Monday, March 2, 2015

Jesus the Christ: A Family Study - Lesson 2: The Meaning Behind the Name

Jesus Praying in Gethsemane by Harry Anderson

Jesus the Christ: A Family Study

Lesson 2: The Meaning Behind the Name

I hope you enjoyed your beginning study of James E. Talmage's testimony last week! I appreciated the conversations with my children that stemmed from each section. I'm excited to delve into the book this week.

This week's lesson is taken from the first page of chapter 1 in Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. As I said in my opening post, the language is a little old-fashioned, and there is so much information here that we are going to go very slowly. That being said, we are taking one paragraph this week with plenty of opportunity for reflection and discussion. I hope you'll click through to the articles that are quoted. Enjoy the word cloud activity at the end, too! Feel free to share on all your social media. The more the merrier! As before, you can download or print the full lesson here. Have a wonderful study!

“It is a matter of history that, at or near the beginning of what has since come to be known as the Christian era, the Man Jesus, surnamed the Christ, was born in Bethlehem of Judea. The principal data as to His birth, life, and death are so well attested as to be reasonably indisputable; they are facts of record, and are accepted as essentially authentic by the civilized world at large. True, there are diversities of deduction based on alleged discrepancies in the records of the past as to circumstantial details; but such differences are of strictly minor importance, for none of them nor all taken together cast a shadow of rational doubt upon the historicity of the earthly existence of the Man known in literature as Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus the Christ, pg. 1

G. Homer Durham explained the names Jesus and Christ:

  • Jesus
    • The Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1933), tells us that the word Jesus came into the English language from Middle English, adapted from the Latin Iesus, which in turn was adapted from the Greek Iesous. This in turn was adapted from the Hebrew or Aramaic word Yeshua or Yehoshua. The earlier root was Joshua. This dictionary goes on to explain that the word Joshua derived from the Jah of Jahveh, meaning that “Jehovah is salvation.” Thus, the word “Jesus” has parallel meaning with Savior. Dr. David Flusser of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts it simply: “Jesus is the common Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua.” (Encyclopedia Judaica, Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, Ltd., 1971, 10:10.)

Webster’s New 20th Century Dictionary of the English Language (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1968), unabridged, sets forth a comparable definition, noting that the Latin-Greek derivation from the Hebrew Joshua means literally, “help of Jehovah.” But in addition, this source states that the word derives from the Hebrew word for Lord God, he who is available to help, to save. In this sense, then, the word Jesus means simply, “God is help.”

  • Christ
    • “It also comes to the English-speaking world from Middle English, derived from the Latin Christus, in turn from the Greek Christos, which meant “the Anointed”—a noun made from the past participle of the Greek verb “to anoint”.

“Webster also states that the word Christ was originally Jesus’ title. Thus, proper usage of the two words in English would be as Elder James E. Talmage titled his book, Jesus the Christ. Usage and revelation have joined the two as part of a sacred, revered name.”

Instances of the name Jesus Christ in the scriptures:

  • G. Homer Durham: “What was the earliest documented mention of the sacred name Jesus Christ now available to us? Dr. Joseph Armitage Robinson, one-time Norrisson Professor of Cambridge University, held that it is probably found in the opening verse of First Thessalonians .(Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 15, s.v. “Jesus.”) Imagine the impact of those words then, as we read them today in English, as received by the Thessalonians possibly two decades after the Crucifixion:

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 1:1).”

We have been commanded to take upon us the name of Christ.

  • M. Russell Ballard: “We take the name of Christ upon us in the waters of baptism. We renew the effect of that baptism each week as we partake of the sacrament, signifying our willingness to take His name upon us and promising always to remember Him (see D&C 20:77, 79).
Do we realize how blessed we are to take upon us the name of God’s Beloved and Only Begotten Son? Do we understand how significant that is? The Savior’s name is the only name under heaven by which man can be saved (see 2 Nephi 31:21).”
  • What does it mean to you to take Christ’s name?
    • Henry B. Eyring: “We promise to take His name upon us. That means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.”
    • For more wonderful lesson helps and activities see this full lesson: “What Does It Mean to Take Upon Myself the Name of Jesus Christ?”

Here’s a fun word cloud activity for your family to decipher. There is one word for every letter in Christ’s name. Each of the words are taken directly from this lesson. Print as many copies of page 6 as you need for individual family members. Page 7 contains the answers. Notice how there are clues given by capitalizing a second letter in some of the words. Some of them can be interchanged.


wordle 3.png

wordle 4.png

wordle 5.png

Jesus the Christ Word Cloud.png

Jesus the Christ Word Cloud 2.png
If you haven't already, check out my Sacred Sabbath post for a breathtakingly beautiful slideshow about Christ's life from a truly inspired photographer, Mark Mabry.

I linked here: Nourishing Joy,Loulougirls, ModestMom, misadventures monday, Darling Downs Diaries, Totally Terrific Tuesdays, Mom 2 Mom, Art of Homemaking, Making your home sing, Monday's Musings, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Woman, Raising HomemakersMissional WomenMotivate and Rejuvenate


  1. Okay, this is going back on top of my reading list! Unfortunately I have a very long list and never time to read anything... so it's more like fantasy football than an actual reading list.

  2. I know what you mean. My list is a mile long. This book has been there for years. I tried starting it once but that was probably 15 years ago. I'm determined to make a go of it this time. It will probably take me 5 years with how slow I'm going to take it, but that's okay. Thanks for the comment! It motivates me on an already overwhelming project. :)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop.

  4. I'm loving this! You always bring such amazing things to our party. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you tonight at 7. I can't wait! Lou Lou Girls

  5. I love this! Thanks for the time you put in to create this lesson and resource for families. AJ (

    1. Thank you! We've had some good discussions from it already.

  6. Thank you for posting, and i really love the word activities, and am looking forward to reading much more. Embracing His Will