393: USE OF THE WORD ‘CHRISTIAN’ IN THE BIBLE

More Jesus, Less Christ, No God!”  or “Embrace Jesus, Abandon Christ, What god?”

“Whatever. A motto is for playing with; I’m not trying to sell a product, just musing about faith in the 21st century. I’ve set myself a little research project to do in my spare time. A bit of mad typing late at night after the rest of the family have gone to bed……
I’ve picked this topic because it follows on naturally from the previous Post ‘Use of the word Christ in the gospels’. I hope you find it interesting.
In solidarity,
Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.
(My old Oxford College sent me a letter today addressed to ‘Dr’ Turner. Do they know something I don’t?!)”

Cruden’s (i) lists 3 uses of the word ‘Christian‘ in the Greek scriptures (New Testament – I’ll spell that out in full because not everyone is familiar with the use of ‘N.T.’ as an abbreviation. I discovered this when chatting with a friend who is a Pentecostal minister. He didn’t know what I meant when I said NT! I think I learned the term in Junior School!) Translation is N.I.V., which stands for New International Version. I don’t know if the Jesus Seminar have done a ‘Scholars Version’ of Acts yet. Must check it out on Amazon. I suspect they probably have.

(1) Acts 11:26: “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

(2) Acts 26:28: “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’ ”

(3) 1 Peter 4:16: “However if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Zingcreed comment: is that all? Only three!

Christianity is a word not found in the bible. It is the name of a world religion founded by the Jesus movement long after Jesus himself  was dead and buried. It spread like wildfire, across the Middle East and beyond. It’s been calculated that the rate  was 40% per decade for the first 300 years. From a small group in the first century to 3 million  followers by the early 4th century. (ii)
Incidentally the Mormon church has experienced the same rate of growth since it started in the 19th century.

Early Christianity was possibly very different from what we recognise as Christianity today.

Sources:
(i) Cruden, A. “Cruden’s Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments” Lutterworth Press (1954)
(ii) Ehrman, B.D. “How Jesus became God. The exaltation of a Jewish preacher from Galilee” Harper One (2014) p. 131 quotes Rodney Stark, no reference given, but possibly his “Rise of Christianity” Princeton U.P. (1996) or his “The victory of reason. How Christianity led to Freedom, Capitalism and western Success”

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Use of the word ‘Christ’ in the gospels
More Jesus, Less Christ, No God!

[393, i& l, t&c]

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