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WWJD is an acronym with an origin story that is older than than you may think. An acronym is a word made up of the first letter of each word in a phrase. We will look at the meaning of the term WWJD, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

WWJD is an acronym for What Would Jesus Do. This sentiment is an admonition to make decisions and live one’s life in the same way that Jesus Christ would. The phrase What Would Jesus Do was coined by Reverand Charles Sheldon, a Congregationalist Church minister in Topeka, Kansas in 1886. Sheldon preached a series of sermons posing moral dilemmas, and ending these sermons with the question “What Would Jesus Do?” The next week, Sheldon would answer that question, his sermons taking the form of cliffhanger serials. In 1896 Sheldon collected these sermons in a book, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? In 1989 a youth minister in Holland, Michigan named Janie Tinklenberg read Sheldon’s book. She was so taken with the phrase What Would Jesus Do? that she came up with the acronym WWJD and designed friendship bracelets for her youth to wear as a reminder to make moral decisions. The idea spread, and today one may find WWJD emblazoned on mugs, t-shirts, jewelry and more. Recently, the Oxford English Dictionary added the acronym WWJD to its lexicon. WWJD is primarily an American term, note that it is rendered without periods.


For example, at some point in the 90s the phrase WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do?”) became the hip new thing floating around in Christian circles, until, thankfully, it went the way of all hip phases and disappeared. (The Catholic World Report)

He strolls around Austin City Limits Festival’s press lounge bouncing between interviews clad in a forest green Nike t-shirt, and sporting a WWJD – What would Jesus do? – bracelet on his left wrist. (Forbes Magazine)