What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Christ isn’t his last name. “Yes, Mr. Christ, we have a table for 13 right over here.”

Christ is a title. It means Messiah, literally, “the anointed one.”

This explains why you sometimes see the order reversed in the New Testament. Sometimes he’s called, “Christ Jesus.” He’s Messiah Jesus.

Jesus clearly claimed to be the Messiah, the long-awaited Savior. At the end of Luke’s Gospel he says, “Thus it is written that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day” (Luke 24:46). When he asks his disciples that poignant question, “Who do you say that I am?,” Peter responds, “You are the Christ” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus affirms his answer, “My Father in heaven has revealed this to you.” At his trial the high priest asks him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered plainly, “I am.”

Many in Jesus' day were looking for a political Messiah, one who would cast out the Romans and restore Israel to its greatness. Jesus rejected this notion when he said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.”

One of the greatest statements about the work of the Messiah is found in the words of the Samaritan woman at the well. She says to Jesus, “I know that the Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) is coming and he will explain everything to us” (John 4:25). She expressed the idea that the Messiah would be a fresh revelation of divine truth. And indeed he is.

Here’s a thought: Jesus, the Messiah reveals the truth about the invisible God.

Prayer: Thank You, Holy God, for making yourself known to us in Jesus, the Messiah. Amen.

Extra Credit:

One ancient symbol for Christ is the "chi-rho." The letter chi in the Greek alphabet is symbolized by an X and translates to "ch." The Greek letter rho looks like our letter "p." So the "chi-rho" is really just the first three letters of Christ, C-h-r. It just looks cooler.

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