What’s In A Name?


Words are powerful. When we assign words to a person we give them meaning, identity, and even authority. Think about when Mr. Smith becomes Senator Smith or President Smith. These labels do a lot to our concept of Mr. Smith. In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1).” God spoke and said, “Let there be light (Genesis 1:3).” And, there was. These are some powerful words. If these words had not been spoken, we would not even be here. Thank God for the words.

When we label someone with words like “stupid,” “dishonest,” or “fool,” our words have the power to hurt or destroy. But, when we call someone “honest,” “courageous,” or “intelligent,” we build someone up and bless them. Blessings were a powerful thing in the Old Testament. They still are.

The Bible is clear about watching our words and guarding our mouths. Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

Adam knew the power of words. He had the great responsibility to “name” all the animals. Come to think about it doesn’t an elephant look like an elephant and a tiger a tiger? I can’t think of a better name for these, can you?.

We humans have labels assigned to us too. These labels are called names. Our parents choose a name for us that just may determine who we become.

So, what about a person’s name? Do these words have any special meaning? Is it important what we name our children? I am sure it is.

In Genesis we meet Abram. Abram means “high or exalted father.” God changed his name to Abraham which means “father of a multitude.” God changed his name and conformed him to it. He was the father of a multitude.

We see another example in Simon whose name was changed to Peter. Simon means “to hear” and Peter means “rock”. Simon heard the call of Jesus and followed him. Simon heard the voice of the Father and declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. In later Church history, Peter becomes the rock of the church and for Catholics he was the first Pope.

Today, it has become somewhat faddish to make up names for our children that have no meaning, names that just sound distinct or unique. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Names are important. They do mean something.

My name means “wolf-wise counselor.” People have come to me for counsel all my life. God has conformed me. What does your name mean? Has God conformed you?


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