The History of the Christian Fish Symbol
The fish's first known use as a Christian religious symbol was sometime within the first three centuries AD. Christians began using the Greek word for "fish" as an anagram/acronym for "Jesus Christ God's Son, Savior." More about this later.
The fish outline is a logical symbol for the early Christian church to adopt. Not only was fish a common food of the day, it was also used by Jesus during His ministry.
Mark 1:17 "Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
Matthew 12:40 "...Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Matthew 14:17 "And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.'"
Luke 5:6 "And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."
Luke 24:42 "So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb."
John 21:6 "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
A 'fishy' tale?
In the years following the ascension of the resurrected Jesus to heaven, the Christian church grew rapidly.
Christians soon found themselves to be the subjects of persecution by both the Romans and the Jews.
In many locales, it became dangerous to be known as a Christian.
Thus, when two strangers met and thought maybe they were fellow believers, one of them would draw, on the ground, the upper half of the fish symbol.
Recognizing the symbol, the stranger would add a second curved line and complete the drawing of a fish.
It is a very simple shape to draw - just two curved strokes. It could be drawn quickly, and erased just as quickly if there was no sign of recognition on the part of the stranger.
The 'Greek' connection, #1
We do not know whether the story above is true but we do know that the fish's first known use as a Christian religious symbol was sometime within the first three centuries AD. Possibly around the 16th century Christians began using the Greek word ichthys for "fish". Ichthys is the most commonly used word in the New Testament for fish.

Ichthys consists of five letters from the Greek alphabet: I-ch-th-y-s. When these five letters are used as initials for five words, we obtain this Christian Declaration: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter. This is an acrostic for 'Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior.'

..----- IXQUS ----- Ichthys ----- Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior
I Iota the first letter in the Greek word Iesous Jesus
X Chi the first letter in the Greek word Christos Christ
Q Theta the first letter in the Greek word Theos Of God
U Upsilon the first letter in the Greek word Yios (Huois) Son
S Sigma the first letter in the Greek word Soter Savior
Greek meaning Iesous Christos Theos Yios Soter
English transliteration ... Jesus Christ Of God Son Savior
The 'Greek' connection, #2
The Greek symbol for Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, looks very much like the fish symbol.
Rev 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
Rev 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
The 'keyboard' fish .
<>< Use the < and > keys to create the fish symbol. It can be added to your stationery and e-mail signature (click on: tools - options - signatures).
Acrostic By taking the first letter of each of the words, another word can be made up. This is a form of word game called an acrostic. It doesn't work in English, but in Greek, the first letters do make up a word, and that word means "fish". The equivalent of these five Greek letters in English is I CH TH Y S. In modern English, we do have words derived from this Greek word "ichthys" - ichthyology, for example, is the name given to the scientific study of fish.
Transliteration Merriam-Webster's Dictionary: "to represent or spell in the characters of another alphabet"
theYin. Can be transliterated in a Y or U. (Ixqus or Ixqys, Ichthys or Ichthus, Yios or Huios)
If you never have made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ as you personal savior now may be the time to do so.
To read the Plan of Salvation, click here.
To see and listen to the Plan of Salvation click here.
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