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Some Key Concepts and Terms Which Are Often Misunderstood in the Arab World

Rick Brown and many others, 30 December 2000

Index of Key Terms:

Adon, ha Elôhîm Jesus Saints


Adonai Eternal Life John the Baptist Salvation
Advocate False prophet Justify, to (God’s act) Sanctuary
Altar Father, our King of the Jews Satan
Altar of incense Father, The Kingdom of God Save, to
Angel Fellowship Kurios Sin (as an act)
Angel of the Lord Fire Levite Sin (as sinfulness)
Angels of Satan Flesh Lord (for God) Son of David
Anoint an object, to Forgiveness Lord (for Jesus), our/the Son of God, The
Anoint s.o., to Gates of Hades Love s.o., to (of God) Son of Man, The
Anoint s.o., to Gehenna Mediator Son, The
(metaphorical) Gentiles Mercy sons of God
Apostle God Messiah Soul
Baptism of John God of … New Testament Soulish
Baptize s.o. in the Holy god of Pharisee Spirit, The
Spirit, to Gospel, The Pray, to Spirit of God
Baptize s.o. into Christ, to Gospel of Luke Priest (see also ‘chief spirit, unclean/evil
Believe, to Grace priests’; ‘high priest’) Spiritual
Believer Hades (see also ‘gates’) Prophet (NT) (see also ‘false Synagogue
Blessing Hebrew prophet’) Tabernacle
Carnal Hell (see also ‘gates’) Propitiation Temple
Chief priests High priest Psalms Turn to God, to
Christ holy (of people) Reconcilation (to God) Unbeliever
Church Holy of holies, The Redemption Word, The
Coming One, The Holy place, The Repent, to YHWH
Congregation Holy One of God, The Repentance
Covenant Holy Spirit, The righteous (of people)
Demon Image of God, The Righteous One, The
Devil, the image of God, in the Sabbath
Disciple Israel (and children of,) Sacrifice
Disciples (the twelve) Israelites Sadducee
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS HOW THE MAJORITY HEARS IT MAJORITY EXPRESSIONS (OR ONES LIKE THEM)
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 2

ETERNAL STATES / PLACES


Kingdom of 1) sovereignty of God (in OT) malakût is understood to refer to the 1) sovereignty (mulk, malakût) of God
God (malakûtu 2) messianic kingdom sovereignty of God, which is thought to 2) Kingdom belonging to / established by God (mamlaka)
llâh) 3) messianic community already be complete; it cannot expand or 3) subjects/citizens/people of God's Kingdom,God’s people (umma)
4) blessed age to come be entered. malakût is used by Sufis to 4) God's Kingdom in the next world (dâru l-khulûd fî l-âkhira)
5) heaven / paradise refer to the unseen realm of angels and 5) God's Kingdom in heaven (mamlakatu llâh fî s-samâ’)
6) a promised share in 2-5 jinn; being “in the malakût” means being 6) a (promised) share (nasîb) /place in paradise/the Kingdom
spaced out or in a trance or invisible. ('Divine/Heavenly Kingdom' could also be used.)
eternal life (al- 1) life in the blessed age to come The term 'eternal life' is not used for 1) eternal life in paradise; live forever with God in paradise;
hayâtu 2) a promised share in it anything special; even those in hell are 2) promised eternal life with God, a share in the eternal realm (nas
l-’abadiyya) 3) a foretaste of the life to come said to have eternal life in mortal bodies îbun fî dâri l-khulûd)
3) hayâtu l-khulûd (needs more testing)
hades (hâwiya) 1) the place of the non-Christian dead hâwiya means the abyss, not the inter- 1) world of the dead (‘âlamu l-mawta)
before judgment; mediate state. The audience has no such
2) in OT it can mean the grave (she’ol) concept but thinks of suffering or joy in 2) the grave
the grave while awaiting the resurrection.
