In Which Book Were Jesus’ Followers First Called “Christians”

In Which Book Were Jesus’ Followers First Called “Christians”?

The term “Christian” is widely recognized today as a label for followers of Jesus Christ. But have you ever wondered in which book of the Bible this term was first mentioned? In this article, we will explore the origins of the term “Christian” and its significance in the early days of Christianity.

The term “Christian” first appears in the New Testament of the Bible, specifically in the book of Acts. Acts is the fifth book in the New Testament and is often referred to as the “Acts of the Apostles” or simply “Acts.” It was written by Luke, a physician and companion of the apostle Paul, and serves as a historical account of the early Christian church.

The term “Christian” is introduced in Acts 11:26, which states, “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” This verse describes a significant development in the early Christian community. Antioch, located in modern-day Turkey, was a prominent center for early Christianity.

Prior to this point, followers of Jesus were referred to as “disciples” or “believers.” The term “Christian” was likely given to them by the local population of Antioch, possibly as a way to distinguish them from other religious groups in the city. It is important to note that the term was not self-proclaimed by the followers themselves, but rather given to them by others.

The word “Christian” is derived from the Greek word “christianos,” which means “belonging to Christ” or “follower of Christ.” It is a combination of the Greek word “Christos” (Christ) and the suffix “-ianos,” which denotes association or belonging.

The introduction of the term “Christian” in Acts 11:26 signifies the growing recognition of the followers of Jesus as a distinct group within the larger religious landscape of the time. It also highlights the spread of Christianity beyond its Jewish roots, as Antioch was a predominantly Gentile city.


Q: Were Jesus’ disciples called Christians during his lifetime?
A: No, the term “Christian” was not in use during Jesus’ lifetime. It was only after his death and resurrection that his followers began to be referred to as Christians.

Q: Did the term “Christian” have any negative connotations at that time?
A: It is unclear whether the term had negative connotations initially. However, early Christians faced persecution and were often seen as a threat to established religious and political authorities.

Q: How did the early Christians respond to being called Christians?
A: The early Christians embraced the label and saw it as an honor to be associated with Christ. They considered themselves part of a new community united by their faith in Jesus.

Q: How has the term “Christian” evolved over time?
A: The term “Christian” has evolved and expanded its meaning over the centuries. Today, it encompasses a wide range of beliefs and denominations, reflecting the diversity within the global Christian community.

In conclusion, the book of Acts reveals that Jesus’ followers were first called “Christians” in the city of Antioch. This designation marked a significant development in the early Christian community and highlighted their distinct identity as followers of Jesus Christ. The term “Christian” has since become a widely recognized label for believers and has played a crucial role in shaping the history and identity of Christianity.

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