Suggestions to use as talk, group work, quiet-times
There are a number of names of God. We have only shared some here but there are still twelve of them!!
Obviously you probably won’t want to do all this in one talk! So you have lots of options… Get each group to study one name of God in a week and then feedback to everyone else.
The PDF download has been done with a name of God on individual pages. You could also print these off and give to young people over 12 weeks (or two a week for 6 weeks) as personal quiet-time notes to take away!
Alternatively, you can do perhaps three names of God each week over four weeks. Break it down however it best works for you and your group!
What is your name?
Do you know what it means?
Here are some of the most popular names for males and for females – for England and Wales as of May 2019:
Oliver – Noah – Harry – Leo – George – Jack
Olivia – Sophia – Amelia – Lily – Ava – Emily – Ella
Here are the most popular names that someone listed from a UK school in 2011:
Jessica – meaning ‘God is watching’ (from Hebrew)
Hannah -meaning ‘Favour or Grace’ (from the Bible)
Emily – meaning either ‘competitor / rival’ from German or French – or ‘admirer’ (Latin America)
Charlotte – the feminine version of ‘Charles’ (Charles means man or warrior)
Molly – came from the New Testament names of Martha (Mary) and most likely means ‘beloved’ or ‘love’ (Egyptian)
Catherine/Katherine/Kathryn – various possible meanings but was adopted in Christian Europe to mean ‘pure’
Holly – English name for the holly tree
James – probably from the Hebrew meaning ‘supplanter’ (one who takes the right of another) or ‘grasping the heel’ (Bible story in Genesis 25.26)
Jack – from English slang meaning ‘man’. Some think it may be derived from Hebrew meaning ‘God is gracious’
Matthew – meaning ‘God’s gift’ or ‘gift of the Lord’. From the Biblical Hebrew.
Alexander – from Greek and meaning ‘protector of mankind’.
Daniel – meaning ‘God is my judge’ and from the Biblical Hebrew.
John – meaning ‘God is gracious / merciful’ and originating in Israel
William – meaning ‘resolute protector’ or ‘determined protector’ and from England / France / Germany
Find out the meaning of Your Name
Use one of these links to check for your name… (Links checked May 19)
What names and why
In the Old Testament times, people’s names were often because of something like where they were born, something that happened, how they were born etc. Today (apart from Christians choosing Bible names for their children), people often choose names that they like! But is surprising how many names that are still popular date back to Israel, the Bible, the New testament times or Christianity in Europe.
But while our names are really important, did you know that although God is called God (YHWH – or Yahweh as we say it), he also has lots of different mini names that tell us something about who he is? Let’s have a look at some of these names as they may well encourage you and help you!
You know when you’re feeling one way or another, you often say out loud how you’re feeling. As we look at the names of God, we can learn about who God is. This gives us hope in life as we learn about how God has provided for every need and how God always has an answer for us. We can also start to choose to think in the right way about life – saying what God says because God is truth and God’s Word is truth. So what would you rather say – what you think or what God thinks – what you say or what God says!
Let’s be people who agrees with what God says !!
Name 1 – Elohim
Genesis 1.1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth
Elowho? Elohim? Isn’t this a character from Sesame Street?
This name is plural and gives us a hint about how God is three-in-one and one-in-three in a mysterious way we don’t fully understand. So God is one God – but this means God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This is often used when we talk about how God is over everything and is awesome – like in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1.1)
Other subtitles of Elohim are El-Shaddai which means God is our supplier and even our protection (like in Psalm 91). There is also El Elyon which tells us that God is supreme and El Olam – the everlasting God.
What we can learn – God is in control of everything ultimately. But know that he doesn’t send evil stuff like sickness our way (there’s no sickness in heaven and there was no sickness in the Garden of Eden).
But we live in a messed up world of evil and persecution. But God promises he has overcome everything and that we are more than conquerers – which means we can always rise above every situation with God’s help (Romans 8.37). He always works things for good, even when the things aren’t good (Romans 8.28).
We need to keep our faith in and our eyes on Jesus and know that he has already defeated satan (Colossians 215). We are just waiting for the return of Jesus and can do good in this world in God’s power to see people come to faith, get healed, restored, lifted out of dark places and given hope!
Name 2 – Yahweh / Jehovah Jireh – Provider
Genesis 22.14 – So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
This means “The Lord will provide”. It’s an amazing thought that everything we need is provided for by God. It often comes through people but God is behind everything. Hebrews 1.3 tells us that even the world is held together by the word of Jesus.
If you have a need, you need to know that if you go to God, stay faithful, do what he says and work hard, he will help you and will provide for you – Philippians 4.19. Jesus also promised in Luke 6.38 that when we give out and are generous, he will take care of us.
God will never let you down!
