“Called” Christians

By Royce Frederick

Some people have said that enemies created the name “Christian” to mock the followers of Christ. But there is no evidence that the name originated from enemies. Instead, the Greek word for “called” in Acts 11:26 suggests that it was a pronouncement from God. (See Isa. 62:2 as a possible prophecy of this event.)

Other Greek words could have been used for “called”:

lego - “a city called Ephraim” (Jn. 11:54),

eipon - “If He called them gods” (Jn. 10:35),

kaleomai - “he shall be called John” (Lk. 1:60),

onoma - “a certain man called Simon” (Acts 8:9).

But in Acts 11:26, God chose to use chrematidzo. Notice how chrematidzo is used in several verses:

Heb. 12:25 “...they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth….”

Matt. 2:12 “...being divinely warned in a dream….”

Matt. 2:22 “...being warned by God in a dream....”

Lk. 2:26 “...it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit….”

Acts 10:22 “...Cornelius...was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house….”

Heb. 8:5 “...as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle….”

Heb. 11:7 “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen….”

Rom. 7:3 “So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress….”

Acts 11:26 “...and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

The first seven of these verses clearly use chrematidzo to mean a communication from God.

This strongly suggests that the disciples were “divinely called” by the name “Christian” as a pronouncement from God in Acts 11:26.