From the book, What People Ask About The Church, by Dale A. Robbins
Apparently, Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria (now
within the region of Antakya, Turkey), was the location where "Christian" was
first associated with early believers. "And the disciples were first called
Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
Obviously, the term is identified with the idea of being a follower
of Jesus Christ. In classical times the followers of a leader would identify themselves by
a descriptive extension to their leader's name (ianus). Pompey's troops were called
Pompeiani, and Caesar's were referred to as, Caesariani. The Christianus (of Latin origin,
and hellenized), was similarly viewed as the descriptive term of the followers of
However, Theophilus of Antioch, writing about 170 A.D. claimed that
the term "Christian" was used, not as much because of association with Jesus,
but because it was derived from the Greek word for oil, CHRISM, which means anointed
and "the followers of Jesus appeared to be anointed with the Spirit."²
Chrism is also the Greek word used for Christ, and means anointed one.
¹ The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible
This article is copyrighted © by Dale A. Robbins, 1995, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA 95949. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982.You may download for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple permission form. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain published quantities of this title, .
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