Biblical Hebrew

“And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers…”

{Luke‬ ‭2:46-47‬ ‭KJV‬‬}


What is the benefit to studying the glossary? Studying the terms in the glossary will help you understand the vocabulary this Bible uses. It also introduces you to terms often used by Jewish believers in Messianic gatherings.

Where can we find the glossary words in the text? At the end of every definition in this glossary you will find chapter and verse references in parentheses. These will show you places where that word is used in context. Looking up those scriptures can be a good way to learn the meanings of these words.

Why are some words italicized? In this translation, the italicized words (such as Elohim) are transliterated Hebrew. This means we use English letters to represent Hebrew sounds. The transliteration allows you to become familiar with the sounds of spoken Hebrew and may encourage you to learn written Hebrew as well.

How do I say the Hebrew transliterated words? Unlike in English, each vowel sound in Hebrew nearly always has the same sound. Use this chart to help with the pronunciation of the vowels:

a—sounds like the a in father
e—sounds like the e in sent
i—sounds like the i in spaghetti
ei—sounds like the ey in they
ai—sounds like the ai in aisle
u—sounds like the u in truth
o—sounds like the o in go
’—sounds like a very short a as in about
Consonants are like English with these exceptions:
tz—sounds like the zz in pizza
ch or kh—sounds like the ch in Bach

Which syllable gets the emphasis in Hebrew? Hebrew words often have their accent on the last part of the word, the opposite of English. But there are many exceptions. Sometimes pronunciation and accents even vary from region to region. So in this glossary we mark the syllable to be accented in bold. And while you would read actual Hebrew writing from right to left, read the transliteration from left to right as in English.

Abba—An Aramaic word used as an affectionate and intimate term of address to someone’s father. Yeshua used it to refer to God as His Father, and believers in Yeshua also use it today to address God as Father. In Modern Hebrew, this common name means “Dad” or “Daddy.” See also Father. (Mark 14:36)

Adonai—Hebrew for “Lord.” When written in small capitals, it refers to God’s personal name Yhwh as given in the Hebrew Bible. This personal name is God’s “covenant name,” used when God is relating to the Jewish people in an intimate way. Since its pronunciation is not known, and also out of respect for God’s name, Jews traditionally substitute the word Adonai. See also Elohim and Lord. (Matthew 1:22; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:5; John 1:23)

Adonai Elohim —Hebrew for “Lord God.” This title links Israel’s God, the God of the Covenant, with God as Creator of the universe. (Luke 1:32; Revelation 1:8)

Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot —Hebrew for “Lord God of Hosts” or “Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.” The Greek equivalent is Kurios o Theos o Pantokrator, which is literally “Lord God Almighty” or “Lord God, Ruler over All” (Revelation 4:8; 21:22; cf. Amos 4:13ff.)

Adonai Tzva’ot —Hebrew for “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” The Greek equivalent is Kurios Sabaoth (Isaiah 6:3 LXX), but the Septuagint often translates this Hebrew title as Kurios Pantokrator, which is literally “Lord Almighty” or “Lord, Ruler over All” (2 Samuel 7:8 LXX; 2 Corinthians 6:18)

Alpha and Omega—The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the beginning of Revelation, God says while sitting on the throne, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Yeshua speaks the exact same words at the end of Revelation. These words emphasize continuous existence “from A to Z”—from the beginning to the end of all creation. (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13)

amen—At the end of a prayer, this word means, “Let it be so,” indicating that the readers or listeners agree with what was just said. At the start of a phrase, it means, “This is a truth you can believe in and live by.” Although everything Yeshua said was true, “amen” adds special emphasis. (Matthew 5:26; Mark 10:15; Luke 23:43; John 10:1)

angel—A supernatural messenger sent by God. (Matthew 1:20; Mark 13:32; Luke 1:11; John 20:12)

anoint—To pour oil on a person or thing. In the Tanakh, kings and priests were anointed by the application of oil. The word “Messiah” means “Anointed One.” In this case it does not mean that the Messiah had oil put on him, but that God set Him apart for the task of being the Redeemer. See also Mashiach and Messiah. (Matthew 6:17; Mark 14:8; Luke 7:46; Luke 14:25 title; John 1:41; John 11:2)

avodah—A Hebrew word that means “work,” “service,” or “worship.” It often applies specifically to the work of the kohanim, including offering sacrifices and taking care of the Tabernacle and Temple. (Romans 9:4 footnote)

Bar-Abba —Aramaic for “Barabbas,” meaning “Son of the Father.” The name of the prisoner released by Pilate instead of Yeshua. (Matthew 27:16-17; Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18; John 18:20)

Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai —“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Psalm 118:26a), Jerusalem’s greeting to all pilgrims coming up to celebrate the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. (Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9; Luke 13:35)

beelzebul—Originally the name of a Philistine god worshiped in Ekron (spelled beelzebub or in Hebrew baal-zevuv, which means “lord of the flies”). But by the time of Yeshua, it had become another name for satan, the prince of demons. (2 Kings 1:2; Matthew 10:25, 12:24-27; Mark 3:22-26; Luke 11:15-19)

Ben-Avraham —Hebrew for “Son of Abraham.” Yeshua is called “Son of David, Son of Abraham.” Abraham was promised that he would father a line of kings through the tribe of Judah, which started with David and looked forward to the coming of Messiah. (Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:34 footnote)

