of IXOYE and the Jesus Fish
Christians, the fish is one of their earliest symbols—used to profess their
faith and to avoid persecution. Christians chose the fish because of its
prominence in Jesus' teachings and because of a famous acrostic (the letters of
a word forming the initial letters of a phrase). The Greek word
fish—IXOYE—forms the acrostic "Iesous, Christos, Theou, Yios, Soter"
or "Jesus, Christ, God's, Son, Savior." Besides serving as a brief
profession of faith, the fish also helped Christians distinguish between friend
and foe. When traveling, if a Christian met another person, the Christian would
draw half the fish (half a crescent) in the sand. If the other person completed
the fish, he or she was a Christian. Gal. 6:17 is a reference to St. Paul's
letter to the Galatians. Paul writes, "From now on let no one cause
trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus."