Christianese Substitutions Part 1

This is a list of words that are Greek, or transliterated directly from Greek, or are OLD and do not belong in the Bible.  Even the word “scripture” just means “writings” and the word “Bible” just means “library of writings.” Why not speak clearly in regular English (or whatever modern language) instead of creating a bunch of “Christianese” lingo, which makes it sound “fancy”  or “cliquish” like it’s written in some kind of code?  
For Names and other, including those for God, see document titled “...Part 2 - Names.”





man (mankind), human,

Since the word adam literally means “mankind,” his name is “Man” (or we could use “Manny”). Or it just represents humanity, what we are and what we all do, not what one man did. To reflect the fact that God created adam (red man) from the adamah (red clay) we need words that reflect that relationship. So he could be “Rudy” or “Red” created from the “ruddy clay,” or “Dusty” from the dust. I think an accurate way to reflect the concept is that God created earthling from the earth.

“The word/name Adam is a child root אדם derived from the parent דם meaning, "blood." By examining a few other words derived from the child root we can see a common meaning in them all. The Hebrew word אדמה (adamah) is the feminine form of אדם meaning "ground" (see Genesis 2:7). The word/name אדום (Edom) means "red." “

Each of these words have the common meaning of "red." Dam is the "red" blood, adamah is the "red" ground, edom is the color "red" and adam is the "red" man. There is one other connection between "adam" and "adamah" as seen in Genesis 2:7 which states that "the adam" was formed out of the "adamah".

In the ancient Hebrew world, a person’s name was not simply an identifier but descriptive of one's character. As Adam was formed out of the ground, his name identifies his origins.”

When we are discussing whether the story of the garden was a historical event, it would be good to know it was about a man named "Man," a woman named "Life," two trees that impart immortality or god-like knowledge respectively, and a talking snake.”

Interesting info:


(or Josh)

Jesus is transliterated from the Greek name “Iesous” which is only a Greek transliteration of His original Hebrew or Aramaic name, “Yeshua” or “Yahoshua.” It also has a literal meaning, which is “Yah is salvation.” or “God saves.” Joshua is the most straightforward English translation of his real name.
lso see: 


The Chosen (one), also Messiah or Savior

Christ is not a name, it is a transliteration of the Greek word “christos” which means “anointed.” In those days that was the procedure for proclaiming kings as well as a “messiah” or “savior.” Those words are fine to use because they are modern English, but these days such a person is known as a “chosen one.”
Also see:

In Jesus’s “name”

In the Spirit of Jesus, or
with the heart of Jesus

We are taught to pray “in Jesus’s name” based on John 14:13 and John 16:23. This phrase wasn’t meant to be a “formula” attached to the end of each prayer, but the spirit in which the prayer is made. Jesus is telling us that we should pray in his character. Our prayers should be given in the same spirit, conviction, faith and purpose that his prayer would be. That’s what makes them work!

The Hebrew word for a “name” is related to the Hebrew word for “breath,” as used in Genesis 2:7 when God “formed the man of dust from the ground and blew in his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living soul.”

Our Western understanding sees thoughts and emotions as the function of the “mind,” but in ancient Hebrew thought (which was “Eastern”) those are functions of the “breath” (for man and God).

A “name” is a person’s “breath,” his or her character.

From Jeff A. Benner’s awesome book “His Name Is One” and


Boss, Master

Lord is a translation of the Hebrew word “Adonai” which was substituted for God’s name YHWH in the Bible because the Jews believed it was too holy to say.
Jesus uses that word in comparables to denote the “lord of the manor” or “master of the house” which in modern terms is just the boss/owner/master.


“miss the mark” =  flaw,

In Hebrew and Greek the word “sin” literally means “miss the mark.” It means anything that misses or falls short of the target of wholeness and perfection (not just “bad things we do” although those are included). God is flawless, we are not. The whole concept just means “nobody’s perfect.”


skies or heavens

Heaven is a fake word made from the plural Hebrew shamayim which means "heights" or "elevations" so by extension "skies" or "heavens." In all other languages but English, “heaven” is translated better, to the exact same word as “sky,” in other word, “heavens.” We now know that our planet we call Earth is not the center of the universe. If “heaven” exists now, WHERE IS IT? They used to think that the earth (erets, actually land) was flat and covered by a “firmament,” a dome or space between “waters above and waters below,” or between “heavens” (supposedly there were three, the highest one being where God lived), and the earth. Clearly they had no grasp of outer space and we now know that “heaven” couldn’t be “up,” because up is down 12 hours later. The concept also represents the idea of a “higher” plane, level, or state…(see “kingdom” below)


realm, domain

“Kingdom” implies a place (where?), and that it is male (nonsense). Better translations are “domain” or “realm” because they transcend place and time. Wherever love is, God is, and Jesus is because He represents that love excellently. That realm will never end, because it’s a forever kind of realm to start with, not based on physical things that rot.

kingdom of heaven


Shamayim literally means "heights" so along with realm we get "realm of heights." Instead of “kingdoms” (though there are still a few) we now have mostly “states,” so from there “kingdom of heaven” can be translated as "highest realm" or “highest state.” 



That’s literally what it means


or wash

Literally what it means. We could use “wash” to reflect the symbolism of dunking people in water to represent the washing off our old “self” to live for our new “self” (or “selfless”) that lives for God.

tree of the knowledge of good and bad

tree of the experience of function and dysfunction

“The English words "good" and "evil" (or bad) do not completely convey the Hebraic meaning of the word tov and ra which are more related to the function of a person, place or thing rather than their appearance or morality as implied in the English. “

When it says Adam “knew” Eve what it really means is they had sex or “made love,” so he “experienced” her, and that is how we really know things, is we live them.

