“Christ” is probably the most frequently used—and least understood—word in the Bible. Many use it unthinkingly as an expletive; others assume it is the second name of the founder of Christianity; some take it to mean God manifest in the flesh, a divine being.
But how is “Christ” used in the Bible?
The term “Christ” (Greek christos) is equivalent to “Messiah” (Hebrew mashiah), which was used for a reigning monarch: David, for example, spoke of King Saul as “Yahweh’s messiah” (1 Samuel 24:6, 10). Eventually the term came to refer to God’s agent who would liberate the oppressed and introduce a new era, the Reign of God. The word literally means “Anointed,” reflecting the ancient practice of anointing and thereby consecrating a person for an office, such as prophet (2 Kings 19:16), priest (Exodus 28:41) or king (Judges 9:15 in Jotham’s fable). The emphasis falls not upon the “nature” of the anointed one but upon his function or office.