Do You Speak Christianese? 22 Common Word and Phrases to Know (and Avoid)

🌺  Written by Amanda Whittington

“Thoughts and prayers” has become a common codeword for Christians responding to public tragedies and crises. But it’s not the only piece of Christian jargon that exists!

I never noticed that the evangelical church had its own vocabulary until my non-church friends gave me some odd sideways glances during our chats. Then I realized “Christianese” was a real (and kind of intimidating) thing.

Are you familiar with this Christian lingo? These words and phrases are certainly rooted in Christian theology and practice. Unfortunately, these terms often make people feel uncomfortable and excluded from the church rather than welcomed into it.

If you know, you know, and if you don’t know, you can pick it up very easily!

 

1. Blessed

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Blessed is the Christian equivalent of luck. It can be used when someone feels like they have God’s favor on them or when they feel a sense of gratitude.

They may say, “I’m so blessed,” “That was such a blessing,” or even “Too blessed to be stressed.”

 

2. Amen

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You’ll most likely hear an exclamation of amen at the end of a prayer. But you might also hear someone say it when they agree with a positive statement.

For example, “Those cupcakes are heavenly!” and the response would be, “AMEN!”

The actual meaning of Amen is “so be it” and expresses agreement and belief.

 

3. Hallelujah

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You’ll find the word hallelujah in the Bible, sprinkled throughout all kinds of Christian songs and in general statements.

It’s made up of two parts. Hallelu is a word that means praise, and Jah is short for Yahweh, a reference to God.

So, in short, Hallelujah means to praise God. But it’s also used by many people to show excitement or agreement.

 

4. Fellowship

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Fellowship loosely refers to the community of Christians. Some churches will have fellowship nights, where church people come to church and hang out together. Or it might be in a more formal context, such as The Fellowship of Believers.

Regardless, it just means a group of Christians doing something together–and it usually involves eating!

 

5. Saved

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If you’re saved, you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This means you are saved from your sins, saved from hell, and you will have eternal life in Heaven.

Protestants typically use “saved” to mean the choice humans make while they are still alive on the Earth. Catholics don’t believe people are officially “saved” until the afterlife, when Jesus makes the final decision where they’ll end up.

 

6. Saved by Grace

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Being “saved by grace” means that being saved is a gift from God that no person can earn; it is freely given and only needs to be believed and accepted.

This phrase comes from Ephesians 2:8-9, which says:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

7. Praise the Lord

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This phrase appears frequently throughout the Bible. It expresses gratitude and worship for God and what God has done for humankind and individuals.

 

8. Born Again

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Similar to the phrase “saved,” being born again refers to having a spiritual rebirth when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

It comes from John 3:3, where Jesus tells Nicodemus, “You must be born again.”

 

9. Quiet Time

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Quiet time is time you set aside for Bible reading, prayer, and meditation. You have quiet time alone with God. You might read a devotional book or just study the Bible. You might journal or take notes. Ideally, you are being quiet so that you can hear God.

Quiet time doesn’t have to be quiet. It’s fine to read your Bible with your kids around. But it is an intentional time set aside specifically to worship, focus on, learn more about, or listen to God.

 

10. Washed in the Blood

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If you are “washed in the blood,” it refers to being spiritually clean because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. His blood shed has redeemed those who believe in him. In other words, Jesus took our punishment for our sin so we don’t have to.

 

11. Testimony

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A testimony is a personal story of getting saved. Some people believe that you must have a memory of an actual moment when you came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. In this case, you can share your story to encourage and uplift others in their walk.

 

12. Walk in Faith

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Walking in faith (or by faith) means you are living as closely to what the Bible says as possible. You believe and trust God’s plan for your life and that everything will work out – if not on earth, then in heaven.

 

13. Tithe

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If you tithe, you are giving ten percent of everything you receive back to God. It is a spiritual discipline and a form of worship. Some churches believe that God will bless you financially if you tithe and won’t if you don’t.

 

14. Love Offering

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A love offering is a completely optional monetary gift that is collected in addition to regular tithes.

It’s usually collected for a visiting missionary or speaker or for a good cause or someone in need.

 

15. Being Led by the Spirit

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Being led by the Spirit means you are following the guidance, teaching, and prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life and actions. You might hear or feel the Spirit telling you to give money, go somewhere, or pray for someone.

 

16. Speaking in Tongues

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In Charismatic churches, speaking in tongues, or glossolalia, is a phenomenon where the speaker speaks in a language they don’t know.

There are really two forms of this. One is where the speaker speaks a private, heavenly language that only God can understand. The other is where the speaker speaks a language that they don’t know, but others around them can understand.

Speaking in tongues is found in the Book of Acts.

 

17. Backsliding

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Backsliding occurs when a person who is saved drifts away from their faith.

They may return to their old, sinful habits or vices as they slip away from the church.

 

18. Putting Out a Fleece

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Putting out a fleece means someone is seeking a sign from God. It is based on the story of Gideon in Judges 6:36-40, where Gideon puts out a fleece before the Lord.

Modern believers may ask God for a ‘password’ – a word or symbol that shows up throughout their day to show them that God is acting on their behalf.

 

19. Bearing Fruit

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Bearing fruit is a metaphor for doing things because God has done good things in and for you.

It comes from the story of a tree producing good fruit in Matthew 7:17-20.

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

 

20. Spiritual Warfare

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Spiritual warfare is the belief that Christians battle against spiritual forces of evil rather than fighting against people.

Spiritual warfare usually happens through prayer, faith, and fasting.

You can read more in Ephesians 6:12, which says:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

 

21. Prayer Warrior

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Prayer warriors are people who do spiritual battle through prayer. They pray fervently and frequently for others.

While all Christians are called to pray, some are naturally more gifted at intense prayer than others.

 

22. Thoughts and Prayers

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This is a general equivalent to sending good vibes and hugs to those who are suffering. Christians who offer thoughts and prayers mean well but need to back up their sentiment with actual prayers.

 

14 “Biblical” Details You Won’t Find Anywhere in the Bible

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The Bible may be the bestselling book of all time and translated into almost every language known to man, but that doesn’t stop many misconceptions from springing up.

Biblical myths can take hold in our understanding of what the Bible says and misinform how we view Scripture.

From the Trinity to Jonah and the whale to Eve and the apple, here are 14 commonly accepted and widely repeated biblical “facts” you won’t find anywhere in the Bible.

14 “Biblical” Details You Won’t Find Anywhere in the Bible

 

15 Common Catholic Church “Facts” Protestants Constantly Get Wrong

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Think you know the Catholic Church? Think again.

Despite being the largest Christian denomination in the United States (and the world), much of what people believe about Catholics and the Catholic church simply isn’t true.

Are you guilty of believing any of these 15 Catholic Church myths?

15 Common Catholic Church “Facts” Protestants Constantly Get Wrong

Amanda Whittington
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Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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