Ben-David—One of Yeshua’s titles, meaning “Son of David.” David was promised a dynasty that would never end. This line of kings looked forward to Messiah’s everlasting reign. (Matthew 1:1-17; Mark 12:35; Luke 3:31 footnote; Luke 18:38-39)

Ben El Elyon—One of Yeshua’s titles, meaning “Son of the Most High God.” (Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28)

Ben-Elohim—One of Yeshua’s titles, meaning “Son of God.” In some instances, this title takes the form of Ben-ha-Elohim, “the Son of God.” See also Son of Man. (Matthew 4:3; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; 3:38; John 11:4)

Ben-Elyon —One of Yeshua’s titles, meaning “Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:32)

Besorah—Hebrew for “Gospel” or “Good News.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Good News is the announcement that Adonai has come to deliver his people and restore Israel from exile. Writers of the New Covenant Scriptures see Yeshua as the fulfillment of this proclamation. Their message of Good News tells the story of the life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Yeshua, who is now seated at the right hand of God. (Introduction to Gospel of John)

blasphemy—The profaning of God’s name by cursing Him or speaking slander against Him or His Word. The verb is “to blaspheme.” (Matthew 12:31; Mark 14:64; John 10:33)

B’nei-Israel —Literally, “the sons of Israel” or “the children of Israel,” this term is used frequently in the Tanakh to represent the entire Jewish nation. (Romans 9:27; Revelation 7:4)

bracha or bracha —A blessing, usually done at a specific time as part of a ritual. A bracha acknowledges that God is the Giver of life and good things. (Matthew 14:19; Mark 14:22; Luke 2:28)

Brit Hadashah, also Brit Chadashah —Hebrew for “New Covenant.” Christians commonly call it the “New Testament.” See also covenant. (-)

brit-milah —Hebrew for “the covenant of circumcision,” (bris in Yiddish). The removal of the foreskin of males on the eighth day after birth. Also the ceremony that takes place at that time, signifying the formal entry into the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants, which included inheriting the land as a permanent possession (Genesis 17:8-14). In English, it is called “circumcision,” and the verb is “to circumcise.” See also circumcision. (Luke 2:21)

brethren/brother—From the Greek “adelphos,” this term goes beyond blood relationships to refer to a fellow member within Messiah’s community. When the plural form refers to a group of both males and females, “adelphoi” is translated as “brethren” (Matthew 25:40; Acts 11:29; 15:23; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:8)

centurion—A Roman military captain in charge of 50-80 soldiers, originally one hundred at full strength. (Matthew 8:5; Mark 15:44; Luke 23:47)

circumcision—Physically the removal of the foreskin (see brit-milah), but this term can also apply spiritually to the condition of a person’s heart (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4). Jewish people are sometimes referred to as “those of the circumcision” (Acts 11:1-3; Galatians 2:11-12; Philippians 3:2-6). Paul did not oppose circumcision; in fact, he circumcised Timothy to clarify his status as Jewish (Acts 16:1-4). In contrast, Paul did not circumcise Titus, who was a Gentile (Galatians 2:3-5). (Acts 7:8; Acts 15; Romans 2:25-29)

cohort—A group of 600 Roman soldiers, about one-tenth of a Roman legion. Cohorts mentioned in the New Covenant include the Italian Cohort and the Augustan Cohort. (Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:16; Acts 10:1, 21:31, 27:1)

commandment—An order given by God or by Yeshua to His people. According to tradition, the Rabbis have counted 613 commandments in the Torah. See also mitzvah, the Hebrew term for commandment. (Matthew 5:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 23:56; John 13:34)

commonwealth—a community founded for the common good of its members. Israel enjoys the privileges of being God’s nation, called to covenant relationship at Sinai. In Ephesians 2:11-14, Paul tells his Gentile readers that they have joined the commonwealth of Israel as fellow citizens through the reconciling work of Yeshua. (Ephesians 2:12)

community—A formal or informal group of people with shared interests or common beliefs. The first use of the Greek term “ekklesia” in the New Covenant occurs on the lips of Yeshua, who says He will build His community on Peter (Matthew 16:18). But this term was first used in the Septuagint when Moses reveals that God told him “gather to Me” the people, that they might hear My words and teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:10 LXX). The emphasis is on people—a holy community “called out” to be “set apart” for God. As Messiah’s community expanded globally, new groups gathered and the teaching spread through the shlichim and their letters of instruction, which were preserved and passed on to us as part of the New Covenant. Starting from the Hebrew kahal (kve), the Greek word “ekklesia” is also translated as assembly, congregation, or church. (Israelites—Acts 7:38; local gatherings and house groups—Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 2; gathering to address community concerns—Matthew 18:17; Acts 15:22; 1 Corinthians 11:18; all believers living in a region—Acts 5:11; 8:3; 9:31; Messiah’s global community—Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 1:22)

covenant—The relationship between God and His people. The Hebrew term is brit. See also Brit Hadashah, Hebrew for the “New Covenant.” (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 1:72)

crucify—A very cruel form of execution practiced by the Romans, reserved for the worst crimes. It involved nailing or binding the criminal’s hands and feet to a cross, on which the criminal hung until he died. (Matthew 20:19; Mark 15:20; John 19:10; Acts 2:36; Hebrews 6:6)

