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A dictionary for understanding Christianese

We asked some Christians to offer translations to some common Christian phrases. Here’s what they said:

‘It will be a non-cringy event...’ (It couldn't be a more embarrassing place to be, let alone bring a friend to.)

‘We are in a season of’ (At the moment)

‘God’s given me a word for you’ (This is what I think you ought to do)

‘Has anyone any items for prayer?’ (Any juicy gossip, anyone?)

‘Mmmmmm.’ (When uttered during prayer times this means ‘I agree’)

‘Can I tell you something in love?’ (Steady yourself, this is gonna hurt)

‘I feel led’ (I think this is what God wants me to do, but don’t quote me on it!)

‘I don’t feel led’ (I do not, under any circumstances, in any way shape or form, want to do this)

‘On fire for God’ (Very excited and passionate about faith)

‘A Bible that’s falling apart belongs to someone who isn’t’ (A way to compliment friends who don’t look after their Bibles)

‘Glory’ (pronounced ‘Ger – lorrrieeee’, meaning ‘magnificent!’)

‘Let’s raise our Ebenezers’ (Let’s acknowledge God’s goodness)

‘How is your walk? Are you walking with the Lord?’ (This has nothing to do with physical exercise and everything to do with spiritual development)

‘Amen’ (I agree with your statement/prayer)

‘Sow a seed’ (Give us your money)

‘You can’t out-give God!’ (But please try. We need your money)

‘We’re going to take up a love offering’ (MONEY. Now!)

‘God helps those who help themselves’ (I’m not helping you)

‘Let go and let God!’ (Calm down)

‘Bless him’ (A nice Christian-sounding phrase, often uttered after a not-so-nice-comment about another person)

‘Preach it, brother!’ (I like what you say)

‘Can I get a witness?’ (Does anyone agree with me?)

‘Why don’t you turn to the person next to you and…’ (Horror grips the congregation)

‘I covet your prayers’ (Please pray for me)

‘Hedge of protection’ (Not a gardening term)

‘It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’ (The least compassionate way possible of sharing your view on same-sex relationships)

‘I’ll pray for you’ (Often genuine, but sometimes used as a way to end a conversation)

‘Can I share something?’ (Can I tell you something?)

‘Praise report’ (A story about something good which happened)

‘Daddy God’ (Either an appropriate or inappropriate rendering of ‘Father God’, depending on your theology)

‘Backsliding’ (A description of other Christians who are less committed than you)

‘Jezebel spirit’ (A description of a person, usually female, who is seductive or divisive)

Praying for ‘travelling mercies’ (Asking God that you would reach your destination in one piece)

‘Small group’ (aka community group, house group, home group, life group, connect group, mission group, cell group and…pastorate)

‘How is your heart?’ (This is not a medical question)

‘Let’s give God a clap offering’ (Applause, please)

For more on Christianese, read our article 'And now let's move into a time of...cliches'

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Opinions on the latest trends, topics, news and culture from a Christian perspective.

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