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The name “Christ” is derived from the Greek christos, which was subsequently
Latinized to “Christ.” The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines christos
as “Christ, Messiah, Anointed One.”60 A second opinion is as follows: “The word
Messiah (sometimes Messias, following the Hellenized transcription) represents the
Hebrew mashiah, or mashuah ‘anointed,’ from the verb mashah ‘anoint.’ It is exactly
rendered by the Greek christos ‘anointed.’”

In plain English, if people read the Old
Testament in ancient Hebrew they will read mashiah, mashuah, and mashah. Read it in
ancient Greek, and the above three are “exactly rendered” as christos. The subject
becomes interesting at this point because Aramaic, Hebrew, and ancient Greek do not
have capital letters, so how Bible translators got “Christ” with a capital C from christos
with a small C is a mystery known only to them.
Claims that context mandates capitalization in the case of Jesus Christ don’t work,
for christos is applied to a wide variety of subjects throughout the Bible. The verb chrio,  meaning “to anoint,” is found sixty­nine times in the Old Testament in reference to Saul,
David, Solomon, Joash, and Jehoahaz, among others. The noun christos (the same
christos translated to “Christ” in the case of Jesus) occurs thirty­eight times—thirty in
reference to kings,* six in reference to the high priest, and twice in reference to patriarchs
of the Old Testament.

The argument can be made that “Christ” with a capital C was “anointed of God” in some special sense, different from all other “christs” with a small C. Either the
difference needs to be defined or the argument abandoned. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, “Saul is most commonly called ‘the Lord’s anointed.’
Apart from Saul, only Davidic kings bear the title (except in Is. 45:1).”63 In reading this
quote, few people are likely to take notice of the inconspicuous exception bracketed by parentheses—a literary cloaking device. The few readers who stop and overturn that little
exception will find that what crawls out of Isaiah 45:1 is Cyrus the Persian—Cyrus the
king of the fire­worshipping Zoroastrians, that is.
Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity at the University of
Cambridge, summarizes the above information as follows:
The Hebrew word “messiah” means an anointed person or thing. It
is translated by “christos” (hence Christ) in the Greek translation of the
Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX). In numerous passages in the Old
Testament “anointed one” is applied to the divinely appointed King. (See,
for example, I Sam. 12:3 (Saul) and 2 Sam. 19:22 (David)). In a few
passages “anointed one” is used of prophets (most notably in Isa. 61:1)
and of priests (Lev. 4:3,5,16), but without further designation the term
normally refers to the king of Israel.


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