Name 3 – Yahweh / Jehovah Rophe (or ‘Rapha’) – Healer
Exodus 15.26 – “…for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Did you know that behind all healing is God? He is our healer. Another way of translating this Bible verse is ‘The Lord your Doctor’. Healing can come through medicine and healing can come directly from God.
Some people come up with strange theories that God doesn’t heal today but this is rubbish and you can’t find this wrong idea in the Bible anywhere! Today in the world, God is healing Christians and working his power through Christians to see hundreds of thousands of people healed. As just one example, a lady at my church was completely healed of almost total blindness at an event called New Wine in 2013 – one of many people healed at that event alone. I’ve seen and known of several people healed of major conditions and minor things.
God is our healer and this promise is repeated through the whole Bible. And God doesn’t change – he’s the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13.8). Whenever people are unwell, it’s great to be wise in getting medical attention but we should always go to God first. He has promised that we will do the things that Jesus did if we believe in him (John 14.12). He’s told us that if we remain in God and God’s Word remains in us, we can ask whatever we want and God will do it (John 15.7). If we pray something and believe that we receive it, God has promised to answer that kind of prayer (Luke 11.24). We have been given power over the enemy (Luke 10.19). In Mark 16.18 tells us that we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover (also confirmed in James 5). Keep praying and keep believing God no matter what – we don’t fully understand why not everyone gets healed but many will be!
So if you need healing, pray right now and even get others to lay hands on you. Just simply ask God to bring his healing. You may want to speak directly to the problem and command God’s healing in the name of Jesus. And remember, our faith is in Jesus and what he has done / who he is. Our faith isn’t in our own words! Our faith is in God’s Word which is true and complete truth
Name 4 – Yahweh / Jehovah Nissi – Banner
Exodus 17.15 – Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
I’ve got something called a ‘bothy bag’. It’s a portable lightweight shelter that you can take out when walking on the hills to protect you from a storm or the rain, or help protect a casualty and keep them warmer than they may be otherwise.
One of the things God does for us is to be our banner – he’s the one who covers us and who fights for us and gives us the victory. The ultimate victory in the fight against evil isn’t going to be won by the Avengers or the X-Men but has already been won by Jesus. And he is always with us, even in our struggles.
With Jesus we can and will never lose – even if it doesn’t feel that way!
1 Corinthians 15.57 says – But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Name 5 – Yahweh / Jehovah Shalom – Peace
Judges 6.24 – So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
This means, “The Lord is Peace.” The word in Hebrew for peace that’s used is the word ‘Shalom’. This is a massive word that basically means God’s full all-round good and favour for us.
According to preceptaustin.org, “The root meaning of shalom is to be whole or sound and this leads to translations that speak of completeness, wholeness, well-being, welfare and peace. Shalom also includes the idea of vigour and vitality in all dimensions of life. In short, shalom speaks of holistic (“holy”) health for our souls and spirits.”
I don’t know about you but this sounds good! Why not pray for each other now and pray for God’s ‘shalom’ for the people around you. Let’s pray this for the whole church and especially our brothers and sisters being persecuted across the world.
Name 6 – Yahweh / Jehovah Raah – Shepherd and provider
Psalm 23.1 – The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want…
There’s lots of things we may want in life. You might want a brand new guitar or a Ferrari – but this isn’t just about having whatever you want!
Another translation of this verse says I lack nothing – but this isn’t about some verse we can throw around to get stuff!
The best place to look at to understand the Bible is the Bible itself. It’s often like a commentary on itself. Don’t just read one verse and forget the others around it – they often help you understand things more completely or properly!
If we look on in Psalm 23, we read about some of the meaning about us not wanting… We first understand that God is the one who provides. He does this as our shepherd, our leader – is he your leader? Then we see what God does: He restores us when we feel help; He leads us down right paths so we can follow him and do what’s right; He helps us when we’re in the dark places and valleys and struggles of life; He helps us overcome fear and evil; He does amazing things through us even when there are enemies of God around us; He guides us and comforts us; He anoints us to do his work with the Holy Spirit.
Finally, we know that God’s goodness, kindness will follow us all the days of our life on earth and one day we’ll live with God in heaven forever!
Again, I don’t know about you – but I need this from God. We all do. So maybe take a moment to pray this again.
Name 7 – Yahweh / Jehovah Maccaddeshcem
Exodus 31.13 – Say to the Israelites, “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
No, I can’t say the word properly either – so your first task is to get people to try and say the word and the best attempt gets a prize!!
Yahweh Maccaddeshcem means, “The Lord your Sanctifier” or as the Bible verse says, “The Lord who makes you holy.”
Do you ever feel like you’ve messed up and done things wrong? Do you ever have that feeling like you’re never going to be all that God’s made you to be or ever hear the lies of the devil that you’re a failure? I think we all go through times like this.