Note that if God had said "don't sit on that rock" it would have been "the rock of the experience of good and evil," but TREE has way better symbolism.

holy, sacred

set apart
(for God)

People kinda get what holy means, i don’t know if this needs to be updated, since describing the concept is more complicated, but the word Holy might add or omit implications.

“The base word is the verb קדש) Q-D-Sh). This verb literally means “set apart for a special purpose.” The prefix י identifies the verb tense as imperfect - will set apart - and the subject of the verb as third person, masculine, singular - he will set apart. The prefix ו means “and” but also reverses the tense of the verb – and he set apart. “


bow down

“Whenever the Hebrew word "shahhah" is used as an action toward God, the translators translate this word as "worship". But, whenever this same Hebrew word is used as an action toward another man, the translators translate this word as "obeisance", "to bow" or "bow down". As you can see, the translators are preventing the reader from viewing the text in its proper Hebraic context. The literal meaning of the Hebrew word "shahhah" can be seen in Numbers 22:31 - "and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face". "shahhah" means to bow down with the face to the ground.
The concept of "worship" as defined by Webster’s dictionary is not Hebraic in any way and is not found in the Bible. We would be better off to remove the idea of "worship" from our Biblical vocabulary and replace it with "bow down". The only true way to bow down/worship God or a man from a true Hebraic perspective is to bow down with the face to the ground. Of course, this concept of bowing is an eastern custom that is not practiced in our western culture.”


called out


“Church” is a word that is WRONGLY used by Bible translators 112 times to translate the word “ecclesia.”
“Church” comes from the Old English and German word pronounced “kirche” which originates from the earlier Greek “ku-ri-a-kos” which means “pertaining to the lord” via its root: “Ku-ri-os” (=“lord”). It is only used in the Bible in I Corinthians 11:20 where it refers to “the Lord’s supper” and once more in Revelation 1:10 where it refers to “the Lord’s day.”
The Greek word “ecclesia” is correctly defined as: “The called-out (ones)” [ecc = out; kaleo = call] “Ecclesia” in Acts 19 is a town council: a civil body in Ephesus. This word was used to indicate a body of select (called, elected) people, and we are called out by God. Here is a passionate link addressing this issue:

Since the word "catholic" just means "universal," then:
“catholic church” = “all the called out”



“Disciple” can be OK because we use it these days, but not generically very often, which might give it some extra implications.

“The term "disciple" is derived from the Koine Greek word mathetes (f. mathetria), which means a pupil (of a teacher) or an apprentice (to a master craftsman), coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning a learner while the more common English word is student.”


one sent,
messenger, ambassador,

“A disciple is different from an apostle, which instead means a messenger. While a disciple is one who learns from a teacher, an apostle is one sent to deliver those teachings or a message.”


religious +
copyist, secretary,
lawyer, teacher
(e.g. “the Pharisees and their lawyers”)

This one is not easy as scribes evolved and had various connotations:
“A secretary or a copyist of the Scriptures; later, a person educated in the Law. The Hebrew word so·pherʹ, which comes from a root meaning “count,” is translated “secretary,” “scribe,” “copyist”; and the Greek word gram·ma·teusʹ is rendered “scribe” and “public instructor.” The term implies one who has learning.”

The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" (q.v.) are in the Gospels interchangeable ( Matthew 22:35 ; Mark 12:28 ; Luke 20:39 , etc.). They were in the time of [Jesus] the public teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with him.”

In modern terms, this might be “the Moral Majority,”
who could also be the Pharisees.



Pharisee is fine, but it’s important to note that they may not be portrayed accurately or objectively in the Bible. According to the excellent link below: “The Talmud lists seven categories of Pharisees…  the shouldering Pharisee, who parades good deeds; the delaying Pharisee, who lets business wait in order to do a good deed; the bruised Pharisee, who walks into a wall to keep from looking at a woman; the pestle Pharisee, who with false humility walks with his head down like a pestle on a mortar; the ever-reckoning Pharisee, who asks what good deeds he might do that would be reckoned as canceling out his neglects; the fearful Pharisee, who is in terror of God; and the loving Pharisee, who like Abraham loves God--he is admirable.”



Diakoneo is in the New Testament 37 times, and it is consistently rendered "serve" or "minister to" ... except in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Why leave it untranslated or create a new English word for it only in these passages?

"Deacon" sounds much more spiritual, important, and religious than "servant." The problem is that Paul didn't write anything that is the equivalent of "deacon." In the original Greek, he was calling that office "servant," and he commended those who "served well," not those who "used the office of deacon well."... Jesus, however, spoke even more highly of servanthood than Paul, telling us that serving everyone is the route to being the greatest in the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:43-44).

We ought to treasure the title of Servant, not hide it under an invented religious word.”


fiery snakes

“This untranslated word is particularly annoying… because it is only left untranslated in one passage, Isaiah 6:2-6, where "seraphim" are found in heaven. Every other time the root word seraph or saraph is translated "fiery serpent" or something very close to that (Num. 21:6,8; Deut. 8:15; Is. 14:29; 30:6). I find the decision to omit a translation of seraphim in just one situation dishonest…. They're snakes!...In fact, they're serpents with wings and feet. I'm pretty sure that qualifies them as dragons!”

Edited from Paul Paveo:


  • Most of this table comes straight from direct, accurate translations of the Bible, however some contain my interpretation or extensions of those ideas. Sometimes it takes interpretation or intuitive leaps to translate ancient concepts accurately into our very different Western outlook. Everyone makes choices.
  • Great info about the names of God and more is from Jeffey A. Benner, as noted by the links. Here’s a great explanation by Jeffrey of the Hebrew meanings and concepts of name and breath and how they relate to “Adam.” (Parts of this are used above.)  
  • This is also awesome:
  • And this excellent website is extensive in its research and explanation of Hebrew names and origins:

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