gates of 1) the way to the grave, meaning death a common translation, ’abwâbu l-ja hîm, 1) death, the powers of death (quwâtu l-mawt) [as in the Good
hades/hell is a well-known expression for the seven News Arabic version]
gates to the fire of hell in the age to come.
hell/gehenna/ place of fire after the judgement Similar concept but jahannam is the fire (al-nâr) [with the article];
the fire sometimes understood as a beast in hell. the eternal fire
DIVINE ACTS
salvation, to 1) to rescure or preserve s.o. yukhallis usually means 'to rid someone of1) to save or rescure s.o. or to deliver s.o. (yunajji)
save s.o. 2) to grant s.o. a share in the something' and in N.A. it means ‘to pay 2) to save/preserve s.o. from hell; to give a share in
(=justify) kingdom/eternal life/paradise (the bill). It also means to clear something
paradise/kingdom of God; to deliver someone from the power of sin
(yukhallis) through customs. and its punishment; to grant eternal life with God (the Aramaic for
'to save' is lit. 'to make alive'); (yunqiđuhu mina n-nâr, yunajjîhu
min đunûbihi wa ‘iqâbihâ; an-najât; najâtun mina n-nâr )
3) to sanctify s.o. or o.s. 3) to rid s.o. of sin (yukhallisuhum min khatâyâ) [1Ti 4:16]
God justifies 1) to accept for the kingdom yubarrir is unclear and misunderstood 1) God counts / enrolls /enters s.o. among His righteous servants
2) to declare s.o. accepted (’adkhalahu fî ‘ibâdihi s-sâlihîn)
3) to approve of someone 2) God considers s.o. righteous (i‘tabarahu sâlihan)
3) God approves of someone (radiya ‘anhu)
reconciliation 1) to repair an estranged relationship This concept is not used in some 1) God reconciled us to himself (sâlahanâ linafsihi), God accepted
to God (= justification) languages with respect to God. us as his righteous servants
forgiveness 1) God ceases to hold our sinfulness Different words are required. The word for 1&2) forgiveness (maghfara, ghufrân, yaghfar)
against us (= justification) ‘sin’ is not usually needed in the
2) God cancels planned discipline for expression.
individual sins due to repentance
3) A person ceases to be angry with 3) to indulge or forgive s.o. (yusâmiH lahu).
another who has offended him or her.
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 3

redemption 1) to free someone from bondage or a The concept exists, but it is not easily 1) God redeemed you (fadâkum) from a sinful life by the blood of
punishment due to them by making a identified with justification. The substitute Christ (1 Pe 1:18-19)
payment or substitution. usually needs to be mentioned.
grace (ni‘ma) 1) God’s kindness in justifying s.o. The common translation (ni‘ma) is usually 1) acceptance (ridâ) or God approves s.o. (radiya ‘anhu) or use the
2) God’s kindness in blessing s.o. understood to mean prosperity, blessing, verb yun‘im or its nominal form in‘âm ‘ala
3) God’s kind empowering s.o. and especially food. 2) mercy (rahma), kindness (fadl, lutf) OR material blessings
(ni‘ma) or use the verb yun‘im or its nominal form in‘âm ‘ala
2) help (‘awn) or success-granting (tawfîq)
blessing 1) a benefit from God to man baraka is commonly used for an almost (use a verbal phrase:) 1) God blesses man (yubârikuhu /fîhi)
(baraka; 2) a request for such a benefit magical kind of power or protection or 2) man asks God to bless s.o. (yad‘û lahu)
yubârik) 3) thanksgiving to God prosperity. The verb yubârik is not 3) man praises / thanks God (yashkuru) OR says tabarraka llâh
generally used for 2 and 3.