Day of the Lord—An expression originally found in the Tanakh, referring to a time when God will come to save or deliver some and to judge others (Matthew 24:29-31). In the New Covenant, it is also called by other names, including the “Day of Messiah” (showing that Yeshua is Himself divine) or just “the Day.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, 2 Peter 3:10—Day of the Lord; 1 Corinthians 1:8—Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah; 2 Corinthians 1:14—the Day of our Lord Yeshua; Philippians 1:10, 2:16—the Day of Messiah; 1 Corinthians 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, Hebrews 10:25—the Day)

demon—An evil spirit who is an agent of satan. (Matthew 10:8; Mark 1:34; Luke 7:33; John 8:49)

denarius/plural denarii—A Roman silver coin, equal to a day’s wage. (Matthew 20:2; Mark 6:37; Luke 20:24)

Diaspora—The dispersion or scattering of the Jewish people throughout the world. The term is actually Greek; the corresponding Hebrew term is galut, meaning “exile.” (John 7:35)

disciple—A student and follower of a teacher, who not only learns the teacher’s wisdom, but even more importantly, also models his life on that of the teacher. In Hebrew, a disciple is called a talmid, and the plural is talmidim. See also talmid. (Matthew 9:10; Mark 3:9; Luke 5:33; John 1:35)

drash —A sermon or exposition of Scripture; also an interpretation or explanation. (Matthew 5:1 title; Luke 7:1)

El Elyon—See Elyon. (-)

elder—Equivalent to the Hebrew zaken plural zekeinim. Used of leaders within the Jewish community who primarily taught and judged, often in a synagogue setting, and also of similar leaders appointed to oversee Messiah’s community. Elders were often—but not always—older men who possessed wisdom. Qualifications for being an elder are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. (Matthew 26:3; Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:5)

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?—An Aramaic quotation meaning “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The underlying Hebrew from Psalm 22:2(1) means, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” The Matthew variation uses “Eli,” the Hebrew form of “My God.” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)

Elohim—“God” in general terms, or as Creator. Compare with Adonai, God’s “covenant name” used especially in His relationship to the Jewish people. Elohim is the plural form of El, also found in the Bible occasionally with the same meaning. Yeshua is sometimes called Ben-Elohim, the Son of God. (Matthew 4:3; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 11:4)

Elyon—A title for God, meaning “Most High.” (Luke 1:35, 76; Acts 7:48). A longer form is El Elyon, “God Most High” (Acts 16:17)

emunah —Hebrew for “faith,” “trust,” or “faithfulness”; the Greek term is “pistis.” It is important to stress the integration of heart, mind, soul, and strength when putting your trust in God. (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11)

engaged—In the first stage of a marriage covenant, usually lasting a year, after which the full marriage would take place and the bride and groom would live together. Engagement, also called “betrothal” and in Aramaic erusin, in biblical times was much more like a marriage than it is today. It was legally binding and could be broken only by divorce. Sexual intimacy outside of this relationship was considered adultery, punishable by death. (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5)

exhortation—A strong urging or encouragement with teaching. The range of the Greek word parakaleo includes everything from strong urging to softer forms such as requesting, begging, pleading, or even cheerful comforting. (Luke 3:18; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 13:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:12)

faith—See emunah. ()

Father—God, the King of the universe, in His relation both to Yeshua (Matthew 7:21; Mark 8:38; Luke 2:49; John 5:18) and to believers (Matthew 6:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 11:2; John 14:7). Both usages are seen side-by-side in John 20:17. See also Abba. (-)

firstfruits—The offering to God of the first part of an agricultural harvest. The Hebrew term is bikkurim, which pilgrims brought to the Temple from Shavuot through Sukkot. Until a tithe was offered back to God, the entire crop was considered holy and therefore unavailable for common use. The concept extends to people as well, including the harvest of New Covenant faithful, redeemed by Messiah—the firstfruits from the dead. (Romans 8:23; 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; 16:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

fulfill—Accomplish, carry out, or fill full with meaning. The word is found in relation to Scripture or to the words of Yeshua, showing that something previously spoken about has now happened. (Matthew 4:14; Mark 14:49; Luke 1:20; John 19:36)

Galileans—Inhabitants of the Galilee. Judean leaders in Jerusalem tended to look down on the people who lived in Galilee, because they thought they were less sophisticated. (Mark 14:70; Luke 22:59)

Galilee—The northernmost region of Israel, north of Samaria and Judea. Yeshua grew up in Natzeret and taught in Capernaum and many other towns there. (Matthew 2:22; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:1; John 4:43)

Gehenna—A word for “hell,” the place of perpetual misery and suffering after this life. It comes from the Greek “Geenna” and the Hebrew “Gei-Hinnom”, which means “the valley of Hinnom.” There was actually such a valley by that name near the Temple in Jerusalem. It was used as a garbage dump, and fires were always burning there, making it a suitable picture of life in hell. In Jewish sources, the term is used as the opposite of Gan-Eden, the Garden of Eden or Paradise. (Matthew 23:33, Mark 9:43)

Gentiles—The term for individuals or people groups who are not Jewish. In Hebrew a common word for Gentiles is goyim or goyim (ohud). (Matthew 10:18; Mark 10:33)

glory—The manifestation of God’s presence and power, especially in a visible way. The Hebrew word is kavod. (Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 11:10; Matthew 24:30; 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:31; John 2:11; Romans 8:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:14)

God-fearers—In the first century c.e., this term referred to Gentiles who participated in synagogue services and much of Jewish life, but who did not undergo circumcision. Many of the first Gentiles who came to faith in Yeshua were God-fearers. See also proselyte. (Acts 13:16, 26, 43)

grace—Undeserved favor, which God gives to His people. (Mark 7:24 title; Luke 2:40; John 1:16)

Greek—The language spoken in Greece; also a term for people who spoke Greek, including Greek-speaking Jews in or outside of Israel. (Mark 7:26; John 12:20)

ha —A Hebrew prefix meaning “the.” For example, Yeshua ha-Mashiach is “Jesus the Messiah.”. To find a word in a Hebrew dictionary, remove this prefix first. (See Acts 3:6.)

