Christian

From: Michael Abernathy (mabernat@cub.kcnet.org)
Date: Tue May 25 1999 - 01:16:23 EDT


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<DIV><FONT size=2>Mike Abernathy here,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2>Denny Diehl asked about the word Christian and after reading
the responses, I thought I'd throw in my two cents.&nbsp; </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2>First, on the meaning of the word Christian itself.&nbsp; Jim
West gave you a pretty standard answer on the meaning of the word; however, I am
not certain that is correct.&nbsp; I am not a Latin scholar so if any of you can
give me better information on this I will be glad to hear it.&nbsp; Years ago, I
researched this Latin ending at a small mid-west Bible college.&nbsp; I could
find only one reference that studied the historical usage of the word and
documented the time for each usage.&nbsp; That work (sorry I don't remember the
source) claimed that the word was not used as a diminutive until the late third
or early fourth century A.D.&nbsp; In the first century, the author claimed the
meaning, "belonging to, slave of," or "follower of."</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2>The question of whether or not Christian was derogatory is
bound up with the interpretation of chrÉmatizein.&nbsp;&nbsp;CHRMATIZW can mean
"to take and bear a title or name," or "to be called," or "to change or be
changed" (Liddell &amp; Scott), or "transact business" or "to give a divine
command or admonition" (Thayer).&nbsp; </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2>In the past several commentators took the position that the
name Christian was given by God.&nbsp; For example, Calvin wrote, "After this he
adds that such a godly alliance was blessed by God. For it was no ordinary honor
that the sacred name of Christians originated."&nbsp; (Compare Mt. 2:12, 22;
Acts 10:22; Heb. 8:5, 11:7). </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2>Note that Lampe's Patristic Greek Lexicon gives as the primary
meaning "utter a message of God."&nbsp; I'm not really certain if the shift in
interpretation came from theological or linguistic grounds.&nbsp; Perhaps
someone else can shed some light on this.</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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