What We Mean When We Say

By Robert L. Wehlen

Here are a few terms and expressions that are often heard in our services. We try to use these terms and expressions as the Bible uses them. Our hope is that this information will be helpful as you worship God with us.


A Hebrew exclamation meaning “so be it,” “truly,” or “indeed!” It is often used to conclude prayers or to express approval or agreement with what someone has said or done. (See Deuteronomy 27:15; Revelation 22:20; I Corinthians 14:16-17.)


Literally, the act of dipping or washing something completely in liquid. Scriptural baptism is a vital part of New Testament salvation. (See Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27; I Peter 3:21.) It includes:
1. Water (Acts 8:36)
2. Much water (John 3:23)
3. Going down into the water (Acts 8:38)
4. Burial in water (Colossians 2:12)
5. Coming up out of the water (Acts 8:39)
6. A name pronounced (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38)

Taking all of this information together, scriptural baptism is total immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19 commands us to baptize in a name but does not give the name. It refers to “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The terms Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are titles of positions held by God, but they are not proper names. Jesus is the only name that is connected with salvation (Matthew 1:21; Acts 4:12). Acts 2:38 records the apostles’ fulfillment of the command of Matthew 28:19 and gives the scriptural formula for baptism in the New Testament church: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Baptism of the Holy Ghost

Literally, being dipped, plunged, or immersed in the Spirit of God. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the Spirit and thus is a vital part of entrance into the kingdom of God, the church. (See John 3:5.) The initial evidence of the baptism of the Spirit is speaking in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit of God gives utterance. (See Acts 2:4.)

Joel and Isaiah both prophesied this experience (Isaiah 28:11-12; Joel 2:28-29). It was foretold by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11), purchased by the blood of Jesus, and promised by Him to His followers (John 14:26; 15:26). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost on the Jews (Acts 2:1-41). Later the Samaritans received this experience (Acts 8:17), and then the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6).

Born Again

To start over, to begin life with a fresh start. Jesus used this expression to describe what takes place through faith in Him when a person is baptized in water in His name and receives the Holy Ghost (birth of water and Spirit). (See John 3:1-8; Acts 2:38.) According to Jesus, without this fresh start no one can enter the kingdom of God.


A Greek word meaning “the Anointed One,” equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah. New Testament believers use it exclusively to refer to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and became our Savior.


A description of believers in Jesus Christ that means “like Christ” or “belonging to Christ.” It describes the object of our faith and loyalty, the One with whom we want to be identified. It is not intended to be an exclusive or sectarian term. (See Acts 11:26; I Peter 4:12-16.)


Being set free from something that has one bound. Jesus promised deliverance as a part of His Messianic work (Luke 4:18).


A follower or a student; in our case, we have voluntarily chosen to become a follower of Jesus and adhere to His teaching. A disciple learns from his teacher, obeys his teacher, seeks to become like his teacher, and endeavors to spread the teacher’s message to others. (See Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 14:27; John 15:1-8.)

Divine Healing

The divine intervention of God to cure sickness of body and mind. Divine healing was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus that flowed from His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; I Peter 2:24). Jesus went everywhere healing those who were sick (Matthew 4:23-24), and He commanded His disciples to do the same (Matthew 10:8). He said concerning those who believe the gospel, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Mighty healings and miracles followed the disciples wherever the gospel was preached. Healing is available to us today (James 5:14-16).


Based on a biblical term meaning to share or have in common; similar to our concept of close friendship. Fellowship is linked in Scripture with love, compassion, a willingness to bear one another’s burdens and to do whatever is possible to help and encourage. (See Acts 2:42-47; Philippians 2:1-11.)


The divine essence; deity; the fullness of God’s character and attributes. The Bible teaches that there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). He is Spirit (John 4:24), and He has manifested Himself in flesh as Jesus Christ (I Timothy 3:16). He now baptizes us with His Spirit so that we can be the children of God.


A Hebrew word meaning “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah” (Psalm 150:1, 6).


