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What Does the Bible Say About...Names?

What does the bible say about choosing a name? And how important is a name? Can you give more insight as to the importance of the name of JESUS?


Choosing a name apparently used to be more important than now. Most people today don’t know the origin of names, other than perhaps their own. The Bible says nothing about choosing a name, other than explaining how some people were named. It doesn’t seem to be as important what you name a person as how you raise that person.

Sometimes people in the Bible were named because of a particular occurrence. For example, in Genesis 29 and 30, the sons of Jacob were named because of ideas or incidents. My favorite passage about names is 1 Samuel 25:25. It is about a man named Nabal, which means fool. His wife says, “As his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him.”

There are some names that fall out of favor because of those who had that name. In the United States the name Benedict is no longer popular because of its association with the famous traitor, Benedict Arnold. Almost nobody today is called Judas because of the betrayer of Jesus, although you may find some men named Jude, which is the same name. Because the King James Version of the Bible translated a wicked queen’s name as Jezebel you don’t hear of many women with that name, even though there are quite a few with the equivalent name of Isabel or Isabella.

You asked about the significance of the name Jesus, which is essentially the same as the names Joshua and Isaiah. For that, please see my article, “More Men With a Name of God”.