What does it mean?
The fish symbol is the earliest of Christian
symbols and was the most common representation of Jesus Christ from the second
through the fourth centuries.
Why is the fish meaningful to Christians?
The Bible relates a number of accounts where fish were a significant aspect of Jesus' ministry. On one occasion (Matthew 14:19), Jesus served several thousand families with a meal of bread and fish. On another occasion (Matthew 4:19), Jesus called Peter and Andrew, saying, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Many early Christians were persecuted and forced to worship secretly. The fish symbol served as a secret form of communication. Often the persecuted Christians would scratch this symbol on the ground to identify themselves to fellow believers. Soon, Christians began to attach meaning to the word "fish" itself. The Greek letters for ichthus (meaning "fish", pronounced "ICK-THOOS") became an acronym: I=Jesus; X=Christ; O=God's; Y=Son; E=Savior.
Today, the person who displays the fish symbol has accepted the same New Testament teaching that these early Christians accepted: that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. By a decision of faith, this person has entered into a personal relationship with God and knows the reality of God's forgiveness. "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9, NIV).