What is a Christian?
The foundation of the Christian religion is Jesus Christ. He is the only way to salvation as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. The first step in our journey is understanding our new identity. What is a Christian?
The Greek word Χριστιανός, transliterates into English as Christianós, coming from the Greek word Χριστός, which transliterates into English as Christós, meaning “anointed”. This term is often used in the Greek New Testament as an “anointed one.” Christós refers to Jesus “Christ”, the anointed one of God!
Χριστός means “anointed (one)”. What does Χριστιανός mean? The answer lies in the suffix -ανός which is actually the Greacized equivalent of the Latin suffix -anus. Christianós refers to “those of Christ” in other words Christians, followers of Christ.
Referring to Studies in Jewish and Christian History: Part Three, Elias Joseph Bickerman wrote – All these Greek terms, formed with the Latin suffix -ianus, exactly as the Latin words of the same derivation, express the idea that the men or things referred to, belong to the person to whose name the suffix is added. In Greek as in Latin the suffix -ianus is a substitute for the possessive genitive… The term Καισαριανοί corresponds to the ellipse Καίσαρος (Caesaris servus [“a slave of Caesar”]) in other documents. The “Christians” belong to Christ, they are οί τοῦ χριστοῦ [“those of Christ”] as Paul stated.
For example, according to Lewis and Short, the Latin word Augustanus means “Of or belonging to an emperor.” Likewise, Christianus, the Latin equivalent of the Greek word Χριστιανός, means “Of or belonging to Christ.
Christians are “those of Christ” (οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ) (i.e., “Christ’s). We belong to Christ, as his possessions, because Christians are “slaves of Jesus Christ” (δοῦλοι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). This is why Jesus Christ is known as our “Lord,” or Greek κύριος, literally “master” (as in slave-master). Therefore, the words Christianus and Χριστιανός imply slavery. For this reason, these words were applied to Christians by non-Christians as a derogatory epithet, for the condition of servitude (slavery) was ignominious. Believers in Christ cherished the epithet because it was an honor to be slaves of Christ, unlike other masters.
1 Peter 4:16
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
How does Websters define Christian?
|n.||1.||One who believes, or professes or is assumed to believe, in Jesus Christ, and the truth as taught by Him; especially, one whose inward and outward life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ.
The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Acts xi. 26.
|2.||One born in a Christian country or of Christian parents, and who has not definitely becomes an adherent of an opposing system. (I don’t agree with this. You do not become a Christian by default – it’s a personal decision that requires action.)|
|3.||(Eccl.) One of a Christian denomination which rejects human creeds as bases of fellowship, and sectarian names. They are congregational in church government, and baptize by immersion. They are also called Disciples of Christ, and Campbellites.|
|a.||1.||Pertaining to Christ or his religion; as, Christian people.|
|3.||Pertaining to the church; ecclesiastical; as, a Christian court.|
|4.||Characteristic of Christian people; civilized; kind; kindly; gentle; beneficent.
The graceful tact; the Christian art.
The first time we see the term Christians used in the bible is Acts 11:25-26
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Christian is repeated only twice more in the New Testament; Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The term Christian has become the identification title for those who follow Jesus. To become a Christian, in spirit, action and truth, is one of the very first things we must do in our walk of faith after salvation.
You have joined a very special family – Christ’s family. Know this and be proud of who you are now. Like in the days of the apostles, it’s an honor to be known as a Christian!