The meaning of the word, "atonement"

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by cih1355, Apr 1, 2009.

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  1. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    I looked at the definition of the word, "atonement", in Strong's Concordance and other Bible dictionaries and I saw several definitions listed such as "to cover, to wipe out, to cleanse, to appease, and to purge". In Romans 5:11 of the King James Bible, the Greek word that is translated as "atonement" means "reconciliation". Are all of these definitions correct? Is there a prefered definition?
  2. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    To me, one of the more surprising aspects of the word "atonement" is that, in English, it literally comes from the phrase "at one." In other words: "at-one-ment."

    I thought it was a facile coincidence until I looked in numerous good English dictionaries.

    So, yes, the English word means reconciliation, as in bringing together those separated by some act, like disobedience, betrayal, etc.

    As for the preferred sense of the word, it really depends upon the context. Certainly it can mean covering or appeasing, which are slightly different from reconciliation, but are also certainly related.
  3. D

    D Puritan Board Junior

    Rather than offer you a direct answer, I would encourage you to read for yourself the classic work by the late Leon Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. He deals with the biblical terms (and the Greek terms behind them) of redemption, propitiation, reconciliation, etc. He also addresses at length the term "atonement" as well, though not under a major heading of its own.

    Oftentimes if you actually read a solid work on the subject, you tend to be more familiar with it afterwards.

  4. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    Not to steal your thunder, DTK, by any means, but I would add Morris' The Atonement: It's Meaning & Significance as well. I have both, and there is definitely overlapping material, but enough separate material to warrant having a read of both (Or one, if you can't afford both).
  5. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    I wouldn't debate the word so long and go right for this good work.

    Francis Turretin's work, "The Atonement" is ready for the public.

    WHY DID Jesus CHRIST DIE on the cross? Throughout Church history one will find many different answers. The right answer is critical to salvation and entering into a right relationship with Jesus Christ. This current volume is a masterful biblical survey and polemic that illuminates the Bible´s doctrine of Christ´s atonement. As the 1859 Preface states: "œIt is doubted whether any other work of the same compass presents so clearly and forcibly the truth of God as to the Nature, Truth, Perfection, Matter, and Extent of the Satisfaction made by the blessed Savior. The lucid arrangement of topics, compact argumentation, fairness of statement, and constant appeal to the law and the testimony, leave the careful reader little to desire." It had been said that Turretin is the best expounder of doctrine that the Reformed church has ever known, and this work on the atonement is an example of his exegetical, logical and practical insight into the work of our Lord´s life and sacrifice.

    Buy it here, and tell others!

    Puritan Publications's Storefront -
    C. Matthew McMahon, Ph.D. (Pot hole Digger)
    John 5:39, " the Scriptures..."
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