American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The act of propitiating.
- n. Something that propitiates, especially a conciliatory offering to a god.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act of propitiating; the act of making propitious.
- n. That which propitiates or appeases; that which furnishes a reason for not executing a punishment justly due for wrong-doing; specifically, in the New Testament, Christ himself, because his life and death furnish a ground for the forgiveness of sins.
- n. Synonyms Atonement, Reconciliation, Propitiation, Expiation, Satisfaction. By derivation and by Biblical usage atonement and reconciliation are essentially the same: two that were alienated are made at one, or put back into friendship. Atonement, however, is not now applied to the relation of man to man, except in its extra-Biblical extension, by which it means also the making of full and satisfactory amends (satisfaction) or the enduring of proper penalties (expiation) for a great wrong: as, there could be no atonement for such an outrage. As applied to the relations of God and man, atonement has been lifted into much greater dignity than any other word in the list; it is now the august, chosen, and only endeared word for the effect of the life and especially of the death of Christ in establishing right relations between God and man; reconcile and reconciliation are the principal words for this in the New Testament, atonement being used only once, and atone not at all. Propitiation is the only one of these words having exclusive reference to the feelings or purposes of the person or being offended; it is a severe word, implying slowness to relent, and is, in regard to the attitude of God toward man, chiefly a theological term. Expiation regards the guilt of the offense; it is the suffering of the penalty proper for an act (as, to make expiation for one's crime upon the scaffold), or of an adequate substituted pain. The word is general, and only barely Biblical (Num. xxxv. 33, margin, and revised version), although the fact is by the mass of Christians believed to lie in some form in the sufferings of Christ. Satisfaction in this connection means adequate amends: as, satisfaction for an insult or for damage; the word has been taken by a school in theology to express the sufficiency of the sufferings of Christ to meet the demands of the retributive justice of God.
- n. dated The act of propitiating; placation, atonement, similar to expiation but with the added concept of appeasement of anger.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.
- n. (Theol.) That which propitiates; atonement or atoning sacrifice; specifically, the influence or effects of the death of Christ in appeasing the divine justice, and conciliating the divine favor.
- n. the act of placating and overcoming distrust and animosity
- n. the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing (especially appeasing a deity)
- Latin; surface analysis is propitiate + -tion. (Wiktionary)
“Yet the word propitiation KJV, NASB, or “atoning sacrifice,” NIV is neither used quite so often nor understood quite as well.”
“In several translations the term propitiation is used of Christ's actions on behalf of the people of God.”
“Some modern students of the Bible don’t like the term propitiation because they say it implies pagan notions about fickle gods who need humoring and prefer instead the term expiation NRSV.”
“Previously the anxiety and fear attendant upon all human life was understood as Fear of the Gods, and dealt with by propitiation, which is to say by sacrifice.”
“propitiation" is the meeting-place; there the controversy on both sides terminates in an honorable and eternal "peace.”
“In light of everything the Bible teaches about sin, however, it seems best to retain the notion of propitiation as primary.”
“In the HEBREW BIBLE the idea of propitiation is linked to RITUAL sacrifices offered by PRIESTS at the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM.”
“Christ as a propitiation is the cause of our justification, and the object of our faith, or we attain it by faith in his blood.”
“From the Chinese notion of sacrifice the idea of propitiation through blood is entirely absent.”
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