Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

225 Person


An individual substance of a rational intelligent nature. Some have been offended at the term persons as applied to the Trinity, as unwarrantable. The term person, when applied to Deity, is certainly used in a sense somewhat different from that in which we apply to one another; but when it is considered that the Greek words to which it answers, are, in the New Testament, applied to the Father and Son, Heb. 1:3. 2 Cor. 4:6. and that no single term, at least, can be found more suitable, it can hardly be condemned as unscriptural and improper. There have been warm debates between the Greek and Latin churches about the words hypostasis and persona; the Latin concluding that the word hypostasis signified substance or essence, thought that to assert that there were three divine hypostases was to say that there were three gods. On the other hand, the Greek church thought that the word person did not sufficiently guard against the Sabellian notion of the same individual Being sustaining three relations; whereupon each part of the church was ready to brand the other with heresy, till by a free and mutual conference in a synod at Alexandria, A. D. 362, they made it appear that it was but a mere contention about the grammatical sense of a word; and then it was allowed by men of temper on both sides, that either of the two words might be indifferently used.

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary