The Hebrew Roots of the Jesus Fish

In the text, there is a extraordinary miracle that takes place regarding fish:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

 Mark 6:30-37, John 6:8-15

Then the apostles returned to Jesus and told him all the things they had done and taught. And Jesus said to them, “Come away to some quiet place where you can be alone and rest a while.”

 For there were many people coming and going, and they had no leisure time even to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place where they could be alone. But many saw them going and recognized them, and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus came ashore, he found a great crowd waiting. And he was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. Now when the day was nearly gone, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and the hour is late. Send the people away, that they may go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.”

 “You give them something to eat,” replied Jesus.

 “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” they asked.

 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what is that for so many people?”

 “Have the people sit down,” said Jesus.

Now the ground there was covered with grass, so the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he passed them out to all who were sitting there; and also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the pieces that are left over, that nothing may be wasted.”

So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with pieces of the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. Now when the people saw the miracle that Jesus performed, they began to say, “Without doubt, this is the prophet who is to come into the world!”

Relevant Scripture:

MATTHEW 14:13-21, MARK 6:30-44, LUKE 9:10-17, JOHN 6:1-15

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., Harmony of the Gospels: Concerning the Greatest Life Ever Lived, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1986), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 158-159.


If you look in the 5th paragraph above in this Harmony of the Gospels, you will see the word fish (which I have underlined and bolded).  We can also go to a specific verse if you would like so that you can see this more clearly:

Matthew 14:17 (CJB)

17 “All we have with us,” they said, “is five loaves of bread and two fish.”

If we go to an interlinear like this one:

we can actually see that the Greek word for fish in the text is ἰχθύς ichthus


Why is this important to know?  Many of you may be driving around town and see the fish symbol attached by adhesive to the back of the car if front of you.  You may also understand it as a symbol of Christianity.  What you may not understand is what it actually represents.

Although ichthus is Greek for the word fish, it is and was used as an acronym (the letters of the word representing other words) by the earlyfollowers of Yeshua (Jesus).

Since ichthus is an acronym as I stated above, what does it actually represent?

The first Greek letter “i” or “iota” is the first letter of Ἰησοῦς Iēsous.  As you can see in the interlinear below, Jesus is the English transliteration of the Greek word Iēsous – which starts with “iota”.


The second Greek letter “ch” or “chi’ is the first letter of Χριστός Christos.  As you can see in the interlinear below, Christ is the English transliteration of the Greek word Christos – which starts with “chi.”


The third Greek letter “th” or “theta” is the first letter of θεός theos.  As you can see in the interlinear below, God is the English translation of the Greek word theos – which starts with “theta.”


The forth Greek letter “u” or “upsilon” is the first letter of υἱός uhios.  As you can see in the interlinear below, son is the English translation of the Greek word uhios – which starts with “upsilon.”


Finally, the last Greek letter “s” or  “sigma” is the first letter of σωτήρ sōtēr.  As you can see in the interlinear below, Savior (salvation) is the English translation of the Greek word sōtēr – which starts with “sigma.”


Ἰ = I

Χ = ch

θ = th

υ = u

σ = s

or ἰχθύς = ichthus

However, the title of this post is The Hebrew Roots of the Jesus Fish.  It is the Hebrew that informs the Greek.  It is the Hebrew word  Mashiach (Messiah) that informs the Greek word Christos that informs the English word anointed (Christ). If you have no Mashiach, you have no Christ.  Think about it . . . did Christ just come out of thin air or was it part of the Jewish bible known as the Tanakh?  In other words, the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew bible (Tanakh).

So then, let’s add the Hebrew roots to ichthus in the picture I made below as a gift to friends that helped me and the wife move several years ago:

Yeshua the Messiah – Son of God – Our Savior!

That is what the “Jesus fish” means

Blessings to all of you!

About Even If Ministries

Dani'el 3:17-18 (CJB) 17 Your majesty, if our God, whom we serve, is able to save us, he will save us from the blazing hot furnace and from your power. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will neither serve your gods nor worship the gold statue which you have set up.”
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3 Responses to The Hebrew Roots of the Jesus Fish

  1. I just realized that the picture i gave out several years ago has anointed spelled wrong – OOPS!!!

  2. Tony Lollio says:

    Great stuff, blessings!

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