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What does it mean? – A glossary of Christian words and expressions
Here you can find definitions of many of the terms we use within our articles.
Backslide – To go back to old sins or habits that one once had victory over.
Battle/war/fight – Almost all talk ofs and wars when concerning a Christian life refers to the inner battle that arises when a sinful thought tempts you. God’s Spirit and the are at odds. When you have decided to only do God’s will and are being led by the Spirit, a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit arises: there is a battle wherein you must overcome the temptation and get victory over that sin. (Galatians 5:16-17; Hebrews 12:4)
Body of Christ – Theis made up of all of those who give their lives to serve God in order to come to the fullness of Christ. They work in the ministry that He has appointed them, which differs from person to person, for the edification of themselves and others to bring all to unity. It is made up of each one who works to accomplish God’s will on earth as it is done in heaven, both in their own personal life and in the service of God for the others. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Body of sin – See definition for “sin.”
Born again/Spiritual rebirth – Beingis an event that takes place in every true Christian’s life at some point. You “put off” your previous way of living and thinking, living according to the lust in your flesh. You are born anew into a life with Christ; you become a new creation that is Spiritual and eternal. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. After you are born again you see the kingdom of God as your goal and everything outside of that becomes rubbish to you. Read about Paul’s spiritual rebirth in Philippians 3:4-10.
Bride of Christ/Jesus’ bride/bride of Jesus – Theare all those who have purified themselves as He is pure and have been conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29) They cleanse and purify themselves of all sin and are true followers of Christ. The Bride is another term for of Christ.
Brothers/sisters/brotherhood/brethren – The “brothers” and “sisters” are those who are a part of the church of Christ. (Matthew 23:8; Matthew 12:50; Hebrews 2:10-18)
Christian – The term Christian is generally used to denote someone who adheres to Christianity, which is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. A true Christian is not one in name only, but someone who is a follower of Christ. They follow Him on the way of, with the goal to attain and become holy as He is holy. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 1:15; 2 Peter 1:4)
The church – Many people use the word to denote the entire body of Christians, and others to describe a certain denomination or group or even the physical building that Christians gather in. The Bible makes it clear that the true church of Christ is made up of all those who deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. (Ephesians 2:19-22; Matthew 16:24)
Commit sin – Tois to consciously do something that you know goes against God’s will and His laws. It is when you are tempted by the and desires that dwell in you and you consciously agree to act on that temptation, knowing full well that it is displeasing to God. This “action” can occur in word, deed, or thought. Also see the definition for “Sin.” (James 1:14-15)
Conversion/converted/give your heart to Jesus – To make a decision to turn away from sin and darkness, from the power of the devil to the living God. We repent from our former sins, cast off our old life – a life which enjoyed living in the passing pleasures of sin – and lay hold of a new mind – a mindset that is determined to resist sin (say “No!” in temptation). It is also important, after conversion, not to return to the environment which had a negative influence on one before conversion, otherwise things can go badly again. (Acts 3:19; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Peter 2:1-2)
Crucified with Christ/on the cross/crucified life – Jesus was physically crucified on the cross at Calvary. Though blameless, He took upon Himself the punishment for sin, which was death, so He could “pay our debt” and forgive us our sin if we are willing to believe in Him and follow Him.
However, when the Apostle Paul wrote: “I have been…” (Galatians 2:20), this is a metaphorical crucifixion. We now belong to Christ, and are no longer slaves of our flesh, but have rather “crucified” our flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24) In other words, our mind is alive to serving God, and does not allow sin in the flesh to control our actions. One who lives a crucified life is one who overcomes sin by reckoning themselves to be crucified with Christ.
