of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and
turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of
the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far
as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was
glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they
should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of
the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added
to the Lord.
"Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And
when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that
for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a
great many people. And the disciples
were first called Christians in Antioch."
and Saul ministered a full year in Antioch, teaching great
numbers of people. The church was continuing to grow
numerically. Jesus’ disciples were first called Christians at
Antioch. The ending “-ian” means “belonging to the party of”;
thus “Christians” were those of Jesus’ party. The word
“Christians” is used only two other times in the New Testament:
in 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The significance of the name,
emphasized by the word order in the Greek text, is that
recognized Christians as a distinct group. The church was more
and more being separated from Judaism."
--Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological
Seminary . The Bible knowledge commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor
"What honour was now put upon the
church at Antioch:
There the disciples were first called
Christians; it is probable they called themselves so,
incorporated themselves by that title....
"Hitherto those who gave up their names to Christ were called
disciples, learners, scholars, trained up under him, in order to
their being employed by him; but henceforward they were called
Christians. Thus the reproachful names which their enemies had
hitherto branded them with would, perhaps, be superseded and
disused. ... Thus those who before their conversion had been
distinguished by the names of Jews and Gentiles might after
their conversion be called by one and the
same name, which would help them to forget their
former dividing names, and prevent their bringing their former
marks of distinction, and with them the seeds of contention,
into the church. Let not one say, 'I was a Jew;' nor the other,
'I was a Gentile;' when both the one and the other must now say,
'I am a Christian.'
"Thus they studied to do honour to their Master, and showed that
they were not ashamed to own their relation to him, but gloried
in it.... They took their denomination not from the name of his
person, Jesus, but of his office, Christ-anointed, so putting
their creed into their names, that Jesus is the Christ; and they
were willing all the world should know
that this is the truth they will live and die by.
Their enemies will turn this name to
their reproach, and impute it to them as their crime, but they
will glory in it: If this be to be vile, I will be
yet more vile.
"Thus they now owned their dependence upon Christ, and their
receivings from him; not only that they believed in him who is
the anointed, but that through him they themselves had the
anointing, 1 Jn. 2:20, 27. And God is said to have anointed us
in Christ, 2 Co. 1:21. [5.] Thus they
laid upon themselves, and all that should ever profess that
name, a strong and lasting obligation to submit to the laws of
Christ, to follow the example of Christ, and to devote
themselves entirely to the honour of Christ—to be to
him for a name and a praise.
"Are we Christians? Then we ought to think, and speak, and act,
in every thing as becomes Christians, and to do nothing to
the reproach of that worthy name by which we are called;
that that may not be said to us which Alexander said to a
soldier of his own name... Either change thy name or mend thy
"And as we must look upon ourselves as Christians, and carry
ourselves accordingly..." Isa. 65:15.
"The church at Antioch, for
example, where believers were first called Christians, sent
Barnabas and Saul to the elders at Jerusalem with a gift to be
distributed to the needy brethren in Judea (Acts 11:29–30).
is therefore clear both that elders existed in the church at
that very early date and that the believers at Antioch
recognized their authority."
--MacArthur New Testament Commentary, "Ephesians,"
Moody Press, (1996, c1986).