The New Name

It is written:

“And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

In the Old Testament, God had promised to give a “new name” to His people when the door of salvation had been opened to the Gentiles (Isaiah 62:2). Here in this passage, we see the “new name” given after the conversion of the Gentiles (Acts 10). What is the new name God have to His people?


Some argue that the name “Christian” was created by the enemies of the church. Yet the passage shows that the name came from God Himself! Guy N. Woods documents:

“Insisting that the prophecy had its fulfillment in Acts 11 :26, when the “disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” brother Shannon then offered indisputable proof that this name was there given by Paul and Barnabas, and, therefore, by divine authority. In a remarkable analysis of this interesting passage he points out that the verbs “assembled,” “taught,” and “were called” are all of the same construction; that the word chreematisai, translated “were called,” is first aorist, infinitive, active, connected by the enclitic conjunction “te,” with didaxi (aorist, infinitive of didasko, to teach), and both depending on egeneto (and it came to pass) in the beginning of the sentence. Hence, those who did the teaching did the naming! But Paul and Barnabas did the teaching; therefore, it was they who chreematized the disciples “Christians” in Antioch! The name “Christian” was given, therefore, by divine authority. A careful analysis of all the facts in the case leads irresistibly to this conclusion. In addition to the foregoing, it is interesting to note the force of an induction of all passages containing the word chreematizoo in the New Testament: Matt. 2:12: Matt. 2:22: Luke 2:26: Acts 10:22: Rom. 7:3: Heb.8:5: Heb.11:7: Heb.12:25: Acts 11:26: “And being warned of God in a dream.” “Being warned of God in a dream.” “It was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost.” “Was warned from God by an holy angel.” “She shall be called an adultress.” “As Moses was admonished of God.” “Noah, being warned of God of things.” “Who refused him that spake on earth.” “And the disciples were called Christians.” The words “warned,” “revealed,” “called,” “admonished,” and “spake” are all from the same word as that rendered “were called” in Acts 11: 26. In each of the foregoing instances, with the exception of Rom. 7: 3, it is clear that the call of warning is of divine origin. Here, Rom. 7:3, it seems certain that the word is used in its usual import-i.e., it is God’s law which describes her as an adulteress. It follows, therefore, that in each instance the word chreematizoo is suggestive of the divine call.” (Guy N. Woods, Questions And Answers Volume One, 66-67 (Kindle Edition); Henderson, TN; Freed-Hardeman University)

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