Crush Satan under your feet – Satan isunder your feet when you resist his persuasions, lies, and deceit by choosing not to give in to temptation and sinful thoughts that come up, through the power of the Holy Spirit, thus effectively removing his power and influence from your life. (Romans 16:20)
Crushed/broken down – This refers to the process in which God breaks down a person’s own self-righteousness, strength, and pride so that they can come to a position of humility and obedience wherein He can use them to carry out His will. (Psalm 51:16-17; Isaiah 53:10)
Deeds of the body –are things we realize are wrong only after we have done them, because the Holy Spirit points them out to us; our eyes are opened to the fact that they were wrong. Therefore, anything wrong that we do unconsciously, without our mind or our enlightened self agreeing to it, is a deed of the body. There is no condemnation for these deeds of the body when we accept and judge these deeds by the Spirit and thus conquer them. (Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:1-2)
Deny yourself – In a Christian context, “denying yourself” means that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you do not give in to the sinful lusts and desires which come from within yourself and crave gratification. It is one of the conditions forship (following Jesus). (Matthew 16:24)
Die with Christ/Death of Christ/Dying of the Lord Jesus – This most often refers not to the physical death Christ died on the cross of Calvary, but to the death of the lust to sin in His human nature, which task He fulfilled while He lived on earth as a human being. Jesus’ disciples can follow Him in this death over sin. (2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:3; Galatians 5:24)
Disciple/Walk with Christ/Life with Christ – A disciple is another word for a follower of Christ, a student or apprentice who is learning to be like his Master. As a disciple you follow Jesus Christ, who is the Master and by living like Him you become more like Him. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21-22)
Divine nature/partake of divine nature/partake of Godly nature – God’s nature, or divine nature, is perfectly pure and it cannot be tempted by evil. We are promised that we can be partakers of the divine nature by fleeing the corruption in the world that comes through our lusts. As we gradually overcome our sinful human nature it is replaced by divine nature – God shares His own nature with us. As our natural reactions to the situations we meet in life are overcome, the, such as envy, pride, malice, and greed, are replaced by virtues, the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, reacting with love, humility, goodness, joy, etc. becomes our very nature. This is what it means that we can partake of divine nature. This is the process of . (2 Peter 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 2:18; 1 John 3:2-3; James 1:13; Galatians 5)
Earthly/Temporal – Refers to everything of this earth, as opposed to heavenly things. Example:treasures/heavenly treasures. The earthly things pass away (are temporal), but the heavenly things are eternal. (Matthew 6:19-21; Colossians 3:2; 1 John 2:17)
Enemy/Enemies – Most often when a Christian refers to his or her “enemies” they are speaking about the sin in their flesh and the temptations and lusts that arise from there. These are enemies because they tempt us to act contrary to the will of God. These can also be spiritual powers such as thewhich oppose the Holy Spirit. Satan, the devil, is also referred to as the , or adversary. Israel’s earthly enemies in the Old Testament are a picture of these spiritual enemies in the New Covenant. (Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8)
Falling in sin –is something that happens to disciples, whose mind is to serve God, and are walking on the way, but is still the same as committing sin. It is when you are tempted to sin and consciously agree to these temptations in your mind, allowing these desires to manifest as sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. However, your overall decision to serve God and live in victory has not changed. Even though you have made a mistake you still want to live free from sin. A fall is regarded as a “one-off” event, as opposed to living in sin with no intention of stopping. Also see the definition for “Sin.” (1 John 2:1)
The Fall – The expression “the Fall” is not found in the Bible, but refers to the first time mankind (Adam and Eve) gave in to sin in the garden of Eden, thus corrupting their human nature, which has been passed down to all their descendants. (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Timothy 2:14)
Fall away – To “fall away” is to leave the life of a Christian and start living for another goal or purpose. (Hebrews 3:12; 2 Peter 3:17; Hebrews 6:4-6)
Fear of man/Bound by people–is when your thoughts and actions are restricted and dictated by other people’s opinions and what they think about you. When you are bound by people (bound by the fear of man) then you are unable to serve God because you care more about people’s opinions of you than God’s. (Proverbs 29:25; 1 Samuel 15:24; Galatians 1:10)
Fellowship –means communion with other Christians who are living the same life that you are. It includes mutual edification, love, and a unity in purpose and spirit that goes far deeper than friendship or human relationships. (1 John 1:7) We also experience fellowship with Christ when we overcome sin in the time of temptation just as He did when He was a man. In this way we get to know Him and can experience a personal relationship and unity with Him. (Philippians 3:10)
Filled with the Spirit – To bemeans that you have received the Holy Spirit, and are walking in and being obedient to the light He gives you, and are filled with power to live a life for God, partaking of spiritual gifts and revelation in the Word of God. (Luke 4:1; Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31; Ephesians 5:18)
Flesh – The “flesh” is all of the sinful desires/temptations/lusts, etc. that dwell in human nature. It is the source of temptation, and nothing good dwells there. (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 7:18; Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:5)
The term “flesh” can also refer to humankind, or our physical bodies, especially in Old Testament contexts. (Genesis 6:13; Psalm 56:4; 1 Peter 1:24; Ephesians 5:29)
Also see the definition for “Sin.”
