-- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 038:150 (Apr 1881)
Author: Anonymous

Note On Acts 11:26
Χρηυατίσαι τε πρώτως ἐν ᾿Αντιοχείᾳ τοὺς μαθητὰς χρισύς

Rev. Frederic Gardiner

Of the locality of the origin of the Christian name this text leaves no doubt; but the source and the reason of it have been much questioned. It could not have been given by the Jews; for it is equivalent to “disciples of the Messiah,” which the Jews would never have applied to the followers of the hated Nazarene. The form of the expression implies that the disciples did not invent it for themselves, although Suidas has been erroneously appealed to in favor of this view.1 The supposition that it was given to the disciples by the heathen has therefore been quite generally, though we hope to show incorrectly, accepted.

The adoption of this name marks an important era in the growth and progress of the church. Hitherto the body of the disciples had been almost exclusively composed of Jews, and hence had not been clearly separated from them in the eyes of the Gentiles; hereafter the Gentile element more and more predominated, and the adoption of a distinctive name marks this transition and indicates so great a growth of converts, especially of Gentile converts, as called for such a marking out of the Christian body. It involves also a recognition by the world of Christ as the centre and source of the new religion now spreading with such rapidity. The

origin of the name is therefore to be considered in view of its importance and of the importance of the juncture when it was given.

Its origin becomes apparent upon a careful examination of the words of the text. In the first place, the word χρηματίσαι if we look at the grammatical form alone, may be regarded as under exactly the same regimen with the preceding διδάξαι, so that the subject of the one would be the subject of the other, and it is urged that this construction is favored by the particle re, connecting the two clauses, which denotes something additional rather than co-ordinate. Under this view the translation would be, “It came to pass that they [Barnabas and Saul] .....taught much people and called the disciples Christians first in Antioch.” The serious objection to this view is that χρηματίζω seems to belong to that class of verbs (like ἄγειν, στρέφειν, etc.) which assume in the active voice a neuter signification. It is indeed used often enough with the accusative of λο...

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