Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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?

share|improve this question
    
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

up vote 11 down vote accepted

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" or "the chosen one." Jesus is the one chosen by God and anointed by Him to save His people. He is the Messiah who was promised to the children of Israel. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies.

When Jesus is called "Jesus Christ," it is 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.

share|improve this answer
    
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 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).

share|improve this answer
    
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 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 at 0:55

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.

share|improve this answer

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."

share|improve this answer

"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

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer
    
Your answer needs references. –  Anonymous Apr 15 at 20:29

Big, big difference.

The Christ is an abstract idealization of the perfect person. Jesus was not the Christ, but only an imperfect representation of it, just as you or I are.

share|improve this answer
3  
Interesting. It'd be nice if you could support this by quoting either some verses or some writing on the issue. –  Thomas Shields Apr 14 at 16:32
    
What verses or writing? –  Steely Dan Apr 14 at 16:58
    
Anything to support your claims at all. –  curiousdannii Jun 2 at 2:29

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.