Get light/got light/received light/enlightened eyes –means that the Holy Spirit gives you revelation about something. For example, when you have “enlightened eyes” you can get light over your own sin and see that you are selfish, proud, etc. It can also refer to getting more insight (revelation) in the Word of God and His work in and promises for those who follow Him. (Psalm 118: 27; Psalm 119:130; John 1:4-5; John 3:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:17-18)
Guard your heart/keep your heart – Guarding your heart (your mind, your attitude, your inner life and relationship to God) is the same as keeping your heart pure. It is when you make sure that no temptations in the form of impure or sinful thoughts are allowed to enter your heart, but are nipped in the bud while they are just a thought. It is a state of watchfulness against any evil influences in your spiritual life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Half-hearted – Being half-hearted is being in a state of indecision about your goal in life. It is being anything less than 100% committed to carrying out God’s will in your life. (2 Kings 10:31; James 1:6-8)
Have sin – See definition for “Sin.”
Hate your self-life/Hate your own life – Hating your self-life simply means that you hate the selfish, proud, egotistical, and sinful nature that dwells within you. You hate the part of yourself that is corrupted by sin (your flesh). It has nothing to do with low self-esteem or inferiority complexes, which do not come from God. Hating your own life, the sin dwelling in your flesh, is one of the requirements of discipleship. (John 12:25; Luke 14:26; Romans 7:15-18)
Indwelling sin – See definition for “Sin.”
Inner man/inward man/outer man/outward man – The outer man is our physical body while we are here on the earth. Ouris our everlasting spirit and soul. (Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16; Matthew 10:28)
Let Jesus into your heart/Make Jesus the Lord of your life – To let Jesus into your life or make Jesus the Lord of your life is to make a conscious decision to live wholly for Jesus and to do God’s will rather than your own. It is the “starting point” in the life of a disciple.
Led by God/Led by the Spirit/Led by the Holy Spirit – Being led by the Spirit or led by God is the same thing, because God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. It is when thoughts or promptings come into your head that you know are right and come from God. It is following these promptings and leadings from the Spirit to do the things God wants done. (Romans 8:14; John 16:13)
Live before the face of God/Live before the face of man/Living before the face of God/Living before the face of man/Eyeservice – Living before the face of God means that you do everything for Him, to carry out His will, and you seek only His approval for your actions. Living before the face of man means that you seek the approval of other humans for your actions. (Galatians 1:10; Ephesians 6:6)
Lusts/ Youthful lusts/Lusts and desires/Passions and desires/Lusts of the flesh – The desires that we experience that go against God’s will. In other words, a desire for anything sinful. See James 1:14. Also called “sin in the flesh.” Although the expression “youthful lusts” is often thought of in connection with sinful sexual desires, lusts include anything that go against what is good and right in God’s eyes. (2 Timothy 2:22; Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:3)
My “self”/My “I”/My “own life”/My “self-life” – This expression refers to the temptation within a person to be selfish; the part of a person that always wants the best and most for themselves when it regards earthly things. It is sin in the flesh. See entry for “Lusts.” (Luke 14:26; John 12:25; James 3:14)
My own strength – This refers to a person who is attempting totheir sinful desires without help from God; not sinning by sheer strength of will. Some people may manage this to some degree, but ultimately it is impossible to come to total victory in one’s own strength, eventually one will come to an end of their own strength. A Christian needs the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit to completely conquer sin. A common reason for discouragement is basing your faith on past experiences of defeat; i.e. basing it on reliance on your own strength, rather than on God. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Psalm 147:10-11; Zechariah 4:6)
Offer yourself/Sacrifice yourself – Offering yourself simply means that you use everything you have for the furtherance of God’s will on earth rather than your own. This includes giving up opinions, reasoning and feelings that go against God’s will, as well as sacrificing your time, skills, money, etc. when God requires it of you. (John 15:13; Ephesians 5:2)
Old Covenant/New Covenant – (Also called the Old Testament and the New Testament.) The Old Covenant is the covenant that God entered into with Israel. The basis for it was the Law of Moses; that the Israelites were to keep all the laws and commandments that God sent. The Old Covenant was mostly concerned with outward things and addressed the effects of giving in to sin, but is used as a picture for the inner, spiritual life of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is the covenant God enters into with the followers of Christ. It is based on the laws and commandments that the Spirit writes in our hearts instead of the Law of Moses. The New Covenant is mostly concerned with the inner life and dealing with the cause of sin before it is carried out. In the New Covenant, forgiveness is not only a way out of the wages of sin, but the opportunity to start a new, overcoming life and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 8:6-13)
The old man/new man – Your “old man” is your mindset before conversion. It is a state of allowing your lusts and desires to rule in your life; you have not made a conscious decision to resist committing sin. The new man is your mindset after conversion. It is a decision to overcome sin and live in righteousness and holiness. It is the mind to serve God and His will, rather than your will; the lusts and desires from your flesh.is “put off”, and the new man is “put on” in an act of faith, which is symbolized by baptism. (Romans 6:1-6; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10)
Original sin – Not a Biblical expression, but often used to denote the sin that entered the world and human nature through Adam’s and Eve’s act of disobedience (“the fall”). Also see the definition for “Sin.”
