Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XII.—Meaning of the Name Christian.

And about your laughing at me and calling me “Christian,” you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed 541 is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God. 542



“The argumentation of this chapter depends on the literal meaning which Theophilus attaches to Christos, the Anointed One; and he plays on this meaning, and also on the similarity of pronunciation between χρηστός, ‘useful,’ and χριστός , ‘anointed.’”—Donaldson.


[Not material oil probably, for it is not mentioned in such Scriptures as Acts viii. 17, xix. 6, Heb. vi. 2; but the anointing (1 John ii. 20) of the Holy Ghost. As a symbol, oil was used at an early period, however; and the Latins are not slow to press this in favour of material oil in the chrism, or confirmation.]

Next: Chapter XIII.—The Resurrection Proved by Examples.