"DID YOU KNOW?" will be a summer series where we review issues of the Bible and the Christian faith of special interest. If you have a suggestion/question that you'd like addressed in a "DID YOU KNOW?" segment, please e-mail the coaches.
Where did the word "Christian" come from?
Nowadays, Christ-followers all over the world are called "Christians". It's so common that we don't even question the meaning of the word. Our religion is "Christianity" and so we are called "Christians".
But it is not what early believers called themselves. In Acts, we see the Apostles and earliest followers of Christ referring to their religion as "The Way" and themselves as "Followers of the Way." In fact, the earliest uses of the term "Christian" are not by believers, but their opponents (Acts 11:26 & Acts 26:28). And only in 1 Peter 4:16 - written between 60 and 100 A.D. when he was an old man - does a writer of scripture use the term in a positive light.
"Christian" literally means "little Christ". It was intended as an insult. But early believers, after initially disliking the term, decided to embrace it as their own. After all, in the end, what we all want is to be "little Christs" - people striving to be like Jesus in our world, to show humanity the love of God.