Pure heart – Having ameans that you do not agree with any sinful or impure thoughts that come up in you, but rather you deny these thoughts and put them to death. It means that you are not affected or tainted by sin on the inside. (Psalm 51:10; Matthew 5:8; Proverbs 4:23)
Put to death/put sin to death – Is to overcome the temptations to sin that arise when our lusts and desires draw us to react in ways we know to be evil (i.e. pride, hatred, evil-speaking, envy etc.) It is the act of denying those thoughts and refusing to agree with them. The lust to sin is not only suppressed, but it actually dies. (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5)
Repentance/repent/repenting –is the act of regretting sincerely the sin in your past with the goal to never do it again. It is making a decision to turn away from evil and to serve God. Repentance is one of the requirements for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 2:17; Luke 15:10; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 4:22-24; Revelation 3:19)
Salvation/Being saved – The term “salvation” or “being saved” actually has two parts. The first “salvation” refers to being saved from the consequences of sin by having your sins forgiven. Through forgiveness you are reconciled to God and your past sins will not be counted against you. This salvation is by grace alone, we have done nothing to deserve it. The second part of salvation is to be set free from your sinful nature. You become “saved” as you put to death sinful lusts in the flesh. This salvation is also by grace, but the Christian is actively involved in making it happen through strength and help (grace) from the Holy Spirit. This salvation comes from following Jesus’ example, thus being conformed to His image. The first is salvation though Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us, the other is the “much more” salvation through His life – see Romans 5:9-10. (John 3:17; Ephesians 2:1-9; Philippians 2:12; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:3-9)
Sanctification – Sanctification is the process by which you are transformed to have divine nature by the act of consistently putting sin to death by resisting temptation. This is what it means to cleanse the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26) Your sinful nature is gradually replaced by virtues – the divine nature. (Romans 12:2; 2 Peter 1:4)
Sin – Sin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden. This is the body of sin that we have all since inherited and are born with. The Bible also calls these sinful tendencies the “lusts of the flesh.” This means that as human beings we are tempted by sinful desires and thoughts from our own flesh. John writes that we all “have sin,” but you are not guilty of committing sin unless you first consciously agree to the lusts. Sin can be “put to death” bit by bit by denying the lusts as they become conscious for you. This process was first carried out in Jesus while He Himself was a human being on earth. (1 John 1:8; Romans 6:6; Romans 7:18; Romans 8:3-4)
Sin in me – See definition for “sin.”
Sin in the flesh – See definition for “sin.”
Sinful flesh – See definition for “sin.”
Spirit of the times – The spirit of the times is the evil spirit found in much of the world’s modern culture/attitudes. It is not constant in its manifestation, and can vary from era to era and culture to culture. Though not always obviously evil in itself, the spirit of the times will always be instrumental in leading people away from serving and obeying God. (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11; 1 John 4:1-3; Revelation 16:13-14)
Stand fast/Endure (in the time of temptation) – Standing fast in the time of temptation means that you do not give in to and agree with or tolerate the sinful thoughts that come up in you. (Ephesians 6:13; James 1:12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
Suffering/suffer in the flesh/suffering in the flesh – The Bible often mentions. Though this can refer to outward, physical suffering, in the New Covenant it mostly applies to the suffering that occurs when you deny your own sinful lusts and desires and put them to death. It is an inner suffering that occurs because your lusts are not being satisfied, rather than a physical, outward one – what the Bible refers to as “crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:1)
Sufferings of Christ – Themostly refer to the inner sufferings that Christ experienced when He denied and put to death His own will when He was tempted, and chose to obey God instead. In some cases this also refers to Christ’s physical sufferings. (1 Peter 4:1; Colossians 1:24; Hebrews 2:18)
Take up your cross/Crucify your flesh/On the cross/By the cross – When the cross is mentioned in the Bible, it most often does not refer to a physical wooden cross, except when specifically describing Jesus’ crucifixion on Calvary. “Taking up your cross” refers to the metaphorical cross that Jesus’ speaks about in Luke 9:23. “Taking up your cross” is the act of denying the sinful thoughts that come up in you and putting them to death. (Colossians 3:5. Galatians 5:24)
Throne of grace – “Let us therefore come boldly to the, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. Because Jesus was tempted, yet did not sin, it is possible for us to come to Him with boldness to receive grace. This grace is so we too shall not commit sin in our temptations. We come before God’s throne in prayer and He hears us and sees the desire of our heart. There we have a connection with the powers of heaven and those powers are made available to us so that we can overcome all sin.
