Unique phrase found in a parable of Jesus describing the place where Lazarus went after death ( Luke 16:19-31 ). It is a figurative phrase that appears to have been drawn from a popular belief that the righteous would rest by Abraham's side in the world to come, an opinion described in Jewish literature at the time of Christ. The word kolpos [kovlpo"] literally refers to the side or lap of a person. Figuratively, as in this case, it refers to a place of honor reserved for a special guest, similar to its usage in John 13:23. In the case of Lazarus, the reserved place is special because it is beside Abraham, the father of all the righteous. The phrase may be synonymous to the paradise promised to the thief on the cross ( Luke 23:43 ). Together these passages support the conviction that a believer enjoys immediate bliss at the moment of physical death.
Sam Hamstra, Jr.
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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Bibliography InformationElwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Abraham\'s Bosom'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology".