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I was at Bible Study the other night where we watched the new Bible Series that was aired on TV. Someone had asked a question (sorry I forget what), and my Pastor responded by saying something along the lines of "Christ is a title not a name", and then went on to give his reason as to why this is. Now I believe it, but I was sitting just the other day, thinking about what he had said, and wondered about when people say "Christ the Lord". This didn't seem to fit his explanation of Christ being used as a title rather than a name, and I could not find anything anywhere else. So if someone could please explain this to me that would be great.

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I think LORD is a name. LORD is the Christ. maybe –  deleteMe Mar 27 at 22:51
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Its not Jesus' last name. Its a title. But it more or less became a name. Because its a title considered to apply only to him, and thus it sort of becomes like a proper name in a way. Sort of like God becomes almost a name because there's only one. –  david brainerd Mar 28 at 4:42
    
@AaronKorn LORD vs lord vs Lord –  The Freemason Mar 28 at 16:46
    

5 Answers 5

"Christ" is from the Greek "christos," which means anointed - it's the same as the Hebrew Messiah. "Christ" as such is solely a title, though it has come to be both a title and a name; you can see it rather clearly in some of Paul's writings. Jesus is not just a christ but is the Christ. It identifies Him, and is therefore a name.

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The distinction between title and name can be murky. E.g., John the Smith vs. John Smith. –  Paul A. Clayton Mar 28 at 1:31

The word "Christ" is derived from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word (that is commonly rendered as) "Messiah"; it means "anointed". So "Jesus Christ" means "Jesus the Messiah" or "Jesus the anointed One". The phrase "Christ the Lord" could be understood as "The anointed One, the Lord" but I suspect it's actually a case of people using "Christ" as a name even though it's technically a title.

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As some existing answers and comments already note, the boundary between a "name" and a "title" can be murky or fluid.

Another possibility has recently been argued at length by Matthew Novenson in his book, Christ among the Messiahs: Christ Language in Paul and Messiah Language in Ancient Judaism (OUP, 2012). He spends 30+ pages on the question, attempting to demonstrate that Paul's use of "Christ" is neither "name", nor "title", but a kind of half-way house: an "honorific" -- a kind of illustrious secondary name (see Novenson's discussion of definition and applicability on pp. 87ff.).

A good example of the kind of thing Novenson argues for is in a designation like "Antiochus Epiphanes", in which "Antiochus" is the name, and "Epiphanes" (meaning "god-manifest") the honorific.

Novenson's book is quite accessible, and those interested in this question would find the time spent with his work well invested. There are several substantial reviews of it around the web, too, notably Gupta's for the Review of Biblical Literature.

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Oh, I like the idea of it being an honorific, it makes a lot of sense of the NT's language. For those familiar with Game of Thrones, a lot of honorifics are used in it, such as calling Jaime Lannister the 'Kingslayer'. –  curiousdannii Mar 29 at 23:44

Just to add to what both Ryan Frame and Andreas Blass answered.

The word translated Messiah in the Old Testament:

מָשִׁיַח (Hebrew)

mashiyach (maw-shee'-akh) n-m.

  1. anointed

  2. usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint)

  3. (specifically) the Messiah, the Anointed One

and Christ in the New Testament:

Χριστός (Greek)

Christos (khris-tos') n/p.

  1. (literally) Anointed

  2. (transliterated) "Christ"

  3. (properly) the Messiah, the Anointed One of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

  4. (by function) the (kinsman) Redeemer, the Saviour

  5. (by identity) Jesus, Yeshua, Ἰησοῦς, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, יֵשׁוּעַ

were originally used only as a title, but in modern usage; since the invention of the Gutenberg press; have been used as both a title and name. In modern usage the title has been relegated be used only in description of Earthly Kings, Emperors, and so on. Where as the usage of the word Christ, in the English speaking world and increasingly in other languages has come to be more exclusive as a name for Jesus. In most of the world now the word 'Christ' pronounced (Krist) in all languages refers to Jesus as the only savior of mankind.

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What would be an example of a King or Emperor using the title 'Christ' of themselves? –  DJClayworth Mar 28 at 15:20
    
@DJClayworth not Christ The original Hebrew and Greek terms which mean 'anointed'. Why do you twist every entry I make into something I did not say, ant try to make my statements sound stupid. Please just read what I say and do not try to twist them into something other than what I say. –  Bye Mar 28 at 15:50
    
I'm only reading what you wrote. If you meant something completely different, I can' help that. –  DJClayworth Mar 28 at 21:26
    
@DJClayworth No you are not just reading what I said, The only time I tied the word Christ to usage was in my last statement about it being increasingly meaning Jesus. Before that my references were to the word Messiah; meaning the anointed one in both the Old testament and Christos meaning the anointed one. Reread what I wrote. You have on more than one occasion read something into my posts which was not there. You have the right to read it as you choose, but please do not attribute your erroneous interpretation to me. –  Bye Mar 28 at 23:26
    
You believe whatever you want to believe. I'm just reading what you wrote. And I'm not arguing with you in comments. –  DJClayworth Mar 29 at 3:23

I have an older bible that has a section of pronounciation and meanings of names in the scriptures. The meaning attached to Christ is; anointed, that attached to Jesus is; Saviour. My concordance list usages as follows: Jesus-983, LORD-1543, Christ-556. LORD appears to be a title.

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I suspect that your Bible only lists annotations for names. The word LORD is usually a substitute for YHWH, which is the name of God, which is why it is listed. The absence of Christ from this list is a good indication that it is not a name. –  DJClayworth Mar 28 at 15:16
    
Use of the word LORD may be as you suggest. –  V. Rollins Mar 28 at 17:39

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