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I've occasionally heard of Jesus Christ referred to as "The Christ" and the phrasing has always struck me. What are the differences (if any) between referring to him as Jesus Christ versus "The Christ", and what is the origin of the title?

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For an easy-to-understand explanation of the development and use of the words “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic), see Matt. 1:16 NET Note 10. –  Pat Ferguson Aug 1 '13 at 21:26

7 Answers 7

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The word "Christ" is simply the English transliteration of the Greek word "Χριστός" (pronounced "khristós"). It has the same meaning as the word "Messiah" which is simply a loose English transliteration of the Hebrew word "מָשִׁיחַ" (pronounced "mashíach"). Therefore, you'll find the word "Christ" used in translations of the New Testament and the word "Messiah" used in translations of the Old Testament.

Both words essentially mean "the anointed one". In other words, Jesus is the one chosen by God to save His people. He is the Messiah who was promised to the children of Israel. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies.

When people call Jesus, "Jesus Christ," they are simply using the word as his title or epithet. And when Jesus is called "The Christ," it is the same thing as calling him "The Messiah" or "The Anointed One." There is no obvious distinction in meaning between the two. It is simply a matter of grammatical style.

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Note: It doesn't mean "the chosen one." That would be ὁ ἐκλεκτός. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jul 30 '13 at 18:39
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of our savior. Christ is our savior. –  davidjnelson Mar 28 '14 at 21:44

The proper way to refer to him is "Jesus, the Christ," since the Greek text states, «Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστός». Note the definite article ὁ which precedes Χριστός ("Christ").

However, to be even more accurate, it would actually be proper to say, "Jesus, the anointed one" or "the anointed one, Jesus" (for the Greek «ὁ Χριστός Ἰησοῦς»), since the actual English translation of ὁ Χριστός is "the anointed one." "Christ" is actually a transliteration, not a translation.

But, of course, tradition is hard to overcome, so people simply say "Jesus Christ" since that is what they were taught (there's nothing "wrong" about this tradition, mind you).

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I don't think that's a very good argument because ὁ Ἰησοῦς is very common (as is ὁ Πέτρος etc). Greek and English articles are used in different ways. –  curiousdannii Jan 6 '14 at 23:58
@curiousdannii: You're comparing apples and oranges. Both Ἰησοῦς and Πέτρος are names, proper nouns. Χριστός is not a name, but a common noun. It simply means "anointed (one)." –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 7 '14 at 0:55
"since the Greek text states, «Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστός». Note the definite article ὁ which precedes Χριστός ("Christ")." --- Not every instance of Χριστός in the new testament has the definite article. –  Mark Edward Feb 21 at 18:40

Christ is not Jesus' last name.

"The Christ" is a titled bestowed on that of the Messiah. Since Jesus is the Messiah, He is "The Christ".

We refer to Him as Jesus Christ because it is easier to say and to differentiate.

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From an Anglican Catholic:

The Greek word Christos (khris-tos') is used 530 times in the KJV, and only 19 of those times was it translated as "The Christ," and only in the Gospels. But in Young's Literal translation of the NT we find that the phrase "the Christ" appears 155 times, including Acts the Pauline writings, and Peter and John. In the RC DRV it is the Christ 24 times; in Greene's Literal Translation it is the Christ 56 times; In Darby 131 times; in RSV 50 times. So, it depends on which Bible translation you read as to the usage.

Christos is the anglicized Greek word for the Hebrew Messiach, a title given to
1b) of the king of Israel 1c) of the high priest of Israel 1d) of Cyrus 1e) of the patriarchs as anointed kings 2) Jesus 3) Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the Jewish revolt 132-136, was acclaimed as a Messiah also. It means someone who has been anointed by God for the special purpose of leading Israel. The title is given to the King of Judea. Many people thought Jesus was that King, but He did not accept the title, because His "Kingdom was not of this world."

In the ACC we almost always say the title as "the Christ," which sometimes refers to His Kingship. Usually the name "The Christ" is identified with the divine personality of Jesus. To share in the divine spirit of God is to have "the Christ within you."

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"Christ" means "anointed" and can be easily shown because Acts 4:26 is basically a quotation of Psalms 2:2, except in Acts they used the word "Christ", whereas in Psalms they use the word "Anointed". Jesus is "the Christ" because He is the only One who is anointed to be the King of the world as described in Psalm 2:2,6 and more extensively in Psalm 45:6-7 (which is quoted again in Hebrews 1:8 confirming that this talking about Jesus). A more detailed explanation can be given in an article that a friend and I have put together: http://biyn.org/gospel/theChrist.html

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To say that Jesus is the Christ or the anointed one is the same as saying that Barak Obama is the President. When we say the President we know that is his TITLE, his calling, his purpose, but we also know who we are talking about. Don't complicate it. Keep it simple. Satan was defeated by Jesus. That name & that name alone is the name Satan hates. That name & the man behind that name is who defeated Satan. Jesus told us to pray in that name. The name of Jesus. Not Christ, Not Messiah, not the anointed one but the name of Jesus.

I pray that this helps.

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Your answer needs references. –  Double U Apr 15 '14 at 20:29

There is a huge difference between the Christ and the Jesus.

"Christ" is the concept of a perfect person God had in the mind even before the creation. In a way the blue print of originally indented human beings. But Jesus is the human being who understand that concept and manifest that concept in his life. So Jesus is the first human being who met the qualities and criteria of the original blue print of Christ.

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see What this site is about and How this site is different to help you learn how the site works. Also see the help center and take the tour to learn the site functions. I hope to see you post again soon. –  fredsbend Jan 29 at 21:55
This answer would be better with some sources. Please edit some in. –  fredsbend Jan 29 at 21:56
Is this the belief of any established group of Christianity? I've never heard anything like it, and it doesn't match the traditional definitions of the words. Honestly it doesn't seem like something anyone who had studied the Bible in Hebrew and Greek would think... please provide sources which show a Christian group believe this. –  curiousdannii Jan 29 at 22:13

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