DIVINE NAMES & TITLES
YHWH, kurios 1) a name of God (usually but not In Arabic allâh is the name of God. YHWH 1) God (allâh)
(al-rabb) always the 1st person of the trinity) is unknown; al-rabb is not a name and is
2) God as covenant redeemer/protector rare. 2) our Lord (rabbunâ)
Lord adonai; A Hebrew title, usually possessed in This corresponds to Arabic rabb, which is O Lord (rabbunâ, yâ rabb, rabb al ...)
ha-adon form, used mostly in addressing God usually possesed in form and is commonly Master, Lord (almawlâ)
but sometimes in reference or used when addressing God.
predication.
God of ... 1a) Divine master of ... Allah is not generally possessed. “God of” 1a) Caretaker/master of (rabbu ...);
(ilâhu ...) 1b) Covenantal protector/provider/lord is restricted to certain fixed phrases, 1b) God of (’ilâhu ... ) [In certain phrases]; Keeper (hâfiđ)
1c) Divine giver/possessor of attributes relating to people and never to attributes. 1c) God the Peace (allâhu l-salâm) [instead of “the God of Peace”]
(peace, mercy, etc) Attributes are expressed with nouns God the Merciful (allâhu l-rahmân) [not “the God of Mercy”]
(beautiful names) rather than possessed.
god of ... 2) non-human master of ... This construction is often unclear and 2) controller/ruler of ... (musaytir ...)
(ilâhu ...) 3) object of worship of ... unnatural. 3) object of worship of ... (ma‘bûd)
Elôhîm, God often used as a name for God allâh is used as the name of God. al-’ilâh God / Allah / our Lord/ our Caretaker (rabbunâ)
(al-’ilâh) is rare and is not a name. allâh sometimes
has associations of sternness and danger.
the Father God (first person in trinity) 'Father' (’ab) is biological: progenitor. It is God / Allah / our Lord / our Caretaker (rabbunâ)
not used metaphorically of personal The word rabb refers to the one who provides the upbringing
relationships or adoption, which makes its (tarbiya) and care. rabbu l-‘â’ila is the head father or patriarch of
use for God misleading and offensive. the family, who raises/fathers (yurabbib/ yurabbi) the family.
’ubûwa is just paternity, begetting, (râbb is a foster father, one who cares rather than begets.)
whereas fatherly care is tarbiya.
our Father God (first person in trinity), sometimes (as above) our Lord/Caretaker (rabbunâ)
as a care giver to his people; used by our loving Caretaker (rabbunâ l-wudûd)
the people of God foster father, one providing fatherly care (râbb)
the Word God’s creating, mediating, self- Jesus is called “word of God”, but this can God’s Word (kalimatu llâh) [this is well known];
(Jn, 1 Jn, Rev) revealing, wisdom-imparting “person” be understood to mean that he was created God's eternal word
(2nd person of trinity). This usage is in a virgin by the command of God.
based in part on the targums.
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 4

The Image of (similar to above) Jesus fully manifests ‘Image’ is understood in physical terms, In Christ we see what God is like. OR God revealed Himself /His
God etc. (Col the character and will of God, all of which sounds blasphemous, because God qualities (sifât) / His nature (tabî‘a) in Christ. Christ is the exact
1:15; Heb 1:3) His ethical attributes; knowing Him is is not physical like humans, and there is representation of the nature (tabî‘a) of God. (at-ta‘bîru s-sâdiqu
(sûratu llâh) knowing God. none beside Him. ‘alâ tabî‘ati llâhi)
Spirit of God God’s intervening, guiding, and God’s spirit is understood as a life-force Spirit of God (rûhu llâh)
(rûhu llâh) empowering “person”, active in His given when creating new human life:
people (3rd person of the trinity) Adam and Jesus..
Holy Spirit (ar- (as above) rûhu l-qudus is equated with the angel The Holy Spirit of God (rûhu llâhi l-qudûs)
rûhu l-qudus) Gabriel, as is ar-rûhu l-qudus. the Holy Spirit (ar-rûhu l-qudûs)
The Spirit (as above) ar-rûh is understood to be a special angel [ as above]
SUPERNATURAL BEINGS
angel, angel of a supernatural messenger sent from The word malâk applies only to angels are angel (malâk); angel sent from God
the Lord God from God, so there is no need to specify.