Hallel—The series of Psalms 113-118 sung or read at the conclusion of the Passover seder. Hallel means “praise.” (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26)

hametz or hametz, also spelled chametz —Leaven, or yeast, which makes bread rise. God commanded Israel not to eat hametz during Passover. Yeshua teaches that both good and evil spread, the same way hametz leavens the whole batch of dough. (Matthew 13:33; 16:6-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 13:21)

Hanukkah or Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukkah —A holiday whose name means “dedication.” The Feast of Dedication commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BCE and the rededication of the Temple after it had been defiled. (John 10:22)

Hellenist—In the New Covenant, refers to Jews who lived in the Diaspora, or had moved to Israel from the Diaspora, spoke Greek, and were more Greek in their culture than Jewish people brought up in Israel. (Acts 6:1; 9:29; 11:20)

Herodians—A group in ancient Israel that was friendly towards the rule of King Herod and to Rome. (Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6)

holy—Set apart for God’s purposes. God Himself radiates holiness. In Hebrew the term is kadosh. (Matthew 4:5; Mark 8:38; Luke 1:49; John 17:11)

Holy Spirit—See Ruach, Ruach-Elohim, and Ruach ha-Kodesh. (-)

hoshia-na —“Hosanna” in English, a term meaning, “Save now, please,” which comes from Psalm 118:25. (Matthew 21:15; Mark 11:9; John 12:13)

immerse—To dip the whole body under water as an act of dedication to the Lord or as a profession of faith in Yeshua. The word is often seen in other translations as “baptize.” The ceremony of dipping is called “immersion” or “baptism.” Yeshua’s cousin was known as John the Immerser (Matthew 3:1; Mark 6:14; Luke 7:20). The Hebrew term for immersion is tevilah. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; John 1:26)

intercede—To pray on behalf of another person. The person who prays is called an “intercessor” or a “mediator,” meaning someone who comes between God and people in order to help them. (John 17:20 title)

Israel—The name given by God to His chosen people, the Jews. The term refers to the people as a whole, and also to the land where the ten northern tribes lived. In modern times, it refers to the nation established in 1948 as the Jewish homeland. The name in Hebrew is Yisrael. (Matthew 2:6; Mark 15:32; Luke 7:9; John 1:49)

Jerusalem—The royal city from which the kings of Israel ruled and the place where the Holy Temple was located. Sometimes called the “City of Peace,” it also refers to the heavenly Jerusalem of the future. Its name in Hebrew is Yerushalayim. (Matthew 3:5; Mark 10:32; Luke 9:31; John 2:13)

Jews, Jewish—The Jews are God’s chosen people, descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with whom He made His covenants. God gave the Torah to the Jewish people and promised them the land of Israel. “Jewish” is the word that describes this people or anything that has to do with them, such as holidays and ceremonies. (Matthew 2:2; Mark 7:3; Luke 23:3; John 2:13)

Judea—The southern part of Israel, south of the Galilee and Samaria. In earlier Jewish history, it was known as the Kingdom of Judah. This region included Jerusalem, where the Temple stood as the center of Jewish religious life (Matthew 2:1; Mark 13:14; Luke 6:17; John 3:22)

Judeans—Inhabitants of Judea. The Judean leaders included the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars; the Pharisees; and also the Sadducees who were in charge of the Temple in Yeshua’s time. (Matthew 28:15; Mark 1:5; John 5:16)

Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh —What the four living creatures continually repeat in worship before God, seated on His throne in heaven. The words mean “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Hosts, who was and who is and who is to come!” (Revelation 4:8)

Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, — ()

asher haya v’hoveh v’yavo! — ()

kedoshim / singular kadosh —Hebrew for “holy.” This term describes the people set apart for God, often translated as the “saints” (Greek hagioi). In the Torah portion named Kedoshim, the people are commanded to be kedoshim, for Adonai Himself is kadosh (Leviticus 19:1-2). Many letters to Messiah’s newly formed communities address Yeshua’s followers as the kedoshim. (1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2)

Kingdom of God—The reality of God’s rulership in our lives now and throughout all the world in the age to come. (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:14; Luke 6:20; John 3:3)

kohen or kohen / plural kohanim —A man who offered sacrifices and performed other religious rituals at the Temple in Jerusalem. The kohanim were descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. The priests were mostly from the Sadducee sect of Judaism. See also Levite and Sadducees. (Matthew 8:4; Mark 1:44; Luke 1:5)

kohen gadol / plural kohanim g’dolim —The high priest who served as head official, the only one to enter the Holy of Holies. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first man appointed as kohen gadol. In later times, the kohen gadol was in charge of the Temple and its administration. The kohen gadol Caiaphas played a key role in questioning Yeshua at His trial. The writer of Hebrews describes Yeshua as our great Kohen Gadol, who gives us access to God’s throne in the heavenly sanctuary. (Matthew 26:57ff; Mark 14:61ff; John 18:19ff; Hebrews 4:14ff.; 10:19-22)

korban —A sacrifice or offering dedicated to God, especially to fulfill a vow. If something was to be dedicated to God, it generally could not be used for other purposes. Some people wrongly used this as an excuse not to provide for their parents in their old age, even though Jewish teaching insisted that the commandment to honor one’s father and mother extended to providing for their needs. (Mark 7:11)

