The Name of “Christian”

The Name of ChristianText: Acts 11:26

In our text, DISCIPLES were called CHRISTIANS. Let us consider what the Bible says about the name we wear.

The Importance of a Name

  • Names often reflect a meaning – “called Barnabas…means Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36)
  • Yet a name is more than a description – one may be funny, smart, caring, patient, etc.; yet these are not names
  • Generally given by one with authority and embraced by the one given the name – ex: parent/child
  • If we believe in Christ and strive to follow Him, what NAME will we wear? – Luke indicated that those in Antioch were called Christians (Acts 11:26); this was a divine calling

We Are More Than Just…

  • Believers – we believe in Jesus (John 1:12; 8:24); yet even the demons believe in Him (James 2:19)
  • Disciples – we are the Lord’s disciples (John 8:31; Matthew 28:19); yet others may gain disciples for themselves (Acts 28:29-30)
  • Brethren – we are brothers and sisters in Christ (Hebrews 2:11; Colossians 1:2); yet there are other types of brethren (cf. Matthew 12:46-50; Romans 9:3)

We Are Not Named After…

  • A MAN like the Lutherans or (alleged) Campbellites – we are not to follow men (1 Corinthians 1:12-13; 3:4)
  • A METHOD OF BAPTISM like the Baptists or Anabaptists – even though we do baptize believers (Acts 8:36-37) and understand it to be immersion (Romans 6:4)
  • A FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT like the Presbyterians or Congregationalists – even though we do strive to follow the New Testament pattern for church government (1 Peter 5:1-2; Philippians 1:1)
  • A DAY / EVENTS ON A DAY like the Pentecostals or Adventists – yet we recognize the importance of the events on Pentecost (Acts 2:41) and we are looking forward to the return of Christ (Revelation 22:20; 2 Peter 3:12)
  • A “UNIVERSAL” BODY like the Catholics – though we understand that there is ONE body/church (Ephesians 4:4), the body of the saved (Ephesians 5:23)

We Are Named After Christ as Christians

  • We believe in Him (Acts 11:20-21)
  • We are disciples/followers/learners of Him (Acts 11:26; Matthew 28:19)
  • We follow His word in all things (Matthew 28:20; cf. Colossians 3:17) – this includes our beliefs/practices; including the method/purpose of baptism, form of church government, etc.
  • We are brethren as children of God through Christ (Galatians 3:26)


  • What “kind” of Christian are you? – we sometimes get this question when we tell someone we are a Christian
  • Many claim to be a “Christian” – but they claim to be different “kinds” of Christians
  • We are to just be Christians – believers, disciples, servants, and brethren

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