555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

171. Who Were the First Christians?

See Acts 11 -.26; 26:28 and I Peter 4 :16 which make the earliest mention of the term "Christian" being used to distinguish this from other religious sects. Thus, though the three Magi or Eastern princes, who came, led by the star, to worship the infant Christ (see Matt. 2:1-5), and the shepherds who also worshiped (see Luke 2:15, 16, 17) and the aged Simeon and Anna (same chapter) doubtless believed, they were not Christians in name; nor does it appear that either the divine nature of the Master or his mission were clearly comprehended until John the Baptist proclaimed him as Messiah. His disciples were literally the first Christians, being both believers and followers. The first Christians known as such by name, were those of the church founded by Paul and Barnabas at Antioch about A. D. 34. The term "Christian" is said to have been first used in the Episcopate of Evodius at Antioch, who was appointed by the Apostle Peter as his own successor.