Kriot—A town in the territory of the tribe of Judah, mentioned in Joshua 15:25. The disciple who betrayed Yeshua lived in this town. In Greek he is called “Judas Iscariot.” His name probably comes from “Yehudah Ish-Kriot,” Hebrew for “Judah, the man from Kriot.” (Matthew 10:4; Mark 14:10; Luke 6:16; John 12:4)

lashon ha-ra —Literally “the tongue of evil,” Hebrew for gossip or slander. In the spirit of Leviticus 19:16, this behavior is forbidden and its damage to the community is taken very seriously. (2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Peter 2:1)

last days—Also sometimes called the “end of days.” The time period that comes at the end of history before the Day of the Lord, the reign of Messiah, and the resurrection of the dead. In the Bible, any time after the Resurrection of Yeshua is sometimes called the “last days,” or it can refer more specifically to the time just before Messiah returns. It is a phrase found often in the Tanakh, as the Hebrew acharit ha-yamim. (2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; Jacob 5:3)

Levite—Descendants of the tribe of Levi, who served in the Tabernacle and Temple as gatekeepers, musicians, teachers, and assistants to the kohanim. The scribes, or Torah scholars, came from among the Levites and were the forerunners of the Pharisees. See also scribe, kohen, Pharisees, and Sadducees. (John 1:19)

Lord—A title given to Yeshua after His resurrection, in recognition of His deity. The Greek term “Kurios” has a wide range of meanings, including “Sir,” “Master,” and “Lord.” Depending on who uses the term and what this person knows about the one being addressed, “Kurios” or “Lord” can indicate various levels of respect—from politely addressing a stranger, boss, or even a king, to recognizing deity worthy of worship. “Kurios” in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of Tanakh) refers directly to Adonai—the Lord, the only God who creates all and rules over all. See also Master and Adonai. (Matthew 15:22; Mark 7:28; Luke 2:11; John 21:7)

Lord’s Supper—The ceremony in which we remember Yeshua’s atoning death by partaking of bread and wine. Also known as the Lord’s Table, Communion, or the Eucharist, and in Hebrew as Seudat ha-Adon, it is based on what took place at Yeshua’s final Passover Seder, usually called the “Last Supper.” (See Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

magi—A name for pagan astrologers who came from the Eastern countries. Magi often served as advisors to a king. Though astrology was forbidden to Israel, the story of the magis gives us a picture of how the coming of Yeshua would affect the Gentile world as well as the Jewish world. (Matthew 2:1)

manna—The bread from heaven that God gave to our people in Exodus 16, as they wandered the desert after being redeemed from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew term is man. (John 6:31)

Mashiach—The “Anointed One,” called in English the “Messiah,” used originally for any priest, prophet, or king on a mission from God. In Greek the word is “Christos,” from which we get the English term “Christ.” See also Messiah and anoint. (Matthew 26:63; Mark 1:1; John 20:31)

Master—A term of respect, recognizing a teacher’s authority. See also Lord. (Matthew 8:21; Mark 11:3; Luke 5:5; John 13:14)

matzah or matzah / plural matzot —Unleavened bread, which is made without yeast, eaten especially during the feast of Passover. See also hametz. (Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; John 13:26)

Messiah—A title meaning “Anointed One,” often used in speaking of a redeemer sent from God to free His people from exile and oppression. See also anoint and the Hebrew title, Mashiach. (Matthew 1:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 2:11; 24:26; John 1:41)

metzora—An “infected one” or someone suffering from tzara’at or leprosy, such as Simon ha-Metzora. See also tzara’at. (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3)

mikveh—A place where living water collects, suitable for ritual immersion to wash away impurity. See also immerse. (Matthew 3:13 title)

mitzvah or mitzvah / plural mitzvot —A commandment from God. See also commandment. Another, more modern, meaning is “a good deed.” (Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6; Mark 12:28 title)

nations—See Gentiles. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 13:10; Luke 24:47)

Natzeret —Also called “Nazareth” in English, this town is in south central Galilee where Yeshua grew up. The name may come from the Hebrew word netzer, which means “branch.” A clan from the line of David founded this town. (Matthew 2:23; Mark 10:47; Luke 1:26; John 1:45-46)

Natzrati—Nazarene, someone from Nazareth. Yeshua, who came from Nazareth, was sometimes called Yeshua ha-Natzrati. Those who followed Yeshua became known as Natzratim. (Matthew 2:23; 26:71; Luke 18:37; John 18:5, 7; 19:19; Acts 22:8; 24:5)

olam ha-ba —“The world to come” or “the age to come.” Following the millennium, it describes a time after the world is perfected under the rulership of Messiah. This term also refers to the afterlife, where the soul passes after death. It can be contrasted with olam ha-zeh, “this world.” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 6:5; Revelation 20-21)

pagans—A term used for worshipers of foreign gods or idols. It is different than “Gentiles,” which refers to any non-Jews, including followers of Yeshua. (Matthew 5:47; Luke 21:24)

parokhet—The curtain that divided the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and Temple. In modern synagogues, the curtain covering the ark is called a parokhet. (footnotes for Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Hebrews 6:19; 9:3; 10:20)

