Is it true, as I saw in a recent YouTube video, that the name Jesus is never used in the New Testament and that his followers are never called Christians in the Bible?
[Editor’s note: The video in question is a lecture claiming that the most important manuscript of the Greek New Testament, Codex Sinaiticus proves that Jesus was never called Jesus in the New Testament (using Mark 1:1) and that his followers were never called Christians (using 1 Peter 4:16). Feel free to look at the video if you like, but I hesitate to even send along the link as this person does not deserve any more airtime than he has already received. Please do not repost the link.]
I came across a video clip entitled “Proof the name Jesus is not mentioned in the Bible.” – Part 1. The speaker says that the evidence supports the claim that the name Jesus is not in the Bible and that his followers are not called Christians in the Bible. Is he right? Below is the short video clip I am talking about: https://youtu.be/vn9b4XXUMS8 Do I need to worry about the evidences?
First of all, in the video he is showing the actual Codex Sinaiticus, and what he is saying about Sinaiticus is accurate, when he claims that Mark 1:1 in this particular manuscript has the single Greek letters eta rather than Jesus and chi rather than Christ, but the author is using this text is an extremely selective way in order to make a point that does not hold up well if we look at other texts. It is true and well known that the Greek letter eta was used for Jesus and chi was used for Christ as an abbreviation at times. But this was NOT done until the fourth century, so his claim is really quite bogus that neither the name Jesus not the name Christ (or their Greek equivalent) is in the New Testament. In fact, the opposite of what this gentleman claims is the case. The evidence is that all texts of Mark 1:1 spelled out Jesus (the Greek is Jesous, whereas the Aramaic probably would have been more like Jeshua) and spelled out Christ (Greek: Christos) until some time in the fourth century. The way that this man uses the evidence tells me that, to be honest, he is not even trying to give a fair and balanced appraisal of the evidence, but is simply trying to draw attention to himself by making claims that do NOT hold up to even the slightest scholarly attention. The evidence is that Sinaiticus (and later other copies of Mark) used the single letter abbreviations of Jesus and Christ, but this was not the original and was not used for over two hundred fifty years in the New Testament.
The same applies to 1 Peter 4:16. I will have to say that his statement that the Codes Sinaiticus appears to have had a spelling correction made after the manuscript was written appears to be correct. [readers who do not want to take the time, note that in Sinaiticus it is clear that the original letter equivalent of e was erased and later replaced by the Greek equivalent of i] However, what he does is leap to a conclusion without allowing for alternative theories of what happened. He implies that the name Christian was never used by the early church, simply based on the apparent fact that this one manuscript, out of thousands, appears to have had Chrestian rather than Christian in its original script. Three massive problems here with his thesis that the Christians were not called Christians, but rather Chrestians.
1. This ignores the thousands of other Greek manuscripts which have Christian, rather than Chrestian in 1 Peter 4:16, and none of them appear to have had an e erased and replaced by an i (or the Greek equivalents).
2. It also ignores Acts 26:28 and Acts 11:26, which have the Greek word Christian and Christians, respectively, even in the Codex Sinaiticus!
3. He ignores the more obvious explanation for the erasure in 1 Peter 4:16, which is that the original copier made a simple mistake, which was later corrected, perhaps even by his own hand, or perhaps by a later reader.
Again, that the person who made this youtube video is merely trying to push his own theory for nefarious purposes is rather obvious. The person viewing this video might be fooled, but surely the one who made it is well aware that his “theory” runs in the face of virtually all of the evidence, and that he knows no scholar of any repute would agree with his conclusion. This proves that he is trying to manipulate his audience, not to convince anyone of a new discovery. You will do well to not only ignore this video, but not even mention it on social media as such trolls should be ignored.
I will admit that I am using strong language here and I hope I am not offending too many, but I believe that what I am saying is true.