(a naw' theh ma) Someone or something sacrificed to God for destruction in fulfillment of a vow. Greek translation of Hebrew cherem, the holy war ban imposing destruction of war booty (Leviticus 27:28;
Deuteronomy 20:10-18). Paul invoked the curse of the ban on anyone who did not love the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:22). This may have been a technical term in the early church meaning to exclude from church membership. Paul echoed similar sentiments in
Romans 9:3, saying he would be cut off from Christ if that were the means to save his Jewish people. Spiritual gifts, especially ecstatic prophecy, do not cause people to say “Jesus is anathema” (1 Corinthians 12:3; NAS note). A person preaching any gospel except the gospel of grace promising justification through faith alone should be under the curse, that is anathema (Galatians 1:8-9).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ANATHEMA'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".