Satan, the devil 1) the principle opponent of the The usual word for ‘satan’ is also used for 1) iblîs, ash-shaytân, head of the demons (ra’îsu sh-shayâtîn)
kingdom of God demon.
angels of Satan demonic agents of Satan A common word for angel (malâk) refers Agents/forces/companions of Satan (’awliyâ’u sh-shaytân; junûdu
only to angels of God; it does not mean sh-shaytân)
messenger generically and cannot be used
of demons.
unclean spirit, demon ‘unclean spirit’ is not used and sounds demon (shaytân)
evil spirit, odd. ‘evil spirit’ is not common. Tomost
demon people jinnî is not the same as a demon.
Some lgs have several words for kinds of
spirit.
MESSIANIC TITLES
Christ / The king of Israel chosen by God, title with unknown meaning (explain as appropriate ) the Messiah, the awaited king; the
Messiah especially the eternal, righteous ruler awaited Messiah; the Messiah King; the eternal, righteous king,
and savior of God’s people during the the eternal savior; God’s Chosen One; the Savior sent from God.
messianic age.
The Son of God 1) In OT, the king of Israel chosen by ‘Son of God’ is not known to be a 1) the king chosen by God to guide his people
God, based on 1 Sam 7:14 and the messianic title; widely and deeply 2) the one entitled ‘Son of God’ (al-mulaqqabu bi bni llâh);
enthronement Psalms; in NT times it misunderstood to imply sex between God (explain as appropriate: ) God’s Messiah; the King chosen by God
was a title of the Roman emperor. and Mary; uttering such a claim is to save his people; the One whom God loves with the love of the
2) The Messiah considered to be very offensive to God, to father for his son; the one closer to God than a son; God’s Beloved,
3) The Word of God (2nd of the Trinity) the point of ensuring one’s rejection God’s right arm or right-hand man (yamînu llâh). [needs testing]
3) The Word of God (kalimatu llâh); the eternal Word of God
King of the (as above) Understood only in a mundane sense, not the King of God’s people / King of the Jews
Jews as messianic.
Son of David (as above, although not necessarily not known to be a messianic title son/heir of King David, Messiah son of David
enthroned)
the Coming (as above before enthronement) not understood the awaited Messiah / the awaited Savior (Jn 11:27; Mt 3:11; 11:3)
One
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 5

Son of Man Similar to above, but comes from A common translation, ibnu l-’insân, the Lord of mankind (sayyidu l-bashar, which is close to the sense
heaven to rule all the peoples of the applies to bastards and is not understood in which Jesus used the term);
earth, based on Dan 7 and apocalyptic to be a messianic title. It is commonly the One who became human (allâđi sâra basharan) [used in Sharif
books misunderstood to affirm the mere translation]
humanity of Jesus against claims of
divinity. A similar expression, son of
Adam, is sometimes deprecatory.
the Son This is usually a short form of ‘Son of not understood (similar to above) [This needs more testing.]
Man’ and can be translated similarly. the Lord (as-sayyid) [‘Son of Man’ is replaced by ‘the Lord’ and
‘our Lord’ in Acts and Epistles except in John’s Epistles it is
‘Son’.]
our lord In NT times it usually meant the A common translation (rabb) is our master/sovereign (sayyiduna/mawlânâ)
the lord emperor, but to Jews it was the understood as applying only to God as a lord of all (sayyidu l-kawn)
Messiah in his role of king over the Father-like figure.
earth (based on Ps 110:1)
the Righteous The Messiah was expected to be The traditional translation, al-bârr, means the righteous (a s-sâlih); the righteous savior, the righteous king;
One uniquely perfect in obedience to God dutiful as a son or generous. This misses the perfectly righteous one [Acts 7:52; 22:14; Isaiah 53:11] [Note:
and to establish a righteous kingdom both the desired quality of a ruler and the It is not appropriate to call the Father sâlih because it means
free of evil. model of godly righteousness. obedient and pleasing to God.]
the Holy One of The meaning is like that above, but ‘The Holy One’ (al-qudûs) is a name for The Holy One of God (qudûsu llâh); God’s Holy Messiah.
God ‘holy’ adds the sense of the Messiah’s God, but ‘the Holy One of God’ is a new [Together with God’s Holy Spirit, this is suggestive of the Trinity.]
total commitment to the Father. and unique title. SVB has ‘God’s
Messiah’.
HUMAN ACTS & ATTRIBUTES
soul 1) the innermost nature of a person 1) nafs, tabî‘a
2) the physical life of a person 2) rûh, hayât
3) a person 3) shakhs
soulish 1) in accord with human nature 1) tabî‘î
sin=sinfulness sinful human nature no such concept sinful human nature (at-tabî‘atu l-basharîyatu l-khâti’a);
rebelliousness (ma‘sîya)
flesh corruption in the soul no such doctrine sinful human nature (at-tabî‘atu l-basharîyatu l-khâti’a)
worldly nature (at-tabî‘atu l-dunyawîya)
carnal in accord with corruption no single word equivalent led by worldly/human desires (munqâdun lishahawâti d-dunya)
sin=act 1) willful OR There are several words, differing in [ Choose words appropriate to the context.]
2) inadvertant transgression OR severity. A common translation mistake is
3) shortcoming from God’s ideal to imply that forgiveness is only for light
sins (đunûb) or that only those with major
sins (’âthâm) need forgiveness.
spiritual in accord with God, led by his Spirit no single word equivalent; a common walking with God, led by his Spirit (munqâdun lirûhi llâh)
translation, rû hânî, is used of an imam or
other person who is in communication
with spirits; rû hî means the same or
alcoholic.
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 6

image of God Some of the attributes shared between ‘Image’ is understood in physical terms, God created man in accord with some of His attributes (sifât).
(1Co 11:7; God and man but not between God and which is blasphemous, because God is not God created man to show forth His nature/essence/attributes
Gen 1:27) other creatures, such as personality, physical and limited like humans, and (liyu‘abbira ‘alâ tabî‘ati/đâti/sifâti llah)
speech, creativity, awareness of self, there is none beside Him.
awareness of God, moral
consciousness.
God also created man to be righteous.
sons of God citizens of the Kingdom/God’s people, Words for ‘son’ are understood God’s accepted servants (‘ibâdu llâhi s-sâlihûn),
based on Deut 14:1-2, Ps 82, Jer 3:19; biologically, which is very offensive; this true worshippers of God (‘âbidû llah),
the usage is usually qualititive rather can be avoided in part by saying ‘become companions (’awliyâ’) of God, citizens of the Kingdom of God,
than referential children of God or like children to God’. become children of God (’asbahû ’abnâ’a llâh)
holy, saints those who have been accepted by God A word for ‘holy’ (qudûs) applies only to the righteous servants of God (‘ibâdu llâhi s-sâlihûn)
(through Christ) and set apart for Him God. A common translation (qadîs) is companions (’awliyâ’) of God [especially in heaven]
understood to apply to ancient heroes citizens of the Kingdom of God (’ahlu mamlakati llâh)
worshipped by traditional Christians. pious ones (’atqiyâ’)
righteous those who walk with God, do what He A commonly used word is bârr, which righteous (sâlih)
wants and find favor with Him means generous or obedient to parents. the righteous servants of God (‘ibâdu llâhi l-sâlihûn)
repentance, to 1) to renounce sin and seek forgiveness This concept should imply surrender to 1) to repent (yatûb) and return (yarga‘) to God
repent, to turn and acceptance from God God.
to God
believer, to 1) one who repents and puts faith in A word for believer, used alone, does not 1) believer or believer in Jesus or believer in the savior Jesus Christ
believe Jesus as Christ his Lord and Savior always convey faith in Jesus or trust in our lord.
him as Lord and savior.
