The Term ‘Christian’ Is Not the Same Today
as It Was During Acts Period






 ​​ ​​​​ It is much too late to try to erase the title ‘Christian’ used to describe which religion a person has, as he believes on Jesus Christ.

But it can be useful in some manner, just to know how that term came into existence​​ and how to view it in our time.

We find it first used in Acts 11:26, NASB,

“…and when he had​​ found​​ him​​ (Paul), he​​ brought​​ him to​​ Antioch. And for an​​ entire​​ year​​ they​​ met​​ with the​​ church​​ and​​ taught​​ considerable​​ numbers;​​ and the​​ disciples​​ were​​ first​​ called​​ Christians​​ in​​ Antioch.” ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ Editor’s emphasize.

Why call believers of a certain sect for ‘Christians’?

Most Bible scholars hold to the belief that this term, or ‘stamp’, came up by the simple fact that the disciples at Antioch were ‘Christ like’. They resembled Jesus Christ in the eyes of the people, not by looks, but by performing same kind of miracles as Him. The Holy Spirit was constantly present with them, like he was with Jesus…in that divine miracles happened. People got healed by the power of God through the ministries of these apostles (see Acts 5).

Even if Jesus now was gone (up to heaven) – His wonderful power and signs​​ continued​​ through the apostles. People got healed, and even demon possessed got delivered. Acts 13 and Antioch in Syria, was happening around 44-45 CE. ​​ We know for sure that Acts 12 and the​​ death of Agrippa I took place in 44 CE since it is noted in the Roman history files.

This means that the Jewish people had experienced the ministries of the Lord’s apostles for about 18 years. Most of the remarkable miracles and signs performed by them, took place in those years.

We cannot find any extensive writings telling of how it all was in Syria and in Israel during Acts after chapter 13.

It seem to me as if the popping up of the term ‘Christians’ (Greek,​​ Christianous, Strong’s 5546)​​ in Acts 13 in the year 45-46 CE may be to tell us that this was a spiritual peak…it was the point from which things began to​​ stall somewhat. This, regarding​​ Jewish society​​ inside of Israel’s land.​​ After Acts 15 and the Jerusalem-conference we cannot find Peter at all.​​ Acts 15 is said to have taken place in 49 CE. Paul and Barnabas had arrived from abroad telling of their achievements in spreading the Gospel of Jesus in the dispersion.

Peter made a note on the term ‘Christian’ as he pointed to the​​ sufferings​​ for those among them who had come to faith, 1 Pet. 4:12-16, NASB,

12​​ Beloved, do not be​​ surprised​​ at the​​ fiery​​ ordeal​​ among​​ you, which​​ comes​​ upon you for your​​ testing, as​​ though​​ some​​ strange​​ thing​​ were​​ happening​​ to you;​​ 

13​​ but to the​​ degree​​ that you​​ share​​ the​​ sufferings​​ of​​ Christ, keep on​​ rejoicing,​​ so​​ that​​ also​​ at the​​ revelation​​ of His​​ glory​​ you may​​ rejoice​​ with​​ exultation.​​ 

14​​ If​​ you are​​ reviled​​ for the​​ name​​ of​​ Christ, you are​​ blessed,​​ because​​ the​​ Spirit​​ of​​ glory​​ and of​​ God​​ rests​​ on you.​​ 

15​​ Make​​ sure that​​ none​​ *​​ of you​​ suffers​​ as a​​ murderer,​​ or​​ thief,​​ or​​ evildoer,​​ or​​ a​​ troublesome​​ meddler;​​ 

16 but​​ if​​ anyone​​ suffers as a​​ Christian, he is not to be​​ ashamed, but is to​​ glorify​​ God​​ in​​ this​​ name.​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ Editor’s emphasize.

Peter’s words gives away that his first epistle must have been written​​ after the Antioch period​​ described in Acts 13, and not earlier. Just a remark.


Now the new focus​​ became​​ fixed on​​ Paul who was sent out into the eastern provinces of the Empire, as reported by Luke who followed him for the rest of his life.​​ Paul’s second journey abroad was together with Silas.

If we go to my own national status as a Norwegian, we have the term​​ Kristelige (plural) or Kristelig (singular). It derives from old Norwegian – as the last half of the term ‘lige’ means​​ alike.

So in ancient times in Norway, they actually said, when saying of a person being a​​ Kristelig: He is one who is​​ like​​ Christ!

In todays modern Norwegian the term has been modified into​​ Kristen…which points mostly to the kind of​​ religion/teaching​​ rather than having any likeness with Christ. It does not point to a believer who is working miracles and signs, but to his​​ type of beliefs.

But back in the day, in the year 45-46 CE after experiencing​​ 18 years with​​ the apostles’ miracles and ministry they certainly meant to call them for Christians in the meaning​​ Christ-like.

This really makes Jesus’ own words to His disciples more convincing, John 14:12, NASB,

"Truly,​​ truly, I​​ say​​ to you, he who​​ believes​​ in Me, the​​ works​​ that I​​ do,​​ he will​​ do​​ also; and​​ greater​​ works than​​ these​​ he will​​ do;​​ because​​ I​​ go​​ to the​​ Father.”

It is no doubts that His prophecy of the disciples​​ going to perform​​ greater works than their Master​​ was fulfilled during Acts. Mainly Acts 2-13 chapters, for the twelve.​​ 

Plus, ….added to even more, as Paul was sent out into the Empire. He had what he called ‘an apostle’s signs’​​ (2 Cor. 12:12). Maybe the​​ peak of his ministry was what we find described in Acts 19 and the marvelous wonders happening in Ephesus, a city of around 200 000?


Acts 19:11-17, NASB,

“11​​ God was performing​​ extraordinary​​ miracles​​ by the hands of Paul,​​ 


12​​ so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.​​ 


13​​ But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."​​ 


14​​ Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.​​ 


15​​ And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"​​ 


16​​ And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.​​ 


17​​ This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.



Christianity today can in no way display to the public any sort of God-inspired wonders and miracles. These things were given the apostles in the early times when Christ sent them to His own people, the Jews, those inside Israel (Peter and the eleven), as well as those outside in the dispersion, found in their synagogues as Paul came along together with his helpers, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and others.


In scriptures written after that Israel had fallen away from God as a nation,​​ as Paul was in Rome,​​ like,​​ in​​ Ephesians and Colossians, we learn that all miracles/signs/wonders/ordinances/water baptism​​ etcetera were gone, and Paul did not teach any such things to the audiences post-Acts.


(See my many articles regarding​​ the miracle​​ topic.)


We may accept to be​​ ‘classified’​​ or called for Christians, but we must insist that we in no way can be compared to the apostles and the early assemblies during Acts-period.​​ We cannot work any such miracles like those found with Christ and His elect apostles!


But Peter’s words in 1 Pet. 4:16 ...if anyone suffers as a Christian…can be taken as valid now, it’s inter-dispensational. There are many who suffer in our time due to their faith in Jesus Christ.





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