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What's in a name? What does the Bible say?

Updated on February 21, 2015

How important is a name according to the Bible?

What is your name? If I was to tell you a story about someone that you know, but I left out their name, how would you ever know who I am talking about? Do you think that piece of information is important? How important is your literal name and the name that you make for yourself? What do others think when they hear your name?

  • (Proverbs 22:1) 22 A name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold.
  • (Ecclesiastes 7:1) 7 A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s being born.
  • (Hebrews 6:10) 10 For God is not unrighteous so as to forget YOUR work and the love YOU showed for his name, in that YOU have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering.
  • (Ezekiel 39:25) 25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Now is when I shall bring back the captive ones of Jacob and actually have mercy upon all the house of Israel; and I will show exclusive devotion for my holy name.
  • (Proverbs 18:10) 10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.
  • (Proverbs 21:24) 24 Presumptuous, self-assuming braggart is the name of the one who is acting in a fury of presumptuousness.
  • (Proverbs 30:4) 4 Who has ascended to heaven that he may descend? Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of both hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in a mantle? Who has made all the ends of the earth to rise? What is his name and the name of his son—if you know?
  • (Proverbs 30:7-9) 7 Two things I have asked of you. Do not withhold them from me before I die. 8 Untruth and the lying word put far away from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Let me devour the food prescribed for me, 9 that I may not become satisfied and I actually deny [you] and say: “Who is Jehovah?” and that I may not come to poverty and I actually steal and assail the name of my God.
  • (Isaiah 12:3-5) 3 With exultation YOU people will be certain to draw water out of the springs of salvation. 4 And in that day YOU will certainly say: “Give thanks to Jehovah, YOU people! Call upon his name. Make known among the peoples his dealings. Make mention that his name is put on high. 5 Make melody to Jehovah, for he has done surpassingly. This is made known in all the earth.
  • (Jeremiah 3:17) 17 In that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and to her all the nations must be brought together to the name of Jehovah at Jerusalem, and they will no more walk after the stubbornness of their bad heart.”
  • (Lamentations 3:55) 55 I have called out your name, O Jehovah, from a pit of the lowest sort.
  • (Ezekiel 20:9) 9 And I went acting for the sake of my own name that [it] might not be profaned before the eyes of the nations in among whom they were, because I had made myself known to them before their eyes on bringing them forth from the land of Egypt.
  • (Daniel 9:18, 19) 18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Do open your eyes and see our desolated conditions and the city that has been called by your name; for not according to our righteous acts are we letting our entreaties fall before you, but according to your many mercies. 19 O Jehovah, do hear. O Jehovah, do forgive. O Jehovah, do pay attention and act. Do not delay, for your own sake, O my God, for your own name has been called upon your city and upon your people.”
  • (Matthew 7:22, 23) 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.
  • (Matthew 18:20) 20 For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”
  • (Acts 2:17-21) 17 ‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men will dream dreams; 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 And I will give portents in heaven above and signs on earth below, blood and fire and smoke mist; 20 the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and illustrious day of Jehovah arrives. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”’

Peter said in the above verse that the name of Jehovah is so important that it “saves” anyone calling on his name. There are many more verses that speak of a name’s importance and especially the importance of the name of God, Jehovah.

God’s name, written with four Hebrew consonants known as the Tetragrammaton, appears in the original text of the Hebrew Scriptures nearly 7,000 times. That is far more often than any other name mentioned in the Bible. Surely this is evidence that God wants us to know and use his name. In English that name is translated to Jehovah.

What did Jesus and others say about the name of God?

  • (Matthew 4:10) 10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”

So we see that a name is very important. Even Jesus distinguished who he was talking about. He said “Jehovah your God”. He also said...

  • (John 17:26) I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”
  • (Matthew 6:9) "You must pray, then, this way: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.

If I tell you that there is a creator, a God of the universe, a Lord of lords, and a messiah, but I don’t tell you their names, how would you ever know who to pray to, who to praise, and who to worship?

What is the name of God? Why can’t you find the name in most bibles? Why would anyone take the name out?

  • Jeremiah 23:27 "They intend to make my people forget my name..."

The following verses speak of how important knowing who Jehovah is.

  1. (Exodus 6:2, 3) 2 And God went on to speak to Moses and to say to him: “I am Jehovah. 3 And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, but as respects my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them.
  2. (Psalm 83:18) 18 That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
  3. (Romans 10:13-15) 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” 14 However, how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? 15 How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent forth? Just as it is written: “How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”
  4. (Luke 1:49) 49 because the powerful One has done great deeds for me, and holy is his name;
  5. (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6) 5 For even though there are those who are called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many “gods” and many “lords,” 6 there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.

Here, in first Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that there are many lords and gods, so we should make sure which one we are following by declaring their name when we pray, when we call out for help, when we preach, and when we worship.

I believe this to be the greatest teaching. We have One God and his name is Jehovah and his messenger is Jesus Christ, who is also his son.

  1. (Zephaniah 3:12, 13) 12 And I shall certainly let remain in the midst of you a people humble and lowly, and they will actually take refuge in the name of Jehovah. 13 As regards the remaining ones of Israel, they will do no unrighteousness, nor speak a lie, nor will there be found in their mouths a tricky tongue; for they themselves will feed and actually lie stretched out, and there will be no one making [them] tremble.”
  2. (James 2:19) You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder.

