What's In A Name ?

What's In A Name ?
Looking around in the schools today or scanning the birth announcements in the newspaper, I find that parents name their children after favorite relatives, ancestors, fictional characters, movie and soap stars, and geographical locations. Some names seem to be uniquely created for the child, possibly because of the sound or melodic ring of it. All are valid sources as it is every parent’s right and joy to name their baby. What have you or will you name your child? Does that name represent your dreams and hopes of the kind of person he will be as he grows? Keep in mind that it is something that should be taken very seriously since the name will be with the offspring for a lifetime.

What does the Bible tell us?

In biblical times, the giving of a name always meant to describe the person’s true character. God’s inspiration was the predominant source of naming one’s descendents and sometimes God, Himself, even changed a name when a change in character occurred.

For instance, Jacob, from birth, was a schemer. His name means “the supplanter” (One who takes the place of another through force or scheming.)
When his selfish spirit was broken and he became a man God could use, God changed his name to Israel, meaning “God struggles or one who struggles with God” His descendents became the nation of Israel. (Read his story in Genesis 25:19-34, and chapters 27 through 35.)
  • Genesis 32:28
    “ Your name will no longer be Jacob, ” the man told him. “ It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won. “

Jesus changed His disciple Peter’s name because He could see into his heart and into his future.
  • John 1:42
    Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “ You are Simon, the son of John—but you will be called Cephas ” (which means Peter ).

Peter and Cephas both mean “rock.”
God knows His followers by name, in a very personal relationship.
  • Isaiah 43:1
    But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: “ Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.

  • Revelation 3:5
    All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

So perhaps, when deciding on a name for a future offspring, you may want to spend some time in prayer. God knows who your child is and may give you that inspiration.
If your time of naming children is past, and you did not ask for God’s guidance, don’t despair, for in the eternal view of things, God knows our names.
  • Revelation 2:17b
    And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.


Check out the Biblical Boys Names and Biblical Girls Names in the subject listings on the main Christian Living page, for name meanings and stories of Bible characters.


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