(Gr. hairesis, usually rendered "heresy", Acts 24:14 ; 1 Chronicles 11:19 ; Galatians 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 Peter 2:1 ; Galatians 5:20 ).

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Sect". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .


A group or division; a party.

My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest SECT of our religion I lived a Pharisee. ( Acts 26:4-5 )

Source: A King James Dictionary. (Used with permission. Copyright © Philip P. Kapusta)

Bibliography Information

"Entry for 'Sect'". A King James Dictionary.


sekt (hairesis):

"Sect" (Latin, secta, from sequi, "to follow") is in the New Testament the translation of hairesis, from haireo, "to take," "to choose"; also translated "heresy," not heresy in the later ecclesiastical sense, but a school or party, a sect, without any bad meaning attached to it. The word is applied to schools of philosophy; to the Pharisees and Sadducees among the Jews who adhered to a common religious faith and worship; and to the Christians. It is translated "sect" (Acts 5:17, of the Sadducees; Acts 15:5, of the Pharisees; Acts 24:5, of the Nazarenes; Acts 26:5, of the Pharisees; Acts 28:22, of the Christians); also the Revised Version (British and American) Acts 24:14 (the King James Version and the English Revised Version margin "heresy"), "After the Way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers" (just as the Pharisees were "a sect"); it is translated "heresies" (1 Corinthians 11:19, margin "sects," the American Standard Revised Version "factions," margin "Greek: `heresies' "; the English Revised Version reverses the American Standard Revised Version text and margin; Galatians 5:20, the American Standard Revised Version "parties," margin "heresies"; the English Revised Version reverses text and margin; 2 Peter 2:1, "damnable heresies," the Revised Version (British and American) "destructive heresies," margin "sects of perdition"); the "sect" in itself might be harmless; it was the teaching or principles which should be followed by those sects that would make them "destructive." Hairesis occurs in 1 Macc 8:30 ("They shall do it at their pleasure," i.e. "choice"); compare Septuagint Leviticus 22:18,21.


W. L. Walker

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

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