Now there is a strange opening title. How can a noun be a verb, especially one that has been understood for a very long time as a noun? That is not as strange as you may think when you consider what it was that Jesus was trying to establish in light of scriptural documentation. The problem is that most people who attempt Christianity are misinformed and cease the process in settling for an existence knowing that they have accepted a fire insurance policy for the next life. All they have to do is hold on tight and wait for the reward in the next life. That leads us to a life of waiting which goes against the mission statement of Jesus found in John 10:10 as Jesus having come so that we may have life more abundantly. Christianity is much more than fire insurance in as much as it is more than just a descriptive noun. For arguments sake let us begin with definitions so that we can see how the noun Christianity is a verb.
A noun by traditional definition is a person, place or thing but that is just the category of a common noun. Christianity also falls into the category of a proper noun which is a noun that names a particular person, place, thing, or idea. Christianity fits all of that description and more. I know at this point you are probably thinking that this is a useless exercise because all I have done is prove that Christianity is a noun. But hold on for just a little longer and follow the thread of thought.
You see as a noun Christianity refers to a particular person who is Jesus. Jesus occupies a place in our hearts that represents a specific thing which is a lifestyle of service. It is an idea on how to bring about the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. From that explanation you can begin to see that Christianity is more than a static once and done thing. It involves some sort of participation and emulation. Christianity also can be categorized as a collective noun in that it names a group of people that are regarded as a unit which we refer to as the body of Christ. To further prove that Christianity is a noun you can also categorize it as a concrete noun which name something perceptible to the sense in that it is something that can be seen ( Malachi :5, 3:10, Matthew 5:8, 13:16), heard (Numbers 12:6, Matthew 11:5, 13:16, Luke 8:21), smelled , touched (Matthew 8:3, 8:15, 9:29), or tasted. Taste – Psalm 34, 119, Matthew 5: Luke 14. Christianity is to be seen, heard, smelled, touched and tasted. These are all active qualities of participation in a life that is supposed to be more than an hour on Sundays. These are the everyday experiences of a life led to its fullest and in abundance.
Wait there is even more. Christianity can be classified as an abstract noun in that it is something that cannot be readily perceived through the sense in that it is an idea, a quality, an emotion and a state in that you can think about Christianity without ever experiencing it through any of the senses. Christianity is an idea that is to be thought about and contemplated on. It is an experience which is an encounter with God, who God is, and how we fit into all of that. It is a relationship that is based upon love
Christianity is made up of the word Christ which is the title of Jesus meaning messiah who is the king sent to save us. Ian which is the next segment of the word Christianity is the long form of an which denotes membership or belonging to a place or organization and when attached to a name it means that you are a contemporary of (somebody or something of the same time) Jesus or existing now as does Jesus.
So as a Christian you belong to the Messiah in being a member of that organization and you are also viewed as a contemporary of Jesus in that you are a part of the family of God grafted directly into the heritage. Ity has the meaning of being a state or condition. So put it all together and Christianity is the state or condition of belonging to Jesus as a contemporary of the living Christ (Jesus).
Now this is the first part of the discussion. We have proved that Christianity is in fact a noun in the classical sense. The case for Christianity as a verb is as interesting when you consider the overall aspects of what it is to be a Christian.
Jesus at the outset of his ministry took upon himself the directives of Isaiah 61. John the Baptist saw the Spirit of the Lord descend upon Jesus declaring this was the son of God in whom God was well pleased. This was the start of the Isaiah 61 declaration that Jesus took upon himself as he read it in the synagogue. The Spirit of God was upon him because he was anointed to bring the good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives. He was to free those who are bound, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of God. He was to comfort all who mourn by giving them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness and the garment of praise. He was to begin to build up the ruins from the former devastations: repair the ruined cities and the devastations of many generations. It is to be our action plan. This is not sitting in a pew for an hour a week but a going out into the community to deal with the day to day obstacles imprisoning the totality of creation and liberating it back to its original order, purpose and function in the original blessing pronounced by God in Genesis 1 through Genesis 2:3.
Christianity is a noun however the foundational principles are a call to action. It is a call to emulate the life of Jesus through our unique gifting, purpose, and destiny. This is the process that Jesus embodied and imparted to the disciples. They became apostles (meaning ones sent) to do what had been taught, and demonstrated to them. They were given a lifestyle to live and express. So from that aspect Christianity is a verb.
Classically a verb is a word that expresses action, condition or a state of being. From our definition of Christianity being a state or condition of belonging to Jesus as a contemporary of the living Christ (Jesus), we can already begin to see that Christianity is a state and/or a condition. This is where Christianity takes on the abilities to be an action. Jesus’ proclamation and commandment to all disciples is that they are to go and make more disciples. We are to emulate the life of Jesus in its fullness.
We can go further into Christianity being a verb. We can demonstrate that Christianity is an action verb whose definition states that it expresses an action which is either physical or mental. This is what preaching the gospel is. It is not only speaking about it which is a mental exercise but it also must be demonstrated. You can have all the knowledge and information at your fingertips but without experiencing it in the physical it has very little impact. So as a verb Christianity goes beyond an action verb’s definition of either/or to one that is both and.
Further proof that Christianity should be considered a verb comes under the definition of a transitive verb. A transitive verb transfers action from the subject to a direct object. Here we see the life of Jesus in definition. Jesus’ ministry was to make disciples who would make disciples. Jesus’ life is the subject. As one who took on humanity, Jesus proved that a life dedicated to the original purpose, order and function of humanity was attainable. Not just attainable but one that could do more and greater things when empowered through Holy Spirit. Jesus transferred this ability of an active lifestyle of the demonstrated love of God to the direct objects of his efforts – the disciples – so that they could then transfer the ability, knowledge and power to others, thus spreading the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
But a problem does occur when Christianity becomes this type of verb. It is an intransitive verb. An intransitive verb does not transfer action so it does not have an object. This happens in many churches that are occupied by those who come for their weekly dose of feel good and go home offering nothing more than I have my fire insurance (or do they). They slowly become less and less until they vanish from the landscape having no object to transfer and action to. Their buildings become a testimony to not only what was but an indictment of what could have been.
However Christianity is at its best when it is a linking verb. A linking verb connects the subject with a word or words that identify or describe the subject. When you become a disciple, you demonstrate what a linking verb is. You and discipleship become linked. It becomes a part of you and you become a part of it. Being a disciple you are called to make other disciples thus continuing the linking process. You as a disciple make disciples. They become disciples. They are linked to the process of being disciples which requires the making of disciples.
You can even go so far as to say that Christianity is part of speech which is recognized as a tense – you know; past, present, and future. Technically Christianity is part of what is called the future perfect tense. The definition of the future perfect tense is an action that started in the past, which is going on now and will be completed sometime in the future.
As you can see, Christianity is both a noun and a verb. It is a noun that requires action. It is alive and requires demonstration. It requires miracles, signs and wonders. Christianity requires unconditional love. The fruit of which will produce, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control all which are the linking results of you being a Christian in the fullest of senses.