Testament is the frequent rendering, in the New Test., of the Greek διαθήκη (literally a disposal), and both are used in two distinct senses (see Cremer, Lex. of N.T. Greek, p. 576 sq.).
1. The natural, and in classical Greek, as in ordinary English, the only, signification is a devisement by will or legacy (Plutarch, De A dulat. 28; Plato, Legg. 922; Demosth. 1136, 12), and in this sense the word occurs in Heb 9:16-17. SEE INHERITANCE.
2. But the more common signification in the New Test. is one that has come over from the Sept., which often uses διαθήκη. as a rendering of the Heb. בַּרַית, or covenant; and in this sense "testament" is the rendering in the A.V. of the Greek word in Heb 7:22; Heb 9:20; Re 11:19; and especially in the phrase the new testament (Mt 26:28; Mr 14:24; Lu 22:20; 1Co 3:6; Heb 9:15 [i.e. "new covenant," as ill Heb 8:8; Heb 12:24]), which has gained currency as the title of the Christian Scriptures as a whole. See New- Englander; May, 1857, Lond. (Wesleyan) Quar. Rev. July, 1857. SEE COVENANT.