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The Persecuted Church




What were believers in Christ called before “Christian?

The followers of Jesus called themselves disciples, believers, brethren, saints, those of the Way, also Nazarenes (Acts 24:5).

In Acts 11:26 we read in Antioch this where the followers (disciples) of Christ were first called Christian. Its hard to know if this was complimentary or derogatory.

Followers of Jesus were still called the Way by Paul (Acts 22:4) later in his ministry.

This name is most likely drawn from John 14:6 when Jesus said "I am the way,” as it was about the gospel they preached about Him.

Acts 19:9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way

Acts 19:23 there arose a great commotion about the Way.

Paul said in Acts 24:14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (Acts 26:28) Which was not said in a flattering manner

Peter later on adopts this term in the context of suffering.

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

From the first century on Believers saved by the gospel have been calling themselves Christians, identifying themselves with following the the one who saved them from their sins.



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