or passage is saying.

While the following definitions are very basic, keep in mind that there can be symbolism in their meanings depending on which context you are reading. I will dig further into this in a future study, but for now, here are the basics.


ALTAR: a place of slaughter where the Israelites offered their sacrifice to God

Genesis 8:20 "Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it."

APOSTLE: each of the twelve disciples appointed by Jesus during his life on Earth

Mark 6:30 "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught."

ATONEMENT: reparation for offense or injury

Romans 3:25 "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith."

BAPTIZE: public act of commitment to Jesus, by cleansing of sins in water and proclaiming he is the Son of God

Matthew 3:11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

BELIEVER: anyone who claims Christ is the Son of God and rose from the dead

Acts 4:32 "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."

CONSECRATE: dedicating yourself to service and worship of God

2 Chronicles 29:5  “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary."

COVENANT: promise or agreement made between God and man

 Genesis 9:9 "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you."

COVET: jealousy or wanting what another has

Exodus 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

DISCIPLE: a follower of Jesus

John 15:8 "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

GRACE: kindness given to someone who doesn’t deserve it

 Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

IDOLATRY: anything that you put before God or place more importance on than Him

Colossians 3:5 "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."

MERCY: withholding punishment from someone who has done wrong

Exodus 33:19 "And the Lord said, 'I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'"

MESSIAH: the promised one prophesied about in the Old Testament that God would send to save his people (Jesus)

Luke 2:11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."

REDEMPTION: someone else covering or rescuing you from your debt

Ephesians 1:7 "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace."

REPENTANCE: to ask for forgiveness and commit to changing your mind, attitude and behavior about your sin, leaving it in the past

Mark 1:4 "And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

RIGHTEOUSNESS: following God’s holy laws

2 Timothy 2:22 "Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

SACRIFICE: something presented to honor, repent, celebrate or gain favor from God

Hebrews 13:16 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

SALVATION: deliverance from evil

Acts 4:12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

SANCTIFY: declaring that something is holy and belongs to the Lord

John 17:19 "For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."

SIN: anything that we do or that is in our life that goes against the character of God; living apart from Him

1 John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

SOVEREIGNTY: supreme power and authority over everything

Psalms 71:5 "For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth."

TESTIMONY: sharing with others who God is and what He has done in your life

Revelation 12:11 "They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."


Now that you’ve learned all of those definitions, what do you think this Bible verse means?

Matthew 9:13 "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

While I always recommend having a few resources on hand (like this Bible dictionary I used to help me with this post), here is a free cheat sheet for those tricky Bible definitions you can print in the meantime:

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