Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Abraham's Bosom

Abraham's Bosom

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.

See also Hades; Paradise; Sheol

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.


Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Abraham\'s Bosom'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.

ABRAHAM'S BOSOM

booz'-um (kolpos Abraam; kolpoi Abraam):

Figurative. The expression occurs in Luke 16:22,23, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, to denote the place of repose to which Lazarus was carried after his death. The figure is suggested by the practice of the guest at a feast reclining on the breast of his neighbor. Thus, John leaned on the breast of Jesus at supper (John 21:20). The rabbis divided the state after death (Sheol) into a place for the righteous and a place for the wicked (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; SHEOL); but it is doubtful whether the figure of Jesus quite corresponds with this idea. "Abraham's bosom" is not spoken of as in "Hades," but rather as distinguished from it (Luke 16:23)--a place of blessedness by itself. There Abraham receives, as at a feast, the truly faithful, and admits them to closest intimacy. It may be regarded as equivalent to the "Paradise" of Luke 23:43. See HADES; PARADISE.

James Orr


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'ABRAHAM'S BOSOM'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.