unbeliever 1) someone who does not repent and A common word for unbeliever, kâfir, is a 1) unbeliever (ghayru mu’min) or one who does not believe in Jesus
put his/her faith in Jesus as Lord. term of abuse far stronger than intended. as Christ the Lord.
love s.o. to seek what is in the best interest of this attribute is not commonly ascribed to care (word appropriate for a father’s care) OR love (depending on
s.o. God context)
mercy to relieve or protect s.o. from present or some will understand this as a display of (choose words carefully according to context: hanân, rahma,
threatened suffering/punishment power rather than an act of love ri‘âya, i‘tinâ’ .)
fellowship 1) sharing together of love, suffering, The usual word sharika means a business 1) brotherly sharing (sharikatun akhawîyatun), brotherly ties (râbit
worship, presence of the Holy Spirit company and needs qualification. atun akhawîyatun)
RELIGIOUS RITES
baptism of John a re-initiation of Jewish sinners into no great problem but not well understood (use long sentence to describe the action (yaghattas) and some of
the people of God as if they were its significance)
proselytes, their past life and sins being
“washed” away
baptize s.o. into a ritual formally inducting someone A common translation of this term to immerse (yughattis) or purify (yutahhir) people in water to
Christ into the people of the Kingdom of (ma‘madiyya) is often understood to refer signify that they belong to Christ or that they have become one
Christ to a rite for betraying one’s family by (liyattahida) with Christ or as a confession of their faith
transferring to a new church and in Jesus Christ.
community.
baptize s.o. in to purify and empower a new believer This concept is unknown; often a literal purify (yutahhir) s.o. with the Spirit of God
the Holy Spirit with the indwelling Holy Spirit translation produces a collocational clash
(e.g., ‘dip into the Spirit’)
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 7

anoint s.o. to apply oil to someone’s head as a A common translation of this term to anoint someone with oil as a sign of that God has chosen that
visible sign that God has chosen him to (yamsah) means to wipe. person for a particular role
be a king, priest or prophet for His
people.
anoint object to apply sacrificial blood to an object to A similar action is practiced in folk (use a long phrase)
as a sign that it is clean and acceptable religion but with a different meaning. The
to God and devoted to his service verb yamsah is not used for this.
anoint s.o. 1) for God to choose someone to a role not understood to choose (yaxtâr) or empower (yuqawwî) or send (yursil)
(metaphorical) 2) for God to empower someone for a
task
pray 1) to offer formal worship to God. A common translation of this term (yus 1) yusalli
2) to ask or petition God for s.th. alli) refers only to formal, ritual worship 2) yad‘û allah, yatlubu shay’an mina llâh
3) to intercede on behalf of others 3) yad‘û allah li
4) to spend time communing with God 4) to spend time praising and thanking God and seeking direction
covenant 1) a sacred contract between God and The word is known, mostly as a divine 1) covenant, divine promise (‘ahd)
people committing each to the other promise, but the concept of covenants with
2) a marriage contract before God God is not familiar or understood. 2) marriage covenant, knot (‘uqda)
RELIGIOUS BODIES
congregation 1) the congregation of God’s OT kanîsa comes from the Aramaic word for 1) assembly (jamâ‘a) [Ac 7:38; Heb 2:12]
/church people synagogue and means ecclesiastical 2) nation/people of Christ (ummatu l-masîh) Eph 1:22; Ac 9:31
2) the totality of God’s NT people building or institution, not congregation 3) assembly of believers (jamâ‘atu l-mu’minîn)
3) a local assembly of NT believers
Israel, children 1) physical descendants of Jacob For most hearers today, ‘israel’ is the 1) children of Jacob (banuu ya3qûb) or children of Israel
of Israel, name of a political state, and for some it
Israelites 2) God’s faithful people evokes very negative connotations. 2) people of God (sha3abu llâh) or nation of God (’ummatu llâh)
Gentiles 1) people not descended from Jacob A common translation, umam ‘nations’, 1) non-Jews (ghairu yahûd)
2) people outside God’s people does not convey the intended meaning. 2) non-believers (ghayru mu’minîn)
Hebrew 1) descendant of Eber (in Genesis) The word ‘Hebrew’ means ‘Jew’ to most 1) from the children of Eber (min banî ‘âbir)
2) nomadic shepherd (in Genesis) people today. 2) nomad (rahhâl), shepherd (râ‘î)
3) Israelite (elsewhere) 3) Hebrew
RELIGIOUS ROLES
priest 1) a professional man of religion A common translation, kâhin, means 1) man of religion (rajulu dîn); mediator (wasît);
2) one who approaches the temple of fortune-teller or psychic medium. The role 2) man of religion who serves in the temple; temple official
God on behalf of others with offerings of priest does not officially exist in some intercessor/mediator (shafî‘) [especially in regard to the priestly
and prayers on their behalf religions, but it might exist in folk role of Christ] [these terms are still being tested]
versions.
