Where Did The Name Christian Come From?

Many Muslims seem obsessed with the word “Christian.”

They ask, Where did this word “Christian” come from? Who called you “Christian”? Did Jesus give you the name “Christian”? Where is the word “Christian” in the Bible? and so on.

Historically, the name “Christian”, was an insult directed at the followers of Jesus Christ, because they refused the pagan worship of the idols of the Romans. Thus, the followers of Christ were labelled derogatorily as “Christians”, meaning “little messiahs”. (The word “Christ” comes from the Greek word for Messiah, i.e. Χριστός or christos). They were first called by this name in Antioch (Acts 11:26)

Through the ages, though, the name stuck and what started as an insult became a badge of honor for the followers of Christ to this day.

The name “Christian” is today simply a universally accepted word for the followers of Jesus Christ. However, Muslims seem to have a hangup about this term. But we Christians don’t. We have no qualms even if you refuse to call us Christians. That does not make us any less a follower of Jesus Christ.

This article is to help you Muslims settle on an alternative name that you can call us Christians. In fact, our Scriptures have a ton of names and descriptive titles applicable to Christians. Just as Allah has 99 names that you can call him by, Christians have multiple names that you can call us by. All are biblical. Go ahead and choose the one you like best. We won’t mind.

  1. Children of God
    Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called CHILDREN OF GOD. (1 John 3:1; see also John 1:12, Rom 8:16)
  2. Sons of God
    You are all SONS OF GOD through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26; see also Rom 8:14)
  3. Disciples
    By this everyone will know that you are my DISCIPLES, if you love one another. (John 13:35; see also Matt 28:19-20)
  4. Followers Of The Way
    However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a FOLLOWER OF THE WAY. (Acts 24:14; see also Jn 14:6, Acts 9:2, 22:4)
  5. The Ecclesia (called-out ones, translated into English as church)
    Then the ECCLESIA throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. (Acts 9:31; see also Matt 16:18, Acts 2:47, 11:26)
  6. Saints
    “…to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be SAINTS together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” (1 Cor 1:2; see also Acts 8:27)
  7. Royal Priesthood
    But you are a chosen people, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9; see also Rev 1:5-6)
  8. Ambassadors For Christ
    Therefore, we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:20)
  9. Body Of Christ
    Now you are the BODY OF CHRIST, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12:27)
  10. Sons Of Light
    While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become SONS OF LIGHT. (John 12:36; see also Jn 1:4, 8:12)

So that’s just a SHORT list of names you can call us Christians! If nothing there catches your fancy, don’t worry. There are over 175 more names and descriptive titles for Christians in the Bible!
Go here to find out more and choose the one you like!

If all this talk is making you hot under the collar, by all means, go to the Quran and see what Allah calls the Christians.

“And dispute ye not with the PEOPLE OF THE BOOK….” Sura 29:46

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the CHRISTIANS and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” Sura 2:62

Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are CHRISTIANS“: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. Sura 5:82

Oh dear!
The Quran may not be of help, since Allah calls the Christians, CHRISTIANS!