The amazing and liberating news is that it’s God who makes us holy. This is one massive difference with the Christian life compared to any other religion. In religion, you have to obey rules (like praying 5 times a day for example) or you have to do other things in order to be ‘right’ with your god. But as Christians there’s nothing we can do to be made right with God except believe in Jesus – he’s the one who’s made us right with God (2 Corinthians 5.21) because only Jesus was without sin and could pay the price for our sin.
And we can’t earn our way to being better people – we have to work with God who is the one who changes us from the inside-out (just like the famous Hillsong worship song tells us).
God has set you apart – he has chosen you – he has a purpose for you – he’s the one who helps us and changes us. So just relax into who God has made you to be and work with God. He’s not a slave master, he’s there to help you!
Yahweh / Jehovah Sabbaoth – Commander of heaven’s armies
1 Samuel 17.45 – Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
It always makes me laugh when people think of Jesus as this hippy with a beard wandering round with his band of disciples in their white cloaks. People mock Jesus like he’s some kind of sorry person who’s a bit pathetic but a nice person. Actually, Jesus is way more than this. He’s the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. One day he will return on a white horse with a sword coming out of his mouth (see Revelation 19).
You see, God isn’t just some old man sitting on a cloud surrounded by angels strumming harps. He is the creator of everything, he lives outside of time, he has everything in hand, knows everything about your life and still loves you. But he’s also a warrior. Today, we don’t live in Old Testament times where God’s enemies were physical – the enemies we fight against and who fight against us are spiritual (Ephesians 6.12). But God is powerful beyond anything in this world. One day, Jesus will return to the earth and God will make the entire heavens and earth new. Never forget that despite what people say or despite what things look like, God is powerful and he will bring justice.
Some of the words from one of my raps:
You’re living in illusion thinking Jesus was a hippy
Wearing robes and sandals, saying ‘peace out’, getting trippy
So Christ was a bum? Telling stories, unemployed
Maybe slightly simple, his mind empty, devoid
Was Christ a bearded freak, walking talking with the animals
Skipping through the meadows making daisy chains, in flannels
Maybe you think of God sitting on some fluffy cloud
Ordering round his slaves, ‘thou shalt not – not allowed’
As angels play their harps, wearing shining white attire
Pouring wine and singing songs, like a heavenly choir..?
See, I believe in Christ, listen up, he changed me up
He lifted and he picked me up and re-arranged my stuff
My life was in a mess, going down a one-way street
But Christ he re-clothed me and put Nike’s on my feet
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he died up on a cross
Blood and tortured, kicked then slaughtered, a voluntary cost..
He lived and died and rose again so you could be set free
The answer you are looking for is Jesus Christ the key
Yahweh / Jehovah Tsidkenu – Righteousness
Jeremiah 23.6 –
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Lord our Righteousness….
I once heard an atheist (someone who doesn’t believe in God) say that God was cruel because he forced Jesus to die. This is completely not true. In the Psalms, we learn that Jesus said that his delight was to do God’s will. In Philippians we also learn that Jesus humbled himself by going to the cross. In John 10.17 Jesus said that he lays down his own life. And apart from anything else, if Jesus hadn’t gone to the Cross voluntarily, he wouldn’t have been able to properly pay the price for all our sins.
Imagine the scene that someone has done something wrong and has to be punished. Imagine dragging someone else up and saying to them – you can pay the price – while this person was kicking and screaming and saying, “It wasn’t me, I don’t want to pay the price, I won’t do it.” That wouldn’t be fair would it?! Now imagine someone else who stands up and says, “| will happily take the blame for this.” Although we’re left thinking, ‘the person who really did wrong should be the one who pays the price’, it gives us some idea of what Jesus did for us. The price that we should have paid (death) was paid by Jesus so that we can have life by believing in him. He was the one who voluntarily paid the price for our sin.
This is why we say that Jesus is our righteousness. We cannot be made right before a pure and holy God without Jesus who didn’t sin but paid the price for all the wrong things we do. Jesus didn’t go kicking and screaming – he looked at you and me and said ‘the price is worth it – you are worth it.’
2 Corinthians 5.21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Yahweh / Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is there
Ezekiel 48.35 – All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.
According to the website gotquestions.org, “this is the name ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once-departed glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8—11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4).”
One thing that the Bible is very clear about is that God is with us and will never leave us or forget about us (Hebrews 13.5, quoting from Deuteronomy 31.6). We know from the words of Jesus that God even knows how many hairs we have on our head!
In the Old Testament time, the glory (the presence) of God was always in a specific place – like in the temple, or in a cloud or a pillar of fire etc. But now we have God ‘living’ on the inside of us through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6.19 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
This is a bit of a mystery to our human brains but it’s true! As humans we are made up of three parts really – our bodies, our soul (mind, emotions etc) and our spirit. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit and this is how we can speak to and hear from God (see John 4.24).
