|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once (Matthew 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" (Isaiah 53:3). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew netser, which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the Netse, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (see NAZARETH.)
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A native or inhabitant of Nazareth; -- a term of contempt applied to Christ and the early Christians.
2. (n.) One of a sect of Judaizing Christians in the first and second centuries, who observed the laws of Moses, and held to certain heresies.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
naz-a-ren; naz'-a-ren Nazarenos; Nazaraios in Matthew, John, Acts and Luke): A derivative of Nazareth, the birthplace of Christ. In the New Testament it has a double meaning: it may be friendly and it may be inimical.
1. An Honourable Title:
On the lips of Christ's friends and followers, it is an honorable name. Thus Matthew sees in it a fulfillment of the old Isaiah prophecy (Isaiah 11:1 (Hebrew)): "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets, that he should be called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23). According to an overwhelming array of testimony (see Meyer, Commentary, in loc.), the name Nazareth is derived from the same natsar, found in the text quoted from Isaiah. We have here undoubtedly to do with a permissible accommodation.
It is not quite certain that Matthew did not intend, by the use of this word, to refer to the picture of the Messiah, as drawn in Isaiah 53, on account of the low estimate in which this place was held (John 1:46). Nor is permissible, as has been done by Tertullian and Jerome, to substitute the word "Nazarite" for "Nazarene," which in every view of the case is contrary to the patent facts of the life of the Saviour.
Says Meyer, "In giving this prophetic title to the Messiah he entirely disregards the historical meaning of the same Septuagint reading in Isaiah 11:1, anthos), keeps by the relationship of the name Nazareth to the word natsar, and recognizes by virtue of the same, in that prophetic Messianic name netser, the typical reference to this-that Jesus through His settlement in Nazareth was to become a Nazoraios, a `Nazarene.' " This name clung to Jesus throughout His entire life. It became His name among the masses: "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by" (Mark 10:47 Luke 24:19). Perhaps Matthew, who wrote after the event, may have been influenced in his application of the Isaian prophecy by the very fact that Jesus was popularly thus known. Even in the realm of spirits He was known by this appellation. Evil spirits knew and feared Him, under this name (Mark 1:24 Luke 4:34), and the angels of the resurrection morning called Him thus (Mark 16:6), while Jesus applied the title to Himself (Acts 22:8). In the light of these facts we do not wonder that the disciples, in their later lives and work, persistently used it (Acts 2:22; Acts 3:6; Acts 10:38).
2. A Title of Scorn:
If His friends knew Him by this name, much more His enemies, and to them it was a title of scorn and derision. Their whole attitude was compressed in that one word of Nathanael, by which he voiced his doubt, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). In the name "Nazarene," the Jews, who opposed and rejected Christ, poured out all the vials of their antagonism, and the word became a Jewish heritage of bitterness. It is hard to tell whether the appellation, on the lips of evil spirits, signifies dread or hatred (Mark 1:24 Luke 4:34). With the gatekeepers of the house of the high priest the case is clear. There it signifies unadulterated scorn (Matthew 26:71 Mark 14:67). Even in His death the bitter hatred of the priests caused this name to accompany Jesus, for it was at their dictation written above His cross by Pilate (John 19:19). The entire Christian community was called by the leaders of the Jewish people at Jerusalem, "the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). If, on the one hand, therefore, the name stands for devotion and love, it is equally certain that on the other side it represented the bitter and undying hatred of His enemies.
Henry E. Dosker
Nazarene (19 Occurrences)
Matthew 2:23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 26:71 Soon afterwards he went out and stood in the gateway, when another girl saw him, and said, addressing the people there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene." (WEY BBE)
Mark 1:24 saying, "Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!" (WEB WEY ASV DBY YLT)
Mark 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!" (WEB WEY ASV YLT NAS)
Mark 14:67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, "You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!" (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 16:6 He said to them, "Don't be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him! (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)
Luke 4:34 "Ha! Jesus the Nazarene, what have you to do with us? I know who you are--God's Holy One!" (WEY ASV DBY YLT)
Luke 18:37 "Jesus the Nazarene is passing by," they told him. (WEY YLT)
Luke 24:19 He said to them, "What things?" They said to him, "The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; (WEB WEY ASV NAS)
John 18:5 "For Jesus the Nazarene," was the answer. "I am he," He replied. (Now Judas who was betraying Him was also standing with them.) (WEY BBE YLT NAS)
John 18:7 Again therefore He asked them, "Who are you looking for?" "For Jesus the Nazarene," they said. (WEY BBE YLT NAS)
John 19:19 And Pilate wrote a notice and had it fastened to the top of the cross. It ran thus: JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (WEY BBE YLT NAS)
Acts 2:22 "Listen, Israelites, to what I say. Jesus, the Nazarene, a man accredited to you from God by miracles and marvels and signs which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know, Him-- (WEY YLT NAS)
Acts 3:6 "I have no silver or gold," Peter said, "but what I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene-- walk!" (WEY NAS)
Acts 4:10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that through the name of Jesus the Anointed, the Nazarene, whom *you* crucified, but whom *God* has raised from among the dead-- through that name this man stands here before you in perfect health. (WEY NAS)
Acts 6:14 For we have heard him say that Jesus, the Nazarene, will pull this place down to the ground and will change the customs which Moses handed down to us." (WEY NAS)
Acts 22:8 "'Who art thou, Lord?' I asked. "'I am Jesus, the Nazarene,' He replied, 'whom you are persecuting.' (WEY YLT NAS)
Acts 24:5 For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 26:9 "I myself, however, thought it a duty to do many things in hostility to the name of Jesus, the Nazarene. (WEY)