• Jonathan Schnarr

What's In A Name?

Do you know the meaning of your name? Let us know in the comments! Here's Jonathan, Youth Minister at St George & St Paul, with our latest blog post, exploring the significance of names and the many names of God.

“What’s their name?” might be the first question we ask when we meet a new parent or hear of a friend who has had a newborn baby. Names are massively significant in our society and they can define who we are.


When my parents decided to call me Jonathan, they did so because they wanted my name to stand for something: in their eyes, I was a 'gift from God' – probably especially in those moments when I didn’t argue with my siblings or kept mum and dad awake during the night..! I wonder what your name means?


God also has a name, and it defines who he is and what he stands for: In Genesis 2 we come across the word Yahweh (YHWH) which sounds very similar to the Hebrew phrase 'I am' and will become the most referenced name for God in our Bibles.


God is the 'I am,' the foundation of everything that exists and the One who will never change, but stay the same yesterday, today and forever.


But YHWH is not the only name we find for God in the Bible. Other names describe God even more and pick up nuances of his character: El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals), El Elyon (The Most High God), Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), El Olam (The Everlasting God), Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Who Provides).


Some names are translated into our English language and are picked up in modern worship songs or used in our everyday language: God is our ‘Waymaker’, the ‘Alpha & Omega’, our ‘Strong Deliverer’, a ‘Kinsman Redeemer’, our ‘Salvation’, the ‘Way, The Truth and The Life’… The list is endless and we could pick over 100 different names that bear witness to his quality and significance as we trawl through the pages of the Bible.


Names are significant and whenever I sit down to marvel at God’s beauty and loving-kindness, I often reflect on His names and focus on one or two that are particularly meaningful to me at that moment. During the pandemic I found strength in knowing that God is Jehova Shalom (our Peace) whereas currently I really enjoy being reminded that ‘God is Here’ (Jehovah Shammah).


Which of God’s names do you find particular comfort in this week? Comment below and let us know!


I want to challenge you this week to pick up (or turn on) your Bible and flick/swipe through the pages, to explore God’s character in a new way and find joy in knowing God more and more!


Let us know what you find out, we would love to hear from you.


Have a great week,

Jonathan

Youth Minister


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