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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
a follower of the religion of Christ. It is probable that the name Christian, like that of Nazarenes and Galileans, was given to the disciples of our Lord in reproach or contempt. What confirms this opinion is, that the people of Antioch in Syria, Acts 11:26 , where they were first called Christians, are observed by Zosimus, Procopius, and Zonaras, to have been remarkable for their scurrilous jesting. Some have indeed thought that this name was given by the disciples to themselves; others, that it was imposed on them by divine authority; in either of which cases surely we should have met with it in the subsequent history of the Acts, and in the Apostolic Epistles, all of which were written some years after; whereas it is found in but two more places in the New Testament, Acts 26:28 , where a Jew is the speaker, and in 1 Peter 4:16 , where reference appears to be made to the name as imposed upon them by their enemies. The word used, Acts 11:26 , signifies simply to be called or named, and when Doddridge and a few others take it to imply a divine appointment, they disregard the usus loquendi [established acceptation of the term] which gives no support to that opinion. The words of Tacitus, when speaking of the Christians persecuted by Nero, are remarkable, "vulgus Christianos appellabat," "the vulgar called them Christians." Epiphanius says, that they were called Jesseans, either from Jesse, the father of David, or, which is much more probable, from the name of Jesus, whose disciples they were. They were denominated Christians, A.D. 42 or 43; and though the name was first given reproachfully, they gloried in it, as expressing their adherence to Christ, and they soon generally assumed it.
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Christian'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/c/christian.html. 1831-2.