The Name Christian--by Timothy A. Southall
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There are terms such as saints (Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Colossians 1:4), elect (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; 1 Peter 1:1), believers (Acts 2:44; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:17), and body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 4:12), to name a few, that are used in the Bible to describe those who have Christ as Lord and Savior. Yet, these terms are not widely known to those of the secular world or other religions.

The Bible shows the name we are to be known by which is universal among believers and non-believers. That name is "Christian." Christ's followers were first called Christian at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The world called them Christian because of who they followed and believed in.

When Paul defended himself and witnessed before King Agrippa, Agrippa's wife, and other high ranking officials (Acts 26:1-29), King Agrippa referenced that one who believes in Christ is a Christian (Acts 26:28). The name was known everywhere because of who they followed and believed in.

In a letter to those scattered throughout Pontos, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Peter told Christ's followers if they were insulted because of the name of Christ, they were blessed. He then went on to tell them if they suffer as a Christian, they were not to be ashamed, but to praise God that they bear that name (1 Peter 4:14-16), thus showing to whom we belong. The name Christian was authorized by Peter an apostle.

As one can see, the early church was known as Christian by non-believers, world leaders, and Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. The name is biblical and clearly shows who we are by who we believe in and follow.

Due to divisions in the body of Christ, followers of Christ have given themselves names which are not biblical, but are of men and their ways. The early church was warned not have divisions. This warning was for those who were beginning to follow men rather than Christ. Paul asked them whose name they were baptized into (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Today men have done the same thing. Some follow men and some follow doctrines and wear the name of who or what they believe in and follow. We are to follow Christ and wear the name "Christian."

Copyright © 2001 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.