advocate 1) one who intercedes with God for s.o. 1) shafî‘
mediator 1) one who mediates with God or man 1) wasît
Levite 1) descendant from the tribe of Levi unknown 1) from the sons of Levi (min banî lâwî)
2) a worker in the temple 2) a Levite priest, an assistant priest, a man of religion
chief priests 1) leading priests, members of council 1) important religious men (kibâru rijâli d-dîn)
high priest 1) unique priest who approached God The first role is not familiar to our 1) the priest who was near to God (al-shafî‘u l-muqarrab)
2) leader of priests and council audience today. 2) head of the religious functionaries (ra’îsu rujâli d-dîn)
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 8

Sadducee 1) The exclusive priestly line after The term ‘Sadducee’ is unknown. 1) priest from the sons of Zadoq; priest from the Sadducee sect
David appointed Zadoq high priest. (min mađhabi l-saddûqiyyîn )
2) Those who support the doctrines and 2) man from the Sadducee way/school/sect
practices of this line
Pharisee 1) member of a Jewish fraternal order The tern ‘Pharisee’ is unknown. 1) man from the Pharisee sect (mađhabi l-farîsiyyîn)
that tithed and observed the oral law.
prophet (NT) ones who made pronouncements to the Prophets are understood to be sent to call one who prophesies/has a word from God
church by inspiration of the Holy Spirit
sinners to repent; it is said there are none
today.
false prophet someone who falsely claims to have a This is a collocational clash; all prophets one who (falsely) claims to be a prophet;
true message from God are from God or they are not prophets. ones who (falsely) claim to have prophecy (yadda‘ûna n-nabûwa)
apostle 1) one sent from a church on a mission A common translation, rasûl, means one 1) messanger (mursal) [2 Co 8:23; Ph 2:25]
2) one sent from God with a mission appointed by God to give people a portion 2) apostle (rasûl) [of Christ at Heb 3:1; of others at Luk 11:49]
3) one sent from Christ with a mission of God’s book. 3) apostle of Christ (rasûlu l-masîh)
disciple 1) follower of a religious teacher A common translation, talmîđ, can mean 1) disciple (talmîđ) of someone
2) believer and follower of Jesus schoolboy if used alone. 2) disciple (talmîđ) of Jesus
the twelve 1) inner circle of twelve disciples A word besides talmîdh exists for the close 1) the twelve disciples or the twelve hawârîyûn or sometimes just
companions of Jesus: hawârîyûn. al-hawârîyûn
NAMES
Jesus the given name of the son of Mary, In some languages, the general audience [‘isa is not inherently better or worse than yasû‘. Other
who is the Messiah. In Hebrew his may use ‘isa while some churches or considerations are more important in the choice of name. Cross-
name is yeshû‘, which means missionaries use yasû‘ . The former is linking has been helpful (i.e., yasû’, also known as ‘isa).
salvation. based on the Greek but adapted to Arabic
word structure, whereas the latter is based
on the Syriac form of the name. Neither
name means anything in Arabic.
