Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

sect Summary and Overview

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sect in Easton's Bible Dictionary

(Gr. hairesis, usually rendered "heresy", Acts 24:14; 1 Chr. 11:19; Gal. 5:20, etc.), meaning properly "a choice," then "a chosen manner of life," and then "a religious party," as the "sect" of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), of the Pharisees (15:5), the Nazarenes, i.e., Christians (24:5). It afterwards came to be used in a bad sense, of those holding pernicious error, divergent forms of belief (2 Pet. 2:1; Gal. 5:20).

sect in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

SECT . The word appears eight times in the A.V. It has a twofold meaning - either a "chosen set of doctrines or mode of life. Acts 24:14; 2 Pet 2:1; or else a party adhering to the doctrine." - Smith. But it does not necessarily imply any error of doctrine or practice. It is always in the singular, and always as a translation of the Greek term "heresy," which signifies, primarily, "choice," then "party," "sect," and is used of the religious parties among the Jews, Acts 5:17; Lev 15:5; Acts 26:5; of the Christians in general, who were for a long time called by the Jews, in contempt, "the sect of the Nazarenes," Acts 24:5; of parties within the Christian Church, 1 Cor 11:19; of heresies proper, or errors - that is, wilful perversions of Christian truth. 2 Pet 2:1; Gal 5:20. It is easy to see how Christianity was originally considered as a new sect of Judaism; hence, Tertullus, accusing Paul before Felix, says that he was chief of the seditious sect of the Nazarenes, Acts 24:5, and the Jews of Rome said to the apostle, when he arrived in that city, that, as to "this sect," it was everywhere spoken against. Acts 28:22. The word "heresy," in Acts 24:14, is the same in the original with the word "sect" in Acts 24:5; so that the apostle replies directly to the argument of Tertullus, and admits that, "after the manner of a sect, producing division and schism, as my persecutors say, so worship I the God of my fathers." In countries having an established Church or a State religion, the word "sect" is applied to those communities or bodies of Christians who separate themselves from the Establishment. In the United States the word cannot of course be used in this sense with any propriety, there being no national Church. Each separate communion enjoys its own rights and privileges as fully as any other, and, while there are no sects, properly speaking. there are a great number of denominations, as Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, etc.. etc.