What’s in a name?

Names are powerful things.

A college friend of mine got a job as a teacher’s assistant in a kindergarten class. As she told me all about it, we reminded ourselves how important it is in a room full of 4-5-year-olds to know every child’s name. “Hey, you” just doesn’t cut it in many correction/discipline situations. It also makes kids feel special when you can call them by name. I work hard at this, but I don’t always get it right. Some kids are visibly crushed when I admit I’ve forgotten their name or call them by the wrong one.

The same day I caught up with my college-age friend, my sister came over to hang out with Dad and me. We don’t get to do that very often, so we enjoyed the relaxing evening. When it was time to go home, she took her dog and said her goodbyes.

“Goodbye, Dad.”

“Goodbye, Nancy Ruth.”

“Goodbye, Fuzzy.”

Fuzzy is what she calls my dog, a Maltipoo with curly, sometimes fuzzy, hair. That dog goes by many names. His official name is Conlin, but I only use it when giving commands. I usually call him Bubby. My dad calls all dogs Fido. Now my sister calls him Fuzzy. I don’t know how the poor “puppy” (he’s 10) keeps it all straight, but he usually comes when called.

The Meaning of a Name

All of this name business got me thinking. Names are powerful. When we use a name, it’s not just lettering on a page. We think of people we’ve known with that name which gives it a good or bad taste in our mouths. We give nicknames or pet names to people we love (and to those we seek to distance ourselves from or ridicule). What does all that say about the names we use for God?

I started a project a while ago that I need to finish. I want to put the names of God and a few corresponding verses into my prayer app, so I can meditate on them and pray the names of God throughout the year. Some of them strike me to the core. Others I’ve never really thought about before. A few seem downright strange.

Look through this list of the names of God from The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen & Alex Kendrick. (I don’t get money for promoting this book, but I’d recommend it all the same.)

Choose one of the names below to focus on this week. Look up the verses. What does it tell you about God and His character?

Old Testament Hebrew Names for God

  • Adonai Jehovah (Lord God) Deut 3:24
  • El Bethel (God of the house of God) Gen 35:7
  • El Elyon (God most high) Gen 14:18; Ps 78:56; Dan 3:26
  • El Kanna (jealous God) Exod 20:5
  • El Roi (God who sees) Gen 16:13
  • El Shaddai (God Almighty) Gen 17:1; Ezek 10:5
  • Elohim (the strong Creator God) Gen 1:1-2
  • Jehovah (Yahweh, “I AM,” the relational God) Gen 2:4
  • Jehovah-Eli (the Lord my God) Ps 18:2
  • Jehovah-Elohim (Lord God) Gen 3:9-13, 23
  • Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord will provide) Gen 22:8-14
  • Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord our banner) Exod 17:8-15
  • Jehovah-M’kaddesh (the Lord our sanctifier) Exod 31:13; Lev 20:7-8; Deut 14:2
  • Jehovah-Shalom (the Lord our peace) Judg 6:24
  • Jehovah-Sabaoth (the Lord of hosts) 1 Sam 1:3, 11
  • Jehovah-Elyon (the Lord most high) Ps 7:17
  • Jehovah-Raah (the Lord my shepherd) Ps 23:1
  • Jehovah-Rapha (the Lord our healer) Exod 15:23-26
  • Jehovah-Shammah (the Lord is present) Ezek 48:35
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu (the Lord our righteousness) Jer 23:5-6

Names for Jesus

  • Almighty (Rev 1:8)
  • Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8; 22:13)
  • Anointed of God (Ps 2:2; Lk 4:18; Acts 10:38)
  • Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)
  • Beloved (Matt 12:18; Eph 1:6)
  • Bread of life  (Jn 6:32, 35, 48, 51
  • Bridegroom (Matt 9:15; Jn 3:29; Rev 21:2)
  • Christ (Lk 9:20)
  • Comforter (Jn 14:16)
  • Counselor (Isa 9:6)
  • Creator (Isa 43:15; Jn 1:3; Col 1:16)
  • Deliverer (Rom 11:26)
  • Emmanuel (Isa 7:14; Matt. 1:23)
  • Faithful and True (Rev 19:11)
  • Friend of sinners (Matt 11:19)
  • God (Jn 1:1; Rom 9:5; 1 Jn 5:20)
  • God of hope (Rom 15:13)
  • Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11, 14)
  • Head of the church (Eph 1:22; 5:23; Col 1:18)
  • Healer (Matt 4:23; 8:16-17)
  • High Priest (Heb 4:14-15; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1)
  • Hope (Acts 28:20; 1 Tim 1:1)
  • Judge (2 Tim 4:1, 8; James 5:9)
  • King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16)
  • Lamb of God (Jn 1:29; Isa 53:7; Rev 7:9)
  • Light of the world (Jn 8:12; 9:5)
  • Lord of the harvest (Matt 9:37-38)
  • Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16)
  • Lord of peace (2 Thess 3:16)
  • Master (Luke 5:5; 17:13; Eph 6:9)
  • Mediator (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 1 Jn 2:1)
  • Messiah (Jn 1:41; 4:25-26)
  • Mighty God (Isa 9:6)
  • Peace (Eph 2:14)
  • Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)
  • Propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 2:2; 4:10)
  • Resurrection and Life (Jn 11:25)
  • Righteousness (Jer 23:6; 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 3:9)
  • Rock (1 Cor 10:4)
  • Physician (Matt 9:12)
  • Redeemer (Job 19:25; Ps 130:8; Isa 59:20)
  • Salvation (Lk 2:30)
  • Sanctification (1 Cor 1:30; Heb 13:12)
  • Savior (Lk 2:11; Phil 3:20; 2 Tim 1:10)
  • Savior of the world (Jn 4:42; 1 Jn 4:14)
  • Shepherd  (Heb  13:20; 1 Pet 2:25; 5:4)
  • Son of God (Matt 14:33; Lk 1:35; Jn 1:34)
  • Son of Man (Matt 8:20; Lk 18:8; Jn 1:51)
  • Teacher (Mk 6:34; Lk 4:15; Jn 3:2)
  • Truth (Jn 1:14; 14:6)
  • Victor (Jn 16:33; Rev 3:21; 17:14)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24)
  • Wonderful (Isa 9:6)
  • Word of God (Rev 19:13)

Names for the Holy Spirit

  • Breath of the Almighty (Job 32:8)
  • Counselor (Jn 14:16, 26)
  • Spirit of Christ (1 Pet 1:11)
  • Spirit of counsel and strength (Isa 11:2)
  • Spirit of faith (2 Cor 4:13)
  • Spirit of fire (Isa 4:4)
  • Spirit of glory (1 Pet 4:14)
  • Spirit of grace and supplication (Zech 12:10)

 

What is your favorite name for God?

Related Posts

2 Responses to What’s in a name?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

learn-about-studies-sidebar

Join the E-Team!
Get weekly ideas of how to incorporate faith into everyday life. PLUS, receive a FREE GIFT: the "How to Pray with P.O.W.E.R." guide and bookmark.
  • What should we call you?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

* Children's first names only used with written permission from their legal guardians. Children's last names are never given. Other people’s names and small details may have been changed to protect individual's privacy.