The Importance of a Name
A few weeks ago as I was running errands around town, I was listening to a sermon on the radio, and unfortunately I don’t recall who it was, so my apologies there! The pastor briefly mentioned something from the Bible that caught my attention, and I remembered enough to make a mental note of what he said in passing so I could investigate at a later date. Mind you, it was the second time in as many weeks I had heard the same info from different sources.
I was reminded yet again of my procrastinating ways when our daughter, Axi, went camping with us this past weekend. She mentioned that her Theology professor brought up something really cool from the Bible and she wanted to know if I’d ever heard of it. When she shared the info, I knew God was yammering at me to get on the ball, so here’s what I’ve now heard three times within the past month!
The professor, and both pastors pointed out the definition of names in the generations from Adam to Noah reveals to us God was sending a Savior to redeem mankind.
As you’re aware, even if you don’t have kids of your own, naming a child is always a big event in life. In biblical times people chose a name for their child to describe an attribute, an event known about the child or family, or they’d even name children for a prophecy of a future event.
The Hebrews often included a reference to God in naming their children as well. Here are a few examples, and as you can see, even Jesus was a recipient of this –
Jesus – “the Messiah”, “anointed” – an angel told Joseph to name the unborn child Jesus, meaning ‘He shall save His people from their sins’ – Strong’s #2424
Obadiah-“Servant of Jehovah” – Strong’s #5662
Daniel-“God is my judge” – Strong’s #1840
Elijah-“My God is Jehovah” – Strong’s #452
Ezekiel-“God will strengthen” – Strong’s #3168
Another custom was to give the firstborn son his unique name, and then add the father’s name as the son’s second name. Here’s what Manners and Customs of the Bible has to say about this –
“After the birth of the first son, the father and mother were known as the father of so-and-so, and the mother of so-and-so. And the son added the father’s first name after his own. Thus Jesus spoke of Peter as, “Simon Bar-jona” (Matt. 16:17), which means, “Simon, son of Jona.””
With our brief lesson on the Hebrew custom of names, let’s take a look at the names of the Patriarchs from Adam to Noah!
Overall, there are ten names in the ten generations from Adam to Noah that hold significant meanings. Each name by itself might not mean a whole lot to anyone but the recipient, however, when you look at them as a group, they point to our sweet Jesus’ appearance some 4,000 years later. Below is a list of the men’s names, and their meanings. Oh, did I mention this is super cool?
The names, Strong’s Concordance #’s, and the transliterations are listed in the graph below – take special notice of the far right hand column that reveals God’s message about the Savior!
What I find so fascinating is how the parents who gave their kids these names wouldn’t have known about Jesus, yet they bequeathed their sons with these names anyway. It’s another sign God is always looking out for us, and always talking if we (I) would only listen.
Our text comes from Genesis chapters 5 – 9.
The study aids and lexicons I’ve used are referenced at the end of this article.
So here we go! Be blessed my friends, and as always, give God the glory!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18 †
If you’d like to read this without the break in this document, you can read it in the PDF format here.
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