Ichthus – the sign of the fish

Ichthus – the sign of the fish

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace. – Titus 1:4

2 Timothy 1:9-10

 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time– to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

Internet acronyms are often a bit confusing. They have become popular as shortcuts for fast-paced digital communication. DYK (do you know) some of the most popular acronyms of today? If not, DW (don’t worry) – you soon will.

DYK (do you know) common internet acronyms? Do you think you might need a bit of help? Do you need someone to ELI5 (explain like I’m 5)? ELI5 means explain this to me as if I am a child. It’s a request for a simple explanation instead of a lengthy, complicated one.

ICYMI (in case you missed it), IMHO (in my humble opinion) PIBKAC (problem is between keyboard and chair), that is, the problem resides within you.

A common acronym used in Christendom is ichthus (ἰχθύς). Ichthus has come to be called the sign of the fish. In the Greek language, the word ichthus refers to a fish.

Was the figure of a fish a secret symbol used by early Christians?

According to tradition, during the persecution of the early Christians in the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, the fish symbol was used to distinguish friends from foes. “According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company” (Christianity Today, Elesha Coffman).

“It was Augustine who once commented that he liked the sign of the fish as an emblem of Christianity and as a description of Christ. The word for fish in Greek is ichthus. And if you take those words and stand them on end like, in an acrostic, each of those becomes the first letter of another word; it’s Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. And so that little acrostic took the word ichthus, and they made a sign of the fish, and that’s how they identified each other.”

“Augustine said this about the sign of the fish, ‘It is a suitable sign for Christ because He was able to live without sin in the abyss of this mortality, as in the depths of waters.’ He saw Christ as like a fish immersed into a foreign environment. That environment being this fallen world” (MacArthur).

In the 1970s, the “Jesus Fish” became an icon of modern Christianity.

ICHTHUS (ἰχθύς)

Iota (i), Iesous (Ἰησοῦς) Jesus

Chi (ch), Christos (Χριστός) Christ/anointed

Theta (th), Theos (θεός), God

Upsilon (y or u), Huios (υἱός) Son

Sigma (s), Soter (σωτήρ) Savior


Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

Father thank You for providing Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, to be the Savior of the world.


Luke 2:11 The Savior – yes, the Christ, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

John 20:31 These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yehoshua (Yeh-HO-shoo-ah), which, over time, became contracted to the shorter Yeshua (Yeh-SHOO-ah). Yehoshua and Yeshua both mean “The Lord is salvation.” The name Jesus was common among the Jewish people. It was given to sons as evidence of their faith and hope that the Father would one day provide salvation through a Messiah who would save His people from their sins.

In the Greek New Testament, the word translated into English as Jesus is Iesous. Iesous is a transliteration of the Hebrew term Yehoshua. A transliteration takes the letters of a word from the source language and determines like-sounding letters of the target language to create a new word in that language. For example, the English word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo (bap-TID-zo), meaning to immerse.

The word Christos (Χριστός) is derived from the Hebrew word for Messiah or anointed one mashiach. Mashiach isthe basis for the English word Messiah through the Greek transliteration, Messias. Mashiach and Messias both mean anointed one or Messiah. The Greek translation for anointed one is Christos.

The Greek term theos (θεός) translates into English as God.

The Greek word huios (υἱός) is translated by the English term Son.

The Greek expression soter (σωτήρ), translated as savior, refers to an individual who rescues others from danger or violence. This descriptive term is used for the Lord Jesus Christ, who rescued are delivered those who accepted Him as their Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ saved them from their sins and the coming judgment. The Lord Jesus Christ is the agent of salvation. He is the Savior of the world.

John 1:1-14

 1 In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 2 He existed in the beginning with God.

 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

The eternal Son of God became truly human. He “subjected himself to his own creation and its physical laws, its ups and downs. He would experience the development of human reason and language. He would be taught things he did not know. He walked like a baby before he walked like a man. He thought and talked like a baby before he thought and talked like a man. The growing pains of the Son of God were just as real for him as they were for us . . .. He had to learn to be a carpenter from his earthly father, Joseph. Jesus Christ lived with a human body, mind, and soul with all their limitations, except for sin.”

“He really did it. It really did happen. Paul was right: “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body . . ..” (1 Timothy 3:16)” (R. Kent Hughes).

The miracle of the incarnation is remarkable on many levels. The eternal Son of God became truly human. He became a man to sympathize with and understand what it was like to be human.

Hebrews 4:15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.


© Dr. H 2022

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