Category Archives: Bible Terms

Definitions to key words found in the Bible and words that relate to faith and Bible reading.

Bible Term: Holocaust

The word holocaust is not found in most versions of the Bible, but when it is used, it refers to a burnt offering, specifically a sacrificial offering that is entirely burned up in fire. This was prescribed by Moses, as handed down by God.

In modern usage, the Holocaust was the mass genocide of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

In general, holocaust refers to any wide scale loss of life or a massive slaughter.

Bible Term: Holy

Holy is both a characteristic of God as well as a lifestyle for us to emulate.

In reference to God, holy means sacred, worthy of worship, praise, and adoration. In the Hebrew culture a word was repeated three times to place emphasis on it. This is used with holy in reference to God: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come,” (Revelation 4:8; also see Isaiah 6:3).

In regard to people, holy means living according to a moral code or standard. Throughout the Bible, God commands and implores us to be holy. In Leviticus 11:44, God says, “Be holy, because I am holy,” (which is quoted in 1 Peter 1:16.)

The word holy is also attached to other words to elevate them, such as Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost), Holy Communion, Holy of Holies, Holy Bible, and so forth.

Compare to righteous.

Bible Term: Yoke

From a simple perspective, a yoke is a means to harness a draft animal in order to pull a load.

However, a deeper understanding of this comes from considering it in an historical perspective. Back in Jesus‘ day, the learned Rabbi‘s would study the Scriptures. They did not see them as a definitive, fixed set of rules, but rather as a document to be explored and interpreted. A Rabbi’s interpretation of what the scriptures said, of what should be allowed and what should be prohibited, was called his yoke.

When Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden light, he was letting it be known that he allowed many more things then he prohibited. He didn’t want his followers weighed down with a long list of don’ts, of heavy, burdensome requirements, but instead he wanted them to be free to focus on him — and not a bunch of rules.

Also see bind and loose.

Bible Term: Yeast

Yeast is used symbolically in the Bible to represent influence, often negatively. Just as a little bit of yeast, permeates dough and produces a noticeable result, so does influence, be it good or bad.

In the Books of Moses, there are thirty-two references to not using yeast (and more for it’s counterpart, leaven) in various religious practices, which symbolically shows the removal of sin. The theme continues in Judges 6:19, I Samuel 28:24, and Ezekiel 45:21. (Leviticus 7:13 and 23:17 are two exceptions, when yeast should be used.)

Paul compares false teaching to yeast (Galatians 5:9).

Another negative connotation is when Jesus says to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), as well as the yeast of Sadducees (Matthew 16:6-12) and the yeast of Herod (Mark 8:14-15).

Another reference to yeast is in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, where Paul uses yeast as a metaphor for boasting. Paul says to get rid of bread with old yeast (malice and wickedness) and use new bread without yeast (sincerity and truth).

In likely the only positive usage of yeast in the Bible, Jesus says that the Kingdom of God (Heaven) is like yeast (Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:18-21).

Bible Term: Worship

Worship is an act of displaying devotion, paying homage, or offering reverence to God.

True worship is not meaningless ritual or a mindless, mechanical act but instead a heart-felt love and adoration to God, which is manifested in actions, be it by prayer, song, meditation, acts of service, and even through a lifestyle that honors him.

This may be best captured in John 4:23-24 which says we are to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Bible Term: Unleavened

Unleavened bread is made without yeast, or leaven, so that it will not rise. It is more like a cracker than bread.

The Jews celebrated Passover using unleavened bread. It symbolically represents the haste in which they left Egypt after the first Passover celebration (that is, they did not have time for the bread to rise).

Today, some followers of Jesus carry this practice over to communion, by using unleavened bread or crackers.