In the Beginning, ‘Christian’ was a Noun

Back in the days written about in the book of Acts, the word Christian was a noun. It was what you were. It was who you were.

In our current culture the word Christian is tacked on the front end of almost everything.  You can be a Christian businessman, a Christian doctor, a Christian author, a Christian teacher, and on and on it goes.

But perhaps it would be a good idea to take a step back and see where the emphasis lies. Are you a doctor who happens to be a Christian? Or are you a Christian who happens to be a doctor?  Which is it? Which defines your life most accurately?

Acts 11:26 says, “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse states the following.

Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ’s precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.”

The word Christian can be used as an adjective to describe other things. But isn’t it more important that it be a noun? Perhaps it would be best to focus on WHO we are first and then figure out WHAT we are later.