Passover—The Jewish festival during which Jews used to journey to the Temple, sacrifice lambs, and eat a special meal commemorating the departure of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Today it is celebrated at home with a special meal called a seder. In Hebrew, this holiday is called Pesach. See also Pesach and seder. (Matthew 26:18; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7 title; John 13:1)

Pesach—The Hebrew word for “Passover,” also for the Passover lamb whose blood on the door caused the angel of death to “pass over” the Israelite homes in Egypt. Yeshua is called the Passover Lamb, because His blood saves us from sin and death. (Luke 2:41; John 18:1 title)

Pharisees—One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. The Pharisees had their own views of how exactly to keep Torah. They were especially concerned with ritual purity, and (unlike the Sadducees) they believed in the resurrection of the dead. While the Sadducees were more involved with the Temple, the Pharisees were concerned more with home and synagogue life. The Hebrew term is P’rushim. (Matthew 5:20; Mark 7:3; Luke 7:36; John 4:1)

priest—See kohen, Pharisees, and Sadducees. (-)

proselyte—A full convert to Judaism, who underwent immersion in a mikveh and, for men, circumcision. In contrast, the God-fearer did not fulfill all the requirements for full conversion. These criteria probably did not become formalized before the second century c.e. See also God-fearer. (Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:11; 6:5)

rabbi—A highly esteemed teacher who trained disciples. The title comes from a Hebrew word, meaning “My Great One.” (Matthew 23:7; Mark 9:5; Luke 12:13; John 4:31)

Rabboni—A title meaning, “My Teacher,” “My Master,” or “My Lord.” It is a variant of “Rabbi.” The title is also written as Rabbuni in Aramaic and Rabbouni in Greek. (Mark 10:51; John 20:16)

Raca—Aramaic for “Empty One,” probably meaning “empty-headed” or “foolish.” The Hebrew word for “empty” is reik. The insult today might be “Airhead!” and in Hebrew Reika, “good for nothing.” (Matthew 5:22)

resurrection—The act of rising from the dead back to life. The word is also used to refer to the time at the end of history when God will raise the dead. (Matthew 27:53; Mark 12:18; Luke 14:14; John 11:25)

righteous—Morally good, virtuous. See also the Hebrew term tzaddik. (Matthew 1:19; Mark 6:20; Luke 23:50; John 17:25)

ritual—An established procedure for performing religious acts. (Matthew 15:2; Luke 11:38; John 2:6)

Romans—The people who ruled over the entire Mediterranean world, including Israel, during the time of Yeshua (as well as before and after). Their territory was called the “Roman Empire.” (Mark 15:1 title; Luke 23:1 title; John 11:48)

Ruach—The Hebrew word for “spirit,” “breath,” or “wind,” equivalent to the Greek “pneuma.” Yeshua explains wind and Spirit to Nicodemus in John 3:5-8. Scripture frequently refers to the Ruach ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1 title; Acts 10:44 title; Romans 8:1 title)

Ruach ha-Kodesh —The Hebrew name for the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. (Matthew 1:20; Mark 1:8; Luke 1:16; John 14:26)

Sadducees—One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. From the Sadducees came most of the priests who officiated in the Temple. In contrast to the Pharisees, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. The Hebrew term is Tz’dukim. See also kohen and Pharisees. (Matthew 16:12; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27)

salvation—God’s saving acts in human history. For Israel, salvation means deliverance from enemies or exile as well as national deliverance from God’s judgment, leading to peace and long life in the homeland. Salvation, with respect to individuals, also refers to deliverance from God’s judgment. For Yeshua’s faithful followers, salvation begins in this life and leads to everlasting life in God’s presence in the age to come. See also Savior and Yeshua. (Luke 1:77; John 4:22)

Samaritans—A people descended from a mix of Israelites and other nations that the Assyrians brought to Samaria, as told in 2 Kings 17. The Samaritans practiced an offshoot of Judaism and thought that the Temple in Jerusalem was not a legitimate place to worship. Jewish people and Samaritans did not think well of one other. (Matthew 10:5; Luke 10:33; John 4:9)

Sanhedrin—The highest council of the Jews, exercising legislative and judicial authority. (Matthew 26:59; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66; John 11:47)

satan or satan —The chief fallen angel who opposes God’s will on earth. He is the accuser of humanity who tries to undermine God’s people and God Himself. The Hebrew name means “adversary.” (Matthew 12:26; Mark 1:13; Luke 13:16; John 13:27)

Savior—A title of Yeshua, in recognition of His work in making salvation from sin and its consequences possible for all people—both Jewish and Gentile. Also used of God the Father. See also salvation. (Luke 1:47; John 4:42)

Scripture or Scriptures—The Hebrew Bible, known in Hebrew as the Tanakh. Christians commonly call it the “Old Testament.” Today we use the term “Scripture” to include the New Covenant as well, which was not yet written down in the days of Yeshua. See also Tanakh. (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 24:27; John 19:36)

scribe—A Torah scholar engaged in interpreting and transmitting the Law, including the task of writing Torah scrolls, mezuzot, tefillin, bills of divorce, and other legal documents. The term in Hebrew is sofer. See also Levites. (-)

seder—Literally “order,” this term refers to the ceremonial meal commemorating Passover. See also Passover and Pesach. (Mark 14:12 title; Luke 22:8; John 13:2)

