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What Are the Best Words to Use For ‘Early Jesus People’ and Their Work?

A Bible and Beyond Discussion

Monday, November 27, 2023
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With Dr. Shirley Paulson and guest Rev. Gordon Raynal

What Are the Best Words to Use For ‘Early Jesus People’ and Their Work?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Dr. Shirley Paulson and Guest Rev. Gordon Raynal

According to the author of The Acts of the Apostles, the name “Christian” for those who belonged to the movement that Jesus had started was not invented until the movement was established in Syrian Antioch after his death (Acts 11:26). And this name was given by outsiders. We know from other writings that various assemblies of those devoted to Jesus used different names for their groups.

As for names of Jesus, we find these examples: “one from Nazareth,” “the Messiah,” “Christ,” “the Son of God.”

These different kinds of names raise the fascinating question about what is the best language to refer not only to Jesus, but those who were first devoted to him.

The complexity of naming also appears in the mission of Jesus. The movement of two envoys going to homes was all about wellbeing. We might call it a “human care movement,” but that social kind of name does not appear in our familiar texts.

We also recognize the wisdom language Jesus used himself.

As we think through what he said and what he did, we will look for better language to identify both Jesus and all those who went out in what Paul referred to as “the ministry of reconciliation.”

Texts:

Luke 10: 1, 3, 4
Philippians 3:4-6
Genesis 12:1-3
Jeremiah 29:4-7
II Corinthians 5:16 – 18
James 1:27
Gospel of Thomas, Saying 48
Proverbs 3:13-26
I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30