The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

‘Anointed’ or ‘Christ’?

This Bible translation consistently translates the word for ‘anointed’. Other translations do not. For example, 2 Corinthians 1:21 (in our translation) says:

‘And indeed, the One that confirmed us among you into the Anointed One, and the One that anointed us, is God.’

Yet, notice that how the Authorized King James Version translates the same verse:

‘Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.’

Yes, the King James says ‘Christ’ and ‘anointed’, but ours says ‘anointed’ in both places. Why? Well, in Greek, you’ll see that this verse reads:

‘Ho de bebaion hemas syn hymin eis christon kai chrisas hemas Theos,’
‘The of stabilizing us with you into anointed and anointing us God.’

Yes, they are the same word, just conjugated differently: christon (anointed) and chrisas (anointing). The Aramaic version is the same, also using two variants of the same word: b'amshiyha (in-anointed-one) and mashan (anointed-us).

Therefore, our translation is consistent and uses Anointed One, rather than Christ. But would it not be better to say Christ, as countless other translators have done?

Not really, for two reasons:

1. The term ‘Christ’ has almost totally lost its meaning to many Bible readers today, since most have come to believe that this was Jesus’ last name. It wasn’t.

2. ‘Christ’ is a word that was made up by early Bible translators. It is merely an Anglicization of the Greek word christos or christon, and they only use it in that form when the translators assume that the Bible is speaking of Jesus. In other places it is correctly translated into the English word, anointed. Is it appropriate for Bible translators to decide when the text is referring to Jesus, and when it is not?

Understand that all the kings, priests, and prophets that Jehovah/Yahweh chose were anointed with oil to show that He had chosen them (olive oil was poured over their heads). For example, Kings Saul, David, and Solomon were anointed with oil by God’s Priests, because God chose and appointed them to their positions. He also poured His Spirit upon them.

So the word christos means anointed. Now, if you prefer the word Christ, then please keep in mind that Saul, David, and Solomon were also ‘Christs’, for you can’t have it both ways.

For example, at 1 Samuel 24:6 (in the Greek Septuagint), David refers to King Saul as ‘christo’, and in the Hebrew version David calls King Saul ‘mə-šî-aḥ’ (messiah). So, if christos should be translated as Christ, then unrighteous King Saul was also a Messiah or Christ. However, almost all Bibles translate christos or mə-šî-aḥ as anointed in this case because the translators knows that nobody would accept it any other way.

However, the translators are inserting an interpretation into the text. They have invented and assigned a new title to one person (Jesus), but not to others, when the source text calls all those persons by the same word (anointed).

Notice how the consistent translation of christos and christon as ‘anointed’ rather than sometimes saying ‘Christ’ provides you with a better understanding of certain verses. For example, at Matthew 24:24, most other Bibles say that Jesus foretold the coming of false Christs and false prophets in the last days. What he actually said was that false anointed and false prophets (greek: pseudo christon kai pseudo prophetai) will arise. So Jesus wasn’t necessarily saying that people would come claiming to be him (though many have), but rather, that people would come falsely claiming to be God’s anointed and His prophets… though they truly will not be.

For a fuller discussion about who are the anointed, please see the commentary on the False Anointed.

Another example can be found at 1 Peter 1:10-11, which reads in this Bible:

‘When it comes to salvation, the Prophets looked and searched for this loving-care that’s being shown to you. They tried, through the spirit of anointing that was in them to determine the exact time and circumstances of the sufferings of the Anointed One and of his being glorified, which they knew about even back then.’

You see, other Bibles say it was the Spirit of Christ that was in the ancient Prophets. Yet the verse just uses the word for anointed, and translating it into English as ‘Christ’ is just an assumption of the translator. This may be undesirable to readers who understand that Jesus only became the Christ or the Anointed at his baptism.

Perhaps Peter was saying that the spirit of their anointing as prophets, priests, and kings compelled them to seek understanding about the foretold coming of Jesus. Indeed, if you check the wording of that verse in Greek, you’ll see that there’s no ‘the’ (greek: ‘ho’) before the first christou (anointed). That word would be required if Peter was actually talking about the Spirit of the Christ (or the Anointed One). However, ‘the’ is nowhere to be found.

So consistently using the word ‘anointed’ can clarify the meaning of certain verses.

See more translator notes