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Don Stewart :: Is Jesus Christ a Name or a Title?

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Don Stewart

There has been much confusion as to the name Jesus Christ. Is it a name? A title? The simple answer is that Jesus was His name while Christ was His title.

The Name Jesus Was Common

Jesus was a common name in the first century for a Jewish male. It was the common Greek version of the Hebrew names Joshua, Jehoshua, and Jeshua. It means "The Lord (Yahweh) saves" or "The Lord "Yahweh) is my help. This name stresses His humanity - Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth.

He was named before He was born by the angel who was sent to Joseph.

She will bear a son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

During His earthly life and ministry, this was the name by which the Savior was known. It is found about 600 times in the Gospels.

Outside of the gospels the name is rarely used. We only find it often in the Book of Hebrews.

Christ Is A Title

The word Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word for "Messiah" or "anointed one." Christ was the title given to Jesus. Therefore He was Jesus the Christ-Jesus the Messiah.

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ) (John 1:41).

Eventually Christ Became Part Of His Name

The Greek word "Christ," cristos has an interesting history. It was originally an adjective that simply meant, "anointed." In the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, it eventually developed into a term meaning, "the anointed one." Between the testaments it developed into a technical term for the person that God had promised to send to save his people. This is the meaning of the term in the gospels. The title Christ later became part of His name. Today Jesus Christ is used as the name of the person who demonstrated Himself to be God's Son and the savior of the world.

He Is The Lord Jesus Christ

There is also the title "Lord Jesus Christ." When the word "Lord" is added to Jesus Christ it means, "Yahweh (Jehovah) Jesus the Messiah."

If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God (Acts 11:17).

It is speaking of His Deity as God as well as His human name and His title. This title is not found in the gospels.

Summary

Jesus Christ is both a name and a title. Jesus was a common first century name meaning, "the Lord saves." Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for "Messiah." Jesus is the Messiah - the anointed one. The title Christ eventually became part of His name. When the title Lord is added to Jesus Christ it refers to His Deity as well as His name and title.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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