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English Bible Dictionary

Christian

 

The disciples, we are told, (Acts 11:26) were first called Christians at Antioch on the Orontes, somewhere about A.D. 43. They were known to each other as, and were among themselves called, brethren, (Acts 15:1,23; 1 Corinthians 7:12) disciples, (Acts 9:26; 11:29) believers, (Acts 5:14) saints, (Romans 8:27; 15:25) The name "Christian," which, in the only other cases where it appears in the New Testament, (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) is used contemptuously, could not have been applied by the early disciples to themselves, but was imposed upon them by the Gentile world. There is no reason to suppose that the name "Christian" of itself was intended as a term of scurrility or abuse, though it would naturally be used with contempt.

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