NAMES OF GOD EXPLAINED
In Jewish tradition, a name is much more than a name as we see it today. They believe that a name transforms a person’s identity, which is why so many of the names in the Old Testament describe the character of the person.
And the same goes for the names of God. We see name after name explaining His different characteristics and nature throughout the Old Testament. Then once you hit the New Testament, we get to know Him even more through the life of Jesus.
But what do all of these names of God like YHWH, Adonai, El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, really mean?
THE NAMES OF GOD
We’ll start with Yahweh because that’s the personal name of God and it appears 6,500 times in the Old Testament. There’s this story in Exodus 3 where Moses is out in the wilderness for 40 years. He actually ran away from Egypt and was hiding out there.
One day God shows up to Moses in the form of a burning bush and tells him about all of these miracles He’s going to perform through Moses. And Moses asks Him, “Who should I say sent me?” And God said to tell them my name is “Yahweh” in Hebrew, which is translated as “I Am Who I am.” So he essentially said, “Tell them that ‘I Am’ sent you.”
Now this is the personal name of God. And when you see the name LORD in all caps in the Bible, that’s this word, Yahweh.
But the Jewish people wanted to show their respect for the sacred name Yahweh so over time they changed the name throughout the Hebrew Bible to the name Adonai, which in Hebrew means Lord, not all caps. And we see this name a lot throughout the Old Testament as well.
MORE NAMES OF GOD THAT DESCRIBE HIS CHARACTER
King of kings and Lord of Lords and Ancient of Days.
In Hebrew we have El-Shaddai, meaning God Almighty.
And Elohim, showing the 3 persons of the trinity in one name.
And Jehovah Jireh, meaning "God will provide."
And Jehovah Rapha, “The God that heals.”
Or Jehovah Nissi, "the Lord is my banner.”
And my favorite, “Father.” Because we are His children and He loves each and every one of us more than anything.
WHAT DOES YOUR NAME MEAN?
If you don’t know, look it up online this week. Is it an accurate description of your character? Or were you named after someone else? Maybe a family member or a significant person? Spend some time looking into it! You might be surprised by what you find out.
ENCOUNTER GOD IN FRESH WAYS
New to The Brand Sunday? Be sure to check out our free downloadable resources, including the free PDF download of the first five books of The Bible Study - our bestselling guide to the Bible. Test it out and see what you think!
Or dive right in and count the names of God you see as you use The Bible Study during your daily Bible reading.
So many people want to grow in their faith but feel overwhelmed by the Bible. At The Brand Sunday, we create resources to make it easier for you to understand the Bible and to grow in your relationship with God.