On the crucifix there is sometimes a plate above Jesus' head that has the letters INRI. What does INRI mean or stand for? Why is it there?
According to John 19:19-20,
19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put [it] on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, [and] Greek, [and] Latin (KJV, 1769)
The phrase "Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews" was written in three languages: Hebrew (likely Aramaic), Greek, and Latin.
In Aramaic: ישוע נצריא מלכא דיהודיא (see Peshitta)
In Greek: Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων (See Textus Receptus)
In Latin: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (See Latin Vulgate)
INRI is an acronym meaning Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, or "Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews."
The actual inscription on the Cross was written in three languages, Latin, Greek and Aramaic. We know from Scripture that what was actually written was "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews".
The Latin rendering of this has initials I.N.R.I. I know in Greek there is no "J", so "Jesus" and "Jews" is rendered with an "I". The "R" stands for King. The word in French for King is "roi", I believe, which is likely based on Latin.
So, this is the meaning:
- I = Jesus
- N = Nazareth
- R = King
- I = Jews
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. John 19:18-20 ESV
From Elendia: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum
It's the initial letters of the Latin inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" which Pilate wrote at the Crucifixion.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. John 19:19 NIV