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History and Origin

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The fish as a symbol in Christianity is nearly as old as the Christian faith itself. The sign is seen in the past on things like art and architecture and today it endures on things like bumper stickers and business cards as a sign of Christian faith.

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The fish is thought to have been chosen by the early Christians for several reasons: The Greek word for fish (ICHTUS), works nicely as an acrostic for I = Jesus, C = Christ, TH = God's, U = Son, S = Savior.

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The fish would not be an obvious Christian symbol to persecutors; It is said that during the persecution of the early church, a Christian meeting someone new would draw a single arc in the sand. If the other person was a Christian, he or she would complete the drawing of a fish with a second arc. If the second person was not a Christian, the ambiguity of the half-symbol would not reveal the first person as a Christian.

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Jesus' ministry is associated with fish: he chose several fishermen to be his disciples and declared he would make them "fishers of men."

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