Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
You might be surprised to learn that the word Christian/Christians appears only 3
times in the KJV Bible. And, of course, Christian is not found anywhere in the KJV
Old Testament. There are, however, several other words used in the Bible which are
connected with the thought of someone being a Christian: words such as saints,
disciples, believers, children of God, sons of God, members of the body of Christ, the
church/assembly which is the bride of Christ.
A Christian is simply one who follows Christ and the term Christian when used
in this way, implies reality—a title of one, who by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is
saved and thus has become in truth, a follower of Christ. A brother once mentioned
that we might think of “Christian” as meaning a “Christ-one” and we feel this is a
good definition as well.
Before the Gentile assembly in Antioch was formed, those who followed Christ were
generally called His disciples because the Jews followed certain teachers or leaders.
They called themselves disciples of Moses or perhaps, disciples of Gamaliel,
(perhaps the most highly respected teacher of Jewish law of his day), or the
disciples of John Baptist, all the while scorning and insulting those who were
disciples of Christ.
But we learn in Acts 11:26 that “the disciples [of Jesus] were called Christians first
in Antioch.” Now to those of us who live in a nation that was once called Christian,
and has many Christians (professing and real believers) still living in America, we
might think that the name Christian given believers in Antioch, was a title of
respect. Such is not the case.
The worshippers of Greek and Roman idols hated those who left the worship of
Atlas, Venus, Mercury, etc. and turned to the living God in faith (the Gentiles were
as steeped in mythological idol worship as the Jews were who adopted these same
demon idols to worship in the place of Jehovah the true God). Thus it was these
Gentile unbelieving idolators who “coined the name” Christian using it in the spirit
of mockery, insult, railing and hatred towards those who had by faith believed in
the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour through the gospel preaching of Paul and
Barnabas. To be called a “Christian” in Antioch in those days was the same as using
a degrading slang name for Afro-American people or derogatory names for other
ethnic nationalities which are not of European descent.
But it always out to be a joy to the heart for anyone to meet another true Christian—
a soul who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing Him as personal Saviour and
Lord. What a blessed privilege to be truly called a Christian!