There is an old Latin saying, “nomen est omen” which means “name is an omen.” At times, the Bible refers to omens and divination positively or without condemnation (Leviticus 16:8-10. Acts 1:26); at other times, such practices are depicted negatively (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). (2) However, what is meant by “omen” in the saying, and this article, is that a person’s name is a “sign” of who a person is in their true identity.
Similarly, in the Old Covenant, a name was not just a way of identifying a person but rather it was a way of revealing their true identity, nature, and essence. Furthermore, it is the same with God; however, His identity is expressed not in one name, but in many. Each name of God is like a veiled window, that when the veil is drawn back, it will allow His light to flood in, giving us glimpses of His infinite glory! (1 Corinthians 13:12. 2 Corinthians 3:18. 1 John 3:2,3 ) (3)
More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things—indeed, I regard them as dung!—that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness—a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness. My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:8-12
Is your aim to know Jesus more intimately? So, what must I do to attain this intimacy with Jesus? I am so glad you asked!
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
We first come to know Jesus in salvation (1) by calling upon His name.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Realize that Jesus is identified with His name meaning to call upon Jesus’ name is to call upon Jesus Himself.
The name of the Lord is like a strong tower; the righteous person runs to it and is set safely on high. (Proverbs 18:10 NET)
The same way we received Christ Jesus as Lord, through knowing His name, is the same way we will continue to grow in our intimacy with Him.
Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, (Colossians 2:6)
Again, God’s identity is not expressed in one name but in many names. Consequently, we must study to know the many names of God in order to continue to grow in our intimacy with Him.
The names of God contained in the Bible can be organized into the following eight broad categories. These categories contain a total of over a hundred and fifty names for God that come from the Bible. I will provide a few examples of the less familiar Hebrew names in this article. (3)(4)
Almighty – The One Who Reigns in Power (19 Names of God) (3)
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – I Am That I Am (Exodus 3:14. John 8:58) (5)
Melekh HaGoyim – King of the Nations (Jeremiah 10:6,7. Psalm 22:29. Revelation 15:2-4)
Elohim Emet – True God (Jeremiah 10:10. 2 Chronicles 15:3,4. John 17:1-3)
Father – The One Who Loves Us (17 Names of God) (3)
El Nosey – Forgiving God (Micah 7:18. Psalm 99:8. Matthew 26:28. Ephesians 1:7,8)
El Hesed – God of Kindness (Psalm 86:4-7. 2 Samuel 2:6. Ephesians 2:6,7. Titus 3:4,5)
Adonai Yishma – The Lord Who Hears (Isaiah 30:19. Psalm 4:3;34:15,17. 1 John 5:14,15)
Redeemer – The One Who Sets Us Free (19 Names of God) (3)
Go’ali – My Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6. Isaiah 63:16. Job 19:25. Luke 24:21-24. Titus 2:14)
Elohey Yish‘i – God of My Salvation (Micah 7:7. Habakkuk 3:17,18. Psalm 18:46;88:1,2. Luke 2:29-31)
Pischeynu – Our Passover (Exodus 12:21,22;12:26,27. 1 Corinthians 5:7,8)
Shepherd – The One Who Cares for Us (17 Names of God) (3)
Seter – Hiding Place (Psalm 17:8;27:5;32:7. Colossians 3:3)
Tov Adonai – The Lord is Good (Psalm 25:8;34:8;145:9. 2 Chronicles 7:3. 1 Peter 2:3)
Ezrati – My Helper (Exodus 18:4. Isaiah 41:13. Psalm 30:10;40:17;146:5. Hebrews 13:6)
Spirit – The One Who Fills and Empowers Us (17 Names of God) (3)
Nishmat Chayim – Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7. Psalm 33:6. Job 32:8;33:4. 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Simchati – My Joy (Psalm 4:6,7;105:43. Nehemiah 8:9,10. 1 Peter 1:8)
Zimrati – My Song (Exodus 15:2. Psalm 40:3;96:1-3;149:1)
Truth – The One Who Gives Us Wisdom (17 Names of God) (3)
Elohim HeChakham – The Wise God (1 Kings 3:28. Psalm 104:24 Proverbs 3:19. Daniel 2:20. Romans 16:27)
Or Ha‘Olam – Light of the World (Psalm 18:28;27:1. John 1:4,5,9;8:12)
Ruach HeChazon – Spirit of Revelation (1 Samuel 9:15. Luke 2:30-32. Galatians 1:11,12. Ephesians 1:16,17)
Defender – The One Who Protects Us (17 Names of God) (3)
Adonai Hoshia – The Lord of Victory (Deuteronomy 20:3,4. Zechariah 9:9. Psalm 20:6,9. 1 Corinthians 15:56,57)
Aryeh Mishevet Y’hudah – Lion of Judah (Hosea 5:14;6:1. Revelation 5:4-5;5:9)
Ish Milchamah – Warrior (Exodus 15:3. Isaiah 42:13. Jeremiah 20:11. Psalm 78:65,66)
Faithful – The One Who is Trustworthy (17 Names of God) (3)
Ohev – Friend (Exodus 33:11. 2 Chronicles 20:7. Luke 5:20. James 2:23)
Tikvati – My Hope (Psalm 52:9;71:5. Romans 15:13. Hebrews 6:18,19. 1 Peter 1:3,4)
Ba’al – Husband (Isaiah 54:5. Jeremiah 31:31,32. 2 Corinthians 11:2)
For further study of the Names of God please see the referenced book (3). I highly recommend this book as it contains many, many more names of God than those listed in this article.
In addition, some of the more familiar names of God can be found here (1). Again, we must study to know the many names of God in order to know Him more intimately.
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Flanders, D. C. (2016). Omens in the Ancient Near East. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(3) Vander Meulen, E. L., & Malda, B. D. (2005). His names are wonderful: getting to know God through his hebrew names (p. vii). Baltimore, MD: Messianic Jewish Publishers.
(4) Guide for Pronunciation of Hebrew Transliteration
“An effort has been made to conform to the modern Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew. We have adhered to the pronunciation guide below, except in cases where convention has rendered a standard spelling.
• “a” is pronounced “ah” as in “hurrah”
• “ai” is pronounced “uy” as in “buy”
• “e” is pronounced “eh” as in “get”
• “ey” is pronounced “ay” as in “day”
• “i” is pronounced “ee” as in “see”
• “u” is pronounced “oo” as in “soon”
• “kh” and “ch” have no actual English equivalent; they are gutteral sounds, which are made in the back of the throat” (3)
(5) The “I am” in the Greek is ἐγώ (I) εἰμι (I am). What a declaration! Translated Jesus said, I (ego) I am (eimi), that is He said, He is the one that has always existed and the source of all reality, existence, meaning, and purpose in life!