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How to Identify Real Christians

How to Identify Real Christians

Billions of people claim to be Christian. But they do not all share the same beliefs, nor do they live by the same standards. So how can we identify real Christians?

1. What is a Christian?

Christians are disciples, or followers, of Jesus Christ. (Read Acts 11:26.) How do they prove that they are Jesus’ disciples? He said: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31) This means that real Christians must obey Jesus’ teachings. And just as Jesus relied on the Scriptures to support his teachings, real Christians base their beliefs on the Bible.​—Read Luke 24:27.

2. How do real Christians show love?

Jesus told his followers: “Love one another just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) How did Jesus show that he loved his disciples? He spent time with them, encouraged them, and helped them. He even gave up his life for them. (1 John 3:16) Similarly, real Christians do more than talk about love. They show by their words and actions that they love one another.

3. Real Christians are busy in what activity?

Jesus gave work to his disciples. “He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:2) The early Christians preached, not only in their places of worship but also in other public places and at the homes of people. (Read Acts 5:42; 17:17.) Real Christians today likewise preach Bible truth wherever people are. They love their neighbors, so they gladly use their time and energy to share the Bible’s message of hope and comfort.​—Mark 12:31.


Consider how you can distinguish real Christians from people who do not follow Jesus’ teachings and example.

4. They search for Bible truth

The early Christians valued God’s Word

Not all who claim to be Christian value Bible truth. Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the question that follows.

  • How have some so-called Christian churches failed to teach what Jesus taught?

Jesus taught the truth from God’s Word. Read John 18:37, and then discuss this question:

  • According to Jesus, how can we identify Christians who are “on the side of the truth”?

5. They preach Bible truth

The early Christians preached to others

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave his followers a mission that continues today. Read Matthew 28:19, 20 and Acts 1:8, and then discuss this question:

  • To what extent would the preaching work be done?

6. They practice what they preach

What convinced a man named Tom that he had found real Christianity? Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the questions that follow.

  • In the video, what had caused Tom to give up on religion?

  • Why is he convinced that he has found the truth?

Actions speak louder than words. Read Matthew 7:21, and then discuss this question:

  • What means more to Jesus​—what we claim to believe or what we prove by our actions?

7. They love one another

The early Christians loved one another

Have Christians really risked their lives for fellow Christians? Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the questions that follow.

  • In the video, what moved Lloyd to risk his life for Brother Johansson?

  • Do you think that he acted like a real Christian?

Read John 13:34, 35, and then discuss these questions:

  • How would Jesus’ disciples (real Christians) treat people of another race or nation?

  • How would they do so during wartime?

SOME PEOPLE SAY: “Christians have done terrible things​—how can they have the true religion?”

  • What scripture could you share that shows how we can identify real Christians?


Real Christians follow Bible teachings, show self-sacrificing love, and preach Bible truth.


  • On what do real Christians base their beliefs?

  • What quality identifies real Christians?

  • What work do real Christians do?



Learn more about a group that endeavors to follow Jesus Christ’s example and teachings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses​—Who Are We? (1:13)

See what led a former nun to find “a true spiritual family.”

“They Used the Bible to Answer Every Question!” (The Watchtower, April 1, 2014)

Learn how real Christians show love for fellow worshippers who need relief.

Helping Our Brothers When Disaster Strikes​—Excerpt (3:57)

Examine how the early Christians and real Christians today fit the pattern that Jesus said would identify his followers.

“What Are the Marks of True Christianity?” (The Watchtower, March 1, 2012)