Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

heart Summary and Overview

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heart in Easton's Bible Dictionary

According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. "Heart" and "soul" are often used interchangeably (Deut. 6:5; 26:16; compare Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case. The heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen. 20:5, 6; Ps. 11:2; 78:72), pious and good (Luke 8:15), etc. In these and such passages the word "soul" could not be substituted for "heart." The heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom. 2:15). It is naturally wicked (Gen. 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Matt. 12:34; 15:18; compare Eccl. 8:11; Ps. 73:7). Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26; 11:19; Ps. 51:10-14), before a man can willingly obey God. The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Ps. 95:8; Prov. 28:14; 2 Chr. 36:13). "Hardness of heart evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things."

heart in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

HEART , Acts 16:14. The seat of the affections, desires, hopes, and motives. John 14:1; Esth 1:10. The term is also used by the Bible writers to designate the understanding, 1 Cor 2:9, and intellectual perceptions. It is further a general term for the spiritual nature of man. Isa 1:5; 2 Cor 4:6. In the latter passage the apostle speaks of the light shining in our hearts, teaching us of Christ as the One who reveals God. The heart is declared to be corrupt and full of evil, Eccl 9:3, and deceit, Jer 17:9, the seat of sin and crime. Matt 15:19, as also of faith. Rom 10:10. The Lord "looketh on the heart," 1 Sam 16:7, in contrast to the outward appearance, and we are commanded to cultivate it, as the most important part of our nature, rather than external appearances. Prov 4:4; Joel 2:13. The expression "to speak in the heart," 1 Sam 1:13, is synonymous with "to think."

heart in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Often including the intellect as well as the affections and will; as conversely the "mind" often includes the feeling and will as well as the intellect. Romans 1:21, "their foolish heart was darkened." Ephesians 1:18, "the eyes of your understanding (the Vaticanus manuscript; but the Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus manuscripts 'heart') being enlightened." Thus, the Scripture implies that the heart and the head act and react on one another; and in men's unbelief it is the will that perverts the intellectual perceptions. John 7:17, "if any man be willing to (Greek) do, he shall know." "Willingness to obey" is the key to spiritual knowledge. See Jeremiah 17:9; Hosea 7:11, "Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart," i.e. "moral understanding".