What Do the Letters ‘INRI’ on the Cross Mean?

Jesus Christ came in this world to express His love to you. This is through dying on the cross for your sins and the sins of the whole world. You must know that His birth was prophesized by multiple prophets, especially in the old testament, and He is referred to as the Messiah among many other magnificent names. Make sure you examine what is written above Jesus’ head on the cross.

Many people are curious to know about the letters written on the cross mean. The INRI appears in all crucifixes in the entire world. These letters are situated above Jesus’ head on the crosses. Besides, the official language for the Roman Empire was Latin. INRI is a Latin initial and it stands for Lesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm.

If you are keen, you are likely to notice how peculiar some letters mean. For instance, the letter J in Latin resembles the letter I, and U appears similar to V. In English translation, INRI means Jesus OF Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

As mentioned earlier, throughout the century, INRI seems to appear in multiple paintings of the crucifixion. Some early churches find the first letter of every word symbolic. The scripture explains how these words came into existence.

John 19: 19-22 says that Pontius Pilate wrote this title and placed it over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross. Many Jews read this because the place where Jesus was crucified was near to their city. INRI was written in many languages apart from Latin, such as Greek and Hebrew. The chief priests of Jews asked Pilate not to write the king of the Jews, but Pilate said whatever was written could not be reversed.

Before the crucifixion, Rome had to write the crime causing the man to perish over his head. Therefore, according to Jesus Christ, INRI was His primary crime. Furthermore, no other charges could be posted on Him apart from what God said he is. This explains more about the basis of Christianity. Mathew 16:18 indicates that the church has been built over this rock, and no hell would prevail against it.

In John’s gospel, these initials refer to the title. However, Mathew and Mark refer to this as an accusation plotted against Jesus Christ. It agrees that it is customary to set the crime of the person being crucified over the head to showcase what they suffered and indicate the sufferer’s name. Jesus was condemned because of the accusation that He claimed to be the king of the Jews.

Ironically, Pilate’s accusation and the crime set over Jesus Christ is not a crime but the pure truth because Jesus is the king of King, Lord of Lord, the king of all as well as the king of the Jews.

Revelation 17:14 and 19:16 says that He is the entire universe’s king and all its inhabitants. Besides, it not a crime for Jesus to be crucified, but it is a crime for you not to put your faith in Him for salvation and eternal life. For the word of God says it was all finished on the cross.

Similarly, the wise men from the East also called Jesus Christ the king of the Jews when they inquired to see Jesus after His birth. You will find this in Mathew 2:2. Bear in mind that the record of Jesus coming from Nazareth has been emphasized from the old testament.

Thus you must go through the prophetic significance of Jesus, especially of His hometown in Nazareth. John the Baptist introduces Jesus using the Old Testament Messianic prophecies when he says behold the lamb of God who takes away the world’s sins.

In many cases, INRI inscription does not stand for proclamation but accusation. Pilate found the inscription an accusation, and he was also after Jesus Christ’s identity, which makes it more incredible. On the other hand, you must know that the Rabbis were not pleased with INRI, which was indicated on the cross of Jesus. Genesis 49: 10 says that they objected because they understood that Messiah would feature the scepter. Suppose you do not understand; it means that Jesus would be acknowledged with full authority, and finally, He would be a king. Psalms 2:1-2 indicates that Jesus would be acclaimed. Likewise, Psalms 2: 1-2 emphasizes that Messiah would be called the son of God. In addition, Isaiah calls Him the prince of peace, everlasting father, Mighty God, and a wonderful counselor (Isaiah 53:3). When proclaiming the gospel, he said that man’s son would be lifted, just as his servant Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness. You will find this in the new testament in John 3: 14. When he talks about being lifted, He talks about His crucifixion, which will come to pass.

Similarly, the Bronze serpent lifted on the wooden pole the same way this will happen to the son of God. The snake deserves the punishment since it deceived Eve and Adam when they were in the Garden of Eden. If man followed the serpent, he fully deserved the punishment, but he does not deserve to undergo any punishment when following God. Bronze symbolizes the serpent, and it is a Biblical judgment metal.

Jesus suffered because he was mocked, tortured, crucified, and died on the cross because of the world’s sins. He underwent the punishment for us all. Through this, you would believe in Him and confess your sins of being rebellious against Him. This would also allow you to spend eternity with Him and fill your heart with tremendous joy that outdoes all pleasure in the world.

Additionally, the scriptures in the old testament say that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. However, in the new testament, Mathew 2: 23 says that Jesus will be called Nazarene as indicated in the Old testament. Fortunately, Mathew does not point any finger at a particular prophet who mentioned this. Isaiah proclaims that they arise a rod from Jesse’s stem, and its branch will grow out of the roots.

What is INRI in Hebrew?

INRI in Hebrew is YHWH meaning the indescribable name of God, and this is why the Rabbis were against the accusation placed before God. You must know that INRI does not appear anywhere in the Bible, but it is used as an abbreviation artwork representing the late dates.

What does INRI in Greek

INRI is a Latin initial, IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM, which stands for Lesus Nazarenus, Rex Ludaeorum. A mentioned earlier in English, it remains to be Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews. Moreover, John 19; 20 indicates that it was written in three primary languages: Greek, Latin, and Greek, and it was painted on the cross of Jesus Christ.

As much as it was just written in only three languages, all these nations recognize Jesus as their savior since He is the one who saves people from their sins. This is true because Jesus died on the cross because of your sins.

When looking for the best, meaningful and impressive jewels, you will probably go for a necklace crucifix with an INRI abbreviation.

Below are some of the scriptures that apply to the initials INRI:

John 8: 28

In this scripture, Jesus says that when the son of man is lifted, you will know that He is the chosen one and that He does do anything in His power, but as His Father in Heaven taught Him.

Psalms 2: 1 – 2

This chapter of Psalms inquires why the nation rages as people plot in vain. The rulers take counsel together as the kings of the entire earth set themselves against God and the anointed one.

John 19: 19 -22

This scripture indicates that Pilate came up with an inscription and placed it above Jesus’ head on the cross. It read Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. The chief priests of the Jews asked Pilate to write, but he emphasized that that is what Jesus said He was and what he has written is written.

Mathew 2: 2

It says where he was born as the king of the Jews, for they saw the star rising from the East and had come to worship Him.

Mathew 27: 37

It says that over the head of Jesus, they placed whatever they charged Him for, and it read Jesus the King of the Jews, which has initials for INRI in Latin.

Multiple scriptures in the Bible are associated with the initial INRI, and they remind you of how Jesus suffered and what He was charged for as the crime. Ensure that you take your time to understand the letters written on the cross.


You must understand that God undergoes trial even at this very moment. The meaning of this letter is enough to give you the evidence you require. Furthermore, it is the son of God who died on the cross for your sins and the sins of the whole world. Therefore, you should understand who Jesus is, make up your mind, and follow Him as your savior and redeemer.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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