Published by:

Building Bridges between God and Man

A Fuller Meaning of the Word Name

Bonnie Morris

Years ago I studied the meaning of the word NAME and found it to mean both character…, and power. Since that time, I have heard many describe name as to mean character or nature and I would always say to myself “and power”. But, I never felt to add anything to what was said.

Today is the time to write about it!

To the Hebrews, a name was not a label, or a tool to distinguish one person from another; a person’s name was viewed as equivalent to the person himself. A person’s name signified their authority as well as their nature. The name also spoke of a person’s will, worth, reputation and ownership. It was not limited to meaning just nature. But for today’s study, let’s just consider the character and power in a name.

Unfortunately, in today‘s western society, it is typical that we use a name as mere designators to distinguish one person from another. A name does not have much significance to us, and any meaning attached to the name is of no concern and many times, even unknown. But, it wasn’t so in Bible times.

Once we understand this, and that the word NAME has more than one meaning, some things we did not understand in the bible makes more sense and we have opportunity to relate to a much bigger God than we have previously seen. I hope you will re-new your mind and conclude that NAME contains more meanings than “nature“.

Let’s use as an example, the name Jacob. This name means “he who supplants”. Supplant means to take the place of another. The power in this name is to deceive and trick others. This is why Jacob’s name was changed to Israel after he had seen God face to face.

The name Jesus, means savior. Often, we read and sing about “the power in the name of Jesus”! It was his nature and his power that his name depicted, as well as the other things we mentioned. Jesus name was, what we would call, a true NAME! The person of Christ was everything his name spoke of! His nature/character… authority/power, etc.!

Speaking and writing in “the name” signified authority in bible times. (Exodus 5:23; For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered this people at all; 1st Kings 21:8 So she wrote letters in Ahab‘s name, and sealed them with his seal and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth). Ones name also signified their character (Eccl. 7:1a; A good name is better than precious ointment; Matthew 6:9 After this manner pray therefore ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy NAME, meaning His whole person). Christ is said to have manifested the Father’s name; meaning that He has made His (whole) person (character and authority, etc.)known to humanity (John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them).

God is Love… But this name also contains authority…, etc.

1st Corinthians chapter 13:4-7 gives us the description of the nature or character of God: Love suffers long, and is kind, love envies not, love does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up. Love does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

The authority of God is seen in scripture at many different times, and it does NOT fit into the above category describing love.

For instance: Love creates, commands, can be frustrated, gets angry, judges, rebukes, reproves, chastises, has power, etc… all as righteous qualities. (Not born of the natural, but spiritual) Possibly all of these things would fall into the category of His authority. But, because His Name also contains His character, He never does any of the aforementioned outside of His nature. He always acts out of His fullness. He is always motivated by love. He does not condemn anyone. John 3:18 He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the NAME of the only begotton Son of God. We believe in the name for salvation… so why, after salvation, do Christians still feel condemned… Could it be because they do NOT believe in ALL of Him yet? If so, we could conclude that when one feels condemnation, there is something about Him that is not yet believed.

This brief study opens up an understanding of the meaning of the word NAME. Passages we may have just passed over can now come alive with insight. The concept of the word NAME is SO, SO, SO significant in Bible times and yet I know it is hard for us to grasp because of our culture in the Western world. Please let it bring to the forefront of your minds an awareness that God is much bigger than you may have realized and study scriptures that heretofore were missed.

AND REMEMBER…. Jesus calls a believer HIS BRETHREN. We carry His NAME… Don’t you want ALL of His NAME to be a part of your experience.