Approach: Learning about the various names for the people of God and the confusion about their names.
Hermeneutic objective: Learning how the meaning of a word can change over time.
Theological objective: Various names were used for the people of God:
As an association to Abraham, "Hebrew" was used as an ethnic designation.
"Israel" referred to a tribe (Israel) within the Hebrew ethnic group through which the Abrahamic
The descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob (Israel) and recipient of the kingly promise of
the Abrahamic Covenant, were known as Judeans. This tribal group name becomes the basis of the name "Jews," and they
become known as the "people of the Covenant" or "the Chosen".
When the monarchy divided into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the term "Jew" took on a geographical
and national meaning; it represented the citizens of Judah living in God's holy city Jerusalem and the kingdom ruled by
the royal line of David.
By the time the book of Esther was written, the term "Jew" began to have a religious designation; it
represented those who followed the Law. Note that the Law for the Jews included additions to the Law of Moses.
The Greek suffix "ianos" in “Christianos" (which means "follower of Christ") originally applied to
slaves. Christians are a slaves (or adherents) to Christ.