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Summary: Are you a Christian or Disciple?

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Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The difference between Christian and Disciple:

1.Christian was mentioned 3 times only in the Bible while Disciple was mentioned 294 times in the New Testament alone.

This proves that the word Christian is not the name God choose to call his people rather disciple. I choose the name familiar and pleasing to my God instead of staying in the traditional, religious name. I bless God for the exposing our ignorance in this area.

2.Using the definition from various Bible encyclopedia and Dictionary, we can see the meaning of each name, Christian and Disciple.

(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

The name, then, did not originate with the Christian themselves.

Nor would the Jews have applied it to the followers of Jesus, whose claim to be the Christ they opposed so passionately. They spoke of the Christians as “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:25); perhaps also as “Galileans”, a term which the emperor Julian attempted later vainly to revive.

The word must have been coined by the heathen population of Antioch, as the church emerged from the synagogue, and Christianity predominantly gentile took its place among the religions of the world.

(From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

The designation of the early followers of Christ as Christians was initiated by the non-Christian population of Antioch. Originally it may have been a term derision.

Derision means scorn, mockery, disdain, ridicule, contempt, disrespect.

In modern times the name Christian has been somewhat emptied of its true meaning as a follower of Christ.

To some today, Christian means little more than a European or American who is not Jewish, while others have sought to make its proper use the name of a particular denomination.

(From Hayford’s Bible Handbook)

The designation of the early followers of Christ as Christians was initiated by the non-Christian population of Antioch (Acts 11:26), and originally it was probably a term of mocking or derision – “little Christ”.

Eventually, however, Christians used it of themselves as a name of honor, not of shame (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Prior to their adoption of the name, Christians called themselves “believers” (Acts 5:14), “brothers” (Acts 6:3), or “saints” (Acts 9:13), names which also continued to be used.

In many modern societies, the original character of the name Christian has been emptied of its meaning as a biblical disciple of Christ. To some, Christian refers to . . .

a) A political system void of love.

b) A religious structure void of life, or

c) A tradition without vital faith in the Savior.

In this regard, it can be said that Jesus did not come to found “Christianity”. He came to reveal the Father to humankind, to die to redeem humankind, and thereby to bring humanity back to God through His work of redemption.

All who believe this and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord may be called Christians, but most essentially the ones called believers, or redeemed children of the living God.

(From Ilumina Encyclopedia)

This name is given to the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26). When the Christian movement reached Antioch in Syria, the gospel was preached to Gentiles as well as Jews. Such evangelism marked the sect as more than a new type of Judaism; it was a new religion.

The Gentiles in Antioch invented a name for the new group. Since members of the group constantly talked about Christ, they were called Christians, meaning “household” or “partisans” of Christ. Some satire may have been intended in the name.

Satire – a literary work in which folly or evil in people’s behavior are held up to ridicule.

For instance, since the “Augustinians” were an organized group who led the public praise of the emperor Nero Augustus, the citizens of Antioch may have been a comparable Latinized name out of Christ as a joke.

Similar groups included Herod’s partisans, the Herodians.

“Christ” was an unusual and meaningless name to Gentiles, but Chrestos (meaning “good” or “kind”) was a common name; some pagans called the new sect “Chrestians.”

The Christians themselves apparently did not appreciate the name, but like many other nicknames, “Christian” stuck.

“In modern times the name Christian has been somewhat emptied of its true meaning as a follower of Christ.” - Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

“In many modern societies, the original character of the name Christian has been emptied of its meaning as a biblical disciple of Christ.” - Hayford’s Bible Handbook

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