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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is a Christian?

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Don Stewart
The primary question that needs to be addressed concerns the definition of a Christian. Simply stated a Christian is a person who has trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. The more common terms the Bible employs for a follower of Christ includes disciple, believer, or saint. The word Christian is used only three times in the New Testament.

First Used By Unbelievers

The first use of the term was by the unbelievers in the city of Antioch:

And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26).

The Gentiles,(non-Jews), called believers in Jesus Christians to distinguish them from Jews.

Paul Before Agrippa

The second usage of this designation was by unbelieving King Agrippa when the Apostle Paul was attempting to convert him:

Then Agrippa said to Paul, 'You almost persuade me to become a Christian' (Acts 26:28).

Simon Peter

The only time in Scripture the term was used by believers is Peter's statement:

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1 Peter 4:16).

Though the term Christian was first given to believers in Christ by non-believers it soon became the common word to describe those who believe in Jesus. Today it is the primary designation for believers.

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