What does anathema mean?


An anathema is a curse or prohibition. You will find it used in the KJV of the Bible: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Cor. 16:22). The NIV reads, "If anyone does not love the Lord a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!" Though the term may be translated differently it is used in several other texts, such as Deuteronomy 7:26; Acts 23:12; 23:14; 23:21; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 1:8-9; Romans 9:3. In the common Christian usage it is a formal condemnation of a person or group by the church, typically involving excommunication, and is generally reserved for those determined to be heretics.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).