John the the prophet John son of Zecharia (Luke Usually known as Yahya son of Zakaria yahya son of zakariyya
Baptist 3:2)
New Testament The collection of books, outside the In many lgs the book of the Christians is al-’injîl
Old Testament, accepted by all known as the Injil. The Injil is known to
Christians as Scripture. be one inspired book, not a message.
The Gospel the Good News brought by Jesus Christ injîl is understood to be the name of a bishâra
book sent down to Jesus
Gospel of Luke The good news proclaimed by Jesus as A common translation has been Injîl, but The good news (bishâra) brought by Jesus as written by Luke.
written by Luke. this is understood to be a single book
given to Jesus.
Psalms A collection of inspired prayers and Most of the audience will have heard of mazâmîr, Praises (the meaning of the Hebrew name)
praises, mostly by David. this collection as the Zabûr, but it is not zabûr (for the collection of Psalms, if this name is not also used as
often called that in translation. Zabûr a male body part).
suggests a male organ in some lgs.
RELIGIOUS OBJECTS
temple (haykal) a unique plaza where sacrifices, gifts, haykal means a skeleton of a building or house of God (baitu llâh); house of God in Jerusalem;
and prayers were offered to God person. ma‘bad means pagan temple. sacred precinct of God’s house (haramu bayti llâh)
TERM INTENDED MEANINGS PROBLEMS SOME POSSIBLE EXPRESSIONS 9

tabernacle a temple made of skins and fabric tent of worship (khaymatu l-‘ibâda)
sacrifice (đabîh 1) a slain animal burned in the name of đabîha can be any slaughtered animal, so 1) sacrifice to God (for atonement / thanks/ etc)
a) God for atonement or thanks or other the purpose of giving it to God is not (In some contexts a sentence is needed to translate ‘sacrifice’, such
reasons always understood. Folk religion includes as đabîhatun qaddamûha lillâhi shukran/ ‘ibâdatan lahu
2) a sacrifice required for a feast sacrifices at new occasions. 2) ’udhîya.
3) a human sacrifice 3) dahîya
4) sacrificial act, self-sacrifice 4) tadhiya (suitable for Christ)
propitiation 1) the act of giving something to calm the usual translations, kafâra and yukaffir, 1) a sacrifice offered to God to make amends
wrath or make amends can have undesirable meanings. đabîhatu l-takfîr qaddamûha lillâhi shukran/ ‘ibâdatan lahu
altar wood, bronze, or stone platform where unknown concept (in many languages); platform / place for offering sacrifices / incense /offerings to God
offerings are presented to God or A common translation means (makânun litaqdîmi qarâbîni/đabâ’ihi/bakhûr (shukran) lillâh)
supernatural beings slaughterhouse.
altar of incense wood, bronze, or stone platform where unknown concept; Common translations platform/place for offering incense to God
incense is presented to God mean censor or slaughterhouse of incense. (makânun/mawqidun litaqdîmi bakhûrin hamdan lillâh)
symbolizing prayers
sanctuary a small sacred building in the temple unknown concept sacred niche (mihrab) of house of God
plaza for priests only
the holy place the main room in the sanctuary, unknown concept sacred niche (mihrâb) in house of God
entered by a priest infrequently
the holy of the sacred chamber in the sanctuary, unknown concept as above, but with holiest (al-’aqdas)
holies entered by the high priest once a year
synagogue building for Jewish prayers and conflicting words or no special word; house of worship (baytu l ‘ibâda); house of prayer of the Jews
teaching jam‘a controversial
sabbath 1) the seventh day, Saturday Saturday is known but the sabbath is an 1) Saturday (yawmu s-sabt)
2) a holy day of rest unknown concept. 2) day of rest (yawmu listirâ h); the weekly day of rest (al-‘uTlatu
3) a feast day when work is forbidden l-’usbû‘îya)
3) day of rest (yawmu listirâ h)