The first name by which the church was known before the word “Christian” became attached to it at Antioch, was the “Way.” You can read about it in Acts 9:2; 18:25; 19: 9, 23; 24: 14, 22 (and possibly 2 Peter 2:2).

“What is the meaning of that title?”

Well, no one is quite sure how it came about. The name just appears in Acts without explanation. As you can see, no point is made about it in the passages above. But many think it came from the words of Jesus When He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14: 3).

“But, if it came from that verse, what about the other two items—truth and life? ”

That’s a good question, but remember, Jesus went on to say, “Nobody comes to the Father except by Me” (6). And these words all occur in a discussion of the “way” to the place that Jesus was preparing for His followers (v.3). So, it’s quite likely that John 14 is the source of the name.

“OK. I can see that. But, then, our faith would be described, fundamentally, as the way to eternal life or something similar.”

Right. And that wouldn’t be inaccurate. Surely the apostles who later on it seems dropped it, didn’t do so because they thought it was inaccurate. Luke, in Acts, freely described the faith by the term. It is a highly expressive title for our faith. Indeed, it might be interesting to revive it at times in certain circles to get people to think more about a prime objective of Christianity.

“Did the church eventually reject it or substitute the name “Christian” for it?”

There’s no record of its being rejected. It seems that the name “Christian,” in time, became the more popular designation, and the earlier designation just faded out.

“Then, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with using it?”

Not so long as you explained what it means. Otherwise, people might think you were describing some cult (there once was one that went by that name).


Quite. I kinda’ like the title. Wish it were more widely known, appreciated, and used.

“Me too.”


Check out our online courses, including, Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling and  The Use of Scripture in Counseling, taught by Jay Adams!

Books related to counseling others:

  1. Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams
  2. The Christian Counselor’s Manual by Jay Adams
  3. How to Help People Change by Jay Adams
  4. Check out our Bookstore for all the best counseling books!

The Christian Counselor’s New Testament and Proverbs, translated by Jay Adams

Visit our online bookstore for all your biblical counseling resource needs.
For more biblical counseling training, check out our list of INS Online Courses.

Follow INS on Social Media:
– Facebook: noutheticstudies
– Twitter: @noutheticstud
– Instagram: @noutheticstudies

Leave A Comment


Resources for you.

Study with Dr. Jay Adams. Learn at your convenience. We are an ACBC Certified Training Center.

Visit the INS bookstore for books by Dr. Jay Adams and all your biblical counseling resource needs.

The INS podcast with Dr. Jay Adams features a new (classic) message every Monday and Thursday.

Join Our Newsletter.

We are regularly sending out ministry news so that you can keep updated with the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.