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A general term for the deity (or, in the plural, deities). In the Bible, the word is used to refer both to the deity worshiped in the Judeo-Christian tradition (God) and to deities worshiped by other peoples (god or gods). In the OT, the word “God” most often translates the Hebrew El or the plural form, Elohim. The latter form is the plural of majesty (magnitude) and a sign of honor paid to the deity. In the NT, the word “God” translates the Greek theos, also a general term for deity and used in the LXX to translate El and Elohim. The characteristics of God in both Testaments are consistent, with a balance between immanence and transcendence: God draws near to people and becomes accessible to them, but remains distinct from the world and its power structures as the sole Creator and Ruler of the world. In OT thought, the primary locus of God’s self-revelation lies in the history of the people of Israel, while in Christian thought, that revelation is centered in the person of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:23; John 14:9; John 20:28-29).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.