The term "Christian" ( ancient Greek Χριστιανός Christianós 'The Christian') for the disciples of Jesus Christ was according to the Acts of the Apostles ( Acts 11.25-26 EU ) for the first time in Antioch in Syria around 40 AD, later it was used as a self-designation of the group of people concerned. In the New Testament , however, this designation occurs only rarely (in addition to the passage mentioned in Acts 11, in Acts 26.28 EU and 1 Petr 4.16 EU ). Other designations are more common, so the recipients of letters are often addressed as “ saints ” in the Pauline letters (e.g. 1 Cor 1, 2 EU ). Further designations were "believers in Christ Jesus" ( 1 Thess 1,7 EU ) or " disciples " ( Acts 6,1 EU ). In Acts 24,5 ELB , the New Testament calls the Christians Nazarenes based on Jesus of Nazareth .
The self-designation as Christian also appears in the names of many groups by using “Christian community” as part of their name.
In older Bible translations and spiritual literature, "the [holy] Christian" often means Christ himself; B. in the Christmas carol O you merry . There it says in the first stanza:
“ World was lost, Christ was born. "
- Heinz-Werner Neudorfer : Art. Christ. In: Evangelical Lexicon for Theology and Congregation, Vol. 1, 1992, pp. 365f.
- Herbert Vorgrimler : New Theological Dictionary . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2000, ISBN 3-451-27340-3 , pp. 114-116, 319-325
- For example, the Bund Freie Christengemeinde - Pentecostal Church in Austria .