Separation from sin and dedication to God. When we come to the Lord we are to forsake sin (John 8:11). We are to “live righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12). Without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We must present ourselves as holy unto God (Romans 12:1), cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1), and separate ourselves from all worldliness (James 4:4). The Scripture is clear that no one can live a holy life by his own power, but only through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Romans 8:4).


The personal name of Almighty God in the Old Testament. The exact meaning is debated, but is related to the Hebrew phrase “I AM.” As such, it reveals God’s self-existence and lack of dependence on anything or anyone else. (See Exodus 3:13-15; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; John 8:54-59.)


It is a name that literally means “Jehovah Savior,” “Jehovah saves,” or “Jehovah has become our salvation.” In the New Testament it is the supreme name by which God revealed Himself when He came in flesh. It is “the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul commanded, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

Lord’s Supper

The practice of eating bread and drinking the fruit of the vine together as an act of worship and remembrance. Jesus began the practice at His last supper with His disciples. It is a time to remember what Jesus has done for us, to examine our own lives and faith, and to recommit ourselves to Jesus in greater faithfulness. It is also called communion (from a term meaning to share together). It is to be observed as often as each individual church deems appropriate, but it must not be ignored. (See Matthew 26:17-30; I Corinthians 11:17-34.)


The voluntary collection of monetary gifts to support the work of the church and various ministries�locally, nationally, and internationally. Properly viewed, the offering is an expression of love and gratitude for the blessings of God. (See I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 9:6-9.)


Literally, one who tends or shepherds a flock. The pastor is the shepherd of the local part of God’s flock (Ephesians 4:11).


An adjective used to describe those who have received the same experience that the followers of Jesus did on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:1-4.)


To speak or sing or make other expressions extolling, admiring, or commending the greatness and goodness of God. We typically lift our voices in praise to God, and sometimes we lift our hands in a gesture of surrender to Him. (See Psalm 100:4; 147:1; Ephesians 5:19-20; Hebrews 13:15; Colossians 3:15-17.)


Speaking to or communicating with God. We response to God’s invitations to bring Him our praise and gratitude as well as our concerns and needs. According to Jesus, prayer is like a child coming to a loving father. For prayer to be effective we must pray in faith and sincerity and not merely with memorized words. (See Matthew 6:5-15; James 5:13-18).


Literally, a “catching away.” In our context, it refers to the time when the Lord will come back for His church. The church will be caught up to meet Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).


A change of mind that brings about a change of behavior. It is the first step in the three-point plan that Peter gave when sinners asked at the close of his message on the Day of Pentecost, “What shall we do?” Repentance is a turn away from sin, a death to sin. By repentance we identify with the death of the Lord. (See Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30; Romans 6:1-2; II Peter 3:9.)


Deliverance from sin and unrighteousness through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, which we receive by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). When we truly believe the gospel, we will obey the gospel and apply it to our lives. (See Romans 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:8.) We die with Him in repentance. We are buried with Him in baptism. We are resurrected with Him to walk in newness of life by receiving the Spirit. Full salvation consists of repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7).


A biblical word meaning a tenth. We support God’s ordained ministry and work by giving a tenth of our income. (See Malachai 3:10; I Corinthians 16:2.)


Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker. It occurs as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4), not by human learning or imitation. There are two major functions of speaking in tongues in the New Testament church:

1. Speaking in tongues is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. (See Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-46; 19:6.) Isaiah prophesied that it would accompany the rest and refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), and Jesus foretold it as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:1 7). Jews and Gentiles alike both received this experience.

2. Speaking in tongues is also a gift to believers after the initial baptism of the Holy Ghost
(I Corinthians 12:1-10). Paul gave regulations for the use of tongues in public worship (I Corinthians 14:1-40). He explained that tongues is given both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).

In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, which is meant to be interpreted (the gift of interpretation is another gift of the Spirit). Since the possibility for misuse exists, this gift needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers have the gift of tongues for public use, which is different in function from the tongues that are the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism. (See I Corinthians 14:18, 39.)

From, “Word Aflame Press” Tract# 1567222080, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042/ By Robert L. Wehlen