Jesus Fish Symbol
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Jesus Fish Symbol 145

Christian Symbol Ichthys

The Christian author Tertullian (160-220 AD) wrote from the 1st century AD about the Jesus fish symbol. The fish symbol comes from the Koine Greek word "Ikthys," or "Icthys" or "Ichthus," meaning simply "Fish." The symbol for the Ichthus was pictured as "two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish" (Wikipedia). It was widely used among Christians, because its five Greek letters represented the five words, "Jesus Christ God's Son Savior." The letters iota "I", chi "ch", theta "th", upsilon "y" and sigma "s", are single letters in Greek. The fish sign seems to have been widely used and is found on ancient Christian rings, seals, ornaments, ossuaries (which were stone burial bone boxes) and gravestones from the early Christian era.✞

Ancient Baptism

Fish SymbolThe church leader Tertullian wrote about the Christian fish symbol in relation to baptism in 195 AD. "It is all so simple - no great show, nothing new, no expense. A man is dipped in water, and a few words are said. He comes out of the water, not much (if any) the cleaner. Is it not wonderful that death is washed away by bathing? We too wonder, but we wonder because we believe." This raises the question today, What significance do we find in the "Ichthus" used in connection with Baptism? How can we restore some of the "wonder element" of Baptism in our Christian Communities today?

"Jesus Fish Symbol"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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