The Greek word for “Nazarene” is Nazōraios. Some theologians believe that word has its root in the Hebrew term, Nezer, which is used in the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:1 and is typically translated “branch” (as in a tree branch that bears fruit). Others say it points to the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 49:6 where the Hebrew word Nezorai refers to “Him who shall both restore Israel and be a light to the Gentiles.”
Additionally, some Bible historians think Nazōraios (“Nazarene”) was actually a derogatory term when first used as a description for Jesus and his disciples. According to this theory, Jewish Christians later changed the word to Nazarenos, a title of honor which translates as “Nazaraean.”
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