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QUESTION: What does the fish symbol have to do with Christianity?
 
ANSWER: Tradition says that the fish has long been associated with Christianity. God called Simon Peter and Andrew to be “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Christ fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish (Matt 14:17). Christ ate fish after His resurrection to prove that His was a bodily resurrection (John 21:4-14).
 
Persecution was and still is a very real threat to Christians in many parts of the world. Church tradition says that the fish symbol was used as a secret identification when meeting in public. The legend maintains that years ago, when one Christian would greet another suspected Christian (and without wanting to draw attention), s/he would use his/her toe to draw one arch of the fish in the dirt. If the other person was a Christian, he/she would draw the finishing arch of the fish. The fish symbol then supposedly let each know of the other’s profession of Christ. It was also said that the symbol was sometimes drawn so as to point toward a secret meeting place. In either case, it could quickly be erased with another swipe of the foot. 
 
As for the Greek letters often found within the fish shape: “Icthus” is the Koine Greek word for fish. As an acrostic, each Greek letter represents a word such that “Jesus Christ God’s Son, Saviour” is supposedly meant.
 
I esous             i (iota) for the Greek name Jesus (Iesous)
C hristos           ch (X- chi) for the Greek word for Christ (Christos)
TH eou th (theta) for the Greek word God (THeos)
U ios                u (upsilon) for the Greek word Son (Uios)
S oier               s (sigma) for the Greek word Saviour (Soterion)
 
What is important to remember is that all of this probably falls on the folklore and myth side of tradition.  There is no real evidence to sustain it.  Additionally, the Word of God says that we as Christians are to “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col 2:8).  We are only to concern ourselves with the written and preserved Word of God (2 Thess 2:15).
 
Remember also that God’s Word still prohibits images or likenesses of anything or anyone. Ex 20:4-5a, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…”
 
God has never repealed this commandment. A true Christian should be more identified by their meek and humble spirit, concern for justice and refusal to lie, cheat or misrepresent than by a symbol or slogan on their car, T-shirt, or front lawn. When a fish or “WWJD” become a fad or a “marketable product” somebody is “serving mammon” (Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13).
 
 
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