Shabbat —The Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. On this day we are to rest and renew our relationship with our Creator, who also rested on the seventh day. Shabbat begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday evening after three stars appear. (Matthew 12:10; Mark 1:21; Luke 23:56; John 9:14)

shaliach / plural shlichim —A person sent with authority to carry out a mission. This person represents and speaks for the one who commissions him. Other names include apostle, delegate, envoy, emissary, ambassador, and messenger. (Matthew 10:2; Mark 6:30; Luke 22:14; John introduction)

shalom—The Hebrew word for “peace.” It also can mean “wholeness” or “well-being.” Shalom is often used as a greeting (“hello”) or as a farewell (“goodbye”). (Matthew 10:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 1:28; John 14:27)

shalom aleichem or shalom aleichem —A greeting that means, “peace be with you all.” (John 20:19)

shammash or shammash / plural shammashim —A servant, deacon, or attendant who serves in the synagogue or within Messiah’s community. The first to be appointed, though not in a formal office, were seven Hellenists in the Jerusalem community, appointed by the Twelve shlichim to serve tables and care for the widows (Acts 6:1-6). Qualifications can be found in 1 Timothy. (Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13)

Shavuot —The Feast of Weeks, sometimes called Pentecost, occurring on the 50th day after Passover. One of the festivals given to Israel in the Tanakh, which originally celebrated the harvest but later commemorated the day God gave the Torah to Israel. After Yeshua’s resurrection, the disciples waited for God’s gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, which also came on Shavuot. (Acts 2:1, 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8)

Sheol—The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Hades,” the place where the dead exist. (Matthew 16:18; Luke 16:23)

shlichim—See shaliach. (-)

shofar—a ram’s horn, used in the Bible for summoning armies, calling to repentance, and in other situations. Blasts of various lengths and numbers signified different instructions. Metal trumpets were also used for similar purposes, but exclusively by the kohanim. Today, the shofar is used on Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy Days. The shofar also ushers in the Year of Jubilee. See also trumpet. (Leviticus 25:9-10; Zechariah 9:14; Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

sinat chinam —Hatred without a cause, considered to be a serious violation of Jewish ethics. The Talmud (Yoma 9b) attributed the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE to sinat chinam. (John 15:25 footnote)

sin offering—the Hebrew term is hattat or chattat, which means both “sin” (to miss the mark) and “sin offering” (an unblemished sacrifice brought by a person who had inadvertently broken a law that would cut him off from the community). (Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

sinner—A person who violates the commandments of God. The word can refer to someone who does not act according to God’s will, and also (especially in Paul’s letters) to all people who are sinners by nature (Matthew 26:45; Mark 2:15; Luke 18:13; John 9:24). Sometimes it refers to people who lived sinfully and had a bad social reputation (Matthew 11:19, Mark 2:15, Luke 19:7)

slave—A person who must serve another because he has been sold as property. Sometimes a court sells the slave to settle a debt (Exodus 21). Other times the slave volunteers to be sold to escape poverty (Leviticus 25:39). Children born to slaves also were considered the master’s property. Hebrew slaves were set free after serving seven years or paying down their debt (Exodus 21:2-4). Non-Hebrew slaves could be held as property for life and passed down to heirs (Leviticus 25:46). The hallmark of a slave—Jewish, Gentile, or believer—was loyalty to one’s lord (Philemon 15-17) From the Greek “doulos” or Hebrew eved, this word is sometimes translated as “servant” or “bondservant.” (-)

Son of Man—A name that Yeshua commonly uses to refer to Himself. It comes from Daniel 7:13-14, in which the “Son of Man” is given all authority. This name sometimes emphasizes Yeshua’s humanity and sometimes His deity. In Hebrew, this title reads Ben-ha-Adam. (Matthew 9:6; Mark 9:31; Luke 21:36; John 6:27)

Spirit—The Spirit of God is the One who inspires the prophets, anoints the Messiah and empowers His followers. When not capitalized, the word may describe a person’s basic life force or even an evil spirit. See also Ruach. (Matthew 3:16; 5:3; 8:16; Mark 1:12; Luke 1:47; John 7:39)

Sukkot —The Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. This holiday came in the fall at the time of the grape harvest and was a time of great rejoicing. The Hebrew word sukkah or sukkah means “booth.” Sukkot is the plural and can mean either “booths” or the name of this holiday. See also tabernacle. (Matthew 17:4; Mark 9:5; Luke 9:33; John 7:1 title)

synagogue—A place of assembly of Jews for hearing the Torah, praying, and worshipping God. There were many synagogues throughout Israel. (Matthew 4:23; Mark 5:22; Luke 4:16; John 9:22)

tabernacle—A temporary dwelling, such as the booths constructed during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is also used in the Tanakh of the tent in which God dwelt among the Jewish people in the wilderness and in the land of Israel. When the word is used as a verb, it refers to Yeshua coming to dwell among His people, reminding us of the wilderness Tabernacle and also of the Feast of Tabernacles. See also Sukkot. (John 1:14; 7:2)

talmid / plural talmidim —See disciple. (Luke 22:7 title; John 1:35 title)

Tanakh—The Hebrew Scriptures. This word is an acronym, made up of the first letters of Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). So T + N + K becomes Tanakh. Christians commonly call it the “Old Testament.”(-)

tefillin or tefillin —In English, often called “phylacteries.” These are boxes containing Scripture passages, which traditional Jews wrap around the right arm and forehead at weekday morning prayers, in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 6:8. The four Scripture passages contained in them are Exodus 13:1-10, 11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21. (Matthew 23:5)

Temple—The magnificent building in Jerusalem designated by God for sacrifices and worship. It was destroyed in the year 70 CE by the Roman armies. (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:11; Luke 2:37; John 2:14)

teshuvah—Repentance. The Hebrew term implies “turning” or “returning.” When someone repents, he feels sorrowful, stops walking in sinful patterns, changes behaviors, and turns to God. (Acts 2:37 title)

testimony—Evidence given by a witness, who is someone who sees and reports something. Also sometimes called “witness.” See also witness. (Matthew 8:4; Mark 14:59; Luke 18:20; John 1:19)

tetrarch—A Roman ruler who ruled part of an area that had been divided in four. That means the entire area would have four tetrarchs, each ruling one part. The word comes from the Greek word for “fourth.” (Matthew 14:1; Luke 3:1)

tikkun olam —Literally, “repair of the world.” Today’s Jews have extended this classical concept to include the pursuit of social justice and care for the environment. (Luke introduction)

tithe—A portion of income, in the Bible usually agricultural products, which is given to the priests and Levites to provide for their needs. It is based on passages in the Tanakh such as Leviticus 27:30. (Matthew 23:23; Luke 18:12)

Torah or Torah —Literally “instruction,” this term can refer to the five books of Moses or more generally to God’s commandments. Some Jews distinguish the Written Torah from the Oral Torah, which was transmitted by oral tradition until being written down at the end of the second century CE. Depending on context, the Greek word “nomos” is usually translated as Torah or law in a universal sense. See also commandment. (Matthew 5:17; Mark 1:22; Luke 24:44; John 7:19; Romans 7:1ff.; 1 Corinthians 9:20-21; Galatians 3:21)

transfiguration—A change in form in a way that exalts or glorifies someone. “To transfigure” is the verb form. (Matthew 17:1 title; Mark 9:2 title)

Tree of Life—The tree at the center of the Garden of Eden, the source of eternal life. Scripture points to a future in the New Jerusalem, with access to the Tree of Life. In the meantime, the Torah is a Tree of Life to all who take hold of her. The Hebrew term is Etz-Chaim. (Genesis 2:9; 3:24; Proverbs 3:18; Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14)

trumpet—A metal horn made of hammered silver, used exclusively by the kohanim for occasions such as gathering the people for festivals, giving marching orders, and coronating kings. The Hebrew term is chatzotzrah/plural chatzotzrot. See also shofar, or ram’s horn, which was used more broadly by the people at large. After the destruction of the Temple, musical instruments were banned and the role of the shofar expanded in religious use. (Numbers 10:1-10; 2 Kings 11:14; 1 Chronicles 15:24, 28; 1 Corinthians 14:8; Psalm 98:6LXX; Revelation 8:2ff.)

Twelve—“the Twelve” refers to Yeshua’s original twelve disciples listed in Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, and Luke 6:13-16. Matthias replaces Judah from Kriot to maintain the number twelve, symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel. Additional apostles, or shlichim, were later added, including Paul. (Matthew 20:17; Mark 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:5-9)

tzaddik or tzaddik / plural tzaddikim —A righteous person. See also righteous. (Matthew 10:41; 23:29)

tzara’at —A general term for skin disease. Though it appears in many translations as “leprosy,” it can include that disease as well as various infectious skin afflictions, and even mildew and mold. See also metzora. (Matthew 8:2; Mark 1:42; Luke 4:27)

tzedakah or tzedakah —Literally, this word means “righteousness,” but it also came to mean giving to charity. In modern times, Jewish people often use a tzedakah box to give to charity. (Matthew 6:2; Luke 11:41)

tzitzit or tzitzit / plural tzitziyot —A fringe that was put on a garment in accordance with Numbers 15:37-41. (Matthew 9:20; 23:5; Mark 6:56)

unclean—Ritually impure. The Hebrew term is tamei. It was the duty of the kohanim to distinguish between kadosh (holy) and chol (common, mundane, profane, or unholy) and between tamei (unclean or ritually impure) and tahor (clean or ritually pure) in order to preserve the sanctity and purity that God’s presence required (Leviticus 10:10). (Matthew 10:1; Acts 5:16; 8:7—unclean spirits; Acts 10:14, 11:8—unclean food; Acts 10:28—unclean people)

witness—Both the testimony itself and also someone who gives testimony. See also testimony. (Matthew 10:18; Mark 14:63; Luke 24:48; John 1:7)

works—Actions, things one does. In Scripture, these are often actions one does in order to obey God and His Word (Matthew 5:16; John 6:28). Occasionally the word refers to actions that are evil (Luke 11:48; John 7:7). Also, when done by God the Father or Yeshua, it refers to their miracles or to acts that demonstrate their power and authority (Matthew 11:2; Mark 6:2; John 9:3)

worship—Reverent honor paid to God, which is right, or to satan or false gods, which is wrong. (See Matthew 4:10; Mark 7:6; Luke 4:7; John 4:22.) The word can also mean paying homage or bowing down, as when people worshiped Yeshua even before they fully understood who He is. See also avodah. (See Matthew 2:11; Mark 15:19, in mockery; John 9:38.)

Yeshua—The Hebrew name of our Messiah, known in English as “Jesus.” The name means “salvation.” (Matthew 1:21; Mark 6:14; Luke 2:21; John 19:19)

Yom Shabbat —Hebrew for “Sabbath day.” See also Shabbat. (Luke 14:5)

Zion—A mountain in Jerusalem (Mount Zion). The name is more generally used to refer to Jerusalem as a whole or to the land of Israel. In Hebrew it is called Tziyon. (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15)

💻 King James Bible


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