“Christ Should Be His Name”

Alan C. Miner

According to McConkie and Millet, critics of the Book of Mormon have raised two objections to the phrase, "Christ . . . should be his name" (2 Nephi 10:3): first, since Christ is understood to be a title, meaning the "anointed one," we are told that it would not have been given by an angel as a proper name; and second, because Christ is the anglicized form of the Greek Christos, it could not have appeared in an ancient record purportedly found in the Americas. Neither objection is well founded. To the first it ought to be observed that though Christ is properly a title, it has in common usage become a proper name. Indeed, dictionaries list it as a proper noun, and many Christians would be surprised to learn that it was a title rather than a proper name. A great many words descriptive of status have in like manner come to be used as names; examples are King, Bishop, Hunter, Taylor, Cooper, Baker, etc. Even among his contemporaries Jesus was known as Christ. For instance, Mark refers to him as "Christ the King of Israel" (Mark 15:32). As to the Greek Christos being found on the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon came, it of course was not. What the ancient Nephite equivalent was we do not know. Since the Book of Mormon was translated into English by Joseph Smith, he obviously used the English equivalent of the Nephite word, which is Christ. [Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, pp. 265-266]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary