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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

A collective term, comprehending all such as follow the doctrines and opinions of some divine, philosopher, &c. The word sect, says Dr. Campbell, (Prelim. Diss.) among the Jews, was not in its application entirely coincident with the same term as applied by Christians to the subdivisions subsisting among themselves. We, if I mistake not, invariably use it of those who form separate communions, and do not associate with one another in religious worship and ceremonies. Thus we call Papists, Lutherans, Calvinists, different sects, not so much on account of their differences in opinion, as because they have established to themselves different fraternities, to which, in what regards public worship, they confine themselves; the several denominations above-mentioned having no inter-community with one another in sacred matters. High church and low church we call only parties, because they have not formed separate communions. Great and known differences in opinion, when followed by no external breach in the society, are not considered with us as constituting distinct sects, though their differences in opinion may give rise to mutual aversion. Now, in the Jewish sects (if we except the Samaritans, ) there were no separate communities errected. The same temple, and the same synagogues, were attended alike by Pharisees and by Sadducees: nay, there were often of both denominations in the Sanhedrim, and even in the priesthood.

Another difference was also, that the name of the sect was not applied to all the people who adopted the same opinions, but solely to the men of eminence among them who were considered as the leaders of the party.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Αἵρεσις (Strong'S #139 — Noun Feminine — hairesis — hah'ee-res-is )

"a choosing," is translated "sect" throughout the Acts, except in 24:14, AV, "heresy" (RV, "sect"); it properly denotes a predilection either for a particular truth, or for a perversion of one, generally with the expectation of personal advantage; hence, a division and the formation of a party or "sect" in contrast to the uniting power of "the truth," held in toto; "a sect" is a division developed and brought to an issue; the order "divisions, heresies" (marg. "parties") in "the works of the flesh" in  Galatians 5:19-21 is suggestive of this. See Heresy.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

From a Latin word answering to the Greek word hoeresis, which latter our translators have in some places rendered "sect," in others "heresy." As used in the New Testament, it implies neither approbation nor censure of the persons to whom it is applied, or of their opinions,  Acts 5:17   15:5 . Among the Jews, there were four sects, distinguished by their practices and opinions, yet united in communion with each other and with the body of their nation: namely, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and the Herodians. Christianity was originally considered as a new sect of Judaism; hence Tertullus, accusing Paul before Felix, says that he was chief of the seditious sect of the Nazarenes,  Acts 24:5; and the Jews of Rome said to the apostle, when he arrived in this city, "As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against,"  Acts 28:22 . See Heresy .

King James Dictionary [4]

SECT, n. L. Sp. secta from L. seco, to cut off, to separate.

1. A body or number of persons united in tenets, chiefly in philosophy or religion, but constituting a distinct party by holding sentiments different from those of other men. Most sects have originated in a particular perlon, who taught and propagated some peculiar notions in philosophy or religion, and who is considered to have been its founder. Among the jews, the principal sects were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. In Greece were the Cynic sect, founded by Antisthenes and the Academic sect, by Plato. The Academic sect gave birth to the Peripatetic, and a Cynic to the Stoic. 2. A cutting or coin. Not used.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(1): ( n.) Those following a particular leader or authority, or attached to a certain opinion; a company or set having a common belief or allegiance distinct from others; in religion, the believers in a particular creed, or upholders of a particular practice; especially, in modern times, a party dissenting from an established church; a denomination; in philosophy, the disciples of a particular master; a school; in society and the state, an order, rank, class, or party.

(2): ( n.) A cutting; a scion.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Acts 24:14 1 Chronicles 11:19 Galatians 5:20 Acts 5:17 2 Peter 2:1 Galatians 5:20

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

SECT . See Heresy.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [8]

See Heresy.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

sekt ( αἵρεσις , haı́resis ): "Sect" (Latin, secta , from sequi , "to follow") is in the New Testament the translation of hairesis , from hairéō , "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 ,  Leviticus 22:21 . See Heresy .