The Demons shudder because of Jehovah God, so when you feel scared or distressed call out to “Jehovah” God!

What about Jesus’s name?

What about Jesus Christ's name? Do we need to specify which Jesus is the Messiah? I’m sure you know that there are many people named Jesus. The demon that Jesus spoke to distinguished him as a Nazarene and the son of God in the following verses.

  1. (Matthew 8:29) And, look! they screamed, saying: “What have we to do with you, Son of God? Did you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
  2. (Luke 4:34) “Ah! What have we to do with you, Jesus you Naz·a·rene′? Did you come to destroy us? I know exactly who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Peter also distinguishes which Jesus he is talking about in the following verses.

  • (Acts 2:22-28) 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Naz·a·rene′, a man publicly shown by God to YOU through powerful works and portents and signs that God did through him in YOUR midst, just as YOU yourselves know, 23 this [man], as one delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, YOU fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men and did away with. 24 But God resurrected him by losing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to continue to be held fast by it. 25 For David says respecting him, ‘I had Jehovah constantly before my eyes; because he is at my right hand that I may never be shaken. 26 On this account my heart became cheerful and my tongue rejoiced greatly. Moreover, even my flesh will reside in hope; 27 because you will not leave my soul in Ha′des, neither will you allow your loyal one to see corruption. 28 You have made life’s ways known to me, you will fill me with good cheer with your face.’

We even have an account of a false prophet using the name Bar-Jesus.

  • (Acts 13:6-12) 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Pa′phos, they met up with a certain man, a sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Je′sus, 7 and he was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. Calling Bar′na·bas and Saul to him, this man earnestly sought to hear the word of God. 8 But El′y·mas the sorcerer (that, in fact, is the way his name is translated) began opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Saul, who is also Paul, becoming filled with holy spirit, looked at him intently 10 and said: “O man full of every sort of fraud and every sort of villainy, you son of the Devil, you enemy of everything righteous, will you not quit distorting the right ways of Jehovah? 11 Well, then, look! Jehovah’s hand is upon you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sunlight for a period of time.” Instantly a thick mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went around seeking men to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul, upon seeing what had happened, became a believer, as he was astounded at the teaching of Jehovah.

We should make sure we know and, anyone else listening, exactly who we mean when we talk about the son of God, the Messiah, Our redeemer, and Savior. Even Jesus said many imposters will come..

(Matthew 24:4-6) 4 And in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOU are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.

The use of God's name in Bibles.

I have been using the online parallel Bible that also has a translations option for studying the Bible and I find that most versions of the bible do not use the name of the God. Instead it is replaced by a title, such as "Lord", or "Eternal".


The New World Translation(NWT) has also put the name of God back in the bible. The introduction of the NWT states “Since the Bible sets forth the sacred will of the Sovereign Lord of the universe, it would be a great indignity, indeed an affront to his majesty and authority, to omit or hide his unique divine name, which plainly occurs in the Hebrew text nearly 7,000 times as יהוה (YHWH).] Therefore, the foremost feature of this translation is the restoration of the divine name to its rightful place in the English text. It has been done, using the commonly accepted English form “Jehovah” 6,973 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

The Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010) has put the name of God back into the Bible. Their website has this to say “Aramaic was the language of Israel in the time of Christ and is called Hebrew in the King James Version. Almost all of the place names given in the NT are Aramaic names, and we have tried to preserve those names in this translation.”

The Divine Name Publishers, have restored the name Jehovah 6972 times into the text of the King James Bible. According to their site "they are a group of avid truth seekers who have determined for themselves that it is an undeniable truth that the Divine Name has been purposely withheld from those to whom it is owed. Equal to lying about the Creator and His Will is the hiding or obscuring of His Divine Name. And it is a great shame for Bible translators to conspire with ignorance and evil to accomplish such a heinous thing. "

A Unique Bible Exhibit

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    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      Hi InsightfulTiger,

      really great hub that you have here

      it was very detailed and organized.

      I really did enjoy reading

      thanks for the information about what is included in

      the bible and some of the misconceptions about the Bible.

      Voted up

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      very insightful and thought provoking hub. God bless.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image
      Author

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      And God Bless you girishpuri! Thanks for reading my hub and leaving the nice comment.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image
      Author

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      @Torrilynn Thank you so much for your nice comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Proverbs 18:10 is one of my favorite verses. A name that becomes a safehouse is an important name to know. Thanks for reminding me of the significance of the names of God.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image
      Author

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      Thank you so much MsDora for stopping by and commenting. The name of God is indeed the most important name to know. In my darkest hours, calling on his name is what saved me. I'm sure of it.

      Have a great day!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is an excellent hub. Very true and important. The word lord, is used for people, why should it even be used for God? The name Jehovah is very important. Thank you so much.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image
      Author

      Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

      Michele, I'm happy to hear that you feel that way! I agree with you, 100%, that the name is very important and you make a good point- the title is beneath him. He should be exalted and his name glorified :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a nice comment :)

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