Frequently Misused Religious Words

Frequently Misused Religious Words

Marion D. Aldridge

  • Altar alter (Both are good words, but they don’t mean the same thing. An altar is a place of religious ritual. To alter something is to make a change.)
  • Baptist Babtist (Babtist is not a word. Ever.)
  • Baptists Baptist (Baptists is plural, meaning more than one Baptist. A Baptist church is not full of Baptist. It is full of Baptists. Our Baptist history professor had to teach this on the first day of class.)
  • Calvary cavalry (Jesus died on Calvary. Cavalry describes soldiers who fight on horseback.)
  • Counsel council (Pastors often counsel, similar to advise, people in their congregations. A council is a group of people.)
  • Cemetery seminary (Some people make this mistake and think it’s funny. Probably not funny to men and women scholars who have invested a lifetime in fighting ignorance.)
  • Episcopal Episcopalian (Episcopal is an adjective. You can attend an Episcopal church. Episcopalian is a noun. The bishop is an Episcopalian.)
  • Hospice versus hospick. (Pure linguistic laziness, possibly complicated by low IQ. Some people say Walmark instead of Wal-Mart. There are South Carolinians who still believe their Senator was Strong Thurmond.)
  • Pastoral pastorial (not a word)
  • Prodigal prodical (not a word) Bonus: Prodigal means wasteful.
  • Prostate prostrate (How many pastors have been asked to go visit a Dad who, the pastor is told, has prostrate cancer?)
  • Psalm Psalms (Both are good words. They don’t mean the same thing. There is a book of Psalms that contains Psalm 23.)
  • Revelation Revelations (There is no book in the Bible called Revelations. The final book of the Bible is The Revelation to John.)
Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Frequently Misused Religious Words

  1. Clyde Waters

    Don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve seen a Baptist church full.
    Clyde Waters

  2. Anonymous

    Here’s another one: The word “pastor” is a noun, not a verb. One does not “pastor” a church, but may serve as a pastor.
    Kirk Lawton

    • Kirk, You are the second or third person who wrote about pastor being only a noun. I respectfully disagree. It means to shepherd, and I certainly shepherded the churches where I was the pastor/shepherd. I wonder if you had a professor who pushed this point emphatically, because I’ve never hesitated to use pastor as a verb. I may be wrong, and maybe it wasn’t accepted in polite practice once upon a time, but language changes, and it’s been a part of articles I’ve read and articles I’ve written. Same with the word “minister.” Noun and verb. Oh well, ain’t language fun.

  3. Great list! Chuckled over the hospice/hospick one.

  4. Elaine Pauley

    Thank you for clarification regarding the Book of Revelation to John.
    I learned something that I had, until now, miss-stated.

  5. Karen Martin

    Why is Baptist not a word…ever? I didn’t understand that one.

    • You figured it out, Karen, in one of your replies. In the first edition of this blog, the auto-correct corrected the misspelling of Babtist to Baptist. Babtist is never correct, it should say.

  6. Karen Martin

    Why is Baptist not a word…ever? I didn’t understand that one. Okay delete that post…I just had to start wearing glasses full time after almost 40 years of wearing contacts. I can’t see anything correctly.
    I liked your posts…always loved English and I agreed with everything you said even the pastor comments.

  7. Karenmartin

    Okay. I’m not crazy and I must be seeing better than I thought there for a moment. When I read your post in the email it does say baptist is not a word…ever. I assume (what a word) that you changed it after your original post.

  8. Anonymous

    This was great! I laughed as I was reminded of the many wrongs I’ve heard in conversation. 😄

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