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Tuesday
Oct282014

Theological Term of the Week

Messiah
A biblical title (Hebrew) meaning “annointed.” The equivalent Greek title Christ is used frequently in the New Testament. 

  • Used in Scripture:

    One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:40-42a ESV)

    The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:25-26 ESV)

  • From the ESV Study Bible:

    The terms Messiah (Hb.) and Christ (Gk.) both mean “anointed” (usually by God). In the NT and early Judaism, “Messiah” is a summary term that gathers up many strands of OT expectations about a coming “anointed one” who would lead and teach and save God’s people, especially the great King and Savior in the line of David whom the OT promised (see, e.g., 2 Sam. 7:5–16Ps. 110:1–4Isa. 9:6–7).

  • From the MacArthur Study Bible:

    The term “Messiah” is a transliteration of a Hebrew or Aramaic verbal adjective that means “Anointed One.” It comes from a verb that means “to anoint” someone as an action involved in consecrating that person to a particular office or function. While the term at first applied to the king of Israel (“the Lord’s anointed”—1 Sam. 16:6), the high priest (“the anointed priest,” Lev. 4:3) and, in one passage, the patriarchs (“my anointed ones,” Ps. 105:15), the term eventually came to point above all to the prophesied “Coming One” or “Messiah” in his role as prophet, priest, and king. The term “Christ,” a Greek word (verbal adjective) that comes from a verb meaning “to anoint,” is used in translating the Hebrew term, so that the terms “Messiah” or “Christ” are titles and not personal names of Jesus.

Learn more:

  1. GotQuestions.org: What does Messiah mean?
  2. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: What is Messiah?
  3. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Messiah
  4. Blue Letter Bible: Was Jesus the Messiah?
  5. John MacArthur: We Have Found the Messiah!, The Beginning of Miracles, Messiah’s Ministry of Reconciliation.

Related terms:

Filed under Person, Work, and Teaching of Christ

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on Theological Terms in the navigation bar above will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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