To Sin/Commit sin/Give in to sin – To commit sin is to consciously do something that you know goes against God’s will. This can be in word, deed, or even thought. (James 1:14-15) Also see the definition for “Sin.”
Transformation – This is the process of sanctification, in which we our sinful human nature is gradually exchanged for divine nature when we in obedience to God’s will deny and put to death the sinful lusts in our flesh. (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:3-4)
Tribulation/Tribulations/Trial/Trials/Tests –s or trials refer to any event or situation that comes your way that tempts you to sin; that gives opportunity for sinful thoughts and temptations to rise up in you. The tribulation or trial arises when your mind to serve God struggles against your lusts to sin. It also often refers to difficult situations that test your ability to endure in the faith – in the early church this often included persecution of Christians. (Romans 5:3; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 4:12-13)
Victory over sin/Overcoming sin/Conquering sin – “Victory over sin” means that you do not commit conscious sin – that which you know would be sin at that time when you are tempted. It doesn’t mean that you are without sin, but that temptation is overcome before it can become sin. (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Revelation 2:7)
Walk in the light/Walking in the light/Walk in the Spirit/Walking in the Spirit – Walking in the light is the state of being obedient to do all that God reveals to you through the Holy Spirit. This means both that you put to death all of the sin you are shown (get light over) and obey all commandments God gives you. When you do this you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (1 John 1:7; John 3:18-21; John 8:12; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25)
Walk in the prepared works – Walking in the prepared works means doing the things that God wants you to carry out with your time on earth. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do certain physical acts, but that in whatever you do, in all the situations you meet in life, you carry out God’s will. (Ephesians 2:10)
The blood of Jesus/The blood of the Lamb – This mostly refers to the metaphorical “blood” that was shed when Jesus gave up His own life, or self-will. By putting to death sin in His flesh, “blood” flowed, and since He was blameless, this sacrifice could be used to atone for our sins and give us forgiveness. In a deeper sense, we as members of His body, are cleansed from indwelling sin when we follow Him, and the same “blood” flows from us as a sign of victory death over sin.
By being a blameless sacrifice, crucified as a sinner when He was in fact without guilt, He took upon Himself the punishment for sin and His death (His blood) served as a “ransom” for all those who believe in Him, so they can have their sins forgiven and be cleansed from their former sins. (Matthew 26:27-28; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19. Hebrews 10:19-22; Revelation 12:11; Hebrews 12:4; 1 John 1:7; Mark 10:45)
Word of the cross – Theis the powerful New Covenant gospel that preaches freedom from sin by taking up your cross and following Jesus daily, after having received forgiveness through Jesus’ death on the cross on Calvary. The cross that we are to take up is not a physical cross, like the one on Calvary, but rather it is the process of denying the sinful lusts in your flesh and thus “crucifying” them so that they are overcome and rendered powerless to control us. (1 Corinthians 1:18; Luke 9:23)
Workings of the Spirit/Work of the Spirit – Theare the Holy Spirit’s commands and promptings to us. They can come through the conscience, thoughts, feelings, God’s Word, things others say etc. As you walk in the Spirit you get a “trained ear” and the workings of the Spirit become easier to discern. (John 14:26)
Works of the flesh – Conscious sin; things we know to be sin before we do them. These are not “accidents” but deliberate sins, and they are to be repented from and “put off” at conversion: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. (Colossians 3:5-9)
The world – The world is all human culture, society, etc. outside of the church of Christ. It can refer to the physical world, but also the spiritual realm of Satan – including the spirit of the times and other negative influences and ideas. (John 7:7; John 12:47; John 15:18-19; 1 Corinthians 2:12; Galatians 6:14; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; 1 John 4:4-5; John 14:30; Romans 12:2)
Worldly – The term “worldly” is used to describe anything that is purposed towards the world’s goals/ideals/pursuits as opposed to that which is of the Spirit. (1 John 2:15-17; Titus 2:11-12)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.