When you say the name of a person, you are speaking of their identity. If you were to approach a group of people whom you know and ask to speak to someone named Avery, it would be Avery who answered. It wouldn’t be Chris. The reason why Avery would answer is because that is his name. That is his identity. It is not Chris’ identity.
Names are more than nomenclature. Names involve identity. In the Bible, names were often given at the earliest possible time in an effort by the parents to define the hopes and dreams of their child. Thus, the parents would choose a name to reflect what the child was destined to become.
Some names live in infamy. You don’t see a parent naming their child Adolf Hitler, Judas, Jezebel, or Benedict Arnold. If they did, most people would question their mental health. Some might ask, “Why did you name your child this? Don’t you know what that name stands for?”
Why? Because names matter.
There are other names that, when spoken, immediately conjure up thoughts reaching far beyond the syllables themselves. If a person mentions Bill Gates, most people think of wealth and success. If you talk about Obama or Trump, you’re going to conjure up thoughts about an office and position—and perhaps some strong feelings. If someone brings up Michael Jordan, then basketball and greatness come to mind. This is because a name reflects an identity.
If names matter to us, you can imagine they matter all the more to God—the Creator and originator of humanity, in whose image we have been made.
The various names of God reflect His character and attributes. He refers to Himself throughout Scripture with many different names. Each one draws us into a quality of and relational connection with Him that help us to identify who He is in each particular moment and situation. The variety of His names enables us to get to know Him better, as well as to understand the numerous ways He is able to work both in and through our lives.
Not only does God the Father go by many meaningful names, but Jesus—God the Son—has a number of names Himself.
Tony Evans, The Power of Jesus’ Names (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2019).
We have just released a new Bible study on topic of The Power of Jesus’s Names. This study supplements Tony Evans’s book by the same name.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Part 1: Power in His Positions
2. Alpha and Omega
4. Lamb of God
5. Great High Priest
Part 2: Power in His Person
7. I Am
11. Son of God, Son of Man
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