It stands to reason that if simple things like shapes and everyday objects can be symbolic of something, then letters of the alphabet and words themselves can also become symbols. For the most part, symbols made using letters or words are written using the Greek alphabet and/or Latin wording rather than our more modern day alphabet or words.
A good number of the symbols in this category are known as monograms. These are symbols that represent a specific person, much like an emblem or signature. Most monograms represent Jesus Christ, but there are exceptions.
You’ll find an overview of some of these symbols below. If there is a guide available to help you draw them yourself, the name of the symbol will be a link.
The Chi Rho is probably the single most popular monogram in Christianity. As the name implies, it’s made by combining the Greek letters Chi and Rho. These are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, making this an easy to remember monogram for Jesus Christ.
Chi Rho (alternate)
Sometimes the Chi and Rho are merged more directly, with the letter Rho forming the arm of the letter Chi. A tilde is included above this pair to indicate that this is meant to be an abbreviation.
Chi Rho Cross
Another alternate form of the Chi Rho, this one tilts the letter Chi so that it forms a cross.
Chi Rho N
Yet another alternate design of the Chi Rho monogram, this time including an N in the center of the lower arm. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what the N is supposed to mean. It could represent the word “Nike”, which would give us the meaning “Christ Conquers”, but it could also be representing the word “Noster”, which gives us the phrase “Our Christ”
Made from the first three letters of the Greek spelling of His name, this design is a more intricate monogram for Jesus. Like the second Chi Rho above, this design uses a tilde over the letters to ensure that the viewer knows it’s an abbreviation.
Instead of pairing Chi with Rho, this symbol pairs Chi with Iota. So, instead of the symbol being a mixture of the first two letters of “Christ”, it’s a combination of the initials for Jesus Christ.
Other words and symbols
Alpha and Omega
Although this is an old phrase that’s based on the Greek alphabet, most people are probably aware that it’s a title that means the first and the last of everything.What you might not be aware of is that while Jesus applied it to Himself in the New Testament, it’s also applied to God in the Old Testament. Since there can be only one Alpha and Omega, this is a common example of Jesus claiming to be God.
Chi Rho in Joined Rings
Above we can see there are many different variations of the Chi Rho monogram. Here the letters Chi and Rho are included to reference Jesus, but not directly. This is not a monogram.Instead, the pair of joined rings refers to two lives being joined in marriage, with the Chi Rho nestled within to include Christ as a witness to this holy union.
This is the Latin word for “peace”, and thus it’s a common blessing and salutation both within the Bible and the modern church.