The awesome thing about having God living on the inside of us is that God is always with us. Wherever we are, God is! And the next amazing thing is that Jesus will one day return – we will see him face to face and we will be with him forever. Again, this will be absolutely awesome beyond anything we can think or imagine.
Hebrews 11.16 – Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Yahweh Elohim Israel – The God of Israel
Judges 5.3 –
“Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes!
I, even I, will sing to the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel
This identifies Yahweh as the God of Israel – in contrast to the many false gods of other nations. This is still true today. In Hindu nations such as India, people worship hundreds of gods. Other religions worship various gods. Even those who claim they are not religious still worship many things – money, sex, fame, power, sport, family, possessions and just stuff and things! Some atheists for example – or fans of Apple as another example are more ‘evangelical’ in what they think and like than some Christians!
There are many opinions about Israel today in the church. Some people say that Israel was just in the Old Testament and that now God has the church. The truth is that God made an everlasting covenant (agreement) with Israel and he’s never broken that covenant – God never breaks his covenant because he is completely faithful. Israel still has a special place in the purposes of God but God also loves and has called the church!
If it wasn’t for Israel we wouldn’t have the Law, the Bible, the Fathers and Mothers of the faith, the Prophets, the Disciples or Jesus! Jesus is going to return one day to where he went from – Israel. He is also coming back as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and will sit on the throne of David. So whatever else you believe, Israel is still very significant !!
John 4.22 – You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Adonai – Lord / Master
Genesis 15.2,4 – But Abram said, “Lord God (Adonai), what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” … Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’
According to gotquestions.org, God often uses ‘Adonai’ when he deals with the Gentile nations (the nations that aren’t Jewish).
According to Blue Letter Bible, “In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times. There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9. Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2.”
When we look around at the world and see some of the evil things happening, especially to the poor, the children, the vulnerable and our own Christian brothers and sisters who are being killed by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and secular nations, it’s easy to forget that God is love. But time after time we learn that God is love. He loves you and me. He may not love all that we do but his love was so strong that Jesus came and died so that we can be made right with God again.
God loves people – he loves those who hate him and who don’t know him. And we are called to show God’s love to people. God’s love isn’t a romantic love or a love that some people seem to think. He doesn’t love everything regardless. But his nature is love – a burning love that is pure. When Jesus died on the cross, he took all our sin on himself (1 Peter 2.24). Jesus actually died of a broken heart – when Jesus cried out to God on the Cross, ‘God, why have you turned away from me?’ he did this because God cannot look on sin. God turned his face away from his Son who he loved because his Son took on all our sin so that he could defeat the power of sin. Through this we can now be made right with God if we turn from our sin and believe in God. This is the love of God.
God’s love isn’t some kind of wussy pathetic love that pats everyone on the head. It’s much deeper and greater than that. The Bible tells us that God disciplines the ones he loves. You see, some people say things like ‘Christians should love people like Jesus loved people.’ But they forget that Jesus said he was the only way, he fought against the beliefs of the day and that he opposed / delivered people from evil things. We should bring hope – pray for healing for people – give – love – bring God’s words to people – sacrifice – care – go the extra mile – love our enemies. But we also speak God’s truth in love because we love people and want God’s best for them. If you see someone about to jump into a river and there’s no water in there, the loving thing is to shout ‘stop!’ and not ‘yeh, go for it, do whatever’ !!
A true story from Brooklyn Bridge in New York a few years ago was that someone wanted to commit suicide by jumping. It was holding up traffic so people shouted ‘get on with it’ and ‘jump’. The person did jump and was killed. The same thing happened in 2015 in Britain when some people shouted ‘jump’ to someone wanting to kill themselves. Some people even took out their phones to record. Sadly that person also jumped and was killed. This is not love!
A good parent doesn’t pat his child on the head and say ‘run into the road if you want – just be yourself – do what you want – I love you.’ A good parent says, ‘I love you so much that I don’t want you to be hurt, so don’t run into the road.’ This is God’s kind of love – as well as being good to his church – being good to us – giving us good gifts – rewarding us for what we do for him – giving us good and perfect gifts. But God’s is holy and just. A holy and just God won’t simply agree with everything that everyone does – especially when he sees the damage it does.
One day Jesus will return and judge people according to whether they believe in him and according to what they’ve done. This is a scary thought that should challenge us. It’s also a thought that many people don’t want to hear because they want to do whatever they want. They think – be a Christian, do what Jesus did being nice and lovely but don’t ever challenge me or tell me I’m wrong. But doing this isn’t God’s kind of love!
Remember: God is a good God and he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11.6)
So how can we show the love of God to those around us and in our church family?
The links were all originally accessed in April 2015 and were all checked, updated where needed and working in May 2019.