The Significance of Names in the Bible – Collinsville IL’s Church
Have you ever thought about what the name “Jesus” means?
Names are significant in the Bible, and they have a variety of functions.
For instance, a biblical name could record some aspects of a person’s birth. Moses was given his name because his mother drew him out of a river (Exodus 2:10). His name literally means “to draw out.” Jacob and Samuel also serve as examples (Genesis 25:6; 1 Samuel 1:20).
Biblical names sometimes expressed the parents’ reaction to the birth of their child. Examples include Isaac (Genesis 21:6) which means “laughter”, and Abimelech (Judges 8:31) which means “my father is king.”
Biblical names were sometimes used to secure the solidarity of family ties. An example of this is found in Luke 1:59 when John the Baptist was nearly given the name of his father.
Biblical names could be used to communicate God’s message. The prophet Isaiah named his first son Shear-jashub which means “a remnant shall return” (Isaiah 7:3). This was in line with God’s message to the Israelite people that they would be reduced to a mere remnant of what they once were, and would eventually return from exile to the promised land.
Biblical names were also used to establish affiliation with God. All the names ending with -jah or -el (and there are many of those) are saying “with the Lord” or “with God.”
Then you have the giving of a new name. This was used to establish authority over another, or to indicate a new beginning or new direction in a person’s life. For instance, Pharaoh changed Joseph’s name to Zephenath-paneah when Joseph entered his service (Genesis 41:45), another Pharaoh changed the name of the Jewish king Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:24). While in Babylonian captivity, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were forced to change their names to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:6-7). Name changes indicating a new life direction include Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), Cephas to Peter (Mark 3:16), and some would say Saul to Paul (Acts 13:9).
Here’s the really interesting part: names were often used to express the nature and function of a person. They were used to indicate a person’s purpose in the world, and the greatest example of this type of naming is Jesus. Check it out:
20 But after [Joseph] had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
“Because He will save people from their sins.”
The name “Jesus” literally means “the Lord saves.”
What is Jesus all about?
You can find the answer to that question just by looking at His name – “to save people from their sins.”
Has Jesus saved you?
Because the benefits of allowing Him into your life don’t begin in heaven – they begin now!
At The Crossings Church Collinsville you will find people who genuinely care about you and your family, and that’s a reflection of how Jesus feels about you too.
Jesus loves you and wants a relationship with you, and there’s a church in